Creative People

Interview - Camilla & Olivia Tipler from MOZI!

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
11th of March 2010
Stunning homewares by Melbourne's favourite homewares label MOZI!
MOZI's very first retail store in Glenferrie rd, Hawthorn.
LOVE the Medina Apron... but... almost too pretty to get messy in!
Gorgeous floral teatowels...
Camilla and Olivia Tipler are the very inspiring ladies behind Melbourne's own much-admired homewares brand MOZI! MOZI's beautiful designs seem to me to strike the perfect balance - contemporary yet feminine, striking but so pretty... it's no wonder the Tipler sisters have taken the market by storm! In just 5 years this supremely talented pair have won so many accolades both here and overseas, building MOZI into a household name, with stockists as far as the UK and US! Last year they added another achievement to this impressive list - opening their very own retail store in Hawthorn! My goodness... do these girls ever sleep??! It seems to me that Camilla and Olivia were destined to grow this beautiful business together... It was really interesting to learn how Camilla's love of drawing and all things creative was evident from an early age - matched only by Olivia's ambitious entrepreneurial streak! Their complementary skill set sees Camilla at the helm of MOZI's design department, and Olivia as Operations Manager - the perfect team! I am ultra grateful for Olivia's time with this interview because she is soooo busy - and would you believe due to have her first baby early next week!? WOW Thankyou Olivia for your very precious time (and to Skye for all the fab images). Good luck next week and thanks so much for sharing your story with us! Do pop in and check out MOZI's gorgeous store at 769 Glenferrie rd, Hawthorn....!
Camilla and Olivia looking so gorgeous... and their much-loved pups, Stella and Ted!
Tell me a little about your backgrounds – what path led you to setting up MOZI!? On an educational level Camilla has a background in fine art visual communication while Olivia has a business and language (Italian) background. We grew up in an environment where creativity was always encouraged (& anything was possible) – together with our other two siblings we spent most weekends in the garage with Dad building ‘stuff’. Camilla loved drawing. From the moment she could hold a pencil she would doodle sketches of Max the dog, her pet blackbird Pepper & all other wonders in the garden. Her prized set of 72 Derwent pencils were kept under lock & key, each colour sharpened & counted the night before bed. When she wasn’t drawing her days were filled with potato stamping, pottery & paper cutting…. Olivia was the type of child who was always coming up with ideas. She was the one who would set up the lemonade stall on her parents’ front nature strip and expect it to turn a profit. At age four she commandeered her parents’ dining room and set it up as a supermarket, stocked it with food from the family pantry and charged a fortune for the privilege of shopping there. The combination of our two personalities, skills, life experiences (including extensive travel & time living overseas) and the strong will to build a brand, led to the creation of MOZI. In less than 5 years you have built MOZI into a household name and won so many accolades both locally and overseas – with stockists as far as the UK and US! What were you initial goals when first setting up the business? Did you ever imagine achieving this immense success in such a short space of time? From the outset we had a fairly clear vision about what MOZI ‘would look like in 10 years time’ – we used to ask ourselves (& still do) what ‘big’ MOZI looks like i.e. when it was all grown up. Six years into the business & we have made significant headway toward achieving that vision but still have a few bridges to cross! Our goals have always included doing something creative, utilising our skill sets, being our own bosses, incorporating travel into our work and being flexible as we moved into the child rearing phase! How is your business structured? – how many staff work with you both at MOZI HQ, how do you structure your time to juggle everything effectively, and which significant tasks do you outsource? There are a total of 10 staff plus casual staff. We have the directors of the business – Camilla & Olivia who are the Head of Design and Operations Manager respectively. We also have a Sales & Marketing Manager, a Wholesale Sales Manager, a Retail Store Manager, a Graphic Designer, a Bookkeeper, a Warehouse Manager and a Sales Administration resource. We also employ the following consultants who we work very closely with – an IT consultant, a PR company, an Accountant, Lawyers (including an IP lawyer) & a Business Coach. As we straddle so many areas of business including design, production, logistics, sales & marketing, finance, law and the list goes on…we have to be efficient with our use of time. We generally have fairly structured weeks, months and seasons with fixed meeting times & events. Of course there are lots of things and ideas that crop up so we have to be very flexible about when we work which always includes weekends! What advice would you give to emerging young designers/creatives looking to start their own small business? Be crystal clear about your vision & the end goal/result. This gives you direction, structure and something to work towards. It’s the things that you don’t do that will make you successful – you can’t be everything to everyone & it’s easy to be distracted. What has been one of your favourite MOZI products? Our Street Directory Cover – we used to make them in the garage at Mum & Dad’s place. Many decisions that have made MOZI what it is today were made while rolling toxic glue on to the cardboard that made those Street Directory Covers – we would listen to Fleetwood Mac with the hum of an extractor fan in the background! What does a typical day at work involve for you at MOZI? This is a very difficult question - there is no typical day as we cover so much territory at once! If we were to be very general, Camilla would be working on new design including product, web, shop layouts and visual merchandising ideas. While Olivia would be working on product ideas, production and international sales deals. Where do you turn for creative inspiration – travel, local and international design trends, magazines, books or the web etc? The brand in general is heavily influenced & inspired by Mum and Dad’s farm in the Otways, travel to far-flung places including India, Morocco, Italy & France & our beloved dogs Stella & Ted. We also read every homewares magazine we can get our hands including international publications, we visit exhibitions and galleries, we scout around at markets and yard sales in the country and we read blogs and interesting tit bits that people send on to us.
Oven mitts should all be this glamourous!
Which designers / creative people do you admire? Aboriginal art (in particular Sally Gabori), Leonardo da Vinci, Leonard Cohen . What would be your dream creative project? Creating a MOZI lifestyle concept store in the middle of a paddock in a converted wool shed. The store would also incorporate food, music & wine – the good life! What are you looking forward to? Creating the above…. Melbourne Questions? Your favourite spot for shopping/strolling/people watching in Melbourne? The Victoria & Camberwell Markets. What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne? Authentic Sicilian fare at ‘Da Noi’ in Toorak Rd South Yarra Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning? Walking somewhere with Stella & Ted or sitting on the deck at the farm drinking hot black tea. Melbourne’s best kept secret? 769 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn….

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