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Times Like These... With Poppy Lane Of Pop + Scott

Times Like These

This marks TDF’s fourth week working from home, and just over one week since much of the country transitioned into a stage three shutdown. We’re not really allowed to leave the house anymore. The weather in Melbourne is starting to shift too, making the idea of staying indoors easier, but also slightly more ominous. How long will we be living through this strange time? And what’s it going to look like on the other side?

Today we speak to Poppy Lane, co-founder of much loved Australian furniture and homewares brand Pop + Scott, which she runs with her partner, Scotty Gibson. Once upon a time, not too long ago, Poppy and Scott would drive from their home on the Mornington Peninsula into the city every day, to manage their workshop and showroom in Northcote, but things are a bit different now. We spoke to Poppy about how she and her family are adjusting.

7th April, 2020

Poppy Lane and Scotty Gibson with their kids Veda, Frida and Lou. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

Friday on a bush walk near the family home on the Mornington Peninsula. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

Poppy Lane at home. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

The Pop and Scott Northcote warehouse and showroom shortly after it opened. Photo – Eve Wilson

‘I’m hoping that people will eventually have a more holistic view of what this virus actually means for humans and our Earth’ says Poppy. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

The painted pots that started it all at Pop + Scott! Photo – courtesy of Pop + Scott.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 7th April 2020

‘I’m hoping that people will eventually have a more holistic view of what this virus actually means for humans and our Earth’ – Poppy Lane.

Since starting their business in 2012, Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson of Pop + Scott have been an unstoppable influence in the Australian homewares, furniture and interiors space. Imbued with holistic values, their small business has such a wide reach, and has been a hub where friends have turned into collaborators, and vice versa. At the helm of it all is Poppy. A natural nurturer and feeler of all the big feelings, she has been grappling with a vast spectrum of emotions as we move through this time.

Poppy and Scotty have no idea what their business is going to look like once the dust has settled. But it’s in looking beyond the immediate circumstances at the bigger picture where Poppy finds comfort.

Hey Poppy! How are you feeling today?

I’m actually feeling pretty good mentally, much better than I have in the past few days.

I’ve felt pretty angry this week, about a lot of things. But I’ve been aware of those feelings, and have just let them be there. Moving through everything has made me feel a bit clearer. I think that’s why I feel better.

Where has your anger been coming from?

Just the focus on numbers, and how to survive right now, rather than the bigger picture. I am worried about the immediacy of what’s going on, of course. But I get frustrated with how us humans tend to pinhole focus on one issue. We don’t always stand back and think, ‘Oh, this is making a lot of other stuff really noticeable.’ Like how fragile our economy is, how much we ignore the earth.

But you know, everyone takes time to move through a traumatic experience in their own way. And that’s okay. I can’t expect everyone to feel the way I feel.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the collective trauma that we’re experiencing and will deal with economically, emotionally, even physically in a way for years to come. But in the last few days I’ve been wondering if we’re starting to get used to it?

I don’t think we’re used to it. It’s more that we’ve come to a different level of grief, and there will be another level again where we’re moving through something even bigger, and everyone will do it at slightly different times.

But I hope enough of us come to the same point of knowing that this is bigger than just a virus. This is our humanity. It’s how we treat each other, how we react, there’s a sense of uniting the world because we’ve got all the same problem. So I feel like there will be good change because enough of us are going to be collectively moving through some sort of trauma and grief together to get to some incredible growth.

I think that’s a good perspective to have at this point in time. How is Pop + Scott going as a business?

It’s challenging. But prior to this happening, Australia was already heading towards a recession. Our business was trending lower than usual, and we were already starting to think of better ways to function. It was almost like we instinctively knew something massive was coming. So we’d already started to downsize. We were starting to make those changes, discussing how to produce things smaller, smarter, with more love and in a community-minded way, almost going back to what we were when the business was two years old.

So I guess you’ve had some sense of preparation, even if you didn’t know exactly what for?

Strangely, yeah. The last couple of weeks has been an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. But right now we’re just doing what we can in a calm and loving manner, rather than a freak out. We’re nurturing our crew as much as we can and applying for anything we possibly can from the government.

Weirdly, even though I’ve had some tears and anger and sadness over all of this, I still feel like I’m quite enjoying this time as well. Even though it’s challenging to fear for the health of people and our families, I like that it’s slowing us down. Some of our family members who have never considered their health before are starting to now. Humans are all starting to look out for each other. We’re aware that we can’t touch each other, so we’re looking at each other more. And I think there is something beautiful about this painful time.

How are you talking to your kids about it?

They’re so small that they don’t really know what’s going on. Lou (3) thinks he’s got really long kinder holidays and Frida (6) is aware of it, but we haven’t said that she’s not at school because of a virus, we’ve just said she’s on big school holidays too. Frida did get a little bit upset because she had a cold and she thought she had Coronavirus. We just explained to her that she could have it, but she was okay, and the important thing is that if we do feel unwell we stay home to protect older people and those more vulnerable, and she understood that and moved through it quite comfortably.

Kids do seem to be pretty resilient in this whole thing. What are you feeling optimistic or hopeful for?

I’m hoping that more of us have used this time as a reflection, and that people will eventually have a more holistic view of what this virus actually means for humans and our Earth. And that brings us together and connects us. I hope that as a whole, this nationalist view will melt away. It’s a huge hope! Or even if it’s just a little bit, that would be a huge difference.

I also hope that people consider their consumerism and look at what they do every day, week, month and year and think, ‘Do I really need that?’ I can see that shift in a lot of creative businesses already, but I hope that reaches the larger manufacturing world. I basically hope it shifts consumerism into a more considered place.

If we all have the collective realization that we are not separate from our Earth. If we all start to nurture her, learn to listen to her and live in harmony and love with nature, then we will heal.

So what are the things you are doing to feel good and sane?

We’re so privileged to be near a beautiful bushwalk that is totally isolated, you never see another soul. We walk a lot, and my cooking has just gone next level! It’s taken a slower step than it has before which has been super healing.

We’ve been listening to this doctor Zach Bush, who’s got a really incredible holistic view on humans and the earth, it has been really confronting but also motivating at the same time.

We have been enjoying our time with the kids, and nurturing our family via phone, as well as our crew and our friendships. Allowing ourselves to move through sad or angry times without judgment.

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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