We're so excited to be featured in Collective Hub's latest issue ! Check out the interview with our creative director Ben Lawry ! Find out all about how Art Club Concept came to be, our vision & creative process, our marketing channels, lessons we've learnt along the way, the wins we've had so far & all about what is to come including our newest collection, The Dreamland !
Below is the interview from the feature written by Melanie Dimmit :
It hit him while he was travelling – a whole new take on the humble throw cushion. “I saw an opportunity in the market to design homewares with a strong focus on fashion,” Ben Lawry recalls. He decided then and there to take the fashion industry model of carrying prints across multiple silhouettes and fabrics, and instead apply it across wall art, clocks, vases... the whole homely spread. Twelve months later, Art Club Concept was born. We quiz Ben on how it works and where it’s headed.
I launched the brand in early 2015 after a long career in fashion. I was ready for something new and exciting within the creative industry. Behind the scenes, I’ve surrounded myself with an amazing team who are as equally passionate about using art and design to create uplifting spaces and beautiful homes. My personal goal has always been to create lifestyle products that impact people’s lives in a positive way.
To date, the business has been self funded through years of hard work and smart business decisions. Moving forwards, we are looking at raising capital from investment in early 2016 to support our international expansion and build our new product range. My advice for anyone looking to start their own business is simple: firstly, truly believe in your purpose and vision 110 per cent. Secondly, be a risk taker, but always, a calculated risk taker – understand your numbers and margins. Finally, believe in yourself, surround yourself with great people and work hard!
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Once we’re all in love with a design, we bring it to life. We have a huge concept generation period [that] starts with bringing together all our inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. From there it’s very hands-on and we use different mediums to create our artwork. You’ll find us splattering paint, creating textures, sketching patterns and exploring typography styles. We then shift into digital art using the Adobe platform and this is where the second stage begins. The design concept is generally the easiest part, the fine-tuning and development takes the longest time. Every design is pushed and pushed until it’s perfected… and then we push it further! Essentially, good isn’t good enough and we’re only happy once it’s perfect in our eyes. From the idea to having our product in store, it is usually a six-month process.
THE IDEAS POOL:
Being a perfectionist, I’ll push every idea to its limit. In some cases, a concept can be executed within 10 rounds versus other designs taking 100. We don’t necessarily see any design as “bad” – the weaker design options that don’t move forwards are part of the development process and are always kept on file for future reference – they’re equally as important as the final designs as they act as stepping stones in the journey.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH:
We create interior fashion for art lovers. The concept comes from the understanding that fashion is a way of expressing yourself without words. Now, more than ever, the home has become a further extension of this; a way to represent personal identity and style. Being a progressive brand with our roots in fashion, we felt the term ‘interior fashion’ better represents what we do. In terms of art, we treat every design like a work of art, regardless of the platform, from a cushion through to our skateboards.
THE MAIN MARKETING CHANNEL:
Social media has changed the way we communicate. It allows us to have an open relationship with our customers…We come together as a team and love creating inspiring content that is 100 per cent true to our brand story and identity – from interviewing an artist or blogger that inspires us or working with brands who share in our passions for creativity and design. We think the secret to success on social media is being truly authentic. If you’re not true to yourself and your passions, it’ll show through and work against you.
THE LESSONS LEARNED:
In business, the key is to always remain positive, be accountable, find solutions, constantly learn and never be afraid of failure, as every challenge is an opportunity to grow. Since our launch, we’ve had some amazing highlights. We have received an incredible response, with highly regarded influencers and bloggers in Australia and internationally featuring our homewares, as well as being stocked in our favourite homewares stores. We’ve also faced plenty of challenges that inevitably come as a new business.
Our products were selected for sale on The Block shop [an extension of the Australian television home renovation series]. It’s definitely inspiring to see people no different from us design a space with so much character in only a few days – it then encourages us to give it a go for ourselves. The Block is amazing at showcasing how a well designed space can have such a positive impact on people. On a deeper level, our biggest wins are the impact and
enjoyment we’ve made in people’s lives.
THE CHERISHED PIECE:
It’s hard for us to pick a favourite project to date, as we love everything we create! But, collectively as a team, the standout would be our Shakey Palms cushion – with its monochromatic-meets-tropical vibe. It’s been one of our bestsellers along with the Chronicles cushion, Rebellion print and Marble Illusion clocks.
We’re planning our international launch into Europe and America in early 2016 alongside the introduction of new product ranges. We’ve recently launched our Spring/Summer 15 Collection. There are many exciting things on the horizon!
THE NEXT TREND:
For this summer season, think subtle pastel coral