If you appreciate colour + beautiful things then you will love Australian lifestyle brand Eb&Ive. Today we learn about owner + creative genius behind the label, Nicky Morgan. Inspired by travels near and far, rich landscapes, sand and sea mist and ever-changing cultures, prepare for a visual feast of colour and inspiring words of wisdom.
Tell us a little about your background – what did you study and what path led you to starting up eb&ive?
I finished high school and did a fashion design course to learn to pattern make and basic fashion design, which I really didn't enjoy! I gained most of my experience from working in the industry and mostly in sales for various businesses. I loved learning about all aspects of how a business is run, some parts are not my strong point (like accounting) but I do feel a basic understanding is essential. I always knew I wanted my own business one day particularly my own brand, I just needed the skills and finances to be able to do it.
For those of your with exceptional vision, yes that is me in the centre.
How long had eb&ive been in concept and development stages before launching?
Jules (aka best friend & former business partner)and I had a dream to start our own business almost 10 years ago, we were both working in fashion & marketing and decided we wanted to make our own earrings and necklaces..
We came up with the initial concept of making our own collections and then organizing home and office parties which was quite popular at that time.
Jules would do her parties in Melbourne where she lived and I would do mine in Sydney, we would send stock back and forth.
We did quite well and were even asked to produce a small collection for Australian designer Rebecca Davies when she was still doing runway shows.
We loved it but it consumed our lives, we were both working full time and not getting a lot of sleep. So we decided to give the jewelry making a rest for a while. I also believe at that time we didn't have enough skills nor the cash flow to take the business to the next level.
We concentrated on our roles at the time, and then a few years later, with more experience, an amazing idea and some finances now behind us we thought we would try again, make some sacrifices and see if we could finally follow our dream of having our own brand!
We were very lucky that my hubby loves all things numbers and excel and he worked out the finer points for us! Both of our husbands were the most amazing supportive men in the world and we could not have done this without them!
It initially took us about 9 months to get the business up and running, with stock in our hands and our first trade fair booked.
What is the story behind the name eb&ive?
Jules and I have a pretty unique and amazing friendship and always likened ourselves to ebony and ivory the song and wanted our brand to have a warm feel that represented our friendship.
I am also the darker skinned of the 2 of us and Jules a little golden. (Love you Jules :)) So we decided it was a perfect fit and eb&ive was created.
I was lucky enough to be a part of Eb&Ive's latest campaign shoot.
Do you design all of the products in house, or are some sourced from far away places?
Some products are designed in house, some are developed from ideas I may find and yes some are definitely sourced from some amazing places around the world!
If you are involved in the design, can you give us a little insight into your creative process?
I love starting the collection by working out the colour palette for the season first.
I am a bit addicted to pantone colour books so spend a lot of time putting colours together. We work so far in advance and try not to follow too many trends but do check out the net and what the rest of the world is doing.
Where or who do you draw inspiration from?
I find inspiration from travel and people! Nothing excites me more than finding an amazing fabric design or new product idea we can adapt to fit into the next collection.
Watching artisans in India hand making products, or printers hand screen printing fabric is truly amazing to see and very inspirational.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Getting into work about 8, check emails, then work out what is important. At the moment that is working on the next Summer 2014-15 collection. It is crazy days at eb&ive HQ!
Nicky + her team even took some colourful inspiration from my blog, spray painted pineapples!
How would you describe your general design aesthetic?
Simple, fun, functional, beautiful. & colourful…at the moment! It changes with each season.
Can you list for us 3 resources across any media that you turn to regularly for creative inspiration?
Blogs, Magazines, Fashion & art websites and instagram…very addictive!
Which other local designers, artists or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
I am generally inspired but lots of creative near and far. I do find India Hicks quite inspirational, she has a really relaxed classic style and lives in such a beautiful environment very different to our current look but I love it!
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
I don't think I have one stand out moment, I am really proud to have started eb&ive nearly 6 years ago and to see it still growing in a very difficult retail environment.
Our new Carnivale collection has had a great start to the season and that always makes you feel proud when the next collection is well received.
What are you most looking forward to for eb&ive?
I am really excited to see where this journey will take us. Jules has had her first baby and her new role is full time mum to beautiful Summer Grace, whilst I have moved forward with a fantastic team by my side I am feeling challenged and excited about continuing to grow this business into a much loved Australian Lifestyle brand,
What would be your biggest piece of advice for someone following their dream and starting their own business?
Take the risk if you believe in yourself, know your competition, & learn everything you can about the business you are pursuing.