Abode Living is a well-established family run business, having been founded in 1991. When did you join the business and how do you think the market has changed during this time?
Abode was originally started after Robert Adair (my uncle) sold Adairs in search of creating a more fashion focused product at an affordable price. Back then, the only fashionable bedding brands were Calvin Klein and Frette, which were frightfully expensive compared to what the Australian market was used to. Abode was created to fill that gap in the market, which we still successfully fill today.
I studied fashion at RMIT and had a clothing label for the better part of five years, which gave me a real-life crash course in textiles, patterns, graphics, dying, printing, styling and a little bit of business. Looking back it was probably the most valuable five years of my ‘education’ as I learnt from mistakes and really learned how to develop my skillset. It was a case of sink or swim. Eventually I sank, but Robert took me on-board in 2007 to develop the sleepwear range at Abode.
As my confidence, experience and knowledge grew I took on more and more responsibility, purely for the fact that I loved the challenge and really enjoyed developing really nice products that weren’t just clothing. Since then, I have moved into the role of creative director which is quite a varied role within such a small family run business. On any given week, I could be doing any of the following; product development, photography, styling, creating ads, catalogue layouts, website graphics, unloading deliveries in the warehouse or sourcing new products from overseas. It’s very satisfying. We now have a very talented fashion designer who designs the sleep and loungewear range, and we are really pleased with the new direction that she has taken. This season we are launching some of the finest cashmere pieces you will find anywhere in the world.
Since I came to Abode, I have noticed a few trends and changes within the industry. There have definitely been a lot of smaller start-up businesses with a ‘louder and brighter’ look, with an artistic and quirky element being incorporated. More and more brands working on the ‘fast fashion’ concept, where products are made on trend, very quickly and aimed at a specific price point. Homewares and accessories have definitely become more popular, probably a flow on from the expert styling in some of Australia’s interior magazines (we have some very talented stylists in Australia). The readers often try and translate those looks into their home. It’s not uncommon for customers to come in-store with our catalogue or a magazine and say, “This is what I want my bedroom to look like”. The accessibility of the internet has also bought in competition and new trends from overseas.