Kylie is the founder of Beau In The Woods a Brisbane based fashion label that uses stunning photographic images printed to lustrous silks all of which are manufactured in Brisbane.
I was lucky recently to spend a wonderful afternoon with kylie at her store on James Street, Fortitude Valley – a beautifully decorated place where her clientel are welcomed in to a world of adventure and wonder.
We chatted about her journey from holidays OS where Kylie and her husband emersed themselves in culture and silk! Before too long it really began to feel as if I’d been on holiday with her. No exaggeration! There is something so honest, so warm and generous about Kylie – she wears her heart on her sleeve at all times, and her eyes twinkle with genuine excitement as she discusses the various projects that she forsea’s for her label.
It’s clear though, that Beau in the Woods holds a special place in Kylie’s heart. For Kylie, the store is a labour of love – There are injections of spirited design through the store layout and design, which was contributed by the men she loves most in her life, her husband and 2 fathers , one a photographer and the other an antiques dealer.
Beau in the woods is a platform for great ideas through experimentation, listening to her customers by using skilled people within Australia that have a genuine passion for her creative vision.
Tell us a little about yourself and what experiences have lead you to this point in your career?
I studied a Journalism & Communications degree in Central Queensland. Afterwards I moved to the Gold Coast for a much coveted sea change. Whilst I was looking for work in the field I studied I began a job at a swimwear boutique and from there I just fell into retail – from the shopfloor at Sportsgirl to Area Manager at Zimmermann. I loved hearing the process of how the designs came to life, the story behind each piece. Then seeing how people interpreted it. My husband and I started a fashion agency on the side, then that grew to a store in Brisbane, then the Beau label and now here I am. In our boutique, when our new collection hits the shopfloor it just brings back all the memories and the journey we went on to create it. As for my non eventful journalism career, I still learnt so much about how to communicate on a public platform to understand the editorial demands that come with having a self run business…. to this day my father still reminds me about that journalism degree, but he is so happy how it turned out. I couldn’t imagine doing anything different. You should always do what you love and to share it with a receptive clientele is a huge bonus that just ignites the passion.
You said that you have many creative ideas. What would be your dream creative project?
I have a very clear vision where I want to take the label as ultimately I want to be able to give back and help others. Creating textiles is such a craft and to keep it alive you have to nourish the process and also be prepared to pay for the time it takes to create it. Travelling gives you such an insight to this and my goal is to be able to incorporate our modern digital prints with the age old crafts created from communities around the globe. To then empower these people to build their own business too, as well as keep passing it on to new generations. I think we need to nurture this so it doesn’t get lost to only new technologies. It’s very easy to purchase clothing off the rack without a second thought of where it came from. I want everyone involved in my label to be part of the story and to be able to benefit from it too
What does a typical day in the life for Kylie involve?
There doesn’t seem to be any typical days lately! I can’t function unless I start my day with exercise, some sunshine and a smoothie or fresh juice. After that it is a blur of emails, meetings, fabric, patterns, sourcing, contemplating and pondering and of course time in our store. I get inspired at completely random times so I find it ends late most nights after a few more hours on a computer.
What local talent are you loving right now?
There is a ridiculously fabulous amount of local talent in James Street … The tom gunn girls always rock my world. I want every single pair of shoes that they do. I have always admired the work of Easton Pearson so the fact that I get to look over at their store each day is a constant inspiration. And upstairs, Paul Hunt’s frocks are to die for. I daydream about giving him my printed fabric and having a couture-esque piece created.
If you could give 2 golden nuggets of advice to someone who’s wanting to create their own label what would it be?
1)Experience on the shop floor is imperative! You can have a vision of who you are creating for but you need to know your reality too. Listen to what people like and don’t like. Hear their insecurities and confidences … Understand your customer to ensure that you know your market.
2)Focus on your vision and have a signature. Everybody has opinions and advice, take it on board, listen and learn, but don’t be consumed by trying to please them all. Stay true to what you want to do, after all it is your name that is attached so you have to be behind it 110%.
What is Brisbane’s best kept secret?
There is never just one! It’s getting under the skin … I love days that start with a trip to the farmers markets, have a stroll to a somewhere sunny on the riverside for tapas and wine, then end up late with friends. My favourite place of the moment is probably Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall. It is like walking into a Pulp Fiction movie and makes you feel like you could be anywhere in the world.