Building boats gives you a lot of respect for space. You learn to appreciate what’s necessary and what’s superfluous. Nathan White spent four years completing a shipwright’s apprenticeship, and his appreciation for fine lines and clean design is evident in the furniture and homewares business Mr & Mrs White, which he runs with his wife, Sasha. She brings knowledge and experience in design - she majored in graphic design at university - as well as a passion for textiles. After Nathan started to build furniture and Sasha got out her sewing machine for their first home they were soon creating products that were to become the core of their business. More recently they have expanded their showroom to a space on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Meet Sasha.
Which five words best describe you? Quiet, determined, problem solver, spontaneous.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? We got our career start by simply stepping out and having a go. Nathan and I were newly married, still studying and unqualified but we decided to start creating. We started making furniture and homewares for our own home and then for family and friends. As we started to perfect our skills we realised how much we loved to create together and that we could actually do this as a business. From there it took leaps of faith, many risks and a lot of hard work.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Wow – we have learnt a lot along the way. Probably one of the best lessons is to not dwell on the mistakes. Mistakes keep you humble – mistakes make you better.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I am currently standing in our showroom/factory that we moved into seven months ago and would have to say we are pretty proud of it. We dreamed of this three years ago when we were renting out a small room within a factory that was only 30 square metres.
What’s been your best decision? Nathan’s been my best decision.
Who inspires you? Many things inspire us to do what we do. First and foremost there is something within both of us that loves to create. We are inspired by simplicity. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And Tolstoy said: “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.” I guess we are continually aspiring towards that. Anything natural and neutral inspires us – some crumpled linen, the smell of leather and a pile of timber ready to be milled. It’s the raw nature of these elements that inspires us – the possibilities are endless. And lastly, anyone who is doing what they love and who keeps going despite the challenges inspires us. It’s inspiring seeing other people go after their dreams and pursuing what they love doing.
What are you passionate about? God, marriage, family, my two beautiful girls, friends, and, of course, making stuff.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? C.S. Lewis.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Extending the business overseas and collaborating.
What are you reading? David & Goliath – Underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants by Malcolm Gladwell