There are a number of small but successful shops in London that focus on selling practical and well-designed wares. Australian cousins Saskia, pictured above left, and Libby Carr hunted them out while living there a couple of years ago, and finding them sparked the idea that they could create something similar back in Australia. After returning home they launched online shop Ten Things in 2012, and at the end of last year held a pop-up shop at Blank Space Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney. They’ve also started to hold market stalls at a few different locations, including the Entertainment Quarter markets in Moore Park. Their philosophy is that we should own less but better quality objects, items that you treasure.
Which five words best describe you? Focused, seekers, curious, creative and determined.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Libby studied design at COFA and has worked as a graphic designer for a number of years, while Saskia studied drama teaching and has worked in teaching and training across education and retail.
We lived together in London a few years ago and this is where the idea for Ten Things emerged. We were constantly on the hunt for practical and well-designed products and were inspired by a number of small boutiques that focused on quality and functional design. Upon returning to Sydney with a strong desire to work for ourselves, we decided to go into business together and open an online shop.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Experiment, find what works for you, but always keep learning. Don’t expect to get everything right the first time. Also, preparation is key.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Starting our own business. We have both learnt and discovered so much in a relatively short amount of time.
What’s been your best decision? Going into business as a partnership. Merging our skill sets has allowed us to do much more together than we could alone. While we make a lot of decisions together, we also divide and conquer when it makes sense to do so.
Who inspires you? Other small businesses and creatives who work really hard, commit to quality and love what they do.
What are you passionate about? Seeking out great design and craftsmanship. Finding those everyday items which make life a bit easier and more beautiful – both for Ten Things and for ourselves!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? As all of our designers and manufacturers are scattered across the globe, so we’d love to have the opportunity to meet all of them in person and see them in action. Saskia visited Southern Field Industries (maker of our Waxed Canvas & Leather Tote) in Japan last year and was incredibly inspired by their passion and craftsmanship. We look forward to being able to do this with more of our brands in the future.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? We would love to have a permanent shop front one day.
What are you reading?
Libby: Elephant by Raymond Carver. Short stories are perfect when life’s a bit busy. I also usually have a few home/interior magazines on the go.
Saskia: Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. A great little book on mindfulness with perfect tips for surviving life as a new mum.
images courtesy of ten things