stylist & shop owner sami johnson

It's interesting which days in your life hold strong in your memory. For me one of the shoots for real living that stands out was at a house in Sydney's Dover Heights about three years ago. The place was stunning - all white curved walls and flooding light. The view was a panoramic 180-degrees of the ocean. And Sami Johnson (then known to me as Sam Moiler) was the stylist. She was busy but not flustered. And she created some beautiful spaces. Now that I've done some interior styling myself I'm still impressed with how calm Sami was. Since then she's moved to Byron Bay, worked as fashion editor for My Child magazine, volunteered for a month in a Balinese orphanage, moved back to Melbourne, opened The Assembly Hall and is now developing a range of linen for adults and kids. All the while still showing grace under pressure.

Which five words best describe you? Peacekeeper/creative/messy/visual/compassionate (I'm a sucker for a good cause).
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied photography at The Melbourne School of Art as well as completing a diploma in graphic design. I worked as a photography assistant until I realised that styling was an actual paid profession and I jumped ship. I freelanced and learnt the ropes in Melbourne before making the move to Sydney and taking up the role as head stylist at The Sydney Morning Herald. After spending 3 years at the paper I felt it was time to head back to the freelance world which allowed me to work for various publications, including one of my faves, Real Living. Being the gypsy that I am, this year has seen me move back to Melbourne and venture into the retail side of life, opening The Assembly Hall with long-time friend Jessica Bettenay.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your instincts, everyone has a different style and way of doing things, you're never going to please everyone... and make a list! Every busy person needs a list (or 2).
What’s your proudest career achievement? Becoming established enough in my career that someone actually wants to interview me. I was once featured on an international blog; it blew me away that someone would be following my work.
What’s been your best decision? Late last year I decided to buy a plane ticket and fly to Bali to work in an orphanage for a month. Not only did the experience change my view of life, the plane ride actually change my life after I married the boy I sat next to on the plane! Truly the best decision I have ever made.
Who inspires you? On a personal level I'm inspired by those that give and live beyond themselves, that put others first and can see beyond their own needs. I've met some extraordinary people on my travels and I'm always inspired (and challenged) by those who live beyond their own circumstances. Professionally, I love the work of stylists Christine Rudolph and Megan Morton, both of who were obviously standing at the front of the line when God handed out talent.
What are you passionate about? Right now, renovating! We just bought an investment property and I'm loosing sleep running through all the ideas I have for the place. I do have an obsession with retro chairs, I collect all sorts of one-off pieces (much to my husband's dismay).... Also, kids. After volunteering for the past few years in kids church programs and in an orphanage, I plan on donating a percentage of the profits from my businesses to children's organisation in the countries we source from.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I've given this much thought and run through all the famous and influential people that might make most people's hit list, but to be honest I keep coming back to my own grandmother. My mum's mum passed away when she was just 15 and even though we've never met her, she is still a huge part of our family. She is spoken about often and I love watching my Pop's face light up when we ask about their life together; I truly would love to meet her.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Have a family, see more of the world and launch my linen ranges (both adult and kids) - plans being put in place as we speak.
What are you reading? The purpose driven life by Rick Warren - amazing: a must read.

images courtesy of sami johnson (nee moiler) and the assembly hall