I often wonder - does being apart from your family and social networks in some ways give you more freedom to pursue your goals? Many people that I interview for Daily Imprint are expats. And while they might lose out on the benefits of being a local in some senses, they get the luxury of time to focus on their raison d'etre. Meet Leanne Carter-Taylor, who moved from the UK 11 years ago to Australia. Four years after landing on our shores she set up a beautiful fashion shop in Sydney's Balmain - DuckEggBLUE. More recently she has created its interior partner Quintessential DuckEggBLUE.
Which five words best describe you? Busy, creative, untidy, determined and decisive.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied fashion marketing & promotion at university and quickly secured a marketing manager's job in the UK for an established high street retailer... it all started from there. I learned the in’s and out’s of retail marketing, buying & visual merchandising, and progressed through the ranks at various retailers' head offices, until I left the UK in December 1999 to travel around Australia for 1 year with a tent and a car! After a few years heading up Amnesty International Australia’s buying & merchandising department, I then opened the first duckeggBLUE store 7 years ago, as I was a frustrated Balmain shopper with no where to shop that excited me or offered covetable ‘objects & clothes’ that I wanted to buy! In 2008 I opened our industrial & antique furniture store, quintessential duckeggBLUE, and haven’t looked back since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Work hard... it’s not easy... but if you are passionate about what you believe in, then it makes it a whole lot easier.
What’s your proudest career achievement? The opening of our stores, especially the industrial furniture store, quintessential duckeggBLUE. I was always known for owning the fashion store, so furniture made a few heads turn. People don’t realise that I grew up in a house full of furniture and art. My father was a furniture maker & upholsterer so furniture has always been a huge part of my life. The two stores are now 4 doors apart from each other on Darling Street, Balmain, and if I say so myself, and I am not one to sing my own praises, far from it, I am very critical of all that I do, but I do believe that the 2 stores are simply the greatest destination stores in Australia. They both house only the most covetable women’s wear and furniture that can be found anywhere in Australia, all tastefully handpicked for our clients.
What’s been your best decision? Moving and setting up home in Australia. I would never have opened my own business in the UK – retail in the UK isn’t independent boutiques ‘friendly’, as there is too much high street completion. I am extremely fortunate to live and work in Balmain where the locals embrace and support covetable stores like mine.
Who inspires you? Terence Conran, UK fashion designer Sir Paul Smith - his stores are just beautiful, I could set up home in them!
What are you passionate about? My business, my dogs (they keep me sane), selected charities – especially supporting the homeless. My husband is a volunteer at a Sydney homeless shelter once a week, every week. I’m a sucker for buying copies of the Big Issue wherever I am in the world. My most recent copy had U2 on the front cover last week.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Living would have to be Bono. What more can I say – huge fan, some people get it, some don’t! Whatever... Dead would probably be the French impressionist painter and sculptor, Degas, or Andy Warhol. Oh how I would LOVE to own a Warhol!
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Opening up further stores. Perhaps a furniture store in Melbourne, who knows??? Travel - a huge passion of mine. I have never visited Italy so the Almalfi coast is a must, Berlin for its furniture stores, Whistler for skiing, Canada for whale watching, the Hamptons for Autumn....the list continues!
What are you reading? Blogs! Mrs. Press has a great whimsical blog, that’s a little bit cheeky and very girlie... she’s a great writer. Oh to have the time to update my blog as often as Mrs. Press does hers! Paul Smith's blog is also a great read. I never seem to pick up a book at the moment, and if I do it’s what I like to call a "picture book"!!!! Inspiration by Terence Conran has been a favorite for the past 12 months!
images courtesy of duck egg blue