At home (and work) with Martina Blanchard

Tell us about Slow Store? Where did the concept come from?

I was looking for a creative outlet combined with a more conscious and slower way of life. Originally, I was seeking to open an interior store that resonated with my passion for Danish design and minimal interior styling. Sunny on the other hand has a vast experience in the apparel industry and is driven by ethical & sustainable garment production. We have combined our ideals & experiences with the slow ethos and started to work on how to translate this into a conscious business model. It actually all stemmed from the change that we have started at ourselves, changing our own state of mind about life then made us think about growing it into a brand that can encompass SLOW…to share our passion and establish a brand that echoes the luxury of simplicity, quality, permanency and health across the fashion, design and beauty fields.

Things you cannot live without at home?

My sharing size teapot and my favorite tea cups by Taika – I love whimsical designs on cups (I also have a pantry full of loose leaf tea options, always trying new blends etc… it’s a very comforting ritual, especially during Southland winter time! The local tea makers STIR teas have beautiful blends and you can pick them up at the local Remarkable market) Plants – I have lots of them at home  –  green living interior is so good for your health and mind .

Favorite fragrance?

For the body:

Cacti by Regime des Fleurs Aromatic Aquatic fragrance  (amber, mate, heliotrope, black tea, shiso, aloe vera, jasmine sambac, cucumber, watery notes and bergamot) yum…(Here comes my plant obsession again!)

For the home: 

All time favourite Clove & Sandalwood by Palm Beach Collection

Must do’s in Queenstown for visitors?

This would be hard to narrow down, as there is so much to do! Personally I love hiking, skiing and biking – plenty of opportunities for these activities down here, beautiful trails/ mountains you would be spoiled for choice. Additionally, I love an alfresco dining so the Akarua Kitchen by Artesian and or Amisfield Winery are my favourite, neighbouring Wet Jacket wines and White Stone Cheese Co. would be nice choices for food/wine experience also. Oh and  the all time parents’ favourite the Lake house on the beach in central Queenstown, we spend some nice afternoons there with my family as the playground/restaurant/beach combo proves to be very convenient for all involved!

Describe your style?

I like warm minimal styling, no clutter yet have enough personable items in my home so it resonates with who we are as a family –  many of my furnishing/home ware choices are informed by the brands that we carry at SLOW as I have been buying Danish brands since our first house build many years ago –  functional, simple and timeless in their essence.

 

Hope and May

What inspired the story of Hope & May?
Melinda (our Mum) was the inspiration and driving force behind Hope & May in the early stages whilst living abroad in Asia.
What do you look for when choosing pieces for the store?
When buying and designing for the stores, we are drawn to neutral tones, natural fibres and timeless pieces for yourself and the home.
Favourite scent?
We love Coconut & Lime.
Favourite place to visit?
We are clearly fans of tropical destinations, so far our favourite place we have visited is the Maldives.
What is next for Hope & May?
We are looking at expanding our in house brand, Poppy & Co and also continuing to develop our range of exclusive Hope & May pieces.

The Borrowed Nursery

What’s your favourite thing about the change of season? What do you most love to see coming into the store now that we are in spring?
It’s great to see some of our favourite plants come back in stock. As plants go dormant in Winter, its hard to get a hold of a lot of our favourites and the stock we get is often a little less developed. We’re always happy to start of the growing seasons spring and summer.  This spring we’ve seen one of our all time favourites ‘the chain of hearts’ back and with some really good length which is great!

What advice would you give for people wanting to introduce more greenery into their home?
Take note of the natural lighting in the space of your home that your wanting to add a green touch. It’s also good to make sure you’re aware of the watering requirements of each plant. It’s all about finding balance between meeting the aesthetic requirements you want to achieve but also the practicality for the ongoing care. For those either new to the plant game or for those that haven’t had much luck in the past, start with a zanzibar gem, these will thrive on neglect tolerant to low light and only requiring water once a month.

Favourite fragrance?
It’s hard to go past the smell of coconut, its the right balance of sweet and fresh and reminds me of a tropical holiday.

How did the store begin? What inspired your journey?
The business began as an idea after helping out some friends with the decoration of their wedding. We were decorating tables with plants and cactus in assorted tins and pots we were collecting at markets and garage sales. It got me thinking about how there was a bit of a gap in the plant hire market and there was an opportunity to offer a bespoke service in this industry. From there the plant hire service of the business started and expanded to retail as well. Moving on from our first space to our current location in Mermaid Beach we had the additional space to offer venue hire to our offering, with our space being hire for photoshoots, workshops, weddings and more.

Things you can’t live without at home?
I try to bring home a fresh bunch of flowers home once a week. It brings some colour and fragrance to the house.

 

Ahoy Trader

On a recent getaway up to beautiful Byron Bay we caught up with one of our stockists, the incredibly talented and creative Byron local Jai Vasicek, the man behind Ahoy Trader. Like something out of an adventure storybook, Jai spent his childhood sailing the world aboard his family’s yacht and his artwork and creations reflect his love of the sea and the wild outdoors. His boutique store is an array of beautiful textiles and furnishings complemented with lush greenery and his own colourful and vibrant creations including his renowned wall tiles. If you are ever in Byron this store is a must visit, just be prepared to carry some tiles back in your hand luggage!

www.ahoytrader.com

Newrybar Merchants

In the quaint country village of Newrybar, just 15 minutes drive from Byron Bay, a charming 1890’s bungalow has been lovingly restored and converted into a boutique, collective space that celebrates Australian creatives with a focus on local artists. Creations from Sibella Court, Driftlab, Shannon Fricke, Jai Javiseck, Diana Miller, Tigmi Trading, Mister Zimi, Beautiflora, Fate & Fortune and leather maker Wolf & Maiden fill these walls and share the collaborative space together. It is a unique shopping experience and one that you can never experience online. It is a beautiful drive into the Byron hinterland and while you’re there why not cross the road and grab a coffee (or wine) and a bite to eat at Harvest Cafe.

Corcovado

We love getting to know our diverse stockists, the people who help to bring our product to life and share it with those around them. This month we head to New Zealand’s South Island and visit the incredibly gorgeous boutique ‘Corcovado’ in the city of Christchurch.
Walking in through their oversized glass doors, you instantly feel like you could be anywhere in the world. There is a real celebration of globally-inspired style and it is impossible to not feel in awe of the divine textiles, homewares, furniture and lush greenery. In a world where online shopping seems to be the easy option, it is stores like this that remind us of how magical and uplifting retail shopping can actually be. Every item seems to tell a story and you cannot help but want to walk around again and again and again, just in case you missed something the first time round.

 

The Boathouse Pop up Store

 

If you happen to be day-trippin’ to Palm Beach in Sydney’s Northern Beaches this summer then make sure you stop at number 1 Beach Road for The Boathouse pop-up store open daily from 8am-4pm. The space is lovingly full of all things seaside from homewares, textiles, furniture and art, as well as our summer collaboration candle ‘jasmine and lime’. After a browse make sure you head around the corner to the Boathouse for a bucket of prawns followed by a swim at the locals favourite, Snappermans Beach. Oh how we love summer.

www.theboathousehome.com.au

Beachwood Designs

Stepping inside the beautiful boutique ‘Beachwood’ in Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is like being inside a house in the Hamptons prepping for a Vogue Living shoot. This store is lovingly overflowing with an array of beautiful textiles, art pieces and books… and a great collection of industrial and antique inspired furniture all with a coastal charm to them. There are lots of different spaces within the boutique, each with a different story to tell. If you love interiors then this store is a must-visit next time you’re in Avalon… just don’t expect to walk away empty-handed.

www.beachwood.com.au