Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

A Moment With | Chloe Brookman

A Moment With | Chloe Brookman

Chloe Brookman has effortless, simple style. Her life in the Byron Bay Hinterland encourages slow living and a mindful lifestyle, and her company, Olli Ella, which she Co-Directs with her sister Olivia, is a reflection of this simple and classic aesthetic. Chloe shares with us the journey of building her brand, the best part of her job and how her environment is a big influence in her designs.

Hi Chloe, tell me about your journey to where you are today as Co-Director at Olli Ella? It’s been quite a journey! I founded Olli Ella seven years ago with my sister Olivia when we were both living in London. Three years prior, we had opened an art gallery in London, with a collection of limited edition works by 20th century masters. We grew up all over - starting in the UK, and then spending our formative years in Sydney and Los Angeles before returning to London again in our early 20's. After Olli Ella was in its second year, I relocated with my husband and children to Sydney to open our second office. 

“It’s been an adventure and a complete whirlwind at times, but oh boy, such great fun!”
A snapshot of the beautiful  Olli Ella  collection.

A snapshot of the beautiful Olli Ella collection.

What's your role at Olli Ella? As Co-Founder and Co-Director I, like Olivia, wear many hats! Most of my time is spent overseeing strategic direction, designing, and branding, as well as the overseeing of our Australasian market.

When was your love for design first realised? I moved out of home when I was seventeen, and with a very limited budget, I found most of my furnishings from op shops or roadside. I loved creating a space with tight constraints - small space and no budget!

“It really gave me an appreciation for careful curating - minimalism in some areas and maximalism in others.”
The classic  Bannet Bag  from Olli Ella. 

The classic Bannet Bag from Olli Ella. 

Tell me about your love for simple, thoughtful design - why is it such an inspiration for you? We live in an age where everything is overly designed and measured. For me, the home is about paring back - about slowing down, about tactility over streamlining, simplicity over complexity - taking the time instead of making the time. 

“We are inspired by slow living and try to infuse this ethos into the products and pieces we design.”

What's the best part of your job? Working with my sister, creating products we are proud of and our customers love, and being able to spend lots of time with my family.

The  Bull Head Planter  from Olli Ella.

The Bull Head Planter from Olli Ella.

The  Minichari Bag  - perfect for the bike, scooter or as a little treasure bag.

The Minichari Bag - perfect for the bike, scooter or as a little treasure bag.

Your products reflect the landscape and lifestyle in which you live - do you think your environment is a big influence on the range? Absolutely. As mothers especially, Olivia and I are always brainstorming products we would love to have for our children. 

“We will often let our children lead the way for a design in terms of how they interact with their environments” 

For example, the Luggy baskets were designed after Olivia’s little girl wanted to tote all of her favourite possessions out and about with her - ultimately they'd be too heavy for her to carry, so the little wheeled Luggy was born. And so too with our new Minichari bags; our kids are constantly on their bikes and scooters and there was no such thing as a scooter basket that could be removed and worn as a little bag or backpack. With our homewares range, Olivia and I are big homebodies in our own way and so this led to a lot of consideration on how we like to exist in our spaces, what products we like to create a space which is equally comfortable, functional and beautiful. 

The  Bolo Bag  from Olli Ella.

The Bolo Bag from Olli Ella.

What motivates you? My family and my love of what we create. 

Where can we find you on a typical Saturday morning? Since moving to the sleepy beachside town of Byron Bay, on a Saturday morning you can find me at our local farmers market, and if I can swing it, a morning at the beach.

What are you loving at the moment? The Nightingale book, the podcast - Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, homemade rhubarb crumble and custard (you can take the Brit out of Britain!) just about every word that comes out of our 16 month old’s mouth and renovating an old 1970’s beach house in the hills of Byron.

What’s in store for Olli Ella in 2017? Gosh the year has really flown - less than 6 months left! For the remainder of the year we will be rolling out some new exciting products, like the Chari collection early August, traveling to see some of our craftspeople in Vietnam, and brainstorming and designing our collection for 2018.

Thank you Chloe! | Olli Ella @olliella

In Focus | Dulux Design Effects

In Focus | Dulux Design Effects

Art Talk | Tammy Kanat

Art Talk | Tammy Kanat