A Moment With | Jonnie Vigar
Jonnie Vigar started his design journey as a product developer, becoming a specialist in creating bespoke cosmetics packaging for his company ContainerMade. Today, along with his business partners, Brenan Liston and Mark Evans, he is at the helm at Leif, where he is passionate about not only how a product looks but also what it contains and how it feels. Leif products celebrate Australia’s diverse flora with botanical extracts and essential oils combined in clean formulations - think Kakadu Plum, Eucalyptus, Wild Rosella, Tea Tree and their latest blend, the unique sweet and smoky Buddha Wood. We caught up with Jonnie to find out more about the Leif journey, the philosophy behind the brand and what he loves most about he does.
Hi Jonnie, tell us a little about the journey to where you are today? Shortly after arriving from the UK, I was asked to design a logo by hair stylist Kevin Murphy, who was in the early stages of developing his own range of products. That same week I was introduced to Brenan Liston (now my business partner) who’d just returned from NYC where he was Design Director for Estee Lauder’s Prescriptives brand. Having been floored by his folio, I asked if he’d be keen to contribute to the project. There was no budget and we developed identity and package design together. Kevin loved what was presented and we enjoyed the collaboration and we’ve continued to work with the brand as it’s grown both locally and overseas, over time our design studio ContainerMade has become a specialist in creating bespoke cosmetics packaging.
Tell us about the philosophy behind Leif – what makes it unique in the market? Our products hopefully offer something different in terms of look and feel. The sector we work within often feels a bit too heritage, there are some great brands in the market but I can’t think of many that I would describe as contemporary. Leif has a modern outlook, while calling out the unique fauna of Australia which has developed in isolation over millions of years. In short, we hope our products find customers who want to move beyond lavender and are happy to look outside the Boston Round bottle.
How was Leif first conceived? Leif began as a form study without a client, a 3D print of a narrow necked bottle sat in our studio for several years and visitors were often drawn to it, that we began to think on what it could become. Clients come to us to develop unique packaging for their brand. We already had a unique package and developed a brand that could take it to market, it’s back to front but seemed to make sense at the time - it’s been a steep learning curve but extremely rewarding to see how people engage with Leif.
When it comes to selecting extracts and essential oils for the Leif product range, what is most important? Our selection of extracts are based on the benefits they deliver but, for us, scent is probably the most important criteria and that is down to the essential oils that are found in each blend.
What do you love most about what you do? I’m very lucky to be in business with talented partners. Mark Evans joined the studio soon after we began and brought a different, but complimentary set of skills.
You’ve just rebranded your beautiful products with a brand-new look – tell us a little about the redesign? The formulas and bottle forms remain unchanged but we’ve refreshed the logo and refined the way products are named. Each formula will now hero and be known by a single native. As the range grows this change will hopefully help customers navigate between the different blends and help them recall a favourite scent. Colour also continues to be key and we will continue to build on it.
How do you challenge yourself? The biggest challenge is knowing where time is best spent.
What’s in store for Leif in 2019? Buddha Wood! If slow cosmetics were a thing we’d be at the fore - we’ve just introduced two new products to the range. Our Buddha Wood blend is shared by a hand wash and hand balm and gives both a distinctive woody and aromatic scent. In terms of sales we’ll continue to grow locally and we’re beginning to discuss distribution overseas in Korea and Japan. Exciting times ahead.
I usually wake up at: 6am.
My perfect day would involve: Dropping anchor at a secluded beach.
I am inspired by: Artists and engineers.
Best advice I’ve ever received: Mind the gap.
I couldn’t live without: Sunshine.
My favourite daily ritual: Carrying our youngest to bed.
I recently discovered: My talented wife has a talent for pottery.
On my wish-list: Sailing the Greek Isles.
I’m currently reading: Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway.
And listening to: Heavyweight the podcast.
My guilty pleasure: Peanuts.
My mantra is: Assume for the best.