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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 | Nicolle Sullivan

A Moment With | Nicolle Sullivan

When Nicolle Sullivan left her position in the financial market sector, she set out to create a bedding brand which would transcend fleeting trends, be absolutely timeless and of the highest quality, hoping that one day her little company would have a cult following. Fast forward to today and she has done just that. As purveyors of luxury textiles using the highest quality materials, CULTIVER embodies Australian ease with a truly effortless look. We caught up with Nicolle to find out more about the CULTIVER journey, the greatest lesson she’s learnt since starting the company and the work ethic she most admires.

The  CULTIVER  studio in Sydney where Nicolle Sullivan and her team create pieces for the collection.

The CULTIVER studio in Sydney where Nicolle Sullivan and her team create pieces for the collection.

Hi Nicolle, tell us a little about the journey to where you are today? My background is in financial markets, I loved it but didn't want to continue after starting a family. After having my first daughter, I took the chance to do something completely different and now I work even harder!

How was CULTIVER first conceived? Was there a distinct moment where you knew this was what you wanted to do? In 2012, after taking a break to have my daughter, I started thinking about trying something new - and hatched the idea of CULTIVER. I wanted to offer the type of products that I had become passionate about shopping online for - quality, well sourced and well-priced, with a ‘cult’ factor about them. I was on my own running the company for more than a year. It wasn’t until I was so pregnant that I couldn’t physically carry the orders to the post office anymore that I took on part-time help. We now have a much larger team with two warehouses in Australia and the US and our first retail store in Melbourne.

CULTIVER  pure linen sheets in Pinstripe.

CULTIVER pure linen sheets in Pinstripe.

The greatest lesson learnt since starting your business? There are so many! But two (somewhat contradictory ones) are… you can teach yourself a phenomenal amount - and - you can learn so much from others if you ask and are nice about it.

The  CULTIVER  palate includes colours such as Charcoal Grey, Dusk, Indigo, Natural and Smoke Grey.

The CULTIVER palate includes colours such as Charcoal Grey, Dusk, Indigo, Natural and Smoke Grey.

They us a little about your own daily routine - what does a typical day involve for you? I don’t eat breakfast, just enjoy a coffee at home and sit with the kids at breakfast before heading into the office. At work we have a very open space with everyone sitting around a big table sharing ideas. I love my team! It’s a cliche but every day is different for me workwise. Sadly at the moment there is no exercise in my daily routine - but in the evening, I enjoy making dinner to unwind, and spending time with my kids and husband before reading and going to sleep at an embarrassingly early hour!

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“How do I challenge myself? By not getting comfortable - we are constantly reassessing our work to see what we can do better.”
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What work ethic do you most admire in people? Persistence and resourcefulness.

What's been the main driving factor and focus behind your designs at CULTIVER? We always ask ourselves… is this the best version of what it is? Will it last? Will it be enjoyable to use? And is it beautiful?

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FULL STOP


I usually wake up at: 6:15am.

My perfect day would involve: Beach, friends & family, Italian food.

I am inspired by: All kinds of art, hardworking people and big cities.

Best advice I’ve ever received: Be prepared, and don’t skim over the details.

I couldn’t live without: Cheese!

My favourite daily ritual: Coffee made by my husband each morning.

I recently discovered: Pocket - an app for saving articles online which link to all your devices, so you can read them whenever you have a spare moment.

On my wish-list: Tennis lessons.

I’m currently reading: From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein.

And listening to: Khalid.

My guilty pleasure: Nachos for dinner when my husband is away.

My mantra is: Be in the moment.



Dewsbury Road by O'Sullivan Skoufoglou Architects

Dewsbury Road by O'Sullivan Skoufoglou Architects

Bellevue Hill House by CM Studio

Bellevue Hill House by CM Studio