It’s been nearly two years since I moved to WA’s south coast and I’ve spent an awful lot of time away, a necessity for chasing a meaningful dollar and I have a severe case of FOMO of the exciting things happening elsewhere – so I have to admit to neglecting my own backyard for Design Satellite, because when I’m home, I basically parent, garden, cook, (google) renovate and wander around the bush with my dog, Velcro. So, apologies south coasters! I’m back with my eyes wide open! I was delighted to find that a new store had opened recently in my ‘hood (less than 200km away still constitutes my neighbourhood these days) and I happily had a ‘town day’ in Albany, which for country folk, you’ll know generally includes a series of terribly boring tasks punctuated by searching for public toilets and food before exhaustedly making the long drive home. Now I have a little light at the end of the ‘big town’ tunnel, and it’s name is Vic + Velour. If I could be a little neater and less of a hoarder (when I am a grown up??), I think I would like my home to look a lot like Lynette Robinson’s store, but in lieu of this, I added some of her luxurious, pared back neutrals to my very spirited (read, messy) home in an attempt to absorb her style by osmosis, however I think a few more shopping trips are absolutely necessary to achieve enlightenment. If you’re heading down to Albany for the Anzac weekend, Vic + Velour have especially opened on Monday from 10-1.
What were you doing before Vic + Velour and what made you make the leap to retail?
I started hairdressing when I was fifteen years old and after 22 years in that industry, I thought it was time to try another passion of mine, design. I decided to study Interior Design, as I love anything to do with homes and how spaces make people feel. I have tried a lot of crafts over the years from jewellery to lead-lighting, basically anything working with my hands, but I became most passionate about working with fabrics. I learned how to sew from taking patchwork classes for a year and I have now combined all of my skills to create my own brand, Vic + Velour. In February this year I opened the Vic + Velour home wares store, here in Albany.
Tell me about your local lines of candles and your linen, concrete and wooden home wares….
The Vic + Velour brand is all about working with natural materials, so we have a range of cushions, throws and tablecloths made from mostly linen and cotton fabrics. We also have our own range of beautiful soy candles and chopping boards made from Tasmanian oak. Our aesthetic is about mixing minimal design with an organic approach and products definitely have to have a timeless quality. About half of the ranges we stock are made locally and are not mass produced. We work with new designers and craftspeople, like textile brand ‘Wild Moss’, and ‘Concrete Es’ who make beautiful home wares out of a unique concrete product, both exclusive to our store.
What do you see as the opportunities and challenges of running a creative business in Albany? You’re 450km from the most isolated city in the world!
You learn to think outside the square when you don’t have a lot of resources readily available to you. I think because of this you create something quite unique. I rely a lot on the internet to see what is going on in the design world. It definitely has it challenges but it is worth it for the lifestyle you have in return.
Where do you see the business heading in light of this?
My goal with Vic + Velour is to have an online shop up and running in the near future, making our unique products available Australia wide. I will also continue to focus on my interior design business, using the store as a launching pad.
What would you recommend as the best thing to do if you have a free day in Albany?
I would definitely check out our coastline, we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world here.