Where are you currently located? Are you at home, on vacation, at the office, or somewhere else?
I'm currently at work, sitting at my desk in our showroom in Subiaco. Although, I just came back from a mini two-day break with my sister and daughter at Eagle Bay - pure bliss!
How does your current environment influence your creative process and what is currently inspiring you?
I find my home environment to be the most creatively inspiring. Our garden, which started the Rose Society in Western Australia, is a constant source of inspiration. The unique architecture of our home, with its abundance of arches and columns, reminds me of France and also fuels my creativity. I love redecorating and restyling the house. It's amazing how determined I become when restyling with heavy furniture. My husband likes to call it ‘selective strength’.
The showroom also inspires me, especially when I rearrange things, travel, read magazines, and browse online collections. When large pieces leave the showroom, it presents a creative challenge to restyle the area, and I draw a lot of energy from that.
Do you ever salvage ideas that didn't come to fruition at a later stage, or do you just move on?
I have a lot of ideas stored up, but I evaluate the current situation before pursuing them. I consider factors like financial viability and whether it fits in with the time I want to dedicate to my family.
During these early years in the business, I'm exploring where these opportunities take me. Though, sometimes it's nice to reflect on where Cleo Collects was a year ago. Even though it may feel like we're not always moving at the pace I’d like, we have come a long way from the initial concepts and ideas.
Also, I come to realise down the line that there were good reasons why certain ideas didn't come to fruition. Life has a funny way of knowing what's best for us, the lessons we need to learn, and what processes we need to streamline.
What personal milestones have you achieved that went beyond the expectations of others?
Representing local Perth artists and opening the Koort gallery as an integral part of CC has been incredibly rewarding and exciting. Championing local talent is personally fulfilling. I've always been interested in the arts, studying it in school and regularly attending galleries. Working in this field and curating our gallery has far exceeded any expectations I had for Cleo Collects.
Opening the showroom/gallery last year was also a significant milestone, and the fact that it remains a viable option a year later is awesome.
And lastly visiting the antique fairs overseas and actually being able to bring big, fabulous pieces back. A vast difference to our first buying trip in April last year.
What have been some of your most profound personal challenges, and have they ever influenced or interrupted your creative process?
Balancing motherhood and work has been a significant personal challenge.
Being a working mom has made me appreciate the time I have with my daughter even more. I make a conscious effort to be present when I'm around her. Her current age is beautiful in itself, as she notices the little things like bees on flowers and the birds. Sometimes, it's nice to slow down and appreciate the small moments, blocking out the negative and fostering good energy for the creative process… Of course, parenting exhaustion can also interrupt the creative process, so it's all about finding a balance.
The initial financial risk can be a difficult pill to swallow. I think taking risks is necessary to achieve rewards. So I like to encourage a little girl math sometimes!
Having the privilege of experiencing two cultures is truly a blessing, but at times, it can make me feel torn between two places: Paris and Perth. These two cities are vastly different from each other. Working in the arts and having a connection to France in my work has greatly fueled my creative journey.
If you were to analyze the most important factors in your success, what would you say they are?
Staying true to my design aesthetic and weirdly, on occasion tuning out the industry have been crucial factors. While it's inspiring to see what others are achieving, it can sometimes lead to second-guessing my own processes and selections. I’m quite happy to be in my bubble in the Perth hills, being the most isolating city in the world has its advantages!
Kindness and humility also play a significant role in client relations. I strive to make the process as smooth as possible, whether that means rectifying mistakes quickly, creating a warm, inviting environment in the showroom or going the extra mile to ensure a stress-free experience for clients. Ultimately, we are all human and deserve grace, respect, and kindness. I want everyone to feel welcome at Cleo Collects. Art and antiques isn’t only reserved for the clientele it once appealed to.
Do you have any personal or creative rituals?
I'm creative but also methodical, so things need to be organized and practical for me to make progress. Making lists may not sound creative, but it helps me achieve my goals.
A good night's sleep, morning coffee & croissant, and spending time in the garden with my daughter are essential rituals for me.
Where do you find creative refuge?
My home and the surrounding hills inspire me. The abundance of natural light and open space, coupled with the tranquil environment far from the city and showroom, creates a sense of creative refuge. The air feels cleaner, and my mind feels free.
If you could go back in time and start again without knowing what you know now, would you?
I would do more research on website processes, and delivery logistics, as they tend to consume a lot of my time. Managing client expectations with regards to timing is also something I would focus on. If not a little tedious at times, I believe that these lessons were necessary for my growth.
What piece of wisdom currently resonates with you and how does it inform your approach to life right now?
Supporting and celebrating those around me with creative small business pursuits and always offering kindness and inclusivity resonates with me. It shapes my approach to life, reminding me to be supportive and kind to others.