Hi Cheyney! Yes as you would know, having come from a similar background, Graphic Design is a very broad industry…
At the end of my studies, I had learnt the skills to create strong visual content. Though discovered my passion and strengths are in the practical aspects of design; art and textiles.
I started out with a range of boutique cushions and bedding which featured hand-drawn graphics I’d designed. The opportunity to showcase these products came about and the brand Studio Black was established.
In the early days when I was attending local markets, I discovered fellow creatives like myself. I approached some of my favourite New Zealand artists and designers - I’m totally inspired by the amazing talent pool of designers and craftspeople we have here in NZ. I want to keep supporting like-minded creatives by offering them a permanent retail outlet for their amazing products. Along with sourcing other international brands. These products were hand picked and stocked in store at Studio Black.
I get most of my inspiration when I’m out getting exercise & fresh air, beach walks are my favourite. I’m always inspired by nature and my drawings reflect this. I have a large library of images on Pinterest I collect, that inspire my textile projects. Bouncing ideas around with my family members and friends keep things fresh and exciting too.
What do you consider to be your biggest win?
Definitely the biggest win for me is the environment I work in. Studio Black is based on our family owned property, I get to take our dog to work every day, get regular visits from my family and friends. It’s a fun, special environment to work in and I cherish it every day.
Making the decision to run the business full time. This has also proved to be the most rewarding. As it goes… if you never try you’ll never know. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
The former sawmill had been a garage for years, with the help of Interior Designer and family member Hayley, from Lou Brown Design, we fully renovated the existing shed, cladding, the interior ceiling with washed timber, painting, planting, spreading gravel and polished concrete flooring, installing windows and doors etc. Hayley also runs her Interior Design Business on site at Studio Black and is extremely talented with interiors. Extended family and friends chipped in to help create the space. It would not have been possible without them - honestly.
Every day is different here at Studio Black. I like to start the day in the best way - with some exercise, I love my walks and a good morning coffee.I ease into the day by dealing with emails; responding to customer enquiries, dealing with online orders, fitting in appointments and liaising with suppliers, etc.
As I am solely responsible for running the store and curating the product collection I have a variety of roles to fulfil, which keeps me busy, I do love it though. There are accounts to be organised, new stock to be unpacked, displayed, photographed. Working on advertising, for social media and the web, along with coming up with new content and artwork for my textile brand August River.
I’m regularly sourcing new product, we have a lot of locals looking for something different and have an appreciation for good design, the selective buying process is crucial to our brand. On busy days in the store, giving assistance and interior advice to our customers in the store is the priority.
I’m really proud of where Studio Black is at currently. If I’m inspired by a new idea I weave this into my vision for the brand. We’re always coming up with ways of improving the overall look and feel of the store and surrounding environment. We’ve recently added on an extension to the store to showcase more product, a new exciting opportunity for coffee and treats next door on site from our lovely neighbours at LuLu’s Espresso is only weeks away… The possibilities are endless!
I feel it's important to keep things fresh and exciting for regular customers who visit Studio Black. I do love styling the store and I aim to do a re-merch every 4 weeks, where I strip the shelves and do a fresh look. Generally, I like to group products that compliment each other and follow a theme… Coastal style, country decor etc. I’d describe the store as casual but elegant, catering to all sorts of interior schemes. With a variety of textual influences, so you will often see materials such as concrete and wood blended with metal and metallics. Natural with a touch of glam!
Haha… let's see, I would describe myself as a seasonal creative! I tend to be very productive in the summer-autumn months when the weather is warm, I don’t deal well with the cold.
I literally turn into a zombie when it comes to airports…I recently went to Europe with my partner and I realised how useless I’d be if I ever had to travel alone.
I’m a Riverhead local. I’ve lived in the rural town for most of my life. Having established the business here is extra special - Studio Black oozes country living and style. I want to preserve our town's unique character.
If you want to find out more about Studio Black you can visit their website or visit the store at 1058A Coatesville - Riverhead Highway, Riverhead, Auckland. The store is open 6 days: Monday - Friday 10:00am-4:30 pm and Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm.