Monday, 16 September 2013

profile marnie goding - elk.

elk founder marnie goding

Today I am very chuffed to profile elk founder Marnie Goding, whose timeless accessories, leather goods and stylish threads I've admired and I acquired over the years. I still remember an epic weekend trip, on several trams and buses with a friend I was visiting in Melbourne,out to the elk showroom, only to discover it had already closed for the day! Luckily everything you could ever wish to get your hands on is available online.
For me elk has consistently produced beautiful pieces and simply gets better with each passing year. Expanding their product range and scope with their foray into the US and new SOMN sleepwear collection, the collaboration between Marnie and her husband and co-collaborator Adam, who together founded elk many moons ago is truly inspiring. No doubt they put in a lot of hard work, but taking a peak behind the scenes, it also looks like a whole lot of fun. You can checkout elk's Summer 2013 Lumiere collection here.

How would you describe yourself?
In no particular order, impatient, lucky, busy, very happy, content.

What was your childhood dream?
Can you believe I wanted to drive a truck until the age of 5? Then I wanted to be a hairdresser! Neither of those eventuated.

the elk showroom
What led you down your current path?
Fate really. I was lucky to meet my husband when I was very young. We work so well together and our life and our careers just formed organically. I needed to work in a more creative field, with a partner by my side encouraging and supporting every decision the path has laid in front of me. Hence being lucky!

What do you love most about what you do?
The people we work with and the travel. We have an incredible team of staff, agents and customers.

Where do you draw inspiration for the collections?
We always start with the palette. Inspiration is usually drawn from our travels. We pick up scraps of cloth, leathers and other bits and pieces along the way and hoard them like bowerbirds. At some point down the track we will bring out these pieces and this starts the creative process.

From there the range concept evolves much from what we “feel” we want to make. We go on past successes, look at trends (although not to follow) and usually have a feeling about which direction we want the season to take.

Elk’s first sleepwear range is set to debut in October, what influenced the range?
Again whilst travelling we met a lovely family who makes plain dyed 100% linen bedding. We were heading down the path of making manchester and realised with so many great labels already on the market it wasn’t a great decision.
Keeping in the bedding area we decided then to move into sleep wear. It is a great category – especially for gifting and there isn’t a lot of competition.
SOMN has been pre-released to media and wholesale customers and everyone loves it which is very encouraging

Have you ever considered a range of elk homewares?
We actually have made homewears in the past and still have a couple of pieces available. We made blankets and some soft furnishings under a “cabin” collection. It always did well and we loved it but fazed it out as the fashion side took off faster. In saying this, we are introducing a new homewears item into the W14 collection. It is a hand loomed floor rug and is absolutely divine…watch this space!

What challenges have you had to overcome since elk launched nine years ago?
We have been pretty lucky along the way. The growth of the business has been controlled and we have always managed to recruit well. There have been challenges with logistics – especially pertaining to International trade and more recently with legal challenges through IP infringement. Expensive and time consuming!

What's been some memorable 'pinch yourself' moments over the years?
There have been many but in all we try and keep things real. I still feel like we are a small business doing what we love (again lucky!). More recently though I have been pinching myself when we get amazing orders from some of the world’s best gallery and museum stores in the USA and in Scandinavia. That’s when I think “wow – how amazing that our product is now all over the world”.

What are your top creative resources?
* Travel is essential for anyone in a creative role. Going off the beaten track is most important too.

* Magazines – mostly interior mags are my favourite. The colour palettes, pattern and concepts you see in interior magazines I find very inspiring

* Music is essential especially when designing. There are several speakers around the office always with some great tunes playing

* It’s corny but I love watching “Fashion TV”! I shouldn’t admit it! I don’t have it at home so always have it on when I travel. It’s not so much about the actual fashion but when you see parades etc it’s the realisation of someone’s hard work over the months. It’s the culmination of look, sound and energy that I love.

Do you have an all-time favourite piece from an elk collection?
That’s a hard question. I don’t think I have an all-time favourite. I must admit we are just about to start selling our Winter 14 collection which hits stores in February 2014 and there are a number of pieces in this range that I really love…maybe because it’s all new and fresh!

What is your idea of happiness?
* Being able to laugh without restraint.
* Being with my family. 
* Feeling peaceful.

What's next?
* For the business we are at the foot of a wave which is about to spread across the US. Our team only days ago finished showing for the third time in New York. They also undertook showings with our agent in Seattle, San Francisco and LA and it was incredible. The response to Elk in the USA is so exciting and so this is going to be our focus for a while. We need to manage this growth carefully and make sure we cross every “t” and dot every “i”. 
* For our ranges we are about to re-launch Mr Elk. We have more and more exciting product for this category and want to give it a really good push.
* SOMN too will keep on rolling out. It doesn’t hit stores until October and it will be great to see how it goes. If it’s a winner then we will introduce more products into this category.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – I am reading “Why French Children Don’t Throw Food” by Pamela Druckerman (I have a two and a half year old). It’s very funny.
Watch - the ABC
Cook - I am a prolific baker which isn’t good for the waistline.
Create - I love gardening especially in Spring.
Listen to - ABC Classic FM.
Dream about - Longer weekends.
Look forward to - Christmas!