When spending time in the costal town of Flinders, Rick & I enjoy browsing in a little store named Tree. Tree carries a collection of clothing, accessories, furniture and home wares. Perfectly styled, the store embraces the lovely textures, materials and colours making it very hard to leave empty handed.
I recently interrupted Daniella Moore’s sunny vacation in Bali to chat to her about the store, her inspirations and her advice for anyone thinking about setting up a small business.
What was the motivation behind setting up Tree in Flinders?
The shop was basically a way for people to ‘touch and feel the products’…It’s now evolved into more a collection of things we love.
What inspires you?
Everything! There is too much…too many things. Life, the sea our beautiful natural environment, foliage, colours, shadows, light. Quirky packaging in supermarket shelves, signage, old graphics antiques and surf culture.
How do you best describe yourself?
That’s a tricky one…. How long do we have? In a nutshell…complicated, passionate, enthusiastic, opinionated, determined, driven, stubborn, frustrating, insatiable, super sensitive, self critical and energetic, (I’m sure there’s more)…..
What is your typical day?
The great thing is there’s no such thing as a typical day i.e. 9am to 5pm. It changes all the time.
The day involves anything from sending emails, ordering, design (product development, graphics, scribbles), merchandising, brainstorming, (day dreaming), buying, (trips to Melbourne meeting suppliers, online or in Bali) etc etc. Usually the day always involves a great deal of laughter.
Can you provide any advice for people wanting to start up a store or design business?
Again, how long do we have?……. Sooooooo much, I don’t really know where to begin.
Just have a go, have fun.
Follow your heart and enjoy the journey, (the destination is just a bonus).
Do something you love, (cause it’s hard work and you have to enjoy what you’re doing.
Keep it simple, (this applies to everything).
Surround yourself with good people, (positive, enthusiastic, hardworking, open minded and fun).
Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, (in the areas you’re not) – build a good team.
Don’t see mistakes as negative, they’re great things…Learn from them.
Always respect others and respect the environment (and respect yourself for that matter…look after yourself & take care of yourself).
Systems are vital, set things up so the business runs smoothly with or without you.
Always be open to learning, listen to others, (especially others that have been successful and loving what they’re doing).
Avoid negativity and negative people.
Be persistent, don’t give up when things get hard or seem to difficult (cause they will).
Be dynamic and open to change and remember you can’t control everything.
Goal setting is vital, (weekly, monthly, yearly) especially good over a long boozy lunch.
Lists are great.
Get a good balance between work, rest and play (hard work is essential but time with friends and family is vital. Play is great too, fabulous for energy and inspiration).
Set a few realistic, achievable goals and reward yourself when you achieve them.
Give back (to the community, the environment & others).
Not only is Daniella the creator of Tree, she also developed a printing business Succulent designs. At the time, Daniella was designing and creating bags, clothing, umbrellas and accessories with great hand printed graphics and colour combinations.
Can you tell us a little more about succulent designs and your handmade fabrics?
It’s something I sort of fell into. The name came about because I love succulents. I actually studied Horticulture, and thought it’s such a fun ‘juicy’ name. The business started when I first made and sold gift cards. Then one day I bought a small silk screen and paint from a craft shop and made some prints using left over fabric from a friends sofa company. I made 8 bags, took them to the Red Hill market and they all sold. It then went crazy and I was printing stacks of prints and different colour ways. I Then had a stand at the Melbourne trade fair, got loads of orders, (without actually being quite prepared as to how I was going to produce these things) and ended up working 7 days a week until 4 in the morning trying to meet the orders. I will hopefully get the opportunity to do more in the future, as I am totally obsessed with colour, texture and gorgeous fabrics like Linen.
Where can we purchase the products you have created?
Unfortunately I haven’t been printing anymore fabric for some time. For fear of sounding arrogant, I started doing screen printed fabric before it was really popular…. then sadly the gift fair industry has been saturated by it, it’s everywhere and now looks a bit cheap and tacky. I thought it was time to give it a rest for a while and focus on something else. You can still purchase a few pieces from our shop, Tree, in Flinders.
Do you have a favourite product which you sell at Tree?
Tree is pretty much a collection of all our favourite products. There are loads more I want to make/do/buy….just time and money. Currently in the shop I love the gorgeous leather Temono bags and purses, I adore the colours in the French Bensimon sandshoes and always love Aly’s handmade woollen toys from Maiike.
Finally, what is your greatest professional achievement?
That’s a difficult one….. Hopefully I haven’t had it yet. But if anything…. just having a go, being my own boss and being in control of what I’m doing. Freedom and having the opportunity to be creative.
If you are down on the Mornington Peninsula or just feel like getting out of the city for the day, I recommend you pop into Tree and have a look at the collection of wares Daniella has sourced and so tastefully put together. If you do, let us know what you think!
Tree is located at 47B Cook Street, Flinders Victoria