How I Did It: Lucy Folk

How I Did It: Lucy Folk

To say Melbourne born Lucy Folk is taking the world by storm is putting it fairly mildly.

Ever since launching her eponymous label out of a shared studio space in North Fitzroy ten years ago, the Lucy Folk brand hasn’t just snowballed, it’s avalanched.

Inspired primarily by food, her work ranges from the tongue-in-cheek to the sublime.  There’s the sterling silver parsley earrings (made by electroplating real sprigs of Italian parsley), the gold plated, perfectly textured anchovy cuff, and the fine chains of rose gold watermelon pips, just to name a few.  Her flagship boutique in Cross Street is firmly on the radar of any Melburnian remotely interested in design, and more recently her work has found its way on to the ears and decolletages of Beyonce, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and Lady Gaga.  

After moving to Sydney a couple of years ago, Lucy’s most recent project took shape: a resort-driven concept store showcasing her own collection of jewels, clutches and sunglasses, as well as a capsule-like edit of resort collections from a handful of international fashion designers.

The project came together over the course of a year, and naturally, the beach-lover called her new space PLAYA.

“It's like looking inside my head,” says Lucy. “I have created a world that revolves around travel, the beach and all things colourful.”

The store’s interior has to be seen to be believed.  In the best shade of pale pink – a colour Lucy admits she’s obsessed with  - the pint-sized space is a haven of limestone sculptures, gloss epoxy floors, marble shelving and textured concrete walls.

It’s a small space, sure, but clearly a huge project.  So how does one go about pulling something like this off?  How did Lucy do it?

Step 1 - Find A Space

Lucy says the hunt for the perfect location took a long time – more than a year. “We looked all over Sydney and some sites fell through, and then we found our little piece of paradise down in Bondi…. The beach is my happy place so why would I open anywhere else?”

Step 2 - Fit-Out

After signing a lease, the next step was a fit-out. As soon as she got the site, Lucy decided that the environment needed to inspire the concept. So she consulted her friend and expert interior designer Tamsin Johnson.

“I wanted to flip materials so that they we used in a different way… It’s all about taking risks but creating a space that is inviting and makes you feel good.”

Lucy and Tamsin were in different countries throughout the design process, so inspiration for the space came from all over.

“I was in Europe so the finishes tend to be influenced by Italian and Spanish architecture,” says Lucy. “We both love Barragan's colour palette and natural materials.”

Everything in the space is tactile, including the taco-shaped door handles and doormat, both of which are a tribute to Lucy’s best-selling taco friendship band. 

Step 3 - Build

Designing a space is one thing, especially when your best friend is an expert designer, but a build is entirely another.  For Lucy, this was a three month job, and it wasn’t without its challenges. The floor, for starters, was dicey. 

“[The floor] is made up of layers of coloured resin mixed with sand,” she explains. “The colour had to be perfect and Tamsin and I were on site for the pour, eagerly watching. It was scary but exciting, and the result is fantastic! It looks like Mediterranean water.”

Step 4 - Source 

While all this was going on, Lucy had to source a collection.  While the jewellery and accessories part was a no-brainer, Lucy wanted something more for PLAYA.

“I don't think a jewellery store in Bondi makes as much sense as PLAYA,” she says. “As I am constantly on the move I see a lot on my travels that I adore, but it is not easy to purchase. I wanted to build a world around my wares that embodies what I love and what inspires me and bring it all to my customer in Bondi.”

For their opening late last year, Lucy and her team found swimwear, hats, beach bags and kimonos from suppliers all over the world. But the range is constantly evolving and the Lucy Folk team are currently working on collaborations and exclusive collections for the store – projects which Lucy says she finds terribly satisfying.

“I prefer buying items that aren't widely available and have a story behind them,” she says. “I buy mostly in Paris during market and also in Marrakech. I want to work with designers that aren't necessarily available in Australia.”

Step 5 - Create a Team

Staffing was the final piece of the puzzle. PLAYA is manned by a team of creative folk, all clad in pure white overalls designed by Marrakeshi Life - the perfect canvas to show off Lucy’s jewels. 

“We interviewed a lot of fabulous girls and found the ultimate PLAYAs,” says Lucy – after joking that she dresses them in white because it’s pure.

“Everyone brings something different through the door. I think it's important to have your own passion but be part of a business that is very focused but allows you to grow within,” says Lucy.

While the hardest part of the project – starting it - might be over, for Lucy the PLAYA adventure is only in phase one.

“I would like to open a second PLAYA. We just have to find the perfect site!” says Lucy.

“Where that is I just don't know yet.”

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PLAYA is open 7 days at  Shop 3, 11-13 Hall Street, Bondi Beach.

Our picks from the Lucy Folk range are available here.