After hearing real living style director Jason Grant rave about Koskela's shop for months on end I finally visited recently. I'd loved their Dickebush home in Patonga - where you can stay as a holiday rental (and we featured in the mag) - and their product designs, which you can buy at the showroom, so it seemed a fait accompli that I would like the place. Like the place? I loved it. It was like I'd died and gone to design heaven - but very much in the Australian-organic-with-style-and-feeling aisle.
I also love the company's motto: FOLLOW YOUR HEART, TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT, DO IT WITH JOY. And that the couple behind the business - Sasha and Russel - left highly paid jobs to start Koskela.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? My first career job was as the deputy company secretary for the Australian Stock Exchange. I then set up and ran the communications division of the ASX once we listed the company. After doing this for a few years, Russel and I met and decided we both wanted to create our own company. We’d both worked for large businesses and had worked out what we liked and didn’t like about different companies we’d experienced. So we took major pay cuts but took hold of the reins that were controlling our lives.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To follow your heart, trust your judgment and do it with joy.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Getting the Yuta Badayala project off the ground. This is a collaboration – the first of its kind! - with weavers from Elcho Island in Arnhem Land to use their traditional weaving techniques to create contemporary design products. It has been a dream of mine for quite a few years to work with the weavers and is quite a privilege to experience their rich culture. The first works are currently being exhibited at Object Gallery in Surry Hills.
What’s been your best decision? To leave working in big business and start up our own company. Many years of hard, hard work and tuna pasta in the beginning but it is so rewarding to see the business evolve and grow. We are now in our 10th year of business and it is still exciting. I feel as though the best is yet to come and that we are entering a very interesting phase in the history of the company.
Who inspires you? My partner, Russel – he’s Mr Enthusiasm.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to see the Koskela concept develop further and have Koskela showrooms overseas.
images courtesy of koskela and anson smart (dickebush)