“I have itchy fingers,” says designer Lucy McNamara. “I love to create and make with my hands.” This desire to get creative has always been present - from a Fine Arts degree to working in film and fashion - and was there in 2011 after she and her husband Ant Aris had their first child and celebrated their first Christmas together. The couple didn’t want to buy a disposable tree (plastic or plantation) and decided to use some leftover timber to create their own. “As I packed it away for the first time, I just knew how great the design was, and that other people would love it,” she says. “I thought, no one else is making these, so why don’t we?” Since then she started One Two Tree and has launched a range of products, all made in Australia using sustainable materials. Lucy was born and raised in Perth but moved to Sydney about 10 years ago after a brief stint in Melbourne. She lives in Bondi Beach with Ant and their two sons.
Which five words best describe you? Impulsive, dedicated, passionate, a believer, a do-and-have-it-all kinda person (does that count as a word?).
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I don’t know if there is a particular moment or event I would consider to be my “career start”. There have been a few different paths but I’ve always been the kind of person that just went for it, and believed I could do it. When we got our first tree prototype, that was definitely a “starting” moment - I knew it was something awesome, and we could do something with this product.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Definitely to hire professionals when you can, don’t just do everything yourself, ask for help. It’s impossible to do everything yourself. And be a planner, even if it’s not your natural inclination.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Every time someone buys a tree from overseas I’m so delighted. We send our Christmas trees to Belgium, Sweden, NZ, the USA, and it’s so fulfilling. Knowing that we are creating something that people need and they’re searching for.
What’s been your best decision? Getting help on board wherever possible. Getting an office/work space. Branching out into other products. Overall, choosing to believe in myself, that I can do it, and making the choice to really invest into that.
Who inspires you? My Husband Ants and my two kids Ziggy and Rhodes. Every day.
What are you passionate about? Sustainability. Creating Australian-made products and supporting Australian suppliers.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? If Picasso was doing modern day art workshops that would be awesome.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Being an artist. I’m also really passionate about painting, sculpture, ceramics - I’d love to go back to the paintbrush and have an exhibition one day.
What are you reading? A lot of children’s books. Just finished reading Spike: An Intimate Memoir by Spike Milligan. I’ve got a book next my bed called How to Raise Boys. I’ve started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo about three times - am still trying to find the time for that one.
images courtesy of one two tree