Polli is a proudly Australian studio that produces jewellery, homewares and decorations with a contemporary Australian flavour. Tess Lloyd is one half of the dynamic duo behind Polli and I’m delighted to welcome her to Space to Create today.
The Polli studio is in Sydney’s inner west it’s pretty much my idea of the perfect space to create. High ceilings, an abundance of natural light and sun, and a wonderful old building are all big ticks on my dream studio list.
Polli is a low CO2 company (awarded by the Carbon Reduction Institute), is socially responsible, and actively works on reducing its environmental footprint wherever possible. They use materials like plantation timber and recycled stainless steel and everything is made in Australia which helps local industry and reduces carbon emissions in freight. So many things to love about Polli, and I haven’t touched on their stunning jewellery yet! I’ll hand over to Tess – she has some great advice for aspiring creatives – and you can see the images of Polli’s wares for yourself.
Tess (on the left) and Maja
Where do you live?
We – Tess, husband Bill, Indie (3 1/2 yrs), Willie (1 ½ years) and dogs Alfie and Duffy – live in a renovated terrace in Glebe, in Sydney’s Inner West. Our home is filled with treasures from our travels, families and favourite designers; it’s very eclectic, colourful and (especially with two enthusiastic kelpies) welcoming. With two young children it’s also home to a large collection of bikes, toy horses, blocks and books which are always trying to escape across the house.
Most of my concept ideas I sketch in a notebook so it’s easy and portable.
I don’t have a separate room to create in at home so a fair bit of after hours and hobby creation takes place on the dining table after the kids have gone to bed. Luckily for me Polli has a beautiful studio in Stanmore, not far from home. It is part of a converted ginger beer factory; the space is filled with natural light, reclaimed timbers, exposed bricks, polished concrete floors and leafy outlook making it a unique and inspiring space to create.
Being at the studio also means I have less distractions, a dedicated space and supportive team to collaborate with. My business partner, Maja, is based in the USA so we’re often face timing or screen sharing to collaborate globally on different designs.
Polli is a full time job, though the design is a small part of daily tasks. It’s probably the task that often gets shifted to evenings though I am trying to change this and make it part of my daily studio routine.
We should also add that the Polli studio is only open 4 days a week. Being a small business we have the flexibility to choose our working house and with young families we prioritize Fridays as a family day to spend with our kids. As we ship products daily we chose Fridays as our day to be closed as no items shipped over night on Friday will arrive the next day anyway so it’s more important for our business to ship earlier in the week.
Creating, designing and pondering happens when I can fit it in between my other roles at Polli and at home. Sometimes being able to grab just 20 minutes while the children play to sketch a glimmer of an idea is a bonus.
Maja and I met at the University of Technology Sydney while studying Industrial Design. We’re both the children of designers and architects so creative spaces are things we grew up with.
After university we worked for different design consultancies in a variety of roles but found that we missed working together and as we had really complimentary skills so creating a partnership made sense. Polli was very much a hobby for the first 5 years before we took the plunge to fulltime and we’ve never looked back. It’s been such a rewarding journey and satisfying in so many ways to design and build our own small creative business.
What’s your elevator pitch? How do you describe what you do?
We design contemporary jewellery which is all made right here in Australia. It’s short but generally starts a good conversation.
How would you describe yourself in six words?
Where do you find inspiration and motivation?
So many places! We’re constantly inspired by each other, our team, the world around us both natural and man made and digital mediums like Pinterest. One of our biggest motivating factors is working in a partnership; the balance of a partnership means that you’re constantly encouraging and collaborating which is the best motivation of all.
What are the essential items in your workspace?
Natural light, laptops, pencils, sketch books and mood boards; we’re always pinning interesting finds either to our boards on Pinterest or the physical boards in our studios. We’re lucky to have each other and such a great team around us; having colleagues are really essential resource for us.
What advice do you have for aspiring creatives?
Follow your passions; creating products we use ourselves, a business we’re proud of a job we love going to work has been so fulfilling.
To wear many hats but at the same time to know when to call in experts like accountants, photographers, models, web developer, etc.
That designing is a very small part of running a design based business but that the other tasks can be so rewarding and interesting too.
It’s possible to juggle family and a creative business if you’ve got the right people around you.
Find like minded creatives; collaborate and communicate even if your projects are very different it’s great to share ideas and resources.
Do you have a dream that you’d love to fulfill?
We’d love to work in new materials and we’re researching exciting new jewellery shapes and forms. We’d also love to expand our sweet Polli collection; with children of our own we’re really passionate about making products for little people too!
Thanks Tess! You can see more fab Polli goodness, and connect with Tess here: