OK ladies….I would be shocked if you fab Show + Tellers haven’t heard of The Family Love Tree because it is just the most amazing store with such unique, inspiring and beautiful pieces. Owned by the fabulous Katie Graham who literally searches high and low for pieces that can be restored, reinvented, and created for all of us to enjoy! You may know her for the insanely fabulous peacock bedhead and chairs – but my gosh there is much more to this woman…and she was kind enough to let us in on her life with some special tips and inspiration along the way!
Katie was originally from a fashion background and had a self-named fashion label for 6 years in the 90’s – coming from a background of costume design and styling has seen her amazing skills translate into the home! After having 3 kids and juggling her career she decided to launch The Family Love Tree – and boy, are we bloody happy she did that!!!
Thank me later for this one ladies because I know we could potentially crash her website from this love!!
Your website and store, The Family Love Tree is so beautiful and literally everything anyone could ever want in gorgeous, comfortable, and family loveable features…tell us how it began?
“About four years ago, just after I had my third child, I found myself having (as I think back) what was most likely a mid life crisis. I had been working in the Film Industry for the past 18years as a costume designer, but I wasn’t really enjoying the life style of stress, endless shopping in department stores and op shops, 5am starts and that GUILTY mother complex. I started plotting my exit strategy, which was really quite difficult, as the film industry in a way is very addictive. So The Family Love Tree was born, it took about 9 months of start up planning, then another 12 months of juggling both film and running The Love Tree, before I could finally take the plunge and work full time in the business. But I have never looked back.”
You have 3 beautiful kiddies…tell us how you manage to juggle it all?
“I THINK I have got the art of multi tasking down pat. My work life is very, very consuming, I won’t lie and say it’s “easy” – juggling a business with 3 kids, it’s really hard. So my only way of getting through the week, is that I have 2 days where I don’t go into work, while 2 of my children are at school, I take my youngest, Wolfe (4) to his swimming lessons and ball sports, and I make up for this by working from 8pm till almost midnight during the weekday evenings. The hours after school till kids are in bed are devoted to them, so I have had to train myself to completely turn off my work brain and give them as much of a normal life as I can. We have a really great routine, one – which I could have never achieved while working in the film game, so my little darlings have never been happier.”
What is one or two of your fave design/interior tips for our readers?
“My general philosophy is in embracing the art of breaking the rules! I love clashing colour and patterned textiles with plain contemporary pieces. These day’s interior blogs and magazines are full of abnormally perfect homes with clean lines and strategically positioned décor. Whereas, I like to live in an environment where there is a blend of modern and vintage pieces. A multitude of colour and texture, where you can breed some personality, embrace the flaws and relish in non-perfection.”
What are your plans for 2013/2014?
“Plans are to expand our Richmond retail store, so we can show case more of our range (were getting a little crammed in there now), definitely a few overseas trips for inspiration and really pushing the boundaries on our product development. TFLT has had such a great start, and so grateful that we have experienced such an amazing response to our product range, but I really believe the best is yet to come. I have learnt a lot over the past 15 months, since our website went live, but next year our customer will see a more diverse product range.”
Tell us the process of making/finding new products for your store because they are very unique and exclusive to your brand?
“My Mantra for The Family Love Tree, is not to be influenced by what is in all the interior magazines and what’s “ON TREND”, my inspiration comes from vintage fashion and textiles, art and from searching for the rare forgotten treasures that I can re-invent and bring back to life in a my own contemporary way. From being in the film industry for so many years, where my job was to source and reference, I love going to country areas and scouring vintage markets and finding unique pieces that inspire me, I collect art books and second hand interior magazines from the 60’s & 70’s.”
What is your number one tip for anyone thinking about creating their own business/site?
“Find 10 people who have or had a successful business in the industry you want to start up in, and ask them for advice or insight – just one hour of their time, you will be amazed at how invaluable this is, and how willing people are to share their wisdom.”
Tell us what your typical day looks like?
“Mornings are a typical mad house in our home, I am up at 6.30, I try to start the day with a 30 minute walk –this clears my mind so when I do get into work I am ready to go – then get home when the kids are starting to emerge, then with the help of my husband the focus is getting them out the door and to school before the bell goes! Then straight to work, where I despatch all our website orders, and answer endless phone calls and emails. Then it’s 5pm before you know it, then I race across town to pick up my kids, then home by 6pm for kids dinner, bath, bed. Then back to work finishing answering more emails mainly to my factory, social media time and searching the internet for inspiration.”
10 Minutes with Katie…
What is the last thing you purchased?
Sadly – nothing that exciting – my first ever PC (I am a MAC user from way back) – so I can run MYOB software more efficiently…. Terribly boring….
Best piece of advice ever given to you?
Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. Winston Churchill
What item could you never live without?
My Vintage Natural Blue Zircon and Diamond Ring – it’s approx 80 years old and in perfect condition. I love it, and never take it off.
What item do you want so bad but don’t have right now?
Gosh I feel like I have everything a girl could ever want or need.
Secret single behaviour?
I easily surrender to half a block of dark chocolate and glass of wine on the couch on a Friday night!
I love APARTMENTO magazine, for it’s real life styling (or non styling), amazing photography and its insightful content.
Fave Interiors item right now that everyone should have?
Anything that’s vintage and collectable, some great art and a Mister Moss hanging moss ball.
Your fave item from The Family Love Tree ever?
I have to say (and I don’t have one in my home yet – but soon I will) would be The Luck Of The Drawer, I love this piece, made from old trucking beds and fruit trees, it’s a really special piece and was so very complicated to get the finish right. But the end result – speaks for itself.
Catch more on The Family Love Tree and the divine Katie Graham here: