Today we chat with the sisters behind designer nursery brand Olli Ella. Chloe and Olivia started the brand in 2009 based on the idea that just because something is made for a nursery, it needn’t look out of place somewhere else in your house. Brilliant I say…Olli Ella includes modern nursery chairs (that are stocked in Harrods…yep!), baby bedding, rugs, nursery furniture and much more. The Olli Ella range is made in Australia using the finest materials…we chat with Chloe and Olivia to hear just how the made this brand so successful.
Tell us your background and how it came about that you created Olli Ella?
Thank you so much for the interview – what an honour 🙂
Olivia’s background is in fine arts and art history, mine was in branding and design. We have worked together since we were 25 and 23 respectively, so close to eight years now. Around the time when the idea of Olli Ella came about I was pregnant and Olivia and I were running an art gallery in London. I had been looking for a modern nursing chair to go in my little boy’s nursery and ended up designing one with Olivia to be made locally. It had been made by hand and the quality really showed. I had a few expectant friends who asked me if we could have chairs made for them too, and then word spread. And so, a year after my little boy was born, so too was Olli Ella! We started off with just nursing chairs (3 styles) and ottomans, but by the following year we had opened up manufacturing in Australia and had expanded into nursery décor and bedding. It’s been such an adventure – and so serendipitous. To this day all of our nursing chairs are made locally, in England (for Europe) and in Australia.
As sisters, does it make it easier to work together considering you know each other so well, tell us how you manage the business together and what your typical day looks like?
For me, without question being lucky enough to call Olivia my sister and my business partner has been what has made this such a rewarding working relationship. We started working together when we were in our early 20’s and it’s amazing to see how much we have both grown and changed in that time. I have now had two businesses with her and have found that we provide balance, grounding, and really push one another – I don’t know how it would be to being in partnership with someone other than her though, and I know I wouldn’t want to be. In terms of how we manage the business together, we both design everything in the collection – sometimes together and sometimes separately, but always have to be in agreement 100% before something goes into production. We do have a very similar aesthetic, which probably eliminates a lot of squabbles!
A typical day for me involves waking very early (usually 5.30am), going through emails that came in overnight from the UK (we have an office in Sydney and in London), breakfast with my family, the madness of school rush, a coastal walk to clear my head and then to the office. I always finish at 3pm to get my boys and spend the afternoons with them – we go to the beach or to the park or come home and unwind. I usually work an hour or so in the evenings too, before dinner with my hubby.
Olivia has just had a gorgeous baby girl, Nika, and is supermum; she has juggled newfound motherhood and running a business with such ease and grace. And on an average of five hours sleep!!
Your nursing chair was quickly stocked in Harrods, London…was that the biggest pinch yourself moment ever? Tell us how you felt and where you went from there as a business?
That moment, I can’t even explain. We were three months old, we just about had wrapped our heads around the concept of how to wholesale our products when they approached us. I just remember standing with Olivia outside of Harrods after our meeting, looking at one another and started jumping up and down squealing like lunatics (while wearing our very best “business woman” type ensembles). It gave us the confidence which up until that point was entirely self-driven; to have the validation of a brand like Harrods was just the boost we needed. We haven’t looked back since then. .
What’s up next for Olli Ella?
We have expanded our range into homewares, we are focusing now on growing our collection into the home with more family-friendly décor. We have some new kids and baby bedding ranges launching later this year as well as a collection of knits. Lots of gorgeous goodies for our customers for their homes.
What is your fave Olli Ella product that all mum’s should own?
Why an Olli Ella nursing chair of course! It’s the only piece of nursery furniture for us mamas and it should be well-made, stylish, and comfortable. Our new Ro-ki Rocker is my pick, because it is petite, more affordable, and looks just a good in a nursery as in your living room.
Our site is all about showing people things and telling them about it…Do you have something you can show us – it could be something near and dear to you, something that inspires you, something you could never live without…?
My little boys, Tennyson and Arlo. They are my greatest pleasures, and without question what I could never live without. They pepper every moment with such an intense energy and humour – my face hurts from laughing most days (and perhaps from being whacked by a rogue hand or foot – they are really into simulating Spiderman at the moment and I somehow end up being a casualty, daily!).
Twitter – @olliella
FB – Olliella
IG – @olliella