During her travels through the Sahara Desert whilst on a gap year after high school, Goondiwindi girl Harriet McMicking was bitten by the design bug.
Like so many, Harriet’s imagination was captured by the intoxicating beauty of far-flung lands, and her aim was to one day bring the magic of travel back to Australia with her own homewares brand.
Fast forward nine years and her dream is finally realised. In 2015, Harriet launched her own homewares brand, TIPI Interiors. Not letting a lack of design experience get in the way of pursuing her dreams, she continues to work full time, bringing business acumen to the brand. “In my career, I have worked in management consulting and held analyst positions in both the oil and gas and mining industries,” she says.
TIPI Interiors finally launched with the help of likeminded friends. Harriet’s “timeless yet well travelled designs” include a range of director’s chairs, cushions, table linen, ceramics and more. Launching the brand at a pop-up event in Brisbane’s Paddington in May 2015 “was basically a pilot program to see how the products would be received in the market,” Harriet explains. “The web store then went live at the end of October last year.” Since then, TIPI has expanded into wholesale homewares and will be sold at various gift stores around the country.
The first collection, currently available online, “was inspired by India,” says Harriet, “from its rich heritage and culture, to its incredible ancient architecture, to the abundance of spices and flowers that float through the myriads of colour in the streets.” Local artisans in India produced the products, and the stories of the people behind the designs are equally as important as the finished products themselves. “Some products involve artisan techniques that have been passed down for four generations and others involve processes that carry on for weeks, even months,” says Harriet. “It’s important to keep these beautiful arts alive and appreciate them in our homes. For me, there’s nothing more exciting than to be able to share these incredible stories.”
As for the second range, it will go back to TIPI’s place of conception, Morocco. “Morocco really pulled on my heart strings when I was backpacking around on my gap year,” says Harriet. “Whether I was riding on a camel in the remote Sahara Desert, wandering through the labyrinth of souks in Fez or winding around the rural roads of the Atlas Mountains, I was mesmerised by the beauty of this far away and magical place.”
Not just stopping at homewares, Harriet is also offering an event styling service. Aligning the brand as a sponsor of the 2015 Brisbane Polo in the City, Harriet took the opportunity to showcase the beautiful products and her styling skills at the event. With eyes firmly set on opening a flagship store in the future, Harriet will continue to expand her brand online. Keep an eye on her website and social media to see her beautiful collections: www.tipi-interiors.com.au
Words by Alice Thompson | Images by Nikolaz Godet