For Anna Jones, work took on a different guise when her sons Dylan and Riley came onto the scene. With a background in fashion marketing, Anna took her creative prowess and started her own label, Twentyone Fifteen, which specialises in handmade children’s decor that combine lush tactile fabrics and prints - think Liberty, felt, and denim - with wire. The brand has also recently expanded to create leather accessories under the Day Five Studios brand, too...
With a keen eye for homewares and style, it’s no surprise Anna suggests a personal touch is key to make children’s rooms feel special. “I feel children’s rooms works best when a room has a simple classic feel and then the colour, fun and personality is added with the addition of children’s artwork and handmade or preloved pieces – such as a handmade blanket, basket, an old chest or rocker, etc.” We recently caught up with the creative mama to hear how she tackles home and work, how the handmade process of each piece comes to life and why there really is no such thing as balance when it comes to work and family. Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.twentyonefifteen.com.au | www.dayfivestudios.com
What has motherhood taught you so far?
I always thought the defining moments in my life would be the big ones, ticking off bucket list things to see and do. However, motherhood has taught me that the most joy can be found in the everyday moments, I’ll never forget the first time I saw Dylan read to Riley – that’s what life is all about.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about motherhood?
Find your tribe. I joined a mum’s group after having Dylan and I’m so grateful for the friends I made during this period. I thought I was going to the group to learn tips on breast feeding and getting my little one to sleep. But what I gained was so much more, friends for life who are my rock.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to launch your business TWENTYONE FIFTEEN?
I grew up on a farm in rural Victoria and moved to Melbourne to study fashion marketing at RMIT. After graduating I moved overseas to travel and work, I ended up staying on in London for 10 years firstly working in communication, trend forecasting and lastly a dream job working as an account manager for luxury fashion retailers Lane Crawford, On Pedder and Holt Renfrew. I had my eldest son Dylan soon after arriving back to Australia and feel madly in love with motherhood and life in sunny Bondi Beach, so the idea of going back to full time work really didn’t appeal to me. I stayed busy by doing a little consultancy work and always dabbling in one creative project or another. TWENTYONE FIFTEEN just grew organically as a great creative outlet and a business I could work on around the needs of my children.
What inspires your designs?
I’m hooked on Instagram – so I’m always looking at trends in the childrenswear and homeware market. But I feel my range is growing more through customer feedback and organically as to what I feel is missing from the collection.
Do your children help you with the designs?
My oldest Dylan loves to get involved so often offers his opinion.
Can you tell us about the process behind each piece?
For the wire pieces, I start with a shape I have in mind and then spend some time on prototypes getting the size and shape right, making sure that they sit perfectly once on the wall and so forth. Then I can start the fun process of selecting colours and fabrics that I think will complement each design.
Why is TWENTYONE FIFTEEN unique in the market?
I’m aware that there are designers doing similar work in the market but I don’t think anyone is offering the assortment of colours, styles & designers. This year I also launched a range of wire hanging with a felt artist, Yadviga this collaboration has really been a great way for me to diversity my offering.
What are some of your favourite TWENTYONE FIFTEEN items?
My moon and heart shapes will always be sentimental as they are the pieces that I launched my range with, but of late I’m really loving the sequin moon with star and all my collaboration pieces with Yadviga.
How do you approach decorating children’s rooms? What are your tips for approaching children’s interiors?
I feel children’s rooms works best when a room has a simple classic feel and then the colour, fun and personality is added with the addition of children’s artwork and handmade or preloved pieces – such as a handmade blanket, basket an old chest or rocker.
What are your go-to stores for children’s décor?
What are your tips for achieving balance with work/life/family?
Balance doesn’t exist, but I’m trying my best to give my children all my attention when I’m with them and to stay focused on my work when I’m doing that. However, I’m still on a learning curve with this one!
What do you love about raising children in Sydney?
My husband Lester and I moved to Australia as we felt that the lifestyle would be more child friendly than that of London. But we had no idea we would end up living opposite the beach in Bondi. We feel very lucky that not only do they have the amazing weather and outdoor lifestyle Australia has to offer but also the most incredible beach on our doorstep.
How long have you lived in your home and how would you describe the interior of your home?
We bought our home over eight years ago when I was pregnant with Dylan. It’s an art deco style apartment, the interior is very white and simple, with the addition of his photography (he’s a director and photographer) our children’s artwork, my handmade pieces & artworks by some of our local favourite artist such as Emma Labattaglia from Pax and Hart, Rachel Castle and Bonnie & Neil.
How would you describe your personal fashion style? Has your style changed since becoming a mum?
My style hasn’t changed that much since having the boys as I’m a very casual dresser. I love denim – so a lot of jeans in winter and shorts in summer, which I wear with vintage t-shirts. I also own a lot of very casual dresses, they are so great for quick easy dressing and with nature of Sydney’s weather you can throw a dress on with ankle boots and a coat in the winter months and pretty much wear them all year round.
So far what’s the hardest part of being a mum? And what’s the best part of being a mum?
The hardest part is trying to balance everyone’s needs and the best bit is the love I have for them and seeing the love they have for each other. I absolutely love watching the special bond between them. Dylan and Riley are each other’s best friends, no-one can make them giggle and laugh like they do each other.
What’s your favourite part of the day?
I do love the bookends of the day with my family. I love mornings when I’m often up first with my eldest, he absolutely loves cooking so we often bake some biscuits or muffins for his school lunchbox, following this I try and get a quick sand run in and then back home to help everyone get ready for their day. Evening story time is a precious quiet time and I do love it when they are tucked up fast asleep and its just my husband, wine, chocolate and Netflix.
Tell us about your new brand DAY FIVE STUDIOS - what inspired this brand and can you tell us about it?
While I love working on TWENTYONE FIFTEEN, as I make all the pieces myself it is quite restrictive in terms of how much I can grow the business. As my background is in the fashion industry I was keen to work on a new business that would have me working in that world again. I also liked the idea of having a platform to showcase the work of textiles designers work I admire. With DAY FIVE STUDIOS I have launched three pouch bag styles in four different prints – with more styles & some totes in the pipeline. I plan on continuing to introduce new prints to the existing range & collaborate on some special pieces with local and international artists and stylists.
What does the year ahead hold?
I’m so excited for 2018, I plan on adding to TWENTYONE FIFTEEN store offering with pieces from other brands – this year I added some children’s bags to the stores which have been very popular. So I plan on introducing further categories & products that fit with the stores aesthetics. I’m also looking forward to growing the DAY FIVE STUDIOS range, offering more prints and styles as well as wholesaling to more stores both here & internationally.