In a world of Scandi scenes and pared-back minimalism, Tigmi Trading is like a breath of fresh air. Adorned with colours, textures and pieces that seem to have lived interesting lives of their own, the brand is a feast for the eyes and the soul.
Founded by creative director, Danielle McEwan, Tigmi Trading sources and curates timeless, artisan made rugs, textiles, objects, lighting and art from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to the Black Sea and far-flung places in between. With a collection of truly unique, one-off and handmade pieces, all of Tigmi Trading’s pieces are made sustainably, using traditional methods of production. Focusing on creating homes that are beautifully layered with objects that spark memories, inspire and evoke the enhancement of everyday life, Danielle and her team have certainly made their mark on the Australian interiors landscape. We spoke to Danielle about the launch of Tigmi Trading, her tips for creating a beautiful home, how she manages the balance and of course, her tips on all the best Byron Bay haunts. Photography by Raegan Glazner
Tigmi Trading has such a distinct aesthetic that seems so fresh in a very same-same interior space at the moment, how would you describe it?
It’s so hard for me to describe the Tigmi style as it’s constantly evolving, however I would say at the core, it’s a blend of timeless design with a modern edge along with a healthy dose of escapism.
What does your role entail on a day-to-day basis as the founder and buyer and creative director?
As a small business, I am constantly straddling a lot of different roles and like most working mums, I wear many hats from minute to minute. But most days, I drop the kids off at school and head into the studio. I touch base with the team and will then generally have meetings, set the strategy for the week, plan shoots, work on the budget and liaise with suppliers and clients on orders. But really, there is no typical day!
Where did your love of interiors and design come from?
I have had an appreciation of art and design in all forms for as long as I can remember. My mother is an artist and introduced my sister and me to the world of art and galleries from an early age. I also distinctly remember planning the redesign of my bedroom when I was 12 – choosing the peach curtains fabric (it was the 80s), the bedspread and the décor which was thrilling. Then came the travel which really opened my eyes and mind to the world of design.
Tell us about your career before Tigmi Trading...
My background was in PR – I worked at Sony Music for 15 years and loved it. It was fast-paced and enabled me to meet and work with some incredible artists and travel the world. It was a brilliant career pre-children, however after the birth of Harper, I wanted something that wasn’t going to take me far from home and that allowed me to explore my passion for design.
You source gorgeous products from around the globe - how do you manage all the travelling with kids and business back home in Byron Bay?
I started the business when the kids were young and decided early on that it was going to work better if we didn’t take them with us on our buying trips. It is hard being apart, however I have a strict 2-week policy and we keep our trips really tight and focused. Every minute is scheduled with appointments, meetings and travel to see our suppliers. By then I am desperate to come home and hug the kids. I take my hat off to people that seem to be able to travel and work with children in tow – it’s not something I can imagine juggling. I am, however, looking forward to bringing them with us in a few years time when they can really appreciate it all. They are already talking about coming with us to Morocco and meeting our friends over there that they have heard so much about.
Your homewares and interior style has so many layers - a look that is hard to achieve with new and modern pieces, what is the secret to adding vintage items to a home?
It’s all about balance and creating a space that is both functional and warm. I also take a careful and considered approach with the things that we bring into our home. First and foremost, there has to be a connection. Modern pieces definitely have a place within the home and usually provide a function that is relevant to our busy lives, but it’s also good to be able to balance that with soulful pieces. Surrounding myself with curiosities and mementoes from travels or heirloom pieces that have been passed down creates a home with personality and tells our own unique story.
How do you balance style at home with kids’ paraphernalia? Any tips?
Kids and paraphernalia go hand in hand – I have just had to let go of the fact that there will always be a trail of some sort scattered around the house. I am however quite particular about what toys we allow into the house – we avoid any sort of plastic or disposable toys that inevitably end up as landfill. The kids don’t seem to miss it and I find that they are just as happy playing with wool, rocks or things that they find in the garden.
Can you describe a typical morning in your household?
I am usually the first one awake in the house just before 6am. I like to get up and get the kids’ lunches ready and done before I head to Pilates. Jules does breakfast and gets them dressed, then we split the school runs. We like to try to make the mornings as relaxed as possible to allow for a seamless transition into the day for all. Most of the time it works!
Let’s talk about the juggle - how do you balance business with motherhood?
It’s a constant juggle and to be honest – I’m not sure I do balance it. I’m constantly doubting that I am doing the right thing by the kids by working. The other side of the coin is that the kids are very involved in what we do and the business. They know and love our team who are like an extended family and love helping out in any way they can. They see me working and up until the past few months, I have always worked from home which meant I was always around. It’s nice that they can share our interest in the business and be involved and I also think it’s healthy for them to see first hand what it takes to run a business.
How has motherhood changed for you now since the early days with babies and toddlers?
Sleep is the biggest game changer! Now that they are both older and sleeping in their beds through the night, I’m slowly trying to regain those lost hours!
Do you have any tried and tested mum hacks you use to make each day and night run smoothly?
Rhythm and routine! Kids love a routine. Keeping the rhythm of each day and understanding that there needs to be downtime as well as active time in each day helps little ones recalibrate. I also find they feel safe and calm knowing how each day is going to unfold. Even when plans change, I find they cope better with the changes.
What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?
Eating well, sleeping and exercising. It’s so hard as a mum to prioritise yourself, particularly when you are working, and I haven’t always been good at making time for myself. It’s a work in progress but I do at least ensure I exercise 3 mornings a week and start the day off with lemon water and a juice. Then at least if it all goes out the window for the rest of the day, I have a few ticks!
Byron Bay is filled with “must-visit” places, but can you give us an insider’s guide on where to eat, play and shop when in town?
Eat: Barrio – rustic Argentina fair – great for a lazy lunch with friends and kids. Light Years – simply delicious Vietnamese – the duck pancakes and pickled cucumber are mouth-wateringly good! Domo – best Japanese in the picturesque town of Federal. Our Corner Kitchen- awesome traditional pizzas in the heart of Bangalow. Play: Comma – beautiful and therapeutic massages. A Little Company for the best facials in town. Beaches – Byron’s beaches are simply the most beautiful anywhere in the world. The Pass, Watego’s, Brunswick, Broken Head, Belongil – the options are endless. Stay: Raes – for a luxurious Mediterranean experience right on the beautiful beach of Wategos. The Atlantic – to be a stone’s throw away from all that Byron town has to offer. The Bower – the addition of an incredible new pool means you don’t have to leave the compound! Elements – great for families – it’s the place we go for our staycations every year just so we can enjoy everything that everyone else gets to enjoy when they come here! Shop: Bangalow farmers markets – weekly markets. Newrybar Merchants – 10 different businesses housed in a federation home in the hinterland town of Newrybar. It’s a treasure trove of incredible local artisans and global treasures and simply the best shopping experience in the shire. Habitat Collective – a collection of some of Byron’s best designers all under the one roof. Island Luxe – a collection of drool-worthy clothing and accessories from around the globe. Our Corner Store – for Scandi-inspired daily essentials.
What is your favourite thing to do together as a family?
Hanging out at the beach, reading stories in bed each day & going for sushi!
Do you have regular date-nights or scheduled downtime with your husband?
We keep talking about it and actually managed to go on one last week! But generally, we don’t have a scheduled night planned. It’s usually more spur of the moment – if we find ourselves without kids or work we will grab breakfast, go for a swim or do the lighthouse walk. We take what we can get these days!
Must-visit travel destination and why?
There are so many must visit destinations but I would have to say Morocco. We first went over 15 years ago and were immediately blown out by the mystical and magical nature of it all.
Finish this sentence - Motherhood is…
A beautiful, complex and surreal gift. I honestly thought I would feel somewhat grown up after children, imparting my years of knowledge upon them. But instead, I feel I am constantly learning and growing. Slowing down and looking at the world through the eyes and minds of a child has brought me greater clarity about not only myself but also how to guide, nurture and support these unique individuals so that they can feel self-assured with respect and compassion for others and the world around them.
What are you loving at the moment?
- Aperol Spritz
- Reformer Pilates
- Ouzark with Jason Bateman (Netflix)
- Mini Breaks to Yamba with the kids
- Tuareg Mats
- Fish Tacos
- Sculptor Guy Bareff
- Pierre Jeanneret