|Avarcas Pons sandals are the newest addition to the Izzy and Jean Co. range. They are handmade in Menorca, Spain.|
Name: Claire Ongley
What do you do: I run an online store called Izzy and Jean Co. We sell fine home goods and accessories from around the world. All our goods are either handmade or produced by small designers or long-established family businesses. I believe that the story behind a thing is just as interesting as the thing itself.
We opened in June of this year, so it’s still all very new to me. There’s lots to learn, but it’s great fun to do something completely different.
Where do you live: I currently live in Oakura, just outside of New Plymouth. However, my partner Daniel and I are moving to a farm near Otaki where we plan to farm pigs (free range of course!). We will have 80 acres and no farming experience. It’s definitely going to be a big challenge, and we can’t wait.
What are you working on: Izzy and Jean Co. has only been running for four months, so I feel like I’m still really getting things organised and running smoothly. At the moment I’m working on restocking and ordering for summer and Christmas. Sourcing stock is a very time consuming exercise! However, we have some lovely new things coming in, which I’m very excited about.
In fact, I have just finished loading up our new Avarcas Pons sandals onto the website. They are handmade in Menorca, Spain. Take a look, they are very simple and stylish, and also just in time for summer!
We’re also working on moving to the farm. There’s lots to organise, and once we get there we will never have a moment to be bored. On top of that, we just got engaged, so we now have to plan a wedding!
|Hedgehog table brush made by Redecker, a family-run business in Germany that has been handcrafting brushes since 1935.|
|Polka dot socks from Etiquette Clothiers in New York|
Flowers: Peonies, roses, lavender and hydrangeas spring to mind. They are all quite old-fashioned, now that I think about it.
Food: When I’m asked this question I usually say Mexican food. I love anything with fresh fish, hot chillies and lots of coriander. Having said that, I like all sorts of food and there is nothing I won’t try. But maybe that just means I’m a bit greedy.
Style: It tends to change, but in terms of decor I would say I’m currently a fan of Scandinavian simplicity with a pop of colour and texture in the form of rustic, vintage or ethnic furniture and accessories.
|Handwoven pink striped throw from Tunisia|
|Hand loomed fouta towels from Tunisia.|
Who/what inspires me: I’m inspired by people who successfully run their own creative businesses. I want to be one of them! There are so many inspiring people around who love what they do, and they help me keep believing that I can do it too.
I work best: First thing in the morning and last thing at night. In the afternoons my mind tends to wander and I make endless cups of tea and write lists, but not a lot gets done.
What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: Go for a run, wile away some time on Pinterest, read a blog, or go and do anything that is totally unrelated to work.
The best advice I have been given is: Don’t worry about making things perfect, just get it out there and figure things out as you go.
My latest discovery is: Fiji! We just went there to escape the winter blues and it was divine. The people are gorgeous, the ocean is warm and the cocktails have umbrellas in them. What more could you want?
|Striped linen cushion covers made by a family-run business in Lithuania|
|Handwoven vintage 'Rose' kilim rug from Turkey|
Books that I get inspiration from: ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey is a book that I picked up in a secondhand shop about a year ago. It is really inspiring and practical, and it helped me put my Izzy and Jean Co. plans into gear.
Magazines that inspire me: Inside Out, Vogue Living, Your Home & Garden, NZ House & Garden, Homestyle
Blogs that I enjoy: The Design Chaser, Made From Scratch, Milo & Mitsy, re: Address, The Design Files, Kara Rosenlund.
My favourite room at home is: Our house is a temporary one, so it’s not really a home. We moved back from Sydney earlier this year, so once we move into our own house, then I’m sure I will have one or two favourite rooms. I can’t wait to put my stamp on them!
My office is: I used to work in the sleep out, but I have recently swapped offices with my partner, so now I’m inside. My little office gets lots of afternoon sun and I can gaze out at our back garden and dream up new ideas for Izzy and Jean Co. (or just procrastinate).
What am I looking forward to: Moving into our new house on the farm! Getting married! There’s a lot to look forward to right now.
You can keep up to date with Izzy and Jean Co on their online store, their Facebook page, Twitter or their Pinterest boards.
Photographs used with permission from Claire Ongley and Izzy and Jean Co.