ONNE on Onne With Designer Alisha Rae
With over 10 years of interior styling under her belt, Alisha was incredibly underwhelmed by the lack of quality, Australian made, diverse, eye-catching, tactile, unique pieces that make a space feel truly complete. It was after having her beautiful boy Talin that she had this urge to begin an artistic journey that leads her to develop the beautiful pieces that make Harper and Wilde what it is today.
Tell us a little bit about your time as an interior stylist.
My time as an interior stylist was wonderful!! I met so many amazing people, several lifelong friends. I love how dynamic it was, always something new to discover and learn. The various styles of interiors I was lucky enough to work with all over Sydney, that experience was priceless. The beautiful clients who welcomed me into their homes. The immense satisfaction in helping to create someone’s dream home, a place for their family to grow, and to see the look on their face at the final reveal, so rewarding! The best.
What was the first piece you made for the Harper and Wilde collection?
My very first, well there were two really. The OG Cuttle design which is beautifully simplistic in its form. My goal was to take something traditionally very rustic and raw and refine it to be a little more adaptable across a diverse range of interior styles, and I really feel that I’ve achieved this which makes me so happy. At the same time I created the Clay Beads with Signature Rope Tassel, every element handcrafted. They were pieces that just spoke to me and I was so inspired that from there the range began to evolve naturally.
How did your collection evolve?
The collection evolved very organically, I was experiencing this huge surge of creativity after the birth of my son and had so many ideas flying around. It was that magic time of having a small child, being completely sleep-deprived and slightly insane, so much love you don’t know what to do with yourself, so I channelled all of that energy into my art and it all just poured out of me in beautiful chaos. The refining has been a really enjoyable process for me as I settled into motherhood and owning a growing business. I really feel proud of the range I’ve created and developed in the past two years, I still pinch myself at how far it’s come in this short time.
Each piece is Handmade, how long does it take to make your famous (and my personal favourite) Cuttlebone designs?
Ohhh so many hours and callouses! Haha! The Cuttle pieces are certainly the most labour intensive of the range. Many hours of shaping, sanding, sorting and sizing. I hold them to a very high standard so they do take time. But I really can’t complain, I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to create what I love. And I’m lucky in that I generally only encounter really lovely, understanding clients who appreciate that quality takes time, which means a lot to me. I’ll never rush a piece and compromise its quality. It’s just not in me to do that.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when designing?I find design beautifully intrinsic and intuitive. Sometimes I’ll wake up inspired from a dream, or after meditating, in those moments of quiet clarity, something will appear in my mind. Usually, inspiration comes when I let my mind wander, spend time in nature. When I’m feeling really energetically aligned inspiration flows quite naturally and ideas pop up, but they’re quite abstract, more of a concept. Then comes the fun part of getting in and working the materials with my hands until I feel it’s just right. Which can be the first time or take a lot of refining! There’s not a whole lot of planning in my design, I just like to create until I’m happy with it. I find it really therapeutic.
As a business owner, it’s important to stay mentally healthy. What do you do to stay mentally fit?
Absolutely, owning a business is one of the most challenging (and rewarding!) things I’ve ever done. It can really swallow you up if you let it so I’m working hard to find the balance that I need to propel my business forward as well as be the best Mumma and person that I can be. There’s no one simple answer but something I’ve learnt the hard way is that you must look after yourself first because you can’t pour from an empty cup. Surround yourself with like-minded people who inspire and uplift you. Exercise! I train 5-7 days a week, early in the morning before anyone is up. It clears my mind, gives me that essential endorphin hit and a positive outlook. If I begin to feel overwhelmed I meditate, it’s a reset button to help me focus. In the evening I love to walk along the water and watch the sky change, I find it so peaceful. Listen to your body, rest when you need to, nourish it, eat lots of fresh food and drink a lot of water. Coffee and champagne help too! It’s taken a lot of trial and error and self-reflection to hit my balance sweet spot, and I know it will be ever-evolving, but right now it is amazing!
Do you have a daily Mantra?
What you resist persists- trust the timing of your life.
What makes you happy?
Ahh, anything that touches my soul. Love, kindness, meeting beautiful people, connection, these things make me so happy. Knowing that I’m on my path and feeling aligned. When I get lost and feel like I’m not on my path is when things tend to go a little awry. When I’m in my zone and things are all just falling into place and I’m trusting my instincts, that’s my happy place. I’m extremely visual and tactile so I also love my comforts, a beautiful home to relax and recharge, natural light, lots of natural textural elements. And of course my little boy Talin, the absolute joy of my life.
What/who inspires you?
My fellow small business sistas! What an incredible, supportive community of intelligent, powerful, creative women. I love seeing my girls thrive, and it inspires me to keep pushing forward.
Favorite travel destination/s
I loved Brazil, it was so visually beautiful, particularly Rio. The contrast of the beaches right beside huge mountains is breathtaking. Of course, Byron is always the perfect go-to for a getaway. I would love to go and bliss out on the beaches of Mexico one day.
How can we stay in contact with you?
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/harperandwildedesign/