When I’m asked how I love to spend my time when I’m not designing it should come as no surprise that nothing excites me more than chatting about interiors.
I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with designers, creative entrepreneurs, and business owners Kim and Claire Burbridge, from the Australian interiors, gift and homewares brand Burbridge and Burke.
In my latest interview the ladies and I discuss everything from the why behind their brand to style influences and their advice to other creatives who are looking to start a business and create a life they love.
What was the idea behind starting the business?
We had always been creative and loved interiors. We actually renovated and flipped three houses together before we started Burbridge and Burke.
We had considered going into interior design before we decided on focusing more on product design.
About five years ago we bought out first laser cutter and started working on product ideas. We came up with the business name, branding and website with the intention of kicking off a side hustle, but it never really happened.
It wasn’t until the birth of our son and returning back to the corporate workplace after maternity leave that we decided we needed to make a change.
We sold our house, quit our jobs and moved to Nelson Bay (where Claire had grown up) to commit our time and energy into creating a different lifestyle focused on doing what we loved, which is designing and creating.
From there the business evolved into a bricks and mortar store and selling our products online, which has hugely increased during the recent pandemic.
Burbridge and Burke stocks a range of interiors, gifts and homewares
What does a typical day look like for you both?
It varies from day to day. We have a young son so we’re often woken up by him and have to deal with his needs first (snacks and cartoons – the most important things!).
The mornings are usually pretty hectic from there trying to get our son ready for daycare to then open the shop for business.
Kim – “I’m responsible for the admin, buying, serving customers and when I gets the chance squeezing in some design work whilst Claire is busy in the back of the store designing and making pieces”.
You make your own jewellery, where do you draw creative inspiration from?
Kim – I started making polymer clay jewellery as a hobby 5 years ago. I always had an interest in fashion but wasn’t any good at sewing so making jewellery was a good fit.
People began to express their interest in my pieces and it grew from there. Once we brought the laser cutter it opened up more avenues for creating and combining clay and laser cut designs.
In terms of the actual designs, I am often inspired by shapes and colours in art and textiles, as well as historical design movements like Art Deco, Memphis and Mid-Century Modernism.
Earrings designed and handmade by Burbridge and Burke
The shop stocks a lot of homewares and gifts, what are some of your favourite designers and interior styles?
Claire – We both love mid century modern design, which is a big influence in our interior style and the jewellery we create.
Some of our favourites are the classic designers such as Featherston, Eames and Marc Newson. We like the simplicity and clean lines of Eames but the futuristic vibe of Newson’s designs.
Kim – We often joke that Claire is the minimalist of the two whilst I’m a maximalist when it comes to design styles because I love lots of pattern and colour.
I am drawn to pieces that make me feel happy, so I am often buying in colourful textiles from the likes of Sage and Clare and Kip & Co and the iconic art prints from one of our favourites Pete Cromer.
The store features products from brands such as Kip & Co, Sage and Clare and Marmoset
What’s in store for the future at Burbridge and Burke?
Kim – We’ve spent a lot of time getting the retail space set up and brands stocked so our focus for this year and the future is our own product development and designs.
Claire has a degree in industrial design and a passion for furniture, so we plan to focus on creating larger pieces and looking into local manufacturers.
Kim and Claire – We also plan on creating more items for kids such as mobiles and toys as this has been inspired by our son and what he likes.
What advice would you give to other creatives wanting to start a business?
Kim and Claire – If you’re dreaming of a creative career you just have to do it. There’s never going to be a right time or a stage when you feel like you have everything together.
There’s always going to be times when you compare yourself to what others are doing but life’s too short to not follow your dreams, you just need to jump in and do it and learn along the way.
To find out more about the stylish products Kim and Claire both make and stock visit Burbridge and Burke.
Kim and Claire are the design duo behind Burbridge and Burke, based in the coastal town of Nelson Bay NSW.
When they’re not designing or creating in the studio they enjoy reading interior magazines and books, searching social media for the next hottest item or spending time at the beach with their son Hugo.
If you enjoyed this blog and want to read more about creative businesses, check out my post – “Sustainably stylish tips for lifestyle, kids and home”