Interior, homewares and fashion designers as well as magazine publishers. Life is very busy and wonderfully creative for Elizabeth Raptis and Melanie Parker, the friends behind the Ivy & Piper brand.
And if ever there was a case of studio envy it is now. Just check out the pictures of their colourful Brisbane HQ and it is immediately obvious Melanie once worked under Queensland design legend Anna Spiro.
The pair met at design college where they were always being split up for talking in class! They headed off on separate career paths, remaining close friends. Elizabeth started her own design business Raptis Creative and Melanie worked for renowned Brisbane designers Nikki Parris and then, for over three years, Anna Spiro. “Our business partnership came later over one of our regular coffee catch ups,” says Elizabeth. “We were discussing our passion for interiors. Pretty soon we realised our dreams were identical so we decided to pair up.”
They often joke that Ivy & Piper are their aliases. “The name of our business represents our style. We wanted something that was classic as we love traditional details and classic lines in our interiors and this is where Ivy came from,” says Melanie. “The Piper part of our business name is where the young, fresh and modern twist comes in. We always like to mix up the classic with a bold dose of colour or vibrant pattern to take the look to a new dimension.”
Melanie admits that with so much on their plate, life does get crazy. “But all our projects are based on our common love of interior design and firmly rooted in our distinctive aesthetic. We set out with a product focus. We wanted to create a line of gorgeous, glamorous and affordable homewares for ‘a fashionable life’. We found soon enough the people that loved our products wanted to take us home to put the look together for them, so we run a design consultancy. Naturally, from both of these, the fabrics have come to fruition. Stay tuned as we have more stunning designs and wallpapers coming!”
Their homewares collection was born out of wanting to meet the gap in the market for gorgeous designer homewares at an affordable price. “We have worked really hard to design and manufacture a unique collection of versatile fabrics, cushions, candles and lighting so far,” says Melanie. “We are inspired by colour, glamour, classicism, Chinoiserie, pattern and bold passion. We feel the collection brings all of this to our clients.”
Ivy & Piper the online magazine came as the result of a business coaching session where they were discussing the lack of local publications featuring interiors with a classic, glamorous and vibrant aesthetic. They published the first issue in late 2010 after months of planning. “It is great to see the progression of our magazine and as with any project, it is an ever evolving beauty full of our blood, sweat and tears,” says Elizabeth.
The pair believe working where they do gives them a special kind of freedom. “Brisbane has a vibrant and fresh take on interiors which in part is due to our fab climate but mostly we think it is because Brisbane is still emerging as a large city compared to our southern counterparts,” says Melanie. “This means we don’t take ourselves too seriously and as we aren’t tied to tradition. We are not afraid to have some fun with our homes.”
And as if they didn’t have their fingers in enough pies, the girls were recently asked to collaborate with Australian sleepwear label Jasmine & Will to create some pyjamas. “We used our ‘Don’t Fret’ trellis print in pink on white background and are ecstatic with the result. They are so stylish and possibly the most comfortable pyjamas ever!”
Melanie says she learnt a lot from her time working with Spiro. “She is a very creative woman and perhaps my most important lesson was to trust in my style and be bold with it. At a time when there was a lot of neutral around, Anna encouraged me to embrace my love of colour and pattern and be confident to use it in my work. These common interests in design are why Black and Spiro was the perfect match for me for so many years.”
With several new fabric designs in the pipeline and plans to grow and expand their product lines, client portfolio and magazine, these two won’t be resting on their fashionable laurels any time soon.
The Ivy & Piper HQ feauturing Ivy & Piper cushions, fabric and light
Ivy & Piper collaborated with sleepwear label Jasmine & Will.
Keep an eye on the girls’ blog for the latest news.