It was by pure chance that we stumbled upon The Minimalist showroom in Surry Hills. While taking a shortcut through the backstreets to get to the car we came across a grand terrace on the corner of the street with the bottom floor opened up for all to see. With an “OPEN” sign out front, framed prints on the wall and luxe interior pieces neatly organised throughout the space, we walked inside to see what was up. If Instagram were a physical store, The Minimalist would be it. We were greeted by the lovely shop owner Leah taylor, and subsequently found out that the showroom was part of something much bigger – a hugely successful online shop and blog. The Minimalist sources unique, limited edition and designer made products from around the globe, and true to the name it’s not about buying less, but buying better. We got to hear about the life of a shop owner in the digital age, as well as the origins of The Minimalist and what’s in store for the future:
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am an interior designer turned store owner of design store The Minimalist.
How did The Minimalist come to be, what was the tipping point from turning it from idea to reality?
I studied Interior Design straight after leaving school then fell into a role as a textile designer designing rugs and carpets for luxury hotels, clubs and residences. I got tired of textiles after just a few years and started my own small interior design practice at age 24. Less than a year in and after being constantly asked where I had sourced many of the accessories I used in my projects I started The Minimalist as a small online space where my specially sourced pieces could be made available locally. I never anticipated that it would now consume almost all of my time.
What’s a day in the life of a shop owner?
My typical shop day includes waking up and checking in and posting on Instagram while still in bed. Then it’s breakfast at my desk while I check my email and start my to do list for the day. Once in the store the morning is usually for prepping and packing any online orders from the night before. I also style and photograph products in the store as often as I have time to so that I can share what’s new and inspiring me on both Instagram and my blog www.theminimalisthome.com . Afternoons almost always mean a run to the post office. I am a total night owl so I usually stay up late editing images and working on the website and of course more time on email.
What’s the hardest part of it all?
For me personally the practical and bookkeeping side of the business is my least favourite but extremely important part.
What do you enjoy most?
Sourcing, manufacturing and collaborating on new product is the most fulfilling and exciting aspect. I love that I have a platform for all of my creative desires from design, photography and styling through The Minimalist.
What draws you to minimalist products?
I like the simple things that get your attention in a subtle way. Either through an incredible material, shape or story. Something that doesn’t give everything away at first glance or that others may pass by initially.
Looking to the future, where do you want to take The Minimalist?
My dream would be to open a second store for The Minimalist in Melbourne! But the days would have to be twice as long for me to find the time to look after both. But it could be a possibility for 2016?
I am also currently re designing my blog The Minimalist Home which is going to expand to include not only interior inspiration but lifestyle and fashion as well. It will be re launching in March this year.
If you were to design your own product – what would it be and why?
I am already working on a brand new range of prints that will be out mid-year. And also keep you eyes out for a candle collaboration between Maison Balzac and I later in the year.
What would be your advice to someone looking to start their own online store?
My advice would be to go for it! If you have a unique product idea, or a unique personal style embrace it and run with it. An online store is the perfect platform for you to be as niche as you like. Explore and create. You can start an online store even if you have a day job so the risks are relatively small.
Photography, Drone Work & Film by Sam Evans