Sage and Clare was started by Phoebe Bell and her partner Chris. Coming from a law background, Phoebe decided to do what felt right, leading her down a path of styling both freelance and for Country Road. Chris, a Property Development Manager, acts as her support and manages all the ‘unglamorous’ parts of starting and running Sage and Clare. Phoebe’s twin sister Jemma, while not a direct part of the business, is her “springboard for design and styling advice”. Now based in Holland, she is both a textile and graphic designer and accompanies Phoebe on the buying trips when Chris is unable to come. “Lucky thing” says Phoebe!
Phoebe says Sage and Clare came about after feeling restless and pent up with creativity. “I never knew I was the creative type but during my work at Country Road, I felt like I had to go out on my own and see what I could do. It took – and still is – a huge leap of faith, but we decided to give it a red hot go!”
Always having been passionate about colour, texture and the sense that some objects have “real heart” meant that Sage and Clare became a place offering fellow interior lovers global treasures from across the world. They offer bohemian, eclectic & handmade homewares and accessories that have soul.
Your bohemian/vintage styling is very much in my preferred style – how did/do you decide what ranges to carry?
I’m sure any business owner would probably gasp at what I’m about to say… but we didn’t really have a plan other than to stay true to what I love and my aesthetic. So it wasn’t so much a decision of what products to carry, but rather a question of ‘Do I really love this?’ By staying true to this, we’ve created and curated a range that works together and is all the things that Sage and Clare is about.
You have backgrounds in Interior styling and design, how has this helped in your new venture?
It has helped incredibly. There is still a huge amount I don’t know, but working in the industry meant I had some idea of the processes and what people are looking for. Strangely, it has also taught me not to look around at what everyone else is doing all the time, but rather trust my own instincts. Trends and tastes can be really fickle, so rather than try and chase the next thing, I’ve had to find my own signature style.
Do you have a favourite part of the process of design?
Definitely! Going overseas, immersing myself in the culture and using that as the inspiration for design is incredibly fun and rewarding. There is really nothing like working side-by-side with an artisan and watching your choice of materials and colours come to life.
Do you have any key sources of inspiration?
I regularly look at blogs and magazines, but my biggest source of inspiration would be travel. Walking through the bazaars of India is where I feel most alive, inspired and energised.
What is a favourite product you are selling right now and how do you see your products fitting into contemporary interiors?
The Narnia Vintage Diamond Armoire will be a piece I’ll have a hard time letting go of. The shade of green and the unique details are just magical!
I think our products work wonderfully in more contemporary interiors. I think people are scared to mix different styles, and feel they have to choose between french provincial or minimal, for example, and stick to it. The beauty of our products are that they can provide a pop of colour, a statement, or a sense of character to a more modern aesthetic. Sometimes one piece is all you need!
What is your own decorating style?
HAPPY! I literally surround myself with whatever makes me feel happy! This usually entails an abundance of colour, texture and a sense of playfulness.
You source from artisans all over the world, can you tell us a story about one of them?
We work most closely with our block printers, who are integral to carrying this ancient technique through to today. To watch our master block printer at work, Raj, is both mind boggling and captivating. He comes from a family of block printers in a region outside of Jaipur and is masterfully carrying on the tradition today.
What can people expect from Sage and Clare in 2014?
We’ll be traveling to India, Morocco and Turkey to bring home goods that showcase a greater variety of artisanal techniques. We’re also in the design stages of creating a small wholesale line and will be teaming up with Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors to bring this to stores around Australia.
Above all else though, we’ll be using the lessons we’ve learned to raise the bar and inspire you!
I am in LOVE with this store and excited about what they are going to do next! Hop on the website to see the range and purchase – Sage and Clare