Right from the get-go I have always been creative and crafty. I used to draw all the time as a kid. One of my fondest childhood memories is making barbie doll clothes and sleeping bags with my mum and Nanna on the sewing machine.
You see my Nanna was a seamstress who always had various fabric and sewing projects on the go. My mum also loved to sew which meant I was always surrounded by fabric, textures and colour, and so began my love affair with textiles.
Not surprisingly I loved art in high school and went on to major in textiles and sculpture at university. Applying and experimenting with textiles, sewing, embroidering, felting and recycling was always my thing. Anything with texture I fell in love with it.
I became totally awed by traditional crafting skills passed down from generation to generation particularly in developing countries.
After many years teaching high school Art and Home Economics and around the time I became a mum I began experimenting with textiles again.
Designing and sewing pieces for my kid’s rooms. Felting mats, baskets, making storage, mobiles and decorative items. My love affair was rekindled!
From there I began selling my creations at local markets, primarily at Perth’s largest design market Perth Upmarket. This provided me with a platform to test my products and see whether I could actually make a business out of my passion.
From that first market over 12 years ago I have not looked back, my passion was re-ignited and the business just went from strength to strength.
During a trip I made to Nepal I became intrigued by the masterful skills of nepalese women and saw an opportunity to work with them to help create my designs as a way of employing marginalised women and starting my own business. So, I began importing felt from Nepal for Happy as Larry Designs (the pre-cursor to Oh Happy Home).
My business had some great early years followed by a few quieter years and it wasn’t until 2017 that I decided to take my business more seriously and make my passion for textiles and fair trade my primary focus.
I made a quick decision supported by my wonderful husband Paul to make the trip to India and begin visiting manufacturers I had made relationships with over the years. This trip was a turning point for me it helped me clarify the direction my business was to take.
Happy As Larry Designs was pulling on some big pants and growing up, my focus moved from kids decor to rugs and décor suitable for the whole home!
Being An Ethical Business
One of my biggest business goals has always been to work alongside and together with my manufacturers and weavers, after all they are the skilful humans that know and create the rugs for us. So, on my Indian trip I sat with manufactures discussed designs and played around with my ideas with them. Visiting the weavers and learning the process was an invaluable experience to me.
I saw the need to continue to celebrate this craft of weaving and rug making traditionally. Adding an Australian flavour to their traditional techniques is the space where my personality and creativity kicks in.
Our first Ohh Happy Home container was ordered, and it wasn’t until it arrived, I wondered how on earth I was going to store all these rugs at my home?
That initial shipment filled not only my garage but my mum and dads aswell!
So, finding a warehouse was my next move I needed to get all these rugs out of our garage! Fast forward a couple of years and two warehouses later we found ourselves our Subiaco, Perth studio home where we ship all our rugs (Australia and Internationally) from.
Advocating For Social Change
Being an ethical business owner I'm passionate about ensuring an ethical supply chain. Partnering with Goodweave International a global organisation who advocates for social change dedicated to ending child labour, forced labour, and bonded labour in global supply chains was a no brainer for me.
I wanted to be able to assure my purchasers that everything they buy from Ohh Happy Home has been ethically produced with absolutely no child labour involved.
I feel we can all do our bit by buying ethically, buying well and buying once!
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