For this week’s Ladies We Love blog we were lucky enough to catch up with Jordie and Ann-Maree Luke from the ethereal-inspired concept store and gallery Lunar. The offbeat wonder is situated just off Pako and Jordie’s free spirit teamed combined with Ann-Marie’s unconditional kindness allows for an undeniably inspired experience for those who walk in the doors!
Can you tell us a little bit about Lunar concept store and gallery?
Well, Lunar Concept store and Gallery was the name we gave our concept store that we opened back in 2012 on Pakington St. It came about after I finished my studies at University. I wanted to have my own business and Mum and I had discussed/ dreamed about the idea of opening a shop together where she could sell and display her artwork with stock that really complemented her dreamy work, so we did! To our surprise it was a huge success and people really liked it which was a complete honour as the shop was such an extension of our imagination, vision and overall spirit.
After running the business and growing over the years I started to feel like we needed a change and a chance to grow, both personally and in a business sense but I wasn’t quite sure of what or how to make this happen.
The pressure of having to work and run a shop 6 days a week, plus design a large proportion of the stock and control manufacturing overseas was starting to take its toll on me and Mum as she really needed to be painting most days to keep up with the demand of commission orders.
Funnily enough, towards the end of last year I received the sign I needed to push us both in the right direction. Our landlord informed us he was developing the cluster of shops we were a part of on Pakington St.
Half our wall was to be bulldozed to create space for an arcade that was to be built at the back of our shop which meant a loss of space, parking and many other things not to mention the beautiful old world charm the shop possessed due to its long standing history. So we decided that we would no longer stay in our beloved Pakington St home and instead look for a space that would allow Mum and I develop our passions separately but under the same roof.
After discussing our situation with a good friend of mine who was looking for a studio space to work from for her label we realised the concept of a shared design, retail and art studio would perhaps be the perfect fit for the three of us.
Not long after this we found the most beautiful vacant studio space by the banks of the Barwon River, around the corner from Boom Gallery in Rutland st. It was perfect! There was just enough room for the space to be divided into 3 sections – one for Mum to paint in, one for Annie to design in and one for the 3 of us to sell all of our creations from. So after about 3 months of us renovating the space, mum painting new work and Annie and I designing our new collections and co-ordinating our manufacturing overseas we were ready to open our doors to the public to come into our little creative oasis.
Because mum and I are no longer ‘in’ business together as such and we are concentrating on our own things – hers being her painting and mine designing and creating my jewellery and clothing we have chosen not to call our new space “Lunar Concept store and Gallery’ to avoid confusion as we have changed the nature and concept of our business and don’t want people to be disappointed that we no longer stock everything that we once did.
I have just been calling my aspect of the business Lunar as I am now no longer a store but more a ‘label’ as I only sell the stock I design and manufacture myself and Mum is Ann-Maree Luke paintings. lt is however listed in google under ‘Lunar design retail and art studio’ so that people can find us.
Why did you too decide to go into business together? The mother daughter dynamic must be unique?
Mum and I are incredibly close and share a lot of the same values and conveniently have the same taste, but perhaps different strengths. Without the other we felt we couldn’t achieve what we wanted to achieve so it was never really an option not to. Evan now that we are not business partners we still wanted to share a space together so that we could be close by for support, advice and company.
What or who drives and inspires each of you?
We are both really inspired by nature. We love marvelling at the beauty that surrounds us weather it be the ocean, the sky, a flower, a feather etc etc I could go on forever! We are also both quite spiritual and intuitive so we let our instincts be our compass when making decisions or being creative. We are both really positive people too and just want to bring light into people lives through what we do and that is probably what drives us most.
You recently moved from Geelong West Packington St to Rutland St Newtown, how has the transition been on the business?
Although it was daunting at first the transition has been hugely positive for the both of as it has enabled Mum and I to focus solely on what each of us enjoyed most about the previous business. People have really supported us in our change of direction as well which has been really lovely.
With the new space being a little more off the beaten track it now means that our visitors are predominantly regulars and like minded people rather than just passing foot traffic. This has been hugely beneficial to us as we are such a niche market so we can now give our customers or in mum’s case clients all the time and energy they require when they are here without having to worry as much.
Ann Maree, your paintings are ethereal and hold a celestial sense… Tell us about your talent, how and when it was discovered and how has it developed.
I will have to answer this on Mum’s behalf as she is currently in Europe 🙂
Mum has always been very creative but she first discovered her passion and talent for
painting about 12 years ago. At first it was just for herself but after friends and family saw what she was creating she got many orders and it just grew from there. She held exhibitions and stocked her painting in a few businesses in Geelong and along the coast and it quickly became her profession. She now regularly has private commissions on the go, sometimes as many as 10 at a time and has completed work for many local and national clients around Australia.
Although Mum thoroughly enjoys collaborating with clients to create something unique and personalised for their homes and spaces, i think her best work is when she just paints freely for no one in particular. She goes to a very special place when she is painting and this is evident in her art. They are truly magical and all hold a bit of Mum’s enchanting, ethereal energy inside them.
I use Lunar as a vessel to create classic pieces to make women look and feel effortlessly beautiful. I love anything magical and ethereal so a lot of my designs are influenced by this and tend to be soft, floaty and delicate with a slightly bohemian feel. I really try to design my jewellery and clothing to make people happy and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. After having a shop for so long i heard so many funny things come out of peoples mouths in the change room! I’ve used this to build my knowledge on what women want to wear, enhancing / flattering certain features to help them to look and feel great! I also try to create pieces that woman can wear again and again and cherish for a long time. I think fashion should be fun and when you buy something for yourself you should be able to wear it forever, rather than just one season.
In your opinion, how does the collaboration of Jordie designs and Ann-Maree’s artwork contribute to the success of the store?
I think the collaboration of the two are very visually pleasing, we are inspired by similar things are share a similar sense of style and love the same colours so they do look beautiful hanging together which is i think one aspect that contributes to the success. I also think it has something to do with mum and I’s light-hearted and at times silly personalities (especially when we are together) i think it is a bit infectious and people like to be a part of it, they seem to like that our products are en extension of us and our bond, so i feel like that has a huge part of it as well.
I really want people to feel comfortable, happy and inspired when they are visiting our studio. I personally really like space when i am shopping and hate pushy sales people so i try to create an environment where people feel comfortable too look around without feeling pressured to buy something.
I am always myself too, to ensure an authentic shopping experience not a false exchange between myself and the customers. This sometimes may lead to a slightly more ‘unprofessional approach’ but i think people prefer that! I have had the most amazing experiences in the shop and studio and have made so many friends, it’s been fabulous and i think it’s because we treat it as more of a second home rather than just a business and that helps people feel more at ease.
I also just try and let the stock speak for itself by making the space look as beautiful as it can at all times and then when people need extra help I am obviously more than happy to give them exactly what they need.
What else could we find in Lunar concept store and gallery?
Along with Mum’s paintings and my clothing and jewellery we also have a wide range of crystals which make beautiful gifts for loved ones or just to have with you or in your house to look beautiful and create a calm atmosphere.
As well as crystals we also have beautiful home wares designed by Annie Wilson whom we also share the studio space with. Her label is called Bohome and it is just gorgeous. She creates amazing throws, ottomans, clothing, floor cushions, pillows all in the most amazing hand-drawn patterns and prints. She has just had a baby (a boy called Arlo how cute is that!) so she is not in as much for the moment but will be back once she has had ample time at home enjoying being a new mummy! Her new collection is called ‘The goddesses lair’ and is due to arrive for sale in the studio in a few weeks and is incredible! She shot the look book in my house and used my dog Joanie as a model for her amazing floor cushions! You will have to keep an eye out for the photos.
What can we expect for the store coming into Summer 2016 and in the future?
More beautiful artwork by mum, more pretty clothing and jewellery by me and more beautiful home wares by Annie are all coming in little instalments regularly. As far as the future is concerned, well i guess the skies the limit! I would love to do a collaborative range between all three of us i think that could be really fun!
Lastly, what is each of your favourites in store currently and why?
Ohhh it is so hard to pick! But if I had to, i think my favourites would be the ‘High Priestess Dress’ in Day break which is a beautiful dip dyed bell sleeve wrap dress that was inspired by Stevie Nicks (one of my style icons!) and the Aquamarine ‘ I love you rings’ which are high grade Aquamarine gemstones in pear and emerald cut settings. They are pretty epic! Both items were really fun to design and I was thrilled with how they turned out.
I think Mum’s favourite paintings at the moment are ‘Celestial Doorway’ and ‘Dawn of Time’.
Celestial Doorway is the huge painting that hangs behind the counter at the moment. It is beautiful and very mystical looking with a lot of deep blues, indigo, white, silver and a touch of pink. ‘Dawn of Time’ reminds us of being deep in a tropical jungle it is just beautiful and i know she really enjoyed painting it. It hangs in the far left corner of the studio amongst all her plants and its one that everyone comments on!