Emilie O’Connor Homestore introduces hemp cushions at Life Instyle
With a background in theatre design as well as textiles, Melbourne-based designer Emilie O’Connor felt like she had been designing things without any purpose and wanted to create products that told a story but were also sustainable.
“So many things are made without thinking what impact they have on the environment,” she says.
“I want to build an eco-friendly homewares and lifestyle brand that gives back to the environment, enabling us to live more consciously and with a lighter footprint. I believe designers have a responsibility to use sustainable materials and manufacture products that minimise our impact on the environment. What we buy matters and how we use it makes a difference to the environment and our lives.”
She takes her inspiration from the unique Australian flora and fauna, and every design has a story, from the dreamtime Dugong mermaids to the seagrass and the green turtle.
“One of our best-sellers is the Dugong print, people absolutely love it and it’s a great conversation topic,” she laughs.
Indeed, all products are designed to spark conversation and action. Five per cent of profits go to conservation projects including the Surfers Against Sewage, helping them to campaign against untreated sewage entering the sea and run one Million Mile beach clean-up.
O’Connor started her business with cups and bowls, then developed a whole tableware range and recently she introduced some Indian textiles into the mix.
“We create the print and turn it into homewares and bags. We have an oversized beach bag which is very popular and we will be launching more additions before summer.”
O’Connor exhibited at Life Instyle Melbourne, her third time at the show and she received great feedback to her hemp cushions, which were new at the fair.
“We’ve included the endangered Australian animals print on the cushions as well as a rainforest print and they were in high demand at the show.”
O’Connor’s products are available in Australia and the UK and she has plans to expand further into Europe in the near future.