Bird and knoll was founded by Macayla Chapman and Natalie Knoll in 2013. Both dynamic duos having Natalie's talent behind the camera and Macayla's creative business background having a broad experience in New Zealand with the most successful fashion businesses. Collaboration focuses on combining tactile, quality textiles and finishes with distinct photographic images to create a beautiful brand of lux accessories. Each of their luxurious oversized cashmere-blend scarves is printed with a photograph of an iconic and exotic destination - a narrative of the modern woman's contemporary lifestyle and travel aspirations.. "we have set out to create an accessories collection that the discerning fashionista would use as the final edit of her outfit - like a great handbag, a beautiful pair of shoes … an eye-catching scarf" says Chapman "these are pieces that simplify her life with their versatility, quality and creative impact."
I was delighted when Natalie agreed to be interviewed for LeBlondeFox about what Natalie and Macayla have created together. Below is a further insight about the two and their brand for us to read. Their achievements with the brand are rising and which we are proud to see in our Australian brands as they continue to do so!
What is your label about?
Bird and Knoll is elegantly brings together fashion, travel and photography on our oversized cashmere blend scarves. We are very much about luxury and quality and versatility.
What made you create this label? Tell us your story.
I (Natalie) have been a professional photographer for more than ten years but had been looking for another creative outlet for a while. The idea came to me when we were travelling and I knew that I needed to do this with friends and fashion aesthete, Macayla. We have been working on the label for a year and a half now and have just lauched our second collection to our more than twenty stockists across five countries and online.
How did you get started in all this?
We had the business background from my years as an investment banker in London and New York. We had the creative photography from my more than ten years as a photographer and we had the fashion and editorial industry know-how from Macayla’s experience working for top fashion labels in New Zealand doing sales and marketing. Taking all of this knowledge and experience and a lot of research and product development, we have slowly but methodically built a brand that we are very proud of.
How many in your team?
The business is really Macayla and I but we have a phenomenal support team with our PR firms in Australia, New Zealand and New York and from our supplier in China.
How did you get to where you are now with your label?
A lot of research, asking the right questions, comparing what we have and want to do with what is out there, taking constructive feedback from our stockists and customers…really focusing on important details that make the Bird and Knoll experience a complete one.
How and what gives your inspiration for each collection? Do you go on fashion trips to gain inspiration?
Bird and Knoll appeals to a broad demographic right from younger fashionistas to more mature fashion doyennes – but they are always women who recognize the value of one of our scarves as the final edit to their outfit.
How do you go about sourcing your products?
Once we have quite a clear idea of what we want from our own research, we liaise with our supplier agent in Hong Kong who is brilliantly effective at helping us to source the right finish, the right quality, the right look for Bird and Knoll.
How many years did it take for your idea to hit reality and start becoming a reality?
It took us a year from when we first started talking about it to delivering our first collection to stockists.
Where is the final product made?
Our products are made just outside of Shanghai using an Italian owned company with representation in China. They are as pedantic about quality as we are.
What’s your current achievement with the brand that you are most proud of?
Being described by Harpers Bazaar as a failsafe travel accessory, being instagrammed by Lindy Klim and Lesley Crawford, being selected as part of the wardrobe ensemble for a new Australian movie…There have been a lot of highlights! We are really so happy with how Bird and Knoll is flying…
What are your future plans with your label?
Scarves will always be the core product of Bird and Knoll but we are looking to introduce an interesting and beautiful new product next year. We have also started collaborating with a well-known Australian designer and head to New York next month for meetings with buyers and media there.
Who’s your inspiration/ fashion designers who you look up to?
Travel and culture and the imagery they generate are our greatest inspirations but we get a little giddy looking at labels like Givenchy and Chanel for their unbelievably amazing details. Australian designers have really come into their own too – wonderfully fresh and unique perspectives that have really made the world sit up and take notice of what is happening Downunder.
What’s your feeling for future trends – We see people wanting more and more simplicity in their lives but not at the expense of style. Design is already and will need to continue to accommodate this in cuts, fabric and versatility.
And lastly, any advice to people who want to get into the industry!
It may sound clichéd, but hard work, research, knowing your market and not compromising on the quality and finish you want are imperative. Most importantly….Be nice!!
Special thanks to Natalie & Macayla xx