Thursday, 30 May 2013

Interview: Lauren Davidson and Simon De Graaf, Girl & Graaf

It's my pleasure to introduce you to the world of Lauren Davidson and Simon De Graaf of Sydney based lifestyle boutique Girl and Graaf. I immediately fell in love with their unique edit of homeware and clothing sourced from across the globe. Inspired by their shared passion for travel, cooking and bric-a-brac, Girl and Graaf stock a great range of brands including personal favourites Penelope Chilvers and Poplin Pajamas I caught up with Lauren and Simon to discuss extraordinary objects and the pared down Girl and Graaf aesthetic. 

Where are you and what are you doing right now?

I am in my loungeroom, waiting patiently for my slow-cooked dinner to finish cooking…

Tell us about your past jobs. What lead you to your current positions?

I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades – I’ve been a ski-instructor, nanny, full-time student, political science intern and yoga teacher and have worked in corporate administration, events, hospitality and retail both here and overseas. It may seem odd that any of these jobs could lead to me where I am now (my parents certainly struggle to keep up!), but I’ve always loved travelling and meeting new people, so running a business that imports gorgeous products from all over the world really is my dream job.
Tell us a little bit about the concept for Girl & Graaf.

Our aim at Girl & Graaf is to bring the excitement and romance of travel to everyday life. We try to find distinctive products from around the world and incorporate them seamlessly into the laidback Australian lifestyle.

What makes Girl & Graaf unique?

We’re unique in our deep appreciation of the fact that good things take time – sometimes we wait months for an artist or producer to prepare an order, but it’s always worth it.

What do you look for in the pieces you showcase?

There are many factors that come into play when looking for pieces to showcase. We’re very supportive of traditional techniques and craftsmanship in manufacturing so we try to deal directly with the people producing the pieces. There’s a sense of warmth that comes from owning something authentic and we’re always on the lookout for that quality.

Who is the Girl and Graaf girl?

I like to think of her as well-read and sophisticated; a bit of dreamer with an enquiring mind. She’s definitely someone who values quality over quantity and would wait patiently to find and maybe save up for that perfect piece.

Does your personal style influence what you buy for the shop?

Absolutely. The Girl & Graaf aesthetic is a direct extension of my own personal style (and Simon’s, though he tends not to get too involved in the fashion and jewellery buying!).

What does the typical day at work look like for you?

Is it too clichéd to say there is no typical day for me? I’m involved in every aspect of the business, so I might be packing orders, attending meetings and dropping off samples one day and working on the computer, paying invoices and drawing up budgets the next.

What are your five essentials?

Coffee, fresh air, family, a good white shirt and a decent hair cut.

What are your top three pieces available in the shop right now?

I’m craving relaxed mornings at home, so our Iris Pyjamas by Poplin are number one on the list. I’m smitten with the Spoon and Well from our Rare & Unique Finds collection and can’t go past our Alacati towel for sheer usefulness – bath towel, beach towel, emergency scarf, picnic blanket. I took it along on my last overseas trip and used it as all of the above.

Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day would begin with me waking up feeling (and looking) fresh as a daisy, of course. I’d head to the beach for a coffee and leisurely walk, followed by breakfast at home with Simon. At about 1pm, I’d settle in for a long, lazy lunch by the water. A late afternoon swim and casual dinner with friends would be the perfect ending to my perfect day.

What’s coming up next?

We’re actually in the process of opening a concept store, close to our home in Bondi, Sydney. I’m looking forward to deepening the Girl & Graaf experience by extending it beyond the computer screen – I can’t wait to open the doors and invite our customers to literally step into our world.

To see more of Lauren and Simon's work, visit their website.


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  3. girl and graaf is such a dream, and lauren and simon are so lovely, too. Come to Australia on a holiday and you can meet all of the people you've profiled :)) xxx

  4. Aah I would love to! Must start saving the pennies! x