LOVE One Another, it’s the advice our mothers gave us, simple advice and good advice too I think you’ll agree? The simplest of notions are often the best and in this particular context it rings true too, for One Another is actually a Sydney based, ethical homewares brand that is strong on style and big on heart…and in all truth I’ve fallen in love with it. The gorgeous husband and wife team, being Rick and Annette Carter, set about to create a brand that bought together traditional artisan techniques with a modern aesthetic. Their bold and elegant, contemporary designs make for an eloquent match with the artisan skills of two amazing groups of women, one from Lucknow in India and the other in Cape Town in South Africa.
Community spirit comes naturally to Rick and Annette, their generous and smart approach to business is a go-to guidebook to all in business really, also a challenge to consumers to question where and how the products we all consume, are made. This strong urge to work together, to mend society, to collaborate is a trend that will keep on, keeping on for years to come.
It’s these empowering partnerships, that is, Rick and Annette’s committment to ethical production and their dedication to making a difference to the lives of the women they work with that gives such great feeling to their already awesome range of products. So awesome in fact, that I feel safe in announcing my “Cushion of the Year” award in this here month of May. Yes, you heard me right. If you can get your hands on any one of their hand-woven, reclaimed t-shirt fabric cushions, then you most definitely should. They’re terrifically tactile and their touched by the hand (made by hand) feels great in every conceivable way, and yes those pops of colour are just as good in the flesh as they are in the photos. This is socially responsible design at its very best and damn it looks good too. One Another are most definitely at the forefront of the movement here in Australia, their good-looking and feel-good goods tap into society’s re-focus on well-being, authenticity and truth. Amen to that.
Rick was a graphic designer in his life before One Another and it seriously shows. It was the great graphic stimulation that initially enticed me to their products, then came the knowledge of their strong ethical stance. It was WIN, WIN that day. Both Indigo Vessels and Starry Night (as above) receive my “Cushion of the Year” award…need both of these beauties stacked up in bed.
The smart assortment of fresh colour and great combinations of same alongside textures you really want to touch, make for marvellous. These hues of blue are seriously deep, dive in..
Now, before I hand you over to Rick and Annette, who have answered some questions for more of an insight into their life, I must make mention of the inspiration behind their awesome business name, as it says it all really…One Another is inspired by the concept of unity and a love for one another. This really is cushion cool. Peace. x
Tell us a little ABOUT your background.
Rick: After studying advertising in Sydney I worked as a graphic designer here before embarking on world travels ending up in London. Having grown up in a small rural town I embraced travelling and experiencing other cultures, during this time my passion in photography developed. I returned to Sydney and studied photography before launching my own design and photography business called Jimmy Too, named after my first camera.
The idea for creating an ethical homewares range came after trips to the Philippines and India photographing women working their way out of poverty, for not-for-profit Opportunity International Australia. On these trips we saw the amazing artisan skills and decided to create a product that combined traditional hand embroidery with modern designs.
Annette: I studied Fashion Design and have been fortunate enough to work for some great Sydney labels as a Designer, Pattern Maker and Design Room Manager for the last 15 years.
Rick and I were always keen to pool our combined talents into a project that would be ours together. It was after travelling to India that the seed was planted for what has grown into One Another. It still took several years (and one small child arriving!) for us to make it happen but we knew it would be fair trade, that it would be working with amazing artisans around the world and that it would be a creative voice for us.
Real life HERO?
Annette: This is really corny but …..my husband Rick. I admire his vision and heart for other people.
Also, the women we are working with. They are using their amazing talents to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. They are very much an inspiration for us to do what we do.
Rick: I am not sure I have a hero but I really admire people like Blake Mycoskie who founded TOMS shoes. If his simple business model of ‘One for One’ was adopted by every brand, the world would be a very different place.
Favorite ITEM from your current collection? Best SELLER?
The Lead Light Heart cushion with intertwined stained glass hearts in classic black and white was very popular. The texture of the hand-woven reclaimed t-shirt yarn is very unique. We also love Khadi Vessels in White which has overlapping vessels hand embroidered in white on hand loomed khadi in slate.
You have an hour to spare on the internet, what sites and blogs will you be SURFING?
Rick: I actually like to ‘google’ a word, it might be a colour or something to do with fairtrade, I look at all the images and click on anything interesting. You can find lots of inspiring and beautiful sites.
FOOD from the Gods?
Rick: Ice Cream. Gelato Messina has opened not far from my studio in Surry Hills, they have new flavour combos on the chalk board every week with quirky names that just draw you in. From the first lick, you’re addicted…
Sunday morning RITUAL?
Our son, who is 2 and a bit, likes to help make coffee. We sit in the courtyard reading the paper and magazines or in summer we head to Bronte Beach. Nothing beats starting the day with a swim.
Top SYDNEY spot?
Rick: We always enjoy Carriageworks Markets on a Saturday morning, the fresh produce in a unique industrial space creates a great vibe. LOVe this market.
Annette: We love Surry Hills and the surrounding suburbs where we live and work but on the weekends in summer it’s all about Bronte and the amazing coastal walk.
With a swing tag that reads.. “our range of ethical products encourages people to support one another and is designed to enhance your life and the lives of the women that make them.” …you know you’re buying right, right? Plus you’ll get to know exactly who lovingly handcrafted your wonder homeware as each piece from the collection has been signed by its maker. It’s this attention to detail and lets face it, the attention to humanity that will ensure that One Another is a brand that is loved by many for years to come.
Tips for TRaVEL to India..
I think one of the best things to do when travelling around India is to always catch local transport. From cycle rickshaws to clapped out buses and rickety trains, travelling with locals you get a small glimpse of what their lives are like. Agreed, and it will encourage mad adventures too.
What’s next for ONE ANOTHER?
We are part of an exciting collective of five emerging designers called The Design Residency, set up by two amazing individuals Amanda Talbot and Lorraine Lock. Definitely check out the Design Residency, Amanda and Lorraine are doing very exciting things for the future of design.
In time we want to create more work for more talented artisans around the world as well as the two groups we are already working with. Our great hope is always that we are helping to make their lives better. We also want to see the world change so that fair trade is not just a tag line but the way we all live.
While we are dreaming big, we are also working on the next range and have lots of exciting projects in the pipe line. Stay tuned. Most definitely. X