How Two Australian Designers Are Making It In Paradise
Cat and Geo describe their daily rituals as Brisbane creatives building their brands in Bali.
Have you ever thought about packing up your life in Brisbane and moving to a place where the summer is endless? Both Cat Henesey-Smith and Geo Moriarty did exactly that.
Interview with Cat Henesey- Smith:
Your daily lunch break usually entails?
I currently work as a designer for a company over here so I spend my lunch breaks either driving to one of my suppliers, sketching some designs and quickly smashing a Nasi Goreng.
How did the decision to move to Bali come about?
Ever since I came on my first holiday here I knew I could see myself living here. The job came about while I was on a 6-month solo travel adventure in Europe so I quickly flew home and packed up my things! Never looked back.
What’s your advice for people in Brisbane wanting to start a fashion label?
Find a gap in the market, design something that inspires you and plan, plan, plan. There is so much more to starting a label than what people think. Just have fun and be creative.
How has Bali inspired you as a designer?
The most incredible thing about living in Bali is all of the creative people around you. Everyone has such an entrepreneurial mindset and is doing their own thing which really pushed me to start my label.
Interview with Geo Moriarty:
The moment you wake up you..?
I don’t wake up here – I get woken up! By puppies pawing at my face or playing tug of war with my hair. So the first thing I do is plead with them to give me another few minutes of sleep… then give in and take them outside and soak up the bird sounds and warm Bali air.
What pieces make up your favourite outfit for a day in Bali?
Depends on the day, but my universal rule is, the more low maintenance the better. If I’m not riding my scooter that day I’ll throw on one of my mini smocks over a bikini, otherwise, it’s a vintage t-shirt and some well-cut denim. At sunset (coconut sipping time) I’ll throw on my favourite crochet dress and some fringed slides.
Describe your ideal office space?
For me, a heavenly workspace is somewhere I can work uninterrupted. My office is wherever my laptop is so last week I worked in the countryside near Ubud surrounded by rice paddies and palm trees. It was magic. There were even fireflies at night. My kind of office.
How has Bali influenced your designs?
Artistic flair and beauty are integral to the Balinese culture and it’s inspiring to be around. Sometimes it’s grand but most of the time it is humble, like a homemade offering topped with incense and a flower laid carefully in the middle of a busy intersection with the intention of protecting all passers-through. That’s so beautiful and it reminds me that the little details really matter. On a more practical level I’m also working with local artisans and what they can create by hand is just incredible.
Nightly beauty regime?
Another area that Bali has brought out the low-maintenance me! I rarely wear makeup here so a good old fashioned face wash and moisturiser will do me. I used to indulge in the latest and greatest beauty potions but I’m a changed woman I tell you! Keeping it simple is best.
How has Brisbane inspired you as a designer?
Brisbane is my birthplace and was my home during the inception of my brand. When I look back now, I can see it was an absolute safe haven – a nurturing and supportive environment to embrace the trial and error needed to get on my feet with my brand.
Feature image: Cat Henesey-Smith and Geo Moriarty