In a time when everything seems to be ready-made or easily disposable it‘s refreshing to hear of a company that’s trying to reduce their carbon footprint and save a piece of the planet for the next generation of kiddies. That’s pretty much why Apple & Bee formed. Design duo Brett Pattinson and Claire Morris both come from backgrounds that are more about sustainability than commercialism. We were sick and tired of “cheap rubbish”, says Brett. Claire also confesses to hating “plastic fantastic products” that people use for a month then throw away only to create more waste.
They launched their first collection of designer cosmetic, travel and baby bags to rave reviews. Not only for the stylish design of the bags, but also for the products minimal impact on the environment. ‘Our whole business is climate friendly’, enthuses Brett. They apply this philosophy to every aspect of the business, whether it’s their eco-friendly material choices of certified organic cotton, bamboo silk, hemp or calico or their manufacturing, warehousing and packaging. In fact, any carbon emissions that do result from the running of Apple & Bee are neutralised by the company paying for energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. They even donate part of their profits to environmental organisations – a rare thing for a business to do, and particularly so in these tough economic times.
So, not only do the beautiful, bold fabric prints stand-out from the crowd, they’re also environmentally sound and will stand the test of time through their quality craftsmanship. I think Brett describes their products best when he says, “They’ve got the message but they’ve also got the high-end style and design”. We agree.
THE ROCK & ROLL GUY
Otherwise known as: Brett Pattinson
Prior to Apple & Bee: Brett was living the rock & roll lifestyle as front man for internationally renowned ska band The Allniters, who knocked up a Number 2 hit in the Australian charts in 1984. However, a serious case of burnout led him to leave his successfully band days behind in search of a more balanced existence which came in the form of natural therapies. Yes, after fronting a rock & roll band, Brett became a therapeutic practitioner. After studying Shiatsu, Aromatherapy and Naturopathy, he decided to deepen his understanding and studies in Shiatsu by going to its very heart and birthplace – Japan. This trip to Japan was the final piece of the puzzle in shaping Brett’s future direction, as his next step was more like a gigantic leap of faith. Brett founded Bod around 9 years ago and later Bod for Bubs which are skincare companies that combine eastern wisdom with the knowledge of modern therapeutic practice. Still thriving today, Bod can be found in over 250 stores around Australia and 30 different countries around the world and in 2006 was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Father to: a son named Lenin (nearly 7), and a daughter Billie (22 months).
Favourite Apple & Bee product: Brett jumps in quickly to say, “probably the beach bag, we have one we use all the time for the beach. It’s just a practical bag”, then lastly Brett adds, “I also like the new overnight bag, it’s pretty amazing even though I can’t imagine carrying it myself because it’s a bit too girly and ……..the sparkles don’t really work for me!”
Brett on how he juggles a business & family: “With great difficulty”, he confesses. Brett emphasises that after running Bod for so many years he learnt that there is always going to be work and an in-tray piled high, but you have to realise you’ll never get to the bottom and it’s always about prioritising and recognising when you need to stop and rebalance. Brett goes on to say, “small businesses runs on people’s desperation and usually success comes out of that desperation not from good management. Most small businesses are opportunistic so when you’re chasing the cash-flow thing, you’re always trying to take whatever work comes your way instead of sticking to your game plan and moving forward. Most people I know who have had small businesses and go through this suffering, get too desperate and then they lose focus and lose track”.
Bestseller: For its shape and function, Brett chose the fold-out toiletry bag.
Favourite family moments: ‘’For our family it’s definitely eating!” enthuses Brett. “Lorena (Brett’s wife), is South American/Italian and for Lorena growing up, it was just her and her mother. So it was not an easy time and for the pair, food and eating was a time for joy and celebration of family. That’s very much a part of our family now too”.
Most challenging moments as a parent: “Not getting too angry”, admits Brett and “not trying to turn your kids into someone that you think is the way for them to be. To me that’s a big thing, letting them be who they want to be, but without letting them run rings around you”.
THE DESIGNER EXTRAORDINAIRE
Otherwise known as: Claire Morris
Previously: Morris launched her career at Sydney design studio, Moon Design before fulfilling every girl’s dream of working as Art Director of marieclaire. Morris’s success and talent in her field also led her to design for brands including Seafolly, Schwarzkopf, Sportscraft, Bod, Bod for Bubs, Qantas, Gaia Organic Cotton and Little Gypsies. Claire also freelanced for Bod and Bod for Bubs. During her highly successful design career she has also received an accolade of awards including AGDA, MPA and SAPPI.
Mother to: a son named Dylan (23 months).
Favourite Apple & Bee product: “The pencil case”, enthuses Claire.”Everyone loves the shape!” Then followed closely by “the baby sleeping bags”. That’s probably more a personal thing for me” Clair continues. I’m a big fan of them and there’s nothing else around that is 100% organic velour without any synthetics…..I just think it’s a really good product”.
Claire on how she juggles a business & family: “Late nights and sleep deprivation!” confesses Claire. “I’m starting to understand no matter how hard you work there’s always going to be stuff to do but it’s how you actually deal with it that counts”. Having seen some of her friends working themselves into the ground and burning out, she manages to stay on track by putting everything in perspective and by, “maintaining focus when you’re with your family”.
Apple & Bee bestseller: For its design, Claire chose Apple Blossum Red.
Favourite family moments: ‘’Focusing around the dinner table, good food, catching up with friends”, says Claire. She later adds, “probably also going to the beach, early morning or late afternoons and going and playing in the water and sand, nature, getting outside, oh and Sesame Street”.
Most challenging moments as a parent: Claire admits that,” now I’m starting to realise that maybe there has to be a few more ground rules. It’s a bit of hard work, but I think it will be worth it in the long run”.
For stockists and to see the current range please visit Apple & Bee.
Compiled by Hannah.
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