I officially met Tanya Northey earlier this year. I was in her gorgeous shop, The Lovely Bird, blissfully meandering through the myriad of beautiful stationery, eclectic home wares and carefully chosen vintage pieces, when I decided to pluck up the courage and pass her one of my first business cards. We struck up a conversation during which I explained I had only just started the business and was a bit shy about promoting myself. Her response was, well… just lovely! Her bubbly enthusiasm was motivating, and when I finally left her little retail haven, I had a lasting smile on my face.
It was during our interview for my fledgling Blog when I first came to the conclusion that this lady is not only lovely, she’s a bit of a powerhouse - in a fabulous way. Tanya is an intelligent, vibrant, and creative business woman who selflessly loves to share what she knows; throughout the interview she was excitedly showing me links to other creatives and offering me seasoned blogging tips. Her joyous laugh is infectious, and her generous, warm nature is echoed through her shop - a pleasant retail exhale, which boasts an ever evolving mix of vintage, eclectic, craft cool pieces. Tanya has a wonderfully unique character, like her shop, and I think the Sunny Coast is just that little bit lovelier for having them both :)
What’s your Sunshine Coast story Tanya? What brought you here and how long have you lived on the coast?
Darius and I met in Sydney, Northern Beaches. His Mum lived here on the Sunshine Coast and when we used to visit her, I loved it - everything was so green and just beautiful! We loved Sydney - I was close to my friends and not too far from my family - but we just couldn’t afford to set up our little family. Isla was two and we were wanting our own place and backyard, so we packed up and moved in early 2000. Straight away we bought our first house, and have owned and renovated a few since then. The Sunshine Coast is just so relaxed and easy going. We love the beaches, the cane fields, the rivers - it’s got it all! The Sunshine Coast meant a relaxed and affordable lifestyle.
What is your design background?
I have none - is this a trick question?!
How would you describe your design style and what inspires it?
I guess you would say I have a vintage, eclectic style. I love all sorts of wooden and old furniture… anything which has a bit of history, is a bit worn and has a story!
Are there any designers/artisans/crafts people that you are particularly loving at the moment?
Kara Rosenlund is a favorite - her photos are amazing and I seriously would steal her caravan (it’s the one that was on the cover of the Australian Country Style). I am loving Sibella Court, she just does no wrong to me! Pia Jane Bijkerk is amazing, Dottie Angel is very clever and crafty. Pam Garrison is also a favorite - I could seriously list about fifty more people!
How did “The Lovely Bird” come to be?
I’d been wanting my own business, or to be doing something more for ‘me’ for a while. At the time I was working with my husband in his business and I’d really felt like I’d had enough. It kinda came out of the blue, but I knew it was right! Within two months of coming up with the idea, I had found a place to lease and was negotiating the rent! It took a while, a lot longer than I thought for the shop to develop.
And what inspired that fabulous title?
I was on a girly weekend at Byron and one of my best friends thought of the name - and as soon as she had said it, it was right. Firstly because everything is lovely to me, not a sentence goes by without me throwing a lovely into it! Secondly, it represented the freedom of the bird, for me to actually spread my wings and fly. Corny huh!
What is your social media weapon of choice!?
Any Blogs that are your particular favorites?
My favorite Blogs at the moment would be Heart Handmade UK, Stylize, Decor8 (Holly Becker), Sukkertoyforoyet, Cherry Blossom, Making it Lovely… Pinterest is in a league of it’s own - it leads me to new blogs everyday!
What are the best things about being your own creative boss?
I can do whatever I feel like - seriously! I can justify an hour on Pinterest as research. I can sit and crochet and know that I can sell whatever I’m making. I get to do the fun stuff for work! But you know, I have to spend equal amounts of time ‘on’ the business, crunching numbers and doing not so fun stuff!
Are there plans in the pipeline for expansion?
Expansion as in adding to my repertoire - yes! I’m hoping to work on a book, it’s dream number two. The way the year is flying by, I’d better hurry up and get serious! I also want to have my own stuff made/manufactured… that’s dream number three.
Where would you like the business to be in a year’s time? Two years?
I just want consistent days here at the shop - less of the ups and downs. A regular flow of customers all day everyday… I’m new to retail, apparently I’m dreaming! Two years? I hope to have a separate studio and to be designing a lot more, and have a book keeper and a few staff helping with the shop! And I want to be in the Australian Country Living Magazine or Real Living Mag...
Sunshine Coast Pop Quiz
Fav Sunny Coast designer/artisan? Karina Sharpe is a very clever lady...
Fav Sunny Coast retail outlet/s? I love Yandina demolition - does that count?!
Fav Sunny Coast cafe/restaurant/foodie paradise? The Velo Project, of course! Those girls are awesome, we set up around the same time - I signed my lease papers on one of their first days. They are a similar style to me and they are killing it!
Fav Sunny Coast weekend routine? I love Sundays. Drive to Perigean, grab a coffee and browse the shops and markets. It’s been one of my favorite things for years.
Fav Sunny Coast icon/landmark? I love Mount Column, I can see it from my kitchen sink.
Fav Sunny Coast hangout? The Velo Project. Otherwise the beach - any beach - or a park or at home in my jim jams - can that be an actual hangout?! (she laughs)