Summer makes us think of ways to bring the beach vibes indoors, even when we're not on vacation. And while most of us haven't been lucky enough to visit the shores of Magnetic Island in Queensland, Australia, it is possible to bring a bit of it home. Etsy store Barkly Lane specializes in hand-dyed linens in a variety of natural hues. All made with traditional dying methods, each piece is unique, and are often dyed and dried outside, just yards from the ocean.
We spoke with Ashleigh, the creator behind Barkly Lane, about what its like to run a business so close to the beach, what it's like to see her pieces travel so far, and why hand-dying isn't as simple as it seems.'
How did Barkly Lane get started?
We've been around for 2 years now. We moved from the city to an island in tropical North Queensland, and with this drastic life change I felt I was lacking a creative outlet and needed to do something for myself.
I started selling on Etsy as the first step in my business. It's a great platform for people to find those unique hand made pieces, [so] it seemed like a natural fit. Etsy has been magnificent for Barkly, since starting we've been found by magazines from Australia to America, featured in blogs and it's helped us make amazing connections to people all over the world.
What is the story behind the shop's name ?
A conversation that went on for months that consisted of nights sitting around saying every word that popped into our heads. I knew I wanted it to be something Lane and Barkly just happened; there's a Barkly street in Melbourne and the name always caught my eye.
Is Barkly Lane your full-time job?
It's fairly full time, I'm really lucky, my fiancé and I own a jet ski hire business on Magnetic Island. We work really well as a team; on days where I'm swamped I can be at home and get all the orders out and days where he needs me I can be there instead. I don't have employees so to speak but I do have an incredible support network who I can always count on to help me pack orders or cut rope.
What is the best-selling item in your shop?
I'd say it's our tea towels, they're such a practical gift but unique as well.
Where do you create your products?
At home, I've taken over one of our rooms and we have a huge laundry that I've also claimed. If the weather is beautiful and cool then I like to dye outside. We've recently bought an acre and I've been designing my studio for a while. I can't wait until I have an actual retreat to escape to.
Do you have an favorite Etsy store (besides your own, of course!)
Fox and Hart. I'm slightly obsessed with calligraphy and their Instagram is heavenly.
Whats one hard part of your work that people may not realize?
People perhaps don't realize how intense the process is, it's much more than just sticking some material in a bucket. Generally, to dye a batch of 10 pieces it can take around three hours, and for at least one hour I sit with it, stirring and monitoring and then I press and tag, so each piece is truly special.
What do you do for inspiration when you're stuck?
I have a few creative girlfriends who probably don't realize how amazing they are. So coffee and taking a walk through nature with them can often be all it takes to give me some clarity.
What celebrity would you like most to buy one of your products?
Maggie Beer? She is such an Australian icon and she's always in the kitchen, she needs some Barkly Lane in her life. Or Leighton Meester, because Gossip Girl for life.
How do you imagine people using your products at home?
I imagine them surrounded by love and family, making their new homes a little more beautiful.
Check out some of our favorite products from Barkly Lane below: