Tell us about Ámes Collective and how it came to life.
The business has evolved over a few wonderful years. I started out as an accessories label a few years ago and ran the company on the sidelines of a Resort marketing career. Up until about 18 months ago I felt as though the label lacked a bit of direction, and it was a solo trip to Morocco that really changed everything for me. I have had a personal experience from the exact places all the Ámes accessory treasures are now produced in. I know the feeling, the climate, the history and the people behind the places where my products are handmade, and that largely influences each range.
Ámes Collective is really an avenue for me to pour the heart and soul of different areas of the globe, into my designs and treasures. The 'Soul Decks' are something I hold very close to my heart as each custom cruiser skateboard I make is a direct reflection of me + my art. I wanted to create something for women (whether they skate or not) that looked awesome on the wall as art, or resonated with their soul when they looked down at their deck whilst skating. It started as a way to encourage women to embrace the BEAUTY of imperfection and what makes each of us happy in life.
Each piece is a piece of art, literally! Can you describe the design process for each deck?
I like to think of the as little pieces of art. I love the fact that you can style them throughout your abode, and then find that perfect piece of abandoned road to take it down to and slide around. I would love to say there is a uniformed process behind each Soul Deck, but they are as haphazard as me. For the custom pieces, I will usually have a few emails or phone calls back and forth with the “Soul Slider” (that’s what I affectionately call anyone who purchases a Soul Deck) just to ascertain their vibe and what they’re into. They will give me as much or as little direction as they like, and I run from there. I have to say the clients whose direction is ‘just do what you want’ are my favorites. The Soul Decks that I design as a part of my ranges have no direction prior to my pencil / paintbrush hitting the timber. I might have a general concept in my head, but once I start, who knows what will happen! It’s like I get possessed by the paintbrush.
We love that you do custom skate board decks! Do you have a favorite custom deck that you've made?
Oh that’s a tough one. I love the ones that come with a cute back story. For me, if I know the intention of the deck then I know what kind of emotion to put into it when I am doing the artwork. There is this couple that I follow on Instagram, who got each other Soul Decks as presents with ‘You Keep Me Wild, I’ll Keep you free’ in different styles on each deck. I love watching their journey and seeing how much that quote drives who they are together and apart. I also love the world map deck I did recently. I can’t choose – it’s like trying to pick a favorite child!
Describe the type of woman (or man) who rides a "Soul Deck" (& why is it called a soul deck).
She (or he) is a professional day dreamer and a life rider. A lover of the sun, the surf, & the street. An owner of permanently salty hair and a shaka, who leaves a trail of sand wherever they tread. That babe who has a permanent smile and a killer carve. Whoever is perfect in their imperfection and doesn’t apologize for who they are. They get up at the crack of dawn, wander down to the beach to do yoga or to surf. They might take a green tea and a rug to meditate. Hell they may even grab some chocolate and head down to lay straight on the sand and laugh - because stuff it - you only live once, right? I named them Soul Decks, purely because I wanted them to resonate with what makes your soul sing.
How much do the decks generally go for pre-designed vs. custom?
The cruisers are all AUD$200, the Fish are $220 and the Longboards are $250, whether I am custom designing or not. The reason the price doesn’t change is because I am going to be doing the artwork on the deck anyway. So I don’t feel the need to charge more for a particular vibe. Remind me of that answer when I am in my bed at 2am putting the final touches on a Mandala styled deck. They are so intricate and full of love and detail – they take a while to do.
At what moment did you realize that you could make the art of creating decks into a career?
Last year, whilst I was still working full-time, I did 91 decks in the year. The orders started coming in SO quickly that it started taking over my life. It was one of those serendipitous moments on New Year’s Day, that brought the right people, moments and decisions together to push me as much as I needed to be pushed. I had been preaching as part of the ámes ethos to ‘live the life you dream of’. Travelling the world with my full time was pretty damn awesome, but it was taxing on the soul and the spirit having to work such long hours and run a business on the side. I thought to myself, the dream would be to have a studio at home on the beach and be able to travel when I want. I am just lucky enough to say that I am now doing that!!
Any challenges of getting into this craft being a woman?
I think being a woman has helped me more! That’s part of the driving force behind my business – that women need to embrace who they are and allow that to drive them in every facet of life.
What's on the office playlist?
Oh so many things. I just love listening to Bob Dylan, Tallest Man on Earth, Mumford & Sons, Boy & Bear or James Vincent McMorrow. I just feel like their music as a collective is so emotive and it delves into the beautiful soulful side of life. While I’m in the studio I need music that inspires me and makes me want to create beauty. That’s always important to me. So folk music like the aforementioned legends or Soul Sisters like Aretha, Ella, Etta!
Favorite place for a business lunch?
There is this divine little place down the coast from my house that my best friends and I visit every Sunday. It’s called ‘Sheoak Shack’ and it is an adorable little café on the water in Fingal (North Coast of NSW, Australia) that has hammock chairs made from driftwood and vintage furniture under an outside shade. There are fairy lights and bits of plastic collected from the beach displayed all throughout the trees which speaks to my eco crusader ways. They let us come in barefoot and sit on the grass. We order Pina Coladas and Pinot Grigio. It is the perfect combination of style and bohemian living. Barefoot Babin’!!
What gets you up for work every day?
Oh I have to say the sunrise. I watch the sunrise over the ocean from my bed, then do yoga on the beach with my besties. Waking up is my favorite part of the day. The promise of something new, the potential for new opportunity and amazing moments. I am lucky enough to be able to walk, do yoga or surf out the front of my place, and then wander downstairs to my studio to start work. To me, it doesn’t feel like work, so each day when I wake up, I just couldn’t be more excited to start the day.
What's the best advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing?
My parents are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me. They have always taught me to value the beauty of the sky so I know how high I can soar, and to have my feet firmly planted in the ground so I know just where I came from. Dad has always said ‘If you can’t be good, be good at it’. Since I was a little grom! They gave me the room to move and grow as a human, and to make my own decisions. So I feel like it helped me discover my wingspan, and encouraged me to make sure I always spread my wings and fly – wow – such a hippie of the heart!
Idea of happiness?
Dirty hands and a happy heart.
Favorite place that you ever traveled to & why?
- Morocco because it tantalizes every sense you can possibly imagine.
- Margaret River because it holds my heart.
- Qamea Island in the north of Fiji because quite simply the island hugs your soul as you jump off the boat into the azure turquoise waters off it’s shore.
- Woody Heads on the NSW coast, because it is one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunrise over the ocean whilst sleeping in your car in the camping ground.
Top 3 Instagram's that you follow:
- @veggie_moments – If you want to SMASH you’re cooking abilities and see some of the most insanely mouthwatering recipes this side of yum town!
- @rachelmagahy – A constant source of inspiration and motivation for me.
- @badrituals – Aesthetic perfection for the humble abode. Transports me to exactly where I wish I was
Do you have a MUSE that you'd love to rock & ride Ámes Collective?
I feel like muses are a bit fleeting, a bit impermanent. I love impermanence because it means we are always growing, always learning, always exploring. Right now the ideal sista Soul Slider would be Erin Wasson, and the ideal brother Soul Slider would be Nick Saxon @nicksax – Musician and National Geographic presenter in AUS – the perfect combo of soul ( I feel like I’m cheating a bit on that one because he already has a Soul Deck heading his way).
Tell us about some of the current collaborations with Ámes Collective right now.
We just finished up an awesome collab with the girls from First Base (www.thisisfirstbase.com). I am currently collaborating with the awesome team at Rhythm Livin’ (@rhythmgirls) and am in discussions with Lorna Jane (www.movenourishbelieve.com / www.lornajane.com.au) about some exciting new projects.
What are something’s our viewers can look forward to seeing with Ámes collective?
On the horizon right now is my trip around Europe and Morocco. The countdown is on (heading off in May) and it will be a trip rich with exploration, soul salutations, van life and inspiration. I am learning new ways to screen print on timber and how to work with leather. So there are lots of new techniques coming your way!! I cant wait to continually release new ranges of soul decks and let the riders know where they were designed. It could be anywhere from Biarritz to Essouira that the new decks were created – which is just so exotic. I want every board of the new range to have a beautiful, soulful, back story. Just like its rider.