I've been trying to pin down the woman behind Style Revolutionary, Rachel Schurmann, for quite some time now. We met at the beginning of the year in a fabric showroom + I quickly came to admire her brilliant talent for sourcing gorgeous things in what seems to be the most obscure places both online + in real life. Read on to discover a little more about her new venture.
What is Style Revolutionary all about?
Ever since I can remember I've had a passion for interiors + fashion. I love the mix of new, old, modern + vintage, mixing colour + pattern whilst keeping it grounded with a neutral base. My style is completely eclectic + not too 'pretty' - it has to have a darker edge.
I grew up learning to sew + always made my own things - this is definitely where my love of textiles came from. We lived on a farm + I loved exploring old sheds, under the house + along the creek that ran through our property, always finding something that had been left by my grandparents who settled the property. Sometimes it would be a retro piece of clothing, an old photograph or my Dad's toy aeroplane. Every piece was unusual + beautifully worn with age.
I remember being taken to secondhand shops + salvage yards as a child. As I've grown, I've continued to source pieces of vintage clothing, furniture, art + unusual things; creating my own items from jewellery, clothes + cushions, + reupholstering or reworking old pieces of furniture. When I moved to Brisbane I had no formal training but landed myself an assistant job in an interior design firm. I learned a lot on the job + this knowledge was invaluable, but I also discovered that I wanted to get into the textile industry. Soon I ended up working in wholesale soft furnishing textiles + have been doing so for the last decade... which ultimately led to the creation of Style Revolutionary.
The business has evolved very organically, I'd had a lot of encouragement from clients to start my own business in styling + sourcing but wasn't sure how to go about it + make sure I incorporated my own unique twist. After nutting it out with a very dear friend, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to source one-of-a-kind and vintage fashion + homewares + if people like my style I would offer both fashion + home styling sessions. I wanted to be able to supply primarily to a younger market, with a good price point but also offering something that they're not going to see everywhere. Initially I experimented with selling my sourced items via Instagram, Facebook + market stalls but have now set up a retail space in Albion, Brisbane. I love the hunt for new product +, although unplanned, this has led to me offering a wholesale side to my business which includes trims, textiles, wallpaper + lucite side tables. My wholesale range ties in perfectly with the aesthetic + youthful, unique vibe of the retail product. This extension to the business made perfect sense as I really enjoyed working in the textile industry + had built strong relationships + friendships with clients. It's been great that I can keep this going + still incorporate all the things that I love.
You mentioned that the business has grown pretty organically, at what point did you realise it was a viable business rather than a hobby?
I think I realised this after my first two Vieille Branche market days. They were both very successful + I sold out of nearly all my product. Even from the people who didn't make a purchase, the feedback was positive + encouraging. After the last market day I was given the opportunity to rent a shared space at Albion with Vieille Branche + some other great creatives. Having my own retail space was once only a dream to me, I couldn't see how I could ever afford it, so this opportunity was one I could not pass up. Also, having a space for interior designers to view the wholesale product was very important to me. I have not started out with any savings + it's been a real leap of faith to take this on. I'm still sorting out the nitty gritty in terms of running a business, so will need to appoint an accountant + I plan on undertaking a small business course. I have been very fortunate that my partner Ezra La Vin is a graphic designer + photographer + together we have designed my identity, website + styled + photographed all my product images. This collaborative process has been great as it constantly forces me to objectively refine the essence of Style Revolutionary.
You've recently set yourself up in a shared showroom space - what are the challenges + benefits you've encountered doing it this way?
At this stage it's been relatively smooth sailing... although we have been the first to occupy the space so the biggest challenge is getting people through the door + letting them know we're here. One of the great benefits would have to be that it's an affordable option in terms of renting a work space, it is also important that we're all linked creatively so hopefully we will all flow + feed nicely off one another. The space consists of one very large open retail area that I'm situated in, along with several smaller offices. The other types of businesses sharing the space include French antiques + old wares, picture framing, graphic designers + soon there will be an interior designer, photographer + fashion designer. Having other company around is great, being in a large space by yourself can be a little lonely at times!
If you had to pick on particular favourite out of your product stable (difficult I know!) what would it be + where would you love to see it?
I'm a sucker for detail in soft furnishings! I would love to see my new favourite trim, the three bell tassel fringe, manufactured in a custom vibrant colour giving it a modern twist, then sewn onto drapes + installed in an industrial style love mixed back with an eclectic range of furniture + curiosities.
What's next for you + for Style Revolutionary?
The shared space is having a Christmas market day on Saturday 14th December, which we hope will be another successful day. I have just finished sourcing new product + it is all starting to arrive now! Christmas + New Year will be spent with family + friends with much eating, drink + resting! Then early in the new year I'll look at extending the time I spend in the space + try to allocate a few days a week to visit wholesale clients with new product.
Finally, which creatives are inspiring you at the moment?
I think any creative who is doing something they love + making a living from it is pretty inspiring! Some individuals include: Adam from Quercus & Co (the wallpaper range I represent) is an inspiration to me constantly - he just keeps designing amazing new product + never disappoints with his colour mixes + patterns. Elke Kramer is a master a presenting a whole package from start to finish. Her unexpected + unique jewellery pieces integrated with her graphic design background is the perfect mix, not only do you get an amazing piece of jewellery but is also comes in the most well thought out + designed packaging. I've started to collect it - it's great for displaying! Kelly Framel, blogger of The Glamourai, is another. I love how she blends fashion + interiors and is not dictated to by fads. She is a master of mixing old + new + puts her own little twist on everything whether in her outfit ensembles or her home interior.