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Like us, Castle and Cubby are big believers in encouraging little ones to play outside and unleash their imagination. With a unique design aesthetic and love of all things rustic, Melbourne based couple, Kellie Macpherson and Jon Stones have built a business creating nature-based play spaces using recycled and sustainably sourced materials (they recently caught the eye of The Block). We caught up with Kellie to chat about her inspiration, juggling a business with two young boys, and their latest campaign -featuring little ones in the woods, loving cubby life and wearing Children of the Tribe’s Slow Livin’ collection.
You started Castle and Cubby 4 years ago with your husband Jon. What was your inspiration?
We were inspired to build our first cubby house when we were renovating our home and I was pregnant with my second. We wanted to create a nature-based play space that not only encouraged the kids to be outside, but also fit our design aesthetic of rustic, industrial, repurposed and bloody good looking.
I knew we weren’t alone in our appreciation of the recycled raw aesthetic and sustainably sourced materials so I figured I’d put out them up on Ebay and see what happened. In just a couple of weeks we sold 10 cubbys and I knew then we had a business opportunity. The business growth has been really organic; for 3 years it was a part time business run from our backyard and just over a year ago it became apparent that we would either have to start saying no to jobs, or take the plunge and work on Castle and Cubby full time.
Jon and I have such complimentary skill sets; Jon is a Carpenter and Landscaper and I have a background in Sales, Marketing and Photography, so we’ve been able to marry our skills together really well and drive the business to where it is now.
Did your view of work change after having your boys Jethro, 5, and Shepard, 3?
Before I had Jethro I had been working a corporate environment for over 10 years and when I went on maternity leave I was convinced I’d be back within a year. I spent the year blissfully whiling away my days, being a new mum, catching up with friends with babies and focusing on my photography. When my maternity leave was nearing its end, the panic set in. That first year with Jethro I had honed in on my creativity and that, coupled with the bond I had created with my child, I had totally changed as a person. The thought of returning to a corporate environment was not appealing at all; I tried to fit back in, but found working in a part time capacity difficult so I made the surprisingly easy decision to jump into my own business.
Do you think work and motherhood can successfully coexist?
We can definitely have both, but it takes some serious organisation and routine to ensure everyone has what they need in terms of love, appreciation, development and time. Ultimately I think some aspects of life suffer so that we can achieve our dreams. Jon and I have always used childcare to help us maintain our balance. It allows us time to focus on building a business that supports our family and gives us freedoms that we have not previously had. However, the guilt of knowing that we are missing out on precious time with them can be overwhelming at times. We aim for balance, but it’s definitely not perfect.
What do you love most about your job?
My favourite part of running our own business is the freedom. Freedom to pursue ideas, be creative and get carried away. I have the freedom to dream big and make dreams come true. I love photo shoots, after all the styling it set and you get to stand back and admire the scene for 2 blissful minutes before the kids roll in!
Tell us a little about the inspiration for your latest campaign and the new cubbys?
Everything we have done so far has been using recycled materials, in set sizes with the rustic appeal. We felt it was time to branch out and work with new materials that allowed us to go outside of these dimensions and to create different styles, appealing to a wider audience that perhaps appreciate a more finished look - less rustic.
We have introduced two new styles. The Tribe Cubby House is very much inspired by our love of bold patterns, bohemian styling and contrast. This cubby uses new apple crates - essentially the same as the recycled materials, with a brighter finish, less knocks and dents and perfect for painting. You can replicate any of our styles in this new material.
The Black Barn cubby house is my dream home in cubby size. I have coveted the Black Barn style for many years now and dreamed of living in one. But until that day comes, I just had to build a mini for all the littlies and parents who love some country meets urban style.
We teamed up with some of our favourite brands to bring this shoot to life.
What sorts of things do you love to do together as a family?
We have been so busy with renovating a home and building a business that our favourite time together is spent playing chasey, hide and seek, rolling around the lounge room floor wrestling. Our ultimate favourite thing is family cuddles; just being in each other’s company doing the simple, everyday things is pure bliss.
For more information visit Castle and Cubby
Purchase any item from childrenofthetribe.com and answer the question in the comments section at checkout.
Imagination - the very word seems to sparkle with possibility, and brings to mind a childlike energy and spontaneity that most of us know we should try to attain more often, even if we don't always know how.
Tell us something wonderful and memorable that your child has imagined (in 25 words or less).
Competition ends 25 August 2017