This is an unlikely tale of how Anita and Carlo’s love of food led to their discovery of a new way of life and the start of boyandgirlco.
Let’s start from the beginning…
“We were having a meal at ‘Kitchen by Mike’. A canteen-style restaurant in Sydney that former Rockpool chef, Mike McEnearney, created because he wanted to strip down traditional restaurant dining into something more honest,” says Carlo.
“It’s in the old Rosella cannery factory that’s been converted to house the canteen.
“The décor, particularly outside, was incredible.
“They have the remnants of ‘Happy Talk’ an art installation by Liane Rossler (ex Dinasaur Designs) and Heidi Dokulil, which is basically a house made out of pallets.”
On their drive home, they started talking about the furniture and décor at the canteen, and the whole idea of reusing and recycling, using local products and leading a more sustainable lifestyle. Suddenly they decided…
“Let’s sell all our furniture and make our own!” says Anita.
“It just felt right.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
“At the start, we didn’t have any carpentry skills or power tools so we did it all by hand,” says Carlo.
“We did think ‘There must be an easier way to do this?’!”
“Our parents were so worried. My mum kept asking ‘Do you need money? We’ll give you money’,” laughs Anita.
“Once we were finished, we invited our friends and family over and they were really impressed by what we had created,” says Carlo.
It wasn’t a business idea to start with but once we saw the reaction of our family, we made a decision to start selling.
Anita and Carlo radiate with energy and throw that full force behind their work. For the first three months of starting boyandgirlco, they booked out every weekend attending markets and working until the early hours of the morning to keep up with demand.
“It was a crazy time,” says Carlo.
Six months on, they now work full time doing what they love.
“Our business is growing so big, we had had to choose what we loved more so earlier this year we both left our full-time jobs,” says Carlo.
“Custom orders are the largest part of our business.
We started making bookshelves and tables but lately have taken on much bigger orders such as shop fit-outs for juice bars and bakeries.
In October they will have their first exhibition in the Nishi Gallery – anew – which will run daily from 11-26 October. It will showcase how boyandgirlco can find beauty in, and reconstruct, objects that would otherwise be discarded.
Their ultimate dream for boyandgirlco?
“Our goal is to change how people buy furniture.
“We believe in putting our customers first, being true to our word, creating products that people know where they have come from and continually reusing and renewing materials so they don’t end up in landfill.”
They will soon start to putting ‘distance travelled’ on their custom orders – their pieces stamped with 20 kilometers vs 150,000 kilometers for products important from China.
We want to trial a new way of buying furniture where people can sit with designers and consultants to create furniture that’s just right for the space.
“Imagine seeing a 3D rendering of the furniture in your space so you know how big or small it is – that’s what we want to create.”