INTERVIEW: SARAH MURPHY FROM MURPHY AND DAUGHTERS
After a number of years scouting the globe for beautiful products as the buyer for the iconic Melbourne homewares store Market Import, it struck Sarah Murphy that it would be lovely to produce exquisite products that were made right here in Australia. An thus, Murphy and Daughters was born. Today, Sarah explains how her delicious and beautifully smelling products came to life. 1. Tell us what Murphy and Daughters is all about? I was originally inspired to produce exquisite bespoke product, ethically and sustainable in Australia, along the lines of product I had seen on my travels.
2. You have a very interesting story behind the business name, tell us about it? Well…I was inspired by my great grandfather’s produce store but the name was reinvented by my daughters. Around the same time I was starting this business, Lola had a school project researching a family artefact and I pulled out a dusty old demi john. This was from my great grandfather’s merchant store in Kerang and has MURPHY BROS stamped into it. I started musing about this as a name for my business and Lola came up with the & Daughters!
3. All your products are made in Melbourne and every element is ethically produced, tell us more? As I travelled the world looking for treasures for Market Import, I was constantly so impressed with the quality of beautiful handmade products and thought wouldn’t it be fantastic to make product of this calibre here in Australia. I do think we have an amazing country filled with beautiful, fresh produce, very able people and I really love trying to make products here to the highest standard.4. The names of your candles are all based on books, how do you choose which book names to use? The candles are all based on stories, so each story evokes a time and a place and of course a scent for me. I thought hard about what each of the stories meant for me then developed a fragrance to reflect that. I hope that when you experience the candles you get a sense of that story, that the candle’s fragrance takes you to that place.
5. What challenges have you faced running your own business? You have no idea when you start a business what will be required. I had the most simplistic thought in my head of what I wanted to make and ‘how easy could it be?’ when I began. Biggest challenge so far as a sole trader has been to wear all hats and try and make sure I keep all the balls in the air all of the time. So I go from developing products and packaging to being the packer and storewoman and delivery guy to the saleswomen to the bookkeeper, marketer and publicist and often all before lunch.
6. What has been your most memorable or fist pump moment since launching Murphy and Daughters? Getting an order from Anthropologie in the US and realizing they have 220 stores US wide. Talking to my favourite store IN THE WORLD right now in Paris, the Merci who are very interesting so that would be brilliant.7. You have children of your own, how do you balance your work and home life? I work from home around them and all our family and household activities, (sometimes working way into the night while they are snoozing their little heads off). And when the pace is on, they even pitch in and help. They are both very good box constructors and sticker appliers and can be very articulate with fragrances, design and colour too.
8. What is the process when it comes to producing a scented candle? There are two main considerations, the quality of the product and the look of the product, lots of experimenting with both aspects. Physically, the candle needs to burn impeccably which means after working on a fragrance and getting all the notes right, I then need to make sure the wax blend and wick choice suit the fragrance and allow for a beautiful clean even burn. This is also reliant on the vessel the candle is in. Takes quite a bit of time and experimenting to get perfect!
9. Where do you find your inspiration and motivation from? All around me! I did spend years scouting the globe buying for Market Import and was constantly exposed to exquisite product and incredible artisans who took great care in what they did. That provided the initial inspiration to make my own product.10. Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning? Um that is my sleep-in morning, up and at Hot Yoga by 9am then I usually meet up at the Prahran Market with my daughters who do dance on Saturday mornings and my hubby and we get a bit of a shop done interspersed with coffee and market grazing – maybe an amazing mushroom burger or a gozleme.
5 quick questions
*Favourite TV show? Catweazel, the New Avengers, the Good Wife
*Summer, Autumn, winter or spring? Love moments in all the seasons
*Favourite restaurant? Ms Chu and Franco Choo
*Bright and Bold or white and natural? Bold and Bright
*Country or the city? Country at heart but live in the city and love it
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