I am thrilled to bring to you, as part of our 'people behind the brand series' the gorgeous Aleisha of The Lucy Chase Project. Aleisha styles gorgeous events and weddings under her new Hawkes Bay based business, Lucy Chase. Before bringing Lucy Chase home, Aleisha worked one of Australia's leading wedding planning and styling companies. A welcome breath of fresh air for the Hawkes Bay wedding industry. Thank you also to Aleisha for allowing me to share all of her amazing images from her own wedding shot by photographer Lilli Waters.
Tell us about The Lucy Chase Project, how and why did it all begin for you? And what is happening currently?
The Lucy Chase Project was started as a blog in the winter of 2012. I was working tirelessly in an unpaid internship (Melbourne) and was very keen to make an impression on the events world. In particular, the world of weddings.
I chose an alias in ‘Lucy Chase’. Initially I was a bit scared to share who was behind the brand. I had no financial goals for TLCP and chose early on not to monetize it.
One day I noticed the creative director of Georgeous (Melbourne) following me. Of course, I sent her a fan-girl email and 3 days later had a job. I worked for 3 years with the Georgeous team moving from Wedding planner and stylist to eventually Brand and Marketing Manager. I absolutely loved everything about my job and was exposed to an incredible world of weddings and business. TLCP was put second in line over this time.
I got engaged in 2014 and we made a decision to tie in the wedding with a move back to NZ. I realised very early on I needed to create a job and industry for myself in NZ.
I spent 2015 doing lots of market research and planning for the next chapter of The Lucy Chase Project, which evolved into a business named simply Lucy Chase.
The one area of the Hawkes Bay industry, which seemed particularly dated (and in need of a shake-up!) was the lack of options for hire for weddings. It was impossible for me to be a wedding stylist without the fundamentals of hire pieces. I looked at Queenstown, Waiheke and Tauranga and knew the Bay had the same potential.
Don’t get me wrong; there are some great options here but no hire furniture that tickled my fancy. And so… we made the leap and invested in 150 beautiful bentwoods and set about custom making tables, bars and bench seats and just like that I had a business! It was a pretty big risk and significant outlay.
We were married in January and this I guess this was the official launch. Since Jan, we have secured several exciting jobs and are rapidly growing our client base and inventory.
Once we establish the hire side of the business there will be more to come. I have to tell myself to slow down on a daily basis! All far too exciting!
How does a normal day unfold for you?
My day always starts with a coffee and my laptop at the dining table planning the day ahead. I am complete productivity and to-do list nerd. I try to stick to my rule of having the biggest thing on my list ticked off by 11am.
Generally speaking earlier in the week there is a lot of admin. Emails, quoting and invoicing. Eventually I would love to employ someone to look after this side of the business.
I try to get on the road a couple of days a week to visit venues, meet suppliers and of course clients. I love this face-to-face contact and for the start up it has been such an important part of the growth.
My evening down-time is usually Pinterest or Instagram. I convince myself this is still working! I have a tonne of secret boards with my crazy ideas and projects.
Fridays usually involve time in the warehouse getting ready for the weekend. Weekends are often bumping in and out of weddings and events. And of course, having a cheeky vino on a Sunday evening feeling pretty lucky to be able to be doing this for myself.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by game-changers. The people who push the boundaries and rewrite the rules. The ones who march to the beat of their own drum. In the wedding game I love Joy Thigpen, Amy Merrick and of course my old team at Georgeous.
From an aesthetic point of view. I am inspired by interiors - cafes in particular.
As I am sure is the same with most creative, Pinterest makes my heart flutter on a daily basis. Anything from a pair of shoes to a wild floral arrangement.
What are you reading right now, books, magazines, websites, blogs?
Books – I was recently given ‘Start me up’ by Robert Klanten and Anna Sinofzik. It is beside the bed and I have spent the last few nights pouring over the beautiful pages.
Podcasts – When I drive I often put on Kate Robinson’s Planted with light podcasts.
Magazines – I never miss an issue of The Collective, Homestyle, Dumbo Feather and Together Journal.
Your fashion style and your interior style, explain them to us.
My fashion style is very minimalist and simple with a touch of bohemian occasionally popped in for good measure. I invest in pieces such as sunglasses and handbags and then team them with basics usually in black, white, grey or stripes…
Our interior is a whole lot of neutrals. I love Scandinavian interiors and textures – linens, concretes, furs… Oh and houseplants! It broke my heart when I had to give away my collection when we left Melbourne and am slowly gathering more.
We are visiting your local area for a day, can you suggest what we can do? Shops, cafes, attractions?
Any in the Eat, Drink, Share Hawkes Bay group. (Smiths, Albion Canteen, Picnic and Opera Kitchen). Hapi. Bistronomy. Blackbarn. Wright and Co.
I love the lesser known Central Hawkes Bay beaches, in particular Akito and Kairakau. Take a picnic and make sure you stop at the amazing op shops along the way.
Te Puia Hot Springs is our secret spot for wowing our Australian friends.
And lastly, what are you cooking for dinner guests right now?
And lastly, what are you cooking for dinner guests right now?
It would likely include something my husband has foraged or caught. Anything you can eat with your hands and share!
Our go-to for dinner guests is home-made tortillas (a recipe from Al Brown) served with freshly caught fish, lots of chilli and a colourful herby salsa.
Thank you so much Aleisha, welcome home to Hawkes Bay. We cant wait to see what exciting up and coming projects you have planned.