Raw Sunshine owner Katie, might just be living the dream. Having spent some time getting inspired in Scandinavia, Katie started making handcrafting beautiful, simple furniture on the idyllic Sunshine Coast of Australia. Her furniture pieces were keenly embraced and now Katie has a kick-arse homewares store to showcase her own pieces along side some cool brands like Kip&Co! So sit down, relax, and enjoy a cuppa with Katie. x

Photography @thedreamlife_design

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Raw Sunshine started as a bespoke furniture business on Queensland’s sunshine coast. It’s now that, and so much more! How has the business evolved?

We have built RAW Sunshine Coast from the ground up. Starting out as just the two of us handcrafting furniture from of a small shed, hidden away at the rear of an industrial complex, to now, perfecting our craft, with six employees, an amazing new space and a backlog of custom furniture orders as long as your arm.

Right from the beginning we’ve had a vision and every year we’ve taken a step closer and closer towards this. Our custom made solid timber furniture and joinery remains our core business, with our range of interior décor, gifts and fashion becoming more and more prominent.

At the beginning of September, we opened the doors to the Sunshine Coast’s ultimate furniture and interior lover’s destination, combining all aspects of RAW Sunshine Coast into one exciting location. The huge new collective space is located at 23 Kayleigh Drive, Maroochydore and proudly displays and houses our custom furniture and joinery workshop, furniture showroom, office and the hottest espresso bar in town, The Daily Social.

As many small business owners know, self-employment is quite the roller coaster. There are amazing highs and shocking lows and trying to find a healthy work/life balance is an ongoing challenge, especially with five children. But to us, it has all been well worth it, as we’ve created something that we are very proud of.

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Your furniture has a strong Scandinavian influence from your time in Sweden. What was your time living there like and any hot tips for people wanting to visit?

Scandinavian design certainly has a strong influence on our furniture designs. The Scandinavian style is beautiful, simple, with clean lines and is inspired by nature. I spent my last year of university living in Malmö, a city in southern Sweden. It’s a charming city and the gateway to Denmark with a transport networking linking directly with Copenhagen, commonly known as a world leading design hub.

Chris and I were lucky enough to head back there this year to attend the Stockholm Furniture Fair. We spent two weeks visiting Denmark, Ice land and Sweden. It was lovely to revisit my old stomping ground and gain some valuable insight into what’s happening on the design front.

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The sunshine coast is one of the most beautiful places in Australia - lucky kids! Can you tell us a little bit about your location and what you love about it?

We consider ourselves extremely lucky to call the Sunny Coast home! We have the most beautiful climate, allowing us to enjoy the outdoors for most of the year. The Sunshine Coast boasts pristine beaches, merely a five minute stroll from our house in Mooloolaba. Then there’s the hinterland which we can catch glimpses of from our back deck. It is full of gorgeous wineries, waterfalls and hiking trails.

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You’ve got a brand spanking new space, congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about it and how you approach interior styling in your store?

Our team has worked their magic to transform the tired old industrial building into something quite magical. The massive new showroom is filled with our very own handcrafted furniture and styled to perfection with only the best Australian and Scandinavian homeware brands including, Sage & Clare, Zakkia, Menu, Pop & Scott, Status Anxiety, Olli Ella, Blacklist, OyOy, Middle of Nowhere, Bloomingville and of course Kip & Co to name just a few.

Our interior style changes with each season, but is predominantly influenced by Australian and Scandinavian design. The space is set up to inspire you from the moment you step through the door, with life like settings such as bedrooms and dining rooms. One week you’ll find sections of the showroom paired right back, with a minimalist feel. Whilst other areas will be loaded with bold colours from Kip & Co and shouting colour from the roof top.

You’ve been a Kip&Co stockist for a while now, what’s your favourite thing about the brand?

Oh that’s easy. The quality. But not only that, Kip and Co is always so playful, with bright and bold colours and the textures are to die for. Not only are we thrilled to stock it within our store, but our homes are filled with it too – it’s that good.

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Top three tips for someone wanting to start a store?

1. Plan, plan, plan. Do you research, know your market and set clear goals.
2. Only sell or design products that you would love to have in your own home
3. Always evolve - learn from your mistakes and grow so you don’t get lost in the crowd

We are scarily hurtling towards Christmas - where will you be spending the silly season?

Christmas is always a super crazy time for us with five kids! We’ll be spreading ourselves around a little more this year than usual as we have two new babies in the family. We’ll celebrate Christmas day at home on the Sunshine Coast before zipping off to Victoria on Boxing Day to spend a belated Christmas with my side of the family. Then after a few days we’re heading to Byron Bay for our annual Christmas getaway – bliss

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