After eight years in the UK as the Head of Communications on the Olympic Village, Kura Perkins was ready for a career change and a life change for her family. Visiting Argentina with her husband and then three-year-old daughter, Kura met traditional leather craftsman. Inspired by the exquisite quality cowhide, the idea for Art Hide was born. Luckily, Kura had the perfect partner in mind, her sister, Bree Hay-Hendry.
Kura explains, “[Bree] used to have her own fashion label but as time went on, she began helping me more and more in the business and developing our range and bespoke offering.” Art Hide works exclusively in premium cowhide leather, but their designs also incorporate cutting-edge technologies. The result is a rug collection that is totally bright, bold, and totally unique.
Art Hide isn’t the sisters’ only creative collaboration. Kura explains that when Bree “took a break to have her twins a few years ago, we decided we wanted to work across other textiles too, so Amigos de Hoy was born.” The Amigos de Hoy range encompasses dhurry and rag rug styles, an array of stunning textiles, unique storage solutions, and much more.
We talked to Kura and Bree about life as sisters and business partners, as well as the two companies they founded.
How do your past careers – and your individual personalities – complement each other?
Kura: Bree and I have a very complementary skill set. Bree is really strong in certain areas that I wouldn’t have a clue about, such as the technical skills of putting together detailed designs, renders and graphics.
Meanwhile I am the forward-facing marketing person, risk-taker and very business development focused. I have no problems picking up the phone! Bree can be a little shyer in that regard, although she has no problems being direct with me!
Bree: We also have very different work habits – I tend to be very focused and Kura generally has a million things she’s juggling at once. I sometimes find that hard to tolerate so actually working apart has its benefits! But certainly, while a challenge, we find working together from opposite sides of the country – Kura is in Perth and I’m in Sydney – works really well for us 90% of the time. We speak on the phone 10 times a day and we really have each other’s backs and keep each other going! We get together a fair bit in far flung locations such as Vegas and New York to do the trade fairs and we love that time together and have a lot of fun but bounce off each other to really out ourselves out there. We have come to recognise that no one can represent your company as well as the founders, so we make sure that our clients know who we are and can always deal directly with us, even though our team has grown significantly.
Before starting Art Hide, did you have an interest in interior design or home goods?
Bree: My background was working as a fashion designer for quite some time, so for me working in homewares was a natural progression as I became less interested in fashion and more keen on home decoration.
Kura- Bree and I have five little girls between us so we know what the reality of home life with little kids is like! We like to design products that we have at home, i.e. they’re a real centrepiece and something that you love to wake up to everyday, yet handle the demands of grubby little feet and hands – and inevitable mishaps!
Our new releases are all in the same vein but we have gone deeper into the products that are doing well for us and that all our clients love and refer business to us for. For Amigos de Hoy this includes a much wider range of rag rugs and an extension on our best-selling dhurry rags. We believe the unique designs and fun accents offer real value for our customers. In addition we’ve brought our more wall décor/objet d’art as that category has been huge for us. It all started with our giant Joanie and Stevie tambourines in early 2016 and we’ve sold hundreds of them, so we’re excited to now include Wes the Lion and the fabulous oversized Liberty Tassel. They really add personality to any room!
With Art Hide, we always aim to elevate the aesthetic of this beautiful, natural textile, cow hide. Our collections introduce contemporary design and colour and a range of innovative hide finishing techniques, such as laser burning and intricate metallic stencilling. Plus, we’re constantly developing new colours. The new releases see more of these techniques employed, such as the Sueno rug that is our take on a traditional Persian rug with decorative tiling, laser burning and hand painting with gold. It’s strikingly beautiful.
Art Hide is also launching our new Alta by Art Hide range. The Alta range combines smaller tiles and tessellation’s with pops of colour, in a combination that delivers on style, but saves on price.
See selections from Art Hide and Amigos de Hoy in the slideshow!