We’ve been coveting the highly sophisticated yet laid back rugs of Armadillo & Co for some time now. Co-founded by Jodie Fried in Australia, it was exciting for us to find out that they were opening up shop in the US, not just online but with a new store in Los Angeles. Having now spent the last ten years in Venice Beach, California, she felt an immediate connection with her new hometown. We took a tour of her home and asked her a few questions about her journey with Armadillo & Co.
What’s the back-story for why your company is called Armadillo & Co?
Armadillo & Co alludes to the tactile nature of our product. Owning one of our rugs is a sensory experience – they are sumptuously soft underfoot and inviting to touch, with further visual appeal thanks to the gentle patterns and rich textures of the handmade knots and weaves.
Tell us about how you got into the world of rugs? Was it something that you had a particular affinity for?
I was introduced to the world of rugs completely by accident. I met my business partner Sally Pottharst 13 years ago and we saw a gap in the Australian market for beautiful, high quality but simple floor coverings and what we couldn’t find for our own homes. So we decided to make them ourselves.
How did your time in India influence the way you saw design and textiles?
I have a deep love and respect for the people of India. I was working there as a Bollywood costume designer when the country was rocked by a devastating earthquake in 2001. I’d always had a passion for textiles and design, but it was while helping to rebuild rural villages along the Pakistani border that I came across the artisan weavers and traditional crafts that have been handed down through the generations.
You grew up in Sydney, known to be a vibrant, laid-back city. Is there an Australian angle to the products at Armadillo & Co?
Our rugs are as beautiful as they are practical, and I think there’s something quintessentially Australian about that. Being surrounded by stunning beaches and bush land, Aussies have a great appreciation for natural beauty but they like things that are understated and made to be enjoyed. Our rugs reflect a timeless elegance but they are also unquestionably designed for everyday use.
You’re now living in LA and are opening up your first flagship store in the US on Wilshire Blvd in LA — tell us a bit about the process of making that decision and what the store will be like?
I have lived in Venice Beach for the last ten years with my young family and during this time our brand has grown organically in the US. California and Australia are similar in a lot of ways so it just made sense to open our flagship retail store in Beverly Hills. The store will very much reflect our brand – open and inviting, with clean lines and a natural feel – and we can’t wait to interact with our customers on a more personal level.
What is something unique that you see about the design scene and homes in LA?
Los Angeles is a city teeming with creativity and always nurtures new talent. What is most exciting to see is the mix of beautiful design with sustainable practices. Californian brands such as Parachute, The General Store, and Stahl & Band have all embraced recycled materials and thoughtful designs that complement the natural environment.
Your home is layered with texture. Is there some key factor that you keep in mind to have it all work together?
Our house in Venice Beach is light, bright and airy with an open plan living, dining and courtyard space embracing indoor/ outdoor living. The high ceilings, concrete floors, and white walls have a sense of harmony and give all of the interesting textured accents room to breathe and have their own moments.
What is the most important way that you’ve made your home both a stylish and a comfortable space?
With three young children, the priority with our home is to have a practical and creative family life that can evolve over time. We’ve defined each space with tonal, textural rugs that are earthy and grounding but perfect for little feet to run around on. Everything else is kept pared-back and economical for a sense of calm but you will find treasures in most rooms from our travels and adventures.
Lastly, where’s your favorite coffee shop in LA and in Sydney?
My favorite café in Venice right now is Gjusta on Sunset Avenue. There’s something for everyone in the sprawling warehouse space but it’s hard to go past the artisanal sprouted rye bread and their famous green smoothies.
In Sydney, I love having brunch at Porch and Parlour on Bondi Beach, especially during the summer. The relaxed interiors are the perfect spot for enjoying a coffee and green brekky bowl before going for a surf.