As editors, we’re often asked about which bedding brands are at the top of our list; with so many options out there, it’s important to know which ones aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but also offer longevity. The Australian textile brand CULTIVER is on that list. Founded by Sydney native Nicolle Sullivan in 2012, it has been a great source of high quality bedding, offering a curated selection of elegantly toned sheets, shams, and duvets made from 100% French flax linen.
Since its inception, CULTIVER has grown from being just an online bedding brand to now offering a range of home linens (from breezy loungewear to soft bath towels) on their site as well as in their flagship store in Sydney, Australia. We recently sat down with Nicolle for a chat and toured the brand’s new office space.
Congratulations on your new offices! Was it a big move and how long have you been looking for this particular space?
Thank you! They’re actually located just around the corner from our old offices in Sydney, Australia. We were looking for a while as we have grown quite quickly, but wanted to make sure it was the perfect space for CULTIVER. We found our new office just in time, as by the time we moved we had resorted to makeshift desks!
What was the deciding factor on it being the right place for CULTIVER?
The bigger, split-level space meant we could fit both our warehouse and rapidly expanding team all in the one place. It has lots of natural light, and different areas for meetings, our showroom, and even some of our photoshoots.
What state was it in? Did you go through any renovations? Did you work with a designer/architect?
When we first moved in, it was a standard office space. We engaged Yasmine from Amber Road (now YSG Studio) to do the design for us. At our first meeting to discuss concepts, we loved the vision they had for the space and their unique ideas to transform it into what we wanted.
Tell us about the different areas in your new offices.
We have our showroom downstairs, where we take meetings and display a small selection from our range. Just next door is our warehouse where orders to Australia, Europe, and Asia are packed daily. Upstairs we have our open plan office space, where our Marketing, Product and Customer Service teams work. While communication is always very open across the room, we also have multiple meeting rooms, a breakout area with couches for creative brainstorming sessions, and even a bed we style as we develop products and showcase our range to customers.
How would you describe the interior concept for this space and how does it reflect the brand?
The concept was to provide a functional but inspiring work environment, adding interest with considered details and meaningful design. Starting from a very bland space with no inherent character, the challenge was to add interest and style just through color, textures and furnishings. The designers created archways to separate large spaces. This detail made a huge difference. Timber, stone, leather, and textured paint on the walls bring depth and warmth, and a mix of new and sourced vintage furnishings make the overall aesthetic timeless. Like our brand, it’s little details, when highly considered, that make a huge difference.
We’d love to know more about how you started CULTIVER and what differentiates it from other bedding brands?
I started CULTIVER while I was on maternity leave with my first daughter. I’d already made the decision that I wanted a career change, and the timing just felt right.
I’ve always been a lover of textiles, and was an early adopter of the online shopping experience, so really it was the coming together of those two things. I knew what I liked, and noticed that the best fashion e-commerce websites were all starting to move towards a more curated, boutique presentation.
With CULTIVER I wanted to offer a new way to shop, and almost a decade later we still consider this with every decision we make. We aim to differentiate ourselves with a limited and tightly curated offering, first class customer service, and only the highest quality textiles sourced from around the world. We don’t follow trends, but instead are founded in a philosophy of crafting pieces you’ll love for years to come.
What has been a hard lesson learned throughout the process of building your own brand?
I faced plenty of obstacles when I first started CULTIVER, because it was a completely new space for me. How do I sell things online? How do I source product from overseas? How do I negotiate with suppliers? That’s when I learned how important it is to ask for help. You need a certain kind of confidence (also known as being prepared to fail a few times) to just give things a go, and learn from your mistakes. Now, I try to think ahead, and know that asking for help and surrounding myself with the right people gives me the best chance of success.
Have you had any pinch-me moments throughout CULTIVER’s history?
Many! Most recently, the opening of our Sydney flagship was a milestone moment – a very tangible way for our brand to come to life in a new format.
As an Australian brand – can you tell us what is a defining characteristic of Australian design?
It’s that effortlessness and ease that is so humbly Australian. Luxury without all the labels. We design pieces that are inspired by that easygoing Australian charm, combining quality and usability, with a relaxed yet refined look.
Lastly, what small pleasure has been getting you through these tough times?
I’ve completed a few home projects, just to change up the space I am now spending so much more time in. Painting my kitchen green is an example – I am very into everything green right now! I’ve also been able to be more regular with exercising. Without travel and socializing to break routines, I’ve done more than usual; and some physical fatigue helps with balancing out all the mental worry.