Words: Amanda Kennedy Photography: Johnathon Tabensky Design and style: April Pyle
After 20 years as an award-winning photographer in the Northern Territory, April Pyle upped sticks and moved to West Gippsland, as you do. It was there she opened Factory One, a successful hybrid space selling plants, furniture and homewares, art and more. For some, almost 10 years of running a thriving business would have been enough, but not for April.
She is about to embark on her third act, Violet and Ivvy. Located on a buzzy commercial strip just out of central Warragul, this incarnation has doubled the floor space of Factory One, which in addition to retail allows for the incorporation of a café spot, corporate meeting space and wine bar.
The expanded retail section will showcase a diverse range of beautiful homewares, including unique pieces of furniture, a veritable jungle of plants in covetable pots, plush cushions and throws, candles and vases – all curated by April’s professional photographer eye. It’s the kind of place where you go gift-shopping only to leave with gifts for yourself as well.
There is still plenty of original art dotted around the venue, including a series of playful paintings from Gippsland artist Janine Riches and sculpture pieces from Sydney-based powerhouse duo, Gillie and Marc, whose artwork has found homes in hundreds of private and public collections around the world. A large living wall has been installed by long-time project collaborator Nerida’s Plants.
The semi-private meeting spaces are the perfect spot for corporate get-togethers so you can all remember what you look like in real life and thoughtful design means there are plenty of spots to recharge devices.
‘We’ve put in USB ports in our bench seats so people can come in and work on their laptop and plug in their phone if it’s going flat. We’ve been very conscious of the space and how we’re using it,’ explains April. ‘It’s a sanctuary and a great healing space as well with all the greenery.’
To recharge yourself, simply grab a flat white and perch by the curved glass wall for a little time out. Food offerings will be along the lines of sweet treats and light snacks, while the wine bar will serve cured meat and cheese boards when it opens.
It is these types of mixed businesses that might well be the way forward after the last several years of a challenging retail environment. Violet and Ivvy is set to officially open June 4th, though the liquor licence may take a little longer.
WHAT: Violet and Ivvy
WHERE: 137 Queen St, Warragul
WHEN: café/retail 8am – 5.30pm 7 days, wine bar 12-8pm
MORE INFO: keep an eye on their soon-to-launch website
We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.