Belle & Co. Living are the stylish storage cases that no doubt you have seen all over your Instagram feed! The European inspired vintage cases are the perfect storage solution without compromising on style.
Since 2016 when Belle & Co. Living was born, the brand has expanded their product range to include rope baskets, rugs, blankets and wall decor.
We chatted to Courtney Bell, founder of Belle & Co. Living to learn more about the ins and outs of her business, social media, organisation, product design processes and more!
BELLE & CO LIVING CREATES INCREDIBLE STORAGE SOLUTIONS FOR PARENTS AND KIDS ALIKE. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE DESIGN FOR YOUR ICONIC STORAGE SUITCASES?
‘When I was pregnant in 2016 I discovered this whole new world of Instagram Mumma Makers and women with incredible style, and I wanted in! Along the way I had started following a few European accounts, a couple of them had these beautiful vintage inspired storage cases. Every time a photo was posted of those cases there would be a heap of questions asking where they were from, I couldn’t find them in Australia, and I even struggled to find them overseas. Fast forward 6 months and I had found a manufacturer to make a more modern version for me, BUT I had to order a minimum of 100 sets with the promise of a full container shipment if I wanted to order them again, so Belle & Co. was born!’
What are your predicted style trends for 2018?
‘I think we will continue to see an increase in bold rich colours, I love colour so this makes me very happy! I also feel like gold has taken over from the rose gold trend – gold has always been my favourite, so there are no complaints here!’
What is next for Belle & Co that your customers can look out for in the future?
‘We’re constantly working on new products and ideas, we kind of fell into the “Children’s Interiors” niche, so we’re running with it. We’re currently working on a range of bedding and a few fun furniture pieces that were hoping to launch before Christmas. We also have a new product launching next month that will complement our storage cases, especially if you purchased them to use as Keepsake/Memory boxes.’
Tell us what the most rewarding aspect of owning your own business is?
‘I love receiving pictures of our products being used in real homes, especially when they are being used for special occasions or important milestones in a little person’s life.’
Who are your go-to Instagram accounts for style inspo?
I had a cake decorating business for 5 years (a very long time ago), so her party styling is a fab bonus to her amazing interiors.
I feel like our styles are completely different, but her photography and creativity blow my mind.
Nicole can do no wrong!
What do you find the most rewarding aspect of owning your own business is?
‘I love being able to make all of the decisions and hold the accountability for the outcome of those decisions. When something “works” it is the most rewarding feeling! I also love the flexibility it has provided our family. I actually still work full time in the corporate world of Finance, however, my Husband has been able to pick up the warehousing and order processing side of the business, which allows him to be home in the afternoons with our daughter while I’m working or commuting back home!’
When managing such a busy lifestyle what are your tips to keep organised?
‘Oh, this is a tough one, I feel like I’m really organized at work – but as organized at home!
I am not a morning person at all, so I try and get as much sorted before bed as possible. I try to have my gym gear ready, work clothes ironed and my handbag packed before I get into bed. However my one tip for getting out of the house on time with a child; pack the baby bag the night before, I always underestimate how long it takes and how easy it is to forget things.
Also, I meal plan and grocery shop weekly to avoid trips to the supermarket during the week, and I shop online A LOT to avoid shopping centres on weekends.
I’m also not ashamed to outsource where I can, we get the house cleaned fortnightly, and my Mother in law is a huge help with washing, cleaning and cooking while she looks after our daughter at our house during the week, I couldn’t do it without her!’
What is your design process when picking colours and styles for new products?
‘When it comes to colour I feel like you can’t go wrong with Pink, Grey and White, I’m also a huge fan of Navy! For our products, I try to choose colours that aren’t going to date but can also work well with current seasonal trends. In terms of the design process, randomly I always have my best ideas in the shower! I can’t draw to save myself, but I try my best then set out finding someone to turn my ideas into reality – it sounds easy, but it is such a long and drawn out process, we could go through multiple samples, colour swatches and months of changes before getting a product perfect to sell. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated with such a long process! We actually started working on Belle & Co. in October 2016, we received the sample cases in January 2017 and then didn’t launch until the 20th June 2017 when our stock arrived – and that was just 1 product!