Suku Home has opened its first flagship store, housing design talent from Australia and Indonesia under one roof


Words by Sarah Noonan

A collaborative concept space bringing creatives together.

Melbourne-Indonesian label Suku Home – the brand behind those ethereal sleepwear-to-daywear designs – has just opened up its sleek new flagship store, Dream Baby. Nestled among the calm buzz of Fitzroy’s south end, the fresh new concept space is bringing together creatives to showcase inspiring design talent from Australia and Indonesia.

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The vision of Suku has always been rooted in authenticity, sustainability and connection. With a strong focus on joining local communities with ethical fair trade practices and shared experiences, Dream Baby has made this concept come to life. I sat down with the brain behind Suku Home, Christine Lafian, to hear how the concept of Dream Baby became a reality and to get to know the designers involved.

Tell me a bit about how the vision for Dream Baby came about.

Before we had our own space, we were at No Order Market with Shifting Worlds and Baserange Melbourne for many years. We loved having a shared space which felt like a community and being at No Order Market played a huge role in our growth as a brand. As the brand grew bigger, we knew we needed our own space, but we still wanted to carry that sense of collaboration and community with us to our new space, and that’s what we wanted to ultimately achieve with Dream Baby. From its very inception, we made sure to work with local creatives from both Indonesia and Australia, to highlight the incredible talent that we see and are inspired by on a daily basis.

What was the process like putting the store together, particularly during the pandemic?

It was definitely a stressful experience. We signed the lease two weeks before restrictions were eased in November and had to put everything together in a month. Thankfully, we had our close friend Christopher Scott from Chairboy to help us put the space together. He did all the structural work for the space and worked after hours to get jobs done. Having him step in as the main builder is definitely what made us meet our month deadline. Despite the fact that the timing was stressful, we had such a good support network of friends who were willing to help us on short notice and put something incredible together.

Were there any challenges or roadblocks along the way?

The timeframe was definitely a challenge and having to manage the changing landscape of the restrictions. It was definitely not the situation we had imagined being in when creating our first flagship store. A lot of the resources were closed due to lockdown, and it was unrealistic for us to partner with a large design firm, given the backlog of work and the restrictions which were in place. We really relied on our extended network of friends and found some incredible people to work with. Natalia Held, who was our interior designer, was a friend of a friend who just did such an incredible job and stepped into the role with ease.

What made you want to collaborate with local creatives in the community?

Personally, I know the importance of having opportunities when you are a small business. I think often success can be the result of the right opportunity and all the help you receive along the way. I’ve always really resonated with a quote I heard a long time ago (and can’t remember who said it now!), which goes, “People helping other people is what makes dreams come true”. This is true for the success of Suku Home and is something I wanted to carry when supporting other creatives.

How did you discover/get in touch with these creatives?

To be honest, we connect with creative people mostly through friends and our extended networks. Beyond that, we also always reach out to people we see on social media or find inspiring. Oftentimes, people who are on the same wavelength are always excited to work with you if you have a similar vision, not just if you have a big following! We have such an incredibly creative community, in both Bali and Melbourne, and they were all so happy to help and do something wild like putting a store together in a month. We always meet and engage with people who are excited to do something fun and different, and we are lucky to have the resources to be able to put some amazing things together!

Who are these beautiful creatives you’ve got on board and what are their practices?

As I mentioned earlier, Nat and Chris were both so instrumental in putting the space together. The point-of-sale desk is the jewel of the Dream Baby space, which was inspired by our friends in Bali at Space Available and custom made and designed by Nat and Chris. Stacia Hadiutomo of FFF Zine, a close friend and incredible artist designed our statement rug, which was inspired by Balinese and Australian sunsets, both of Suku’s homes. In terms of what you find when you visit us, it’s always changing and adapting. We are constantly finding local creatives in both the Indonesian and Australian communities to work with. We are also hoping to activate the space more with pop-ups and events across a wide range of disciplines… we are excited by challenging the idea of what a retail space can be, and are always looking to push the boundaries and have some fun!

What kind of work can visitors expect to see in-store from these creatives?

We’ve spent a long-time sourcing incredible pieces for our customers by local creatives, including ceramics from Lifeslice, Lucy Tolan and Tessy King, jewellery from both the Melbourne brand Underground Sundae and Indonesian brand Pendulum, and a special selection of Blazed Wax candles. We’ve collaborated with our friends Minimum Wines for years, and always have events to showcase their amazing wine in-store. We’ve also launched Sunday Salon’s first-ever pop-up exhibition, hosted at Dream Baby. The artworks are on a rotating roster until April and are hand-selected by Sunday Salon’s founder, Lily Mora. Currently, we also have a month-long event called Flower Fridays where Blossm Bby, an amazing local florist, curates a unique selection of bouquets for purchase every Friday this month. There’s always so much collaboration happening at Dream Baby, and we have more exciting plans for the future!

To keep up to date on what’s happening at Dream Baby, click here.

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