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We were honored to sit down with our dear friend and owner of our favorite Australian stores, Zane Grier. As the owner and creative visionary behind DriftLab and Newrybar Merchants, we've been lucky enough to witness Zane's incredible creative journey. Read more of our interview below.
Passion and vision are huge influences on curating your space at DriftLab and Newrybar Merchants. What goes into choosing the brands you carry?
The Newrybar Merchants has always been about the wonderful space - the over 100 year old house has so much character, set in a beautiful country town in the hinterland of Byron Bay, it lent itself to local artisans and the journey within. We had to honour this space with amazing operators that are at the top of there field, coming together as a collective and a incubator of ideas.
Locally we had Shannon Fricke who was looking for a space to reflect her ideas and showcase her brand, Todd Miller and his wife Dianna also were looking for a studio for her painting and a space to sell there Leather goods. I approached Sibella Court feeling she would be a perfect fit for her styling in this space, Jai Vasicek from Ahoy Trader is always pushing the boundaries in his art and interior designs. Tigmi Trading came along with Moroccan rugs and added to the already impressive mix, now we needed cards by Fate and Fortune and a Florist who was already working in the village on her beautiful cart on weekends. All Merchants added something different and complimented each other at the same time, this was reflected from the start as the journey within the Merchants was cohesive and did not clash.
Walk us through the main differences and similarities of your two stores DriftLab and NewryBar Merchants?
Driftlab is a conventional retail space that my wife Samara and I set up, it embodies the lifestyle we live everyday in and around Byron Bay. Newrybar Merchants was set up as a collective to give local artisans a space to apply there trade, share not only the space but the risk in business. This is the biggest difference, the way they have been set up and the structure of how they operate. At the Newrybar Merchants we have sub let each section so each individual merchant is running there own section, but they still fall under the umbrella of The Newrybar Merchants. All the products get placed into the system under individual Merchant codes, all sales go through the one till and then the sales are reported on and the sales are dispersed to the Merchants weekly. Similarities would be the process of retail are almost the same, in retail you still need great product set out well, with amazing staff to deliver a high standard of customer service. Also, I believe both businesses have embodied creativity and innovation, always pushing the envelope to be ahead of the pack.
How would you describe DriftLab in 3 words?
Family, Genuine and Lifestyle.
How would you describe NewryBar Merchants in 3 words?
Artistic, Considered and Innovative.
Favorite way to find inspiration?
I find inspiration from travel and different cultures this wonderful world offers us. Reading and History offers a lot of how we have done things in the past and how we could tweak them now and bring them into the modern world. Environment is also a big one for me, being in the ocean, at the beach or in the mountains always connects the soul and brings inspiration.
If you had to choose, mountains/snow or ocean/surf?
Wow this is a hard one, I have spent an even amount of time in either one and both have given me such amazing memories that I will hold onto for the rest of my life. I think mountains and snow only just tips ocean and surf, because snowboarding has taken me on so many amazing journeys with friends that I will have forever. Trekking into the wilderness and finding untouched powder bowls always will put a smile on my face.
Favorite stone and why?
Turquoise for the colour alone, it is so vibrant and attracts the eye. To me it has always felt tranquil and soothing, but strong at the same time.
Advice for people following their creative dreams?
Go for it, do not let fear or any barriers get in your way. Open yourself up for advice and think big, also be patient and making mistakes is how you learn. If being creative was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Shop more of our Zane's favorite pieces here.