From weekend shopping trips to joint hair appointments, we do pretty much everything as a twosome. So when Stef set off for six months of studying French and croissant eating in Paris, we wanted a way to continue sharing our lives from across the globe. Enter How Two Live, a blog where we began documenting our daily adventures, café finds, and latest wardrobe additions. 11 months later, and our online diary has led to a year of international fashion weeks, collaborations with some killer designers, and a whole lot of matching outfits.
Our love for Nasty Gal stems from back when it was an eBay store selling quirky vintage pieces, so imagine how happy our happy dance was when they approached us to interview another of our all time fashion favorites, Aussie label, Shakuhachi. We met with Connie, Shakuhachi’s National Sales Manager and all-round babe, to talk about our shared love of prints, what life is really like in the fashion industry, and what’s coming next for the brand.
HTL: Can you tell us a bit about Shakuhachi’s upcoming collection?
Shakuhachi: For designer Jessie White, this collection is a lot more edgy and punk rock compared to her other collections. She contrasts between the prints, the leathers, and different textures. She’s done a bit of faux fur as well, and animal prints. And then obviously touches of gold and silver to contrast back with the prints.
HTL: Who is the ultimate Shakuhachi girl?
S: The ultimate Shakuhachi girl would have to be your girl who loves fashion, and doesn’t follow trends but sets the trends. The brand is targeted at ages 16 to 25, but the beauty of the brand is that it goes far beyond that. We’ve got girls that come in looking for 21st dresses and their mums walk out with head-to-toe Shakuhachi cute little Gypsy Dresses with studded boots. If the collection is youthful then I think everyone will always be attracted to it.
HTL: You guys are always coming out with the coolest prints. Where do you get your printspiration?
S: Jessie’s design inspiration comes from anywhere and everything. And every collection has its own identity. The next few seasons go from punk rock, to edgy, to pretty and feminine. Jessie’s always got her finger on the pulse with what’s going on internationally. She travels quite a bit; last year she was in Spain, so she does draw inspiration from places like that, and then she designs and develops all our prints with the team in Bali, or sometimes in Sydney.
HTL: We know that you guys run the brand partly out of Bali. What role does Bali play in running the business?
S: Jessie has always had ties to Bali; she used to go there a lot with her family when she was younger. So then she decided to move to Bali, and experimented with doing production out of there. Our headquarters over there have nearly a hundred staff members now. We also do most of our manufacturing in Bali.
HTL: What’s it like to be part of the Shakuhachi team?
S: Everyday is totally different. It’s really dynamic, it’s really exciting, and it’s very fast paced; there’s never a dull moment. Our work hours well exceed any other normal job, and I suppose in this industry, doing what we do, you’ve got to be a jack-of-all-trades. If we’re on a photo shoot you might be on the floor picking up flowers, dealing with props for a show, steaming; you’ve just got to be prepared to get your hands dirty and not be a princess. Even though it looks like a glamorous job, it’s a lot of hard work, but you have a lot of fun at the same time.
HTL: Run us through a day in the life of Connie…
S: I’m the National Sales Manager, which means I sell the brand to all independent boutiques and major retailers. I’m often heading interstate on selling trips. I also manage our Sydney office, which is everything from managing our online team, to dispatching to all our retail stores, press loans, selling the range, and production.
HTL: Do you find any celebrities contacting you, wanting to wear the brand?
S: We do often have local celebrities coming in here to the Sydney office. And then a lot of celebrities like Rita Ora and Cara Delevingne are following the brand overseas.
HTL: How did you go from a local label to being huge all around the world?
S: Jessie is originally from Melbourne, and I actually just recently had a customer tell me that Jessie used to sell the label by herself, going door-to-door to shops, introducing herself to people and getting the brand out there. To me I think obviously she knew what she needed to do, she had passion, and she followed it. For Jessie I think she’s always had the good designs, but she built a really strong team over in Bali, and from there it’s just gone crazy. Each range now goes from strength to strength, and from that our following keeps getting stronger and stronger, and we’re offering things that other labels aren’t necessarily offering.
HTL: We’ve been wondering, what does the word “Shakuhachi” actually mean?
S: The word Shakuhachi means Japanese flute. It’s a Japanese word because when Jessie started designing she was actually living in Japan.
HTL: Can you tell us what’s next for Shakuhachi?
S: At the end of the year we’re going to be rolling out our third store. At the moment we have our Melbourne and Sydney stores, and this one’s going to be in a new shopping center in Melbourne’s city. We’re also looking into selling into other regions like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam, because we’ve got a huge following over there. Particularly after our last show, we’ve had so many people contacting us, wanting to get their hands on the brand.
Five Fun Facts About How Two Live:
Despite what our matching outfits may lead you to believe, we’re not actually twins. We’re four and a half years apart!
We both have double-jointed elbows…it’s kind of gross.
We’re half Moroccan.
Between us we have 19 piercings but no tattoos.
We still own (and wear) our first ever Nasty Gal purchase…a bright pink vintage cape dress.