Meet Alice McMullin, the visionary behind Mcmullin & Co. Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Alice's chequered university career led her to discover her passion for designing serene and harmonious interiors. Her belief in the uniqueness of personal journeys and constant questioning of spatial interactions shape her design ethos. With Simətrē, her latest collection, she breaks free from symmetry, embracing eccentric shapes and raw materials. Drawing inspiration from abstract forms and Australia's creative energy, Alice's minimalist yet timeless style reflects a renewed sense of individuality. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Trust your vision and focus on quality.
Hi Alice! We’d love to know more about you. Where did you grow up, what did you study, what life experiences do you think have made the biggest impact on where you are now?
I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and had a pretty chequered university career as I tossed and turned with the competition pressure of what i thought I should do for others versus what I wanted to do for myself… from short stints in business and law, I finally found solace in a place I would always retreat to… the home.
I would say the biggest lifestyle experience to shape where I am today, is life itself… I’m a huge believer that everyone is on their own path in life, we all run, walk, fall and get lost… it’s only when you look back that you see how far you’ve come.
Before starting Mcmullin & Co you worked as an Interior Designer. How much of your previous work experience helped with launching your own brand, what were the biggest challenges and learnings you faced?
I started my career in interiors for a big corporate. It gave me a solid grounding, but what it taught me most was that the 9-5 life wasn’t for me. That said, nothing prepared me for the extreme highs and lows of owning a business.
The biggest challenge was probably the reality check of balancing a growing brand with two children in the mix. No two days are the same and its always a constant battle to juggle, but I’ve learned to let go a bit more now and not stress about factors that are out of my control.
Your design ethos comes from long-held principles of consistently questioning how you move and interact in everyday spaces. Can you tell us a little about this approach and how it is woven through your business practices?
There’s one things about saying something and another actually doing it as it’s so easy to often retreat to a place of comfort, from a design perspective. But I think the practice of consistently questioning ourselves on the design process - not being afraid to stop after working on a project for months and say “no, it’s not feeling right” is one of the most important practices we can do as a design led business.
We love hearing about the design process, where do you begin designing a collection?
I find my best ideas are usually informed by abstract shapes that can catch my eye in the most unexpected places. I’m also really inspired by the a depth of raw hidden talent in Australia right now, for example I was lucky enough to feature Ash Leslie artist in our new Sydney flagship store. Being surrounded by creative energy of other is my ultimate muse.
Tell us about your new collection Simətrē?
It’s a collection that I’m probably most proud of in terms of ensuring we challenged ourselves to forever explore the unknown and unseen. The collection represents a new design direction for us, which explores eccentric geometric shapes, forms and raw materials.
The collection is almost a counter balance to the symmetric view of life that we have been conditioned to see as perfect, yet it is asymmetry that is often far more compelling.
Where are your favourite places to collect inspiration, can you share with us what’s influencing you right now?
I’m loving the renewed sense of individuality right now. Trends and fads come and go, but personal confidence in your style and decisions is a huge inspiration for me as people mix pops of self with timeless natural and quality pieces for the home.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own brand? ‘
Trust your own vision and focus all your energy on the quality of design and product. The rest will fall into place.
How would you describe your personal style?
Neutral and understated.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
A well made coat, jeans with a pair of black boots ( I am a very minimal dresser).
Shop Alice's Edit here.