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PODCAST - La La Land Christmas Special Elie Azzi

stories behind the gifts podcast xmas special

Welcome to the I Still Call Australia Home podcast - *Christmas Special* - your dose of inspiration and joy sparked by the wild splendour of a hot Australian Christmas. To see an overview of all podcasts, click here; otherwise sit back, relax, and enjoy the episode below.ūü•į¬†


ISCAH Podcast Episode 8 - La La Land Christmas Special - Elie Azzi

La La Land Christmas gifts podcast Christmas Special
From left to right - Elie Azzi - La La Land Co-founder, Owner and Creative Director of La La Land; Lilly Perrot and Murilo Manzini - La La Land in-house Illustrators and Designers; and an excerpt from La La Land's Christmas Collection.  Click on the image or here to see all La La Lands Australiana products. 

 

Discover the inspiration behind La La Land's iconically Australian Christmas gift ranges - as told by Elie Azzi - Co-founder, Owner and Creative Director. Plus learn how you could win a tree full of baubles and sprinklings of Christmas Cheer! (only until 11th Nov 2021).... yes! Enjoy this latest installment of the I Still Call Australia Home.com podcast.

Check out the episode by clicking your favourite podcast player below, or click on the play button below to listen straight away via your computer or phone.

Alternatively, we've transcribed the shownotes for you below. Scroll down to read the full interview.

 

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Shownotes 

A big hello and welcome to the I Still Call Australia Home podcast Christmas Special!  

I’m your host - Felicia Rusher - founder of I still call australia home.com - an ecommerce store selling Australian gifts that spark joy and delight.

In today’s first Christmas special, we’re sharing the stories behind the gifts created by amazing Australians who use our land, native animals and wildlife as their muse.

Today we're back in Sydney, talking to Elie Azzi, CEO, Co-founder and Creative Director of La Land about his love of all things Christmas, and the inspiration behind his latest festive ranges of gifts, decorations, 3D baubles, tea towels, trays and more! 

If you love Christmas, you’re going to love hearing how Elie inspires creativity and happiness especially at the most wonderful time of the year. 

So sit back, grab your favourite Christmas treat, and enjoy this latest episode of the I Still Call Australia Home podcast.

Felicia:

Hi Elie, welcome to the Podcast! 

Some of our listeners might have heard your previous podcast from earlier in the year..  but for those who might not know you and are new, can you please introduce La La Land and tell us a bit about yourself and your company?

Elie:

Yes. Hi Felicia. And thank you for having me again.  I, I love this. So,  my name is Elie.  I am the co-founder and creative director of La La Land. 

La La Land is a giftware brand,  where we design products and we create and illustrate collections of artworks, including our most loved and followed Australiana collections.  We strive to inspire happiness and creativity through illustrations and designs. We have guest  artists that we sometimes publish and other times - well most times we have our own in-house artists that I work very closely with and that's Murillo Manzini and Lilly Perrott. 

Felicia:

Awesome.  and we spoke earlier in the year, I'm sure our listeners enjoyed (and that told us they enjoyed listening) to the history of Lala land and what inspires you.  In this podcast we discovered how much we both love Christmas (that’s coming up very soon!).

And we agreed it would be a great idea to have a special Christmas podcast to sort of take a deep dive into your wonderful collections because you have such a big range that continues to grow every year for Christmas. So I thought before we do that,  I was just wondering if you could talk to us through the planning process for Christmas and how early it starts? 

Elie:

As in the creative process of Christmas and when do I get that?

Felicia:

Like the planning process? So like how early do you start planning the Christmas and what's the first step that you, 

Elie:

There's two parts to planning. So you've got, you know, my brainstorming ideas,  my thought process, my creative process of just kind of coming up with concepts and, you know, looking and observing,  on,  sometimes subconscious level and conscious level where  I could come up with an idea in the middle of the night, but then other times it could be through seeing something that I love or, you know, or watching people,  and seeing how celebrate Christmas. But, but when it comes to the actual sitting down and doing the proper planning,  that is, that starts a year in advance. And, so for example, we pretty much have to start now,  or soon working on Christmas for next year [October 2021]. And I get the pressure I get pressured. I mean, because I personally love to not have to start a collection until,  I finished one collection, you know, for me, I love to finish things before I start something.

It's not always that easy because some product categories take very long to produce...  and also it's mainly the sampling process. So a lot of our baubles for Christmas, the shaped ornaments - there was so much back and forth to perfect the shape,  for, and, and other, another example at the ceramic pot planters to, to make sure the printing is on point. And the colour of the internal glaze is the right colour that could take months and months.

So, yes in advance is generally when it all starts.  and then we perfect it for the next few months. We'll start perfecting the samples.  but sorry, prior to that, there's the actual illustrations, that Lilly will be working on.

Felicia:

So you're designing, like you have your vision; and you've got, like you said, it's a sort of a conscious and subconscious process. And at some point that vision turns into a brief, that Lilly and Murillo taken on. So,  how does that work? Like when your vision, like the process of putting your vision on paper so they can translate it?

Elie:

Well, yeah, so I start off by using, I use it in design. It's a design program where I apply photos that I've taken,  things that are found on Pinterest,  you know,  stories from articles or whatever it is, kind of put it all together in this design design document. And the design document will be dedicated per range. So I'll have a different document per range. And then in that, it will evolve. So the first, sometimes the very first initial thought or idea that I have would be completely different by the end. 

You know, we've got,  sometimes, you know, it's done, it changes as I do some research or it could be the artists,  their interpretation of what I've come up with could be very different, whatever it is,;  it takes a while and you will always see how it kind of transforms into something that is sometimes exactly what I envisioned from the get go... and then other times it could be completely different.  It's a fun process. This is the favorite part of my job. It's that process of kind of coming up with the, the concepts, but it's also quite stressful because I'm like, oh my God, I need to do something different. And well, next year rather, and I have to, I have to think of what, what no one else is doing and what people would find relevant or relatable. So that's the key thing is like what what's relatable to people, what would make their hearts kind of melt when they see it.  But at the same time with something that they haven't seen over and over again, and it's that, it's, it's finding that balance in between the two things that is, is key, I think, to having a successful collection.

Felicia:

Hmm. That makes sense. And it must be hard because, you know, I always looking at 50th collections and now we're going to talk in detail about them a bit later, but like, you know, the home for Christmas, it's like what a good idea to have a collection that's time for Christmas, which is what we're all planning for.

Elie:

Yeah. It's actually, my favorite range is this year's,

Felicia

It's my favorite too. It's hard to pick favorites. Oh, that sounds great.  cause yeah, I was reflecting before we had the podcast. I remember when I got your first set, this bauble sets it, I think it's brought with it about four years ago when you started doing baubles.

Elie:

Is that right? Yeah.

Felicia:

I remember I had two and they were both beautiful and I majorly under ordered because I guess there was something new and we were a lot younger as a business then. So we would have, wouldn't have been able to sell as many, but  even nice and all that. And I felt really foolish because I left it too late to order. And  they sold out pretty much as soon as I put them up on the website. And  so now we make sure we order lots from you early.

Elie:

Yeah. And a lot of others do as well because,  you never know what any, for us, it's hard to predict what's going to sell really well and what's not, but the baubles in general have been having really, really strong for us.

Felicia:

Well, they're still unique, like not other, not many other businesses do that type of bauble and that unique because you've really thought about how to make them beautiful in the boxed sets, you know, giving them a lot of our customers, giving them as gifts from Australia. And that just perfect.

Elie:

Yeah. Well it took us years to find,  to find the Christmas category of Christmas ornament that, that we could print out work on. So for us, our biggest challenge as a brand is always to find products that we could print an artwork on. So in the world full of, you know, glitter resin, glass, I mean, Christmas, we needed to find a product that showcases the artwork. And then finally we found something and then we went,  when we first launched it four years ago, it was huge. And then we, as the years went by, we, we kind of perfected the creative,  elements on the bauble, how they look on the bauble.  We  offered different sizes, so there's a mini set and a large set, but then we started to notice that there were more brands started to come out and doing, you know, started to do the same thing.

And I think that's where we, we were like, okay, well, what could we do? What else can we do?  we, you know, we don't own the idea of Christmas baubles obviously, but we like to always stay on top of, you know, evolving into new, new ranges or new shapes and new sizes and illustrations. And that's where the bird shape bauble,  sorry, the bird ornaments and the flower ornaments and the nutcrackers came from. They that's the idea of having those shapes came from seeing other brands doing the same thing as us and yeah. And it worked,  because I think this year will be the, you know, the only brand doing that kind of shapes - those shapes are quite unique.  and our supplier hated us for it because it took forever to get those shapes to look the way they do....  cause there are, you know, a silhouette of a bird flying you think would be easy, but it's not because the smallest kind of defect could kind of not make that the bird look. Right.

Felicia:

I can only imagine because they are unique shapes and I must be a myriad of things. Cause I know even with the Nutcracker, you've gone that once the Nutcracker ornaments you're talking about, you've gone that one step further and put little,  flourishes on them, like with the sequin and the feather.

Elie:

Yeah. And that's yeah, that's something, we, again, we needed to do something else.  we needed to kind of evolve the range because I know that our customers like your, you know, like your customers, you know, they're always looking for something different every year.  yeah. And so it's up to us to, to give them something, to create something that, that, that is different. And look, it's hard because like now that I'm having to think of next year, I'm like, oh my God, where do I go from here?

Felicia:

There you go. I don't know if you can top your Christmas toppers this year.

Elie:

Cockatoo Christmas topper

Yeah. Well that's yeah. And that's, that's an example is like how, how could we come up with other Christmas toppers? You know?  and then, and it's, it's hard to assess what to do next year without looking at the sales this year, you know? And it's, we don't even know what's going to be popular. So we're thinking of what to do next year before we've even seen what's popular and what's not, I'm so curious to see who will win that race, you know, Koala [tree topper] or the bird, the cockatoo.

Felicia:

 I can tell you from our customer that the cockatoo has one.

Elie:

I think so too. Yeah. I think because there's something very dove like about it and we've Yeah. So it's, and that's, that's a good example of something that,  appeals, you know, it's, it's unique because we've used the cockatoo instead of the dove,  that's a unique twist of something traditional. That's something that, that people can relate to. You know, it's, it's, it's relatable, you know, people, people like.... It's not so far out there that you wouldn't put it on top of your tree.

Yes. It's a perfect medium. And that's what I'm always looking for. That medium where it's, it's, it's something that people can, can love a dog, but it's also unique enough that they need it. They need to have it. Yeah.

Felicia:

Yes. But it still has that nod back to festive traditions that we all love as children.

Elie:

Well. Exactly. Yeah.

Felicia:

Beautiful. Yeah. And not to say the Koala [tree topper] isn't popular ti because the koala is gorgeous.

Elie:

I think the call is just really goofy and I, and, and the people I think that are going to go for that koala, it's going to be the customer or the person that's not really one that doesn't want the whole tree to kind of match it. They want the mismatch, they want it to look crazy. They want to tinsel and, and, and everything on their tree.  I think it's that person which would go for the koala and more, more so the decorative personnel would go for the cockatoo. Cause it looks ..

Felicia:

And don't forget Elie there's people like me and my friends who just love animals so much-  koalas - that if it's got a koala on it, we're going to get it ! Too true. Well, should we have a deep dive into the collection because I'd love to hear the inspiration behind, you know, more specifically each collection that you've got.

Elie:

Yes, let's do it. So where would you like to start?

Neighbours Christmas Collection La La Land

Felicia:

Should we start with neighbours?

Elie: 

Yeah. Neighbours.  Neighbours is (for people who haven't seen it), it's illustrations of,  four building blocks ... I think there's one house and three apartment blocks. The inspiration behind that was actually from lockdown and feeling this really strong sense of community. 

We, you know, when, when COVID first hit, we saw images of, I think it was in Italy that, that, you know, people on balconies, you know, playing music, musical instruments, and kind of connecting with each other by singing, while remaining distant. And, and so we wanted to explore what life would look like, you know, in lockdown.  And so we illustrated four beautiful buildings. We looked at the architecture of what we see around us. I, I live in Bondi Beach and the office is also based here. So two of the buildings were inspired by what we see here.  And then we also went to,  you know, what buildings look like in the inner west of Sydney. And I'm sorry, there wasn't, I don't think the Queenslander [home] was included.

Felicia:

Shouldn't make it, we'll get there

Elie:

One day. Maybe we will. I remember you mentioning that before. I'm sorry, but we will next year maybe.  And yeah, so there's, there's people in built in there. You can see people through the windows and it's just a beautiful kind of setting of people celebrating Christmas as a postman, giving a gift,  delivering gifts. There's a little girl knocking on the door. People walking dogs, there's a surfer looking at the waves.  So yeah, it's, it's,  I really liked this collection. It's very different for us because it doesn't have much the focus on flora and fauna. It's more about community.

Felicia:

Yeah. It's a beautiful collection. I mean, what I really like about it is it gives that nod to that European sentiment as well. You know, where they've all got, I know these are sort of two story buildings, but they've got those low rise buildings. And when you go walking in Europe at night, they have their lights on and you can see in people's windows and they don't bother closing the curtains or anything. So I kind of liked that nod to that, you're paying tradition as well.

Elie:

Exactly. And this was something that came through because you often see traditional illustrations of Christmas houses. And like you said, there's a Christmas street through the window and there's people having dinner, but there's also snowflakes and snow. So I guess this is an Ozzie interpretation of something

Felicia:

And like the traditional advent calendar, as well as like, we're all getting a little window opening into an advent calendar.

Elie:

Yeah. Well, it's funny because our original plan was to make that an advent calendar, but we couldn't put it down in time. 

Felicia:

I have a whole heap of Christmas product ideas,

Elie:

Please, please tell them to me. And I guess if you can tell them to me as soon as possible, because it's before it's too late,

Felicia:

I make it up. My manuals at home... when I went around Europe and I went to the markets I'd collect anything from all the European, you know, like the charming Christmas fairs and things - I'd collect anything - well basically they had really beautiful things like they do like beautiful postcards that are actually like a gift in themselves. Cause they've got gold foil print on them and just the way they do them and the like of letterpress kind of design, it was a really beautiful gift idea. And then they do those fantastic whirly - like Merry-go-round type ornaments that are propelled by air. If you sort of spin a thing and that just, and they Europeans put candles on them. So they're like a very pretty thing to put in your window. I'm probably not describing doing it justice.

Elie:

I think. So. I think I might have to go to Germany for inspiration. I think.

Felicia:

Yes. I've been there in big markets, like to me as I've been about five times.

Elie:

Yeah. And I think a lot of those iconic Christmas, or isn't it illustrations come from that part of the world-  around there.

Felicia:

And this lady called, I don't know if you've heard of the company, Kathe Wolfhart, ... she's created a massive Christmas company that has Christmas stores all over Germany, open all year. She's always creating, I think you'd really love her. Actually. She's always creating really new and found them interesting Christmas decorations. 

Elie: 

We can look it up :-)

Felicia

Later.  Yes! And for all our listeners who love Christmas, we'll all set up because she has some really amazing, yeah, very good. And that's,  amazing decorations. And,  what I like about her is she also employs everyone in Germany. She has a lot of factories and like all her things there as well, which is really great. And I know it's a hard thing to do. Although Germany is known for its amazing manufacturing capability.

Elie:

They've always been known for their high quality, but the standards are so high and very particular

Felicia:

Yes. So this lady also has a shop in Nuremberg, all the major markets in Germany, in the towns. She has permanent shops there. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. I can talk a lot about this, Sorry. I don't want to put off my listens too much! I  Love Christmas. Check her out. She's also great. Yeah. Cool.

So we're talking about neighbours.  Is there anything else in the neighbor's collection? I mean the actual 3d decorations you've got, they're quite,  incredible. And when they came in, I was really impressed. I don't think that the original photos I had on the site I've updated it now within new beautiful photos, but I don't think they do them justice

Elie:

Because you can really see lots of detail if you look closely in the, in the, through the windows and the animals hanging from, from the, from the ceilings and that yeah, they they're quite special, but you're right. I don't think the photos,  give them any justice.

Felicia:

You've got a beautiful, you can see they're actually quite thick decorations. So there's the width of the house and yeah, they're very, very sweet.

Elie:

So originally we weren't going to, I was actually hoping to put them in a box that looks like a street and have all lined up next to each other. So when people open the box, there's like a little little street with houses, but,  we, we couldn't do it because it's too expensive. We couldn't justify the price. And we thought, I don't think,  anyone could, could look at that and go, that's worth that much. So that's another thing we always have to think of is, you know, making sure that it's, it's commercial, you know, it has that commercial,  you know,  approachability.

Felicia:

Yeah. You're very good at that because I think comparibly, your decorations are very good quality and for the price it's incredible. Really, it's pretty hard to get decorations at that price that are that quality.

Elie:

Yeah, Christmas decorations can be very expensive and they are expensive to make - it  involves a lot of work.  A lot of those buildings had to be hand kind of moulded and glued. So the ceiling has to be kind of glued to the base, to the house, the base, the ornament. There's a lot of things that, you know, it's easy to just, you see in the shop, you love it, you buy it, but you know, to see the, the whole process and how long it's taken take to come up with that, you know, and create it is it's amazing. I mean, and that's my fun, like I love, I know I always appreciate when I see anything. And I think one thing we don't often think about is everything around us has been designed - everything. Right.  And just to kind of have that level of appreciation for all things around you that, you know, you might use all the time or, yeah. It kind of changes your perspective when you work in this industry.

Felicia:

 like what's in a business side of what material it's made of how to get

Elie:

And the shape, the texture, the colour, it's all been thought through.  you know, of course you've got the, the cut and copy people companies who just don't have to go through that process, but for a lot of others. Yeah, exactly.

Felicia:

The trend. Now I can see that. And then I can see in those, like you were talking about special, the shapes of the native flower, 3d baubles and the birds really are quite spectacular. Really?

Elie:

Oh, good. I'm glad. I'm glad you loved them because there were, there was so new for us that there's always a risk when you're launching something new that how people will, you know, resonate with the shape of a flower hanging off a tree,  or a flying bird it's you don't see it often. So there's always a risk factor there, but it's gone well.  Even the ice cream ones, like the streets, ice cream. Yeah. They're our best selling set, which is so bizarre because I think that's what it is, is they're so little and cute and they look like the box. They come in a box that looks like the boxes that you see in the freezers, in the supermarket. There's that novelty too, to it. When you, you know, there's something very adorable about a miniature version of anything. And especially in this case, it's like Street's ice cream that we've grown up to, you know, having,

Felicia:

Streets Ice Cream Christmas Decorations

Yeah. It's such a good idea. People just see that Bubble O'Billl and it just takes them back to when they were six or whatever, and, you know, they will have their own story about the bubble I build. Yeah. Very cool.  so while we're just talking about bubble, cause the other one that's been really popular, is it okay if I talk about ask you about these,  the very brand. Yes.

Elie:

 yeah, I mean, again, we were looking at Australian,  we're constantly trying to find things that are iconic to Australia,  that we can do without having to go through the licensing. You know, it was an official arrangement. We've had to licensee. Thankfully, no one owns Fairy Bread!   And so we could have,  we did a Fairy bred with like little beads and the beads were meant to be the, the hundreds and thousands.

Fairy Bread

Felicia:

Yeah. It looks great.

Elie: Yeah. It looks, it looks quite the texture is, is quite interesting too, when you touch it, it's got this beaded,  a 3d effect.  We tried really hard to get, not include the dark blue, but we put it in. But it still looks good and it still looks real like a real fairy bread . And it looks like you can just take a bite off it

Felicia:

Delicious makes me want to try and make it.

Elie:

I don't how, how it tastes like, I think it was just very, I remember butter and sugar, right. That's right. Yeah,

Felicia

Exactly. What's not better than butter and sugar 

Elie:

This combination.

Felicia:

Yeah. So we're going to take some to someone's house for a party.

Elie:

Yeah. And you know what, everyone will love it. It'll be like this thing to make and everyone's going to have a taste

Felicia:

Yes. And a little story about their childhood fairy bread.

Elie:

Yeah. I can imagine you being a very good storyteller at gatherings.

Felicia:

And I like to listen to other people's stories.

Elie:

I'm actually the storyteller.

Felicia

We make a good pair. Then I'll bring the fairy bread. You can talk so that the fairy bread to, can we talk about serendipity then I, last time we talked, that was your favorite current collection.

Elie:

Yeah. Serendipity. It, it means it's, it's the most, it's the most surreal collection.  I personally really love it because iit's really unique.  what, again, you know, I've, I think I've mentioned this before. We're kind of too, we're trying now to steer away from your traditional illustrations of flora and fauna, and we're putting them in settings or recreating them ... recreating settings where you see Australian animals, but in places that are imagined,  in this particular sense, we've got, you know, fabrics,  vases,  antiques and, and things that are come from, you know, Asia, India, the Middle East, and Europe. And the idea of serendipity is that it's,  is, is to kind of celebrate the, the cultural influences in Australia. So we've got, you know, a koala sitting amongst,  Australian flora, but, you know, he's wrapped in a, he's got like this throw on his body that comes that's, that's very Mexican inspired or Indian. So there's, there's various patterns and fabrics in that collection that is quite stunning. No, it doesn't. I don't think the collection is for everyone. I think for some people it could be a bit too moody,  or too, too,  unconventional, but for others who appreciate things that would be on the darker edge or a bit different, this collection is quite stunning.

Felicia:

Yes I think it really appeals to a younger audience as well. They just adore it.

Elie:

Right. Well, there you go. Yeah. I think because younger audiences are probably open to new things and open to new versions of what they've seen their parents or grandparents collecting

Felicia

Possibly. Yes. Not like I sold for me, for me,

Elie:

It's done something as hard to like, I think we all kind of,  we're all constantly getting challenged with what is beautiful.  you know, you see in, you see in the fashion world all the time,  and in interior design where, you know, trends change and then evolve ... and then what's beautiful today is very different to what was beautiful a hundred years ago or just 10 years ago. And I think it's a similar thing that we go through.  you know, there are people who still like who, who only really appreciate very,  detailed and, and, you know, what's the word that I think,  with some clinical type illustration would panic or way of kind of reflects the true nature of bird or flower. And then there are others who really want to see something that is something that's been imagined that isn't a real,  in, in serendipity, for example, there are eyes, there are like big bulging eyes coming in, fruits and flowers. And I love that. It's just so cool. 

Felicia

I love it through, it's just like the imagination. It just takes you through another world..

Elie:

So another world. Yeah. And why not? So that's, that's serendipity and the name is also very vague and abstract because it doesn't, it means a lot, but at the same time it means nothing, you know? So then that was intentional.

Felicia

Yeah. But is it like a lucky coincidence or a chance, but not a chance.

Elie:

Yeah. But then, but when you look at the artwork, I'm like, what's that got to do with serendipity and the answer to that. And that's what makes the whole collection very

Felicia:

Mother Nature Collection La la LAndWell. I think it does as an it's like a chance meeting that's, you know, like of what you are, this kind of pairing of things together. So yeah. It's really beautiful. Yeah, definitely. I think it's good. I think it's really beautiful. And certainly, yeah, the colours are a departure from sort of bringing in now, I noticed you bringing in a different colour palette this year with that mother nature sort of collection. They're like a softer sweeter kind of colour. It's really beautiful.

Elie:

Yeah. Mother nature.  there's do you want to talk about Mother Nature? So mother nature, there's two parts to it. There's the birds and there's the in, in the women dancing.  I was looking at exploring a whole new collection where we feature,  beautiful women in beautiful dresses or fabrics kind of dancing in nature and being completely in or in, in one with nature. And we did that in like different settings. So, you know, one's in tropical setting, like imagine somewhere in Cannes with, you know, beautiful lush leaves and tropical birds. And then the other is in the Outback,  you know, dancing amongst, you know, you know, gumtrees and, and the sunrise, you know, it's, it's a beautiful illustration and there are other, other places that we kind of explored that we kind of focused on those two to, you know, illustrations of the two women.

 and, and that whole collection look, when you saw the baubles, you'll see different women as well in different parts of Australia. And then the other version was just the birds flying,  being in beautiful flora and a collection of different flowers that you wouldn't see together. 

And, because we often - this is the thing I see a lot of illustrations of birds - but not many of them flying. So we thought, okay, this year we'll do something different. Let's make them fly. And then women dancing is something that I knew wouldn't be as popular as the,  as the birds, but I had to include it because I didn't want to do the same thing over and over again. And I knew that there was a niche, there was a niche audience that would really appreciate that range. So I split it into two, we focused more on the birds and the animals,  just sort of the commercial sense, but there is that for people who want,  you know, something that celebrates feminine power and connection to nature,  I wouldn't have a look at the mother nature with the women dancing.

 

Felicia:

Yeah, it is very, I mean, they're both very beautiful mother nature birds and the girls, but,  women,  and definitely it's a softer colour palette than some of your other collections. And certainly the way that Australia was often depicted. Was there a choice that you made around them? Those colours?

Elie:

Yeah. So the colour range, the colour, the colours was we're inspired by,  the different parts in nature. So if you looked at the Outback, we want it to reflect the true kind of earthiness, the, the warmth of the Outback,  compared to when you went to you, go to the tropical setting, it really does depict the real nature of, of, of what you see around it. I mean, we've done, you know, serendipity for example, is, is our collection where we were very brave and unconventional, but we wanted mother nature to really be reflect the true nature of what mother earth has created, if that makes sense. So two different ranges for two different audiences,  and the colour palette was most definitely inspired by the real colour palette of, of those settings, which is yes.

Felicia:

Beautiful.  and then you've got a, quite a lot of different types of products under those collections. You've got the lovely baubles, which are more traditional for you now, and you've got new, beautiful calendars this year as well.

Elie:

I don't know if you've got any left, do you have any left - ours sold out pretty quickly? 

Felicia:

The smaller ones have sold out, but the beautiful big gallery calendars, we have a few left and they're just stunning, actually. I like how they're a bigger format.

Elie:

2022 Calendar La La Land gallery

Yeah. We, we went for a bigger size and, and people can, you can easily tear off each month and, and we did it in a way where when you tear it off, it fits perfectly in conventional size frames and Yeah. And there's no holes. You don't see the hole, so yeah, there was,  anyway, they, we, they were this wasn't gain and product that we had not foreseen to be very popular and it was, we sold out straight away, but I think there are available in, you know, stores like yours and across the country.

Felicia:

Yeah. Cool. Awesome. They're beautiful. So yeah, she listening and they're still there. Check it out. Thank you for nice calendar the next day.  cool. So anything else about mother nature?

Elie:

There was the, yeah, sorry. There's one more thing that I, I missed. 

One thing we tried to capture were elements from the sky. So if you look at, let's say the collection of the greeting card set for Christmas - each bird is flying in front of a different background - one would have the moon, the other would be the rainbow. The other would be the sun and had raindrops,  and one had half a moon, so, and, and so forth. So we kind of introduced an element from nature that wasn't just about the flora and fauna. We introduced kind of what you'll see in the sky,  in different times of the day and,  different, you know, like a weather forecast. So I guess, yeah. Yeah. And that, that's something that, that is an extra kind of layer to that range. And I guess when you mentioned colour palettes, I should have mentioned before that the colour palette was also based on the mood of, of that sunrise or sunset or rainbow in the sky.

Felicia:

That's a good idea. Yeah. I can see that. Nice. It's beautiful. We've actually sold out of the card set - it was one of the most popular Pre-Christmas ones.

Oh, good. Yeah. So the Home for Christmas range makes my heart melt a little bit.

Home for Christmas la la land collection

Elie:

Yeah. So,  so the idea came to me when I read,  that almost half a million Australians came home from overseas since COVID started. And I had no idea that those such a large number of people, Australians coming back to Australia. I mean, it makes sense, you know, when something is like this going, you know, is, deadly. And it's scary. If I were living overseas, I would, I would come back home straight away and be like, you know what, I want to be home for this or for this. And so when I found out about that statistic and,  and I thought, oh, wouldn't it be nice to kind of capture that, you know, what the feeling of being back home, you know? And so that's why it's called,  "At Home for Christmas"  to really kind of celebrate all the Australians come, you know, who were here for the first time in years probably, or,  and what it would be like to be back and what it will be like to exchange gifts. And so this range is, is about that. And it's so cute because there's all these little Australian animals living in their little worlds, like a storybook...  and they're gifting each other things. So my favorite is the one back and there's behind, he's got his hands behind his back and he's carrying a present, but, you know, he wants to surprise the little it can across the, his drinking tea with, and that's just so cute.

And so that was, that was the inspiration.  and, but we obviously interpreted that story with animals. We didn't want to put too many kind of real life looking people in this scenarios.  you know, because we did that with neighbours that with the women dancing in nature, we wanted to go back to the true kind of La La Land aesthetic, which we've, we've become known for, which is more whimsical. And that's where you see,  cute little Australian animals, gifting each other things,

And it's wait, they look a lot coming home to the family with the little decorations.

Yeah. And I tried to capture different relationships. So the Galah is a mum giving a little, little gift to it's it's baby in a nest. And then you've got what looks like a grandma Platypus and with a little grandson or granddaughter. So there was that relationship. And then there were what I call the koalas that, sorry, the lovers. And there were the two, the two koalas exchanging gifts in the trees and they, they're more romantic, there's different kinds of relationships. And again, it's about Australians coming back home. They're at home for Christmas and, and, and their interactions with all the ones that they love.  it'd be the friends. And then there's this one scene where they all come together. And I guess that's Christmas lunch,

Felicia

Picnic table?

Elie:

And then picnic table. Yeah, exactly.

Felicia:

Yeah. That's beautiful. Well, I think a lot of our listeners will resonate with that because, Hey, we get a lot of gifts we send overseas and we still get a lot of, sorry, you can't come home. We may see all the gift messages,  a very heartwarming and heartbreaking as well. United it's a lot of people still stranded overseas... 

Elie:

Yeah. Oh, of course. And apparently there's like almost 40,000 Australians that remain stranded overseas. And,

Felicia:

And that's just the ones who are trying to get back. I think there's a lot that have given up going on lists and things.  and also just, it costs, I think I saw in one of the groups the other day that if, as a family to come down for March next year [2022] to come back home the price has finally come down.

Like we just, I mean, probably four out of five things, we send out with a message like that at the moment, you know, that 'we miss you and hopefully we'll see Christmas next year', or' hopefully we'll see you soon', you know, people really missing seeing  babies and grandchildren that have been born it's especially heartbreaking ...

Elie:

It is. Yeah. And that's the thing, you know, when people ask me, you know,  what's your inspiration behind Christmas? Look, I could it really, or you could, you probably could think that my inspiration was, is nature in birds and animals, but in fact, it's not the inspiration. My biggest inspiration when it comes to Christmas is us, the people and our relationships with each other. And I explore that or express that through the, you know, nature ... but really the biggest, the biggest thing that I love about Christmas,  and inspires me the most about Christmas are those relationships, you know, the bonding, the missing each other, you know, like not seeing, you know, a child grow and all of that. I mean, that's, that's what Christmas is about. It's coming together. And when you can't, that's, that's heartbreaking and inspiration for next year's range. 

Felicia:

The big party. You need to have a big party in the next years ranges

More than one. Well then what 50 people or something everyone's weddings are going to happen next year. That's great. Oh, that's beautiful. Thank you for sharing that.  yeah. I especially love that. Obviously love anything with animals, but I agree the way they're all coming together and even the beautiful owl and kookaburra you've got in that range in the sunset. So there,

Elie:

Yeah. They're friends. So the Owl and Kookaburra are not family, cause they're not the same, but their friends, they live in the tree. Exactly. So yeah, if you look closely, you can kind of guess what the relationships are.

Felicia:

Yeah. It's sweet. And they've all got their home decorated, which is lovely as well. Like little details like that are just beautiful.

Elie:

Yeah. So how am I going to come up with new ranges to top this range?

Felicia:

I don't know, Ellie, you've set the bar very high

Elie:

And then the pressure is on because yeah, I dunno,

Felicia

Curious on how we can help. I can help you through it.

Elie:

Let's do that. And we'll explore all those people that are coming back or may be left behind or whatever it is.

Felicia:

And I'd love to do that because you really do get a little window into their, I want to say their souls, but not their souls - but their situation... why they are sharing Australian gifts. It's just one way to sort of close the gap, I guess, between here and when they're overseas. Yeah, yeah. Yes. Well, I hope everyone will be able to get home very soon.

Elie:

Yes, me too. Yeah. And if not for Christmas next year, when the flights are, you know, a more decent price

Felicia:

So we've sort of talked about home for Christmas mother nature at the nutcrackers. We haven't talked about in detail though, we sort of touched on them before ...

Elie:

Yeah -  I guess the nutcracker is, you know, you mentioned Germany and how, you know, a lot of tradition comes from Europe,  old, really old Christmas stories and traditions. And then that nutcracker is one. And,  again, you know, of always having to look and think of how we can turn something traditional and European to something Australian typical example would be like turning it into an illustration of instead of a snowman, it would be like a Sandman, like, you know, on the beach in a snowman made out of sand. And that will be out as the interpretation. That's the challenge is, you know, we have like,  I'm going, I'm always having to think of,  of what else we could do because,  you know, so maybe, maybe next year we'll continue the Nutcracker family cause of running down two characters. So maybe like the kangaroo could be a ballerina.

Felicia:

Yeah. Yeah. You've got it on the,  on the larger range that sort of,

Elie:

Yeah. So it's just about make, turning her into an ornament, for example, She has on the tray as well, I think, right?

Felicia:

Yes. But those that don't know, you do a beautiful round celebrations tray every year, which is such a beautiful product, because I always joke that I'm not going to get them next year because they're very difficult to pack, but I can't resist getting them because they're just so cool. And this is such a great product that people love.

Elie:

Well, they're inexpensive as well. And it's the perfect tree that you can go to, you know, when you're going over to someone's house for,  for a barbecue or a party and you can leave And leave it there because they only cost you around 13, $14 to buy the tray. It's a gift as well as a,  bringing your own or sharing fairy bread. Yeah.

Felicia:

It's awesome. They're beautiful. Yeah. I wasn't so fine. Cause it's just, I customers love them.

Elie:

Yeah. And if you have,  I think glad wrap helps as well because they could, they could bend in, in, in freight. Oh, is

Felicia:

That right? Sorry.

Elie:

Did I say glad wrap? I meant bubble wrap.

Felicia:

Oh yes. Yes. They definitely get that straight. That there must be something.

Elie: 

No, no, no. You use glad wrap to put on some of your favorite bread! That's maybe the image I've got in my head.

Felicia:

I might get in trouble with customs if I try to send Fairy bread overseas! We'll definitely be getting a call about that game. I think they, cause we do a lot of make your own hampers where people get all their own products and put them in and then they choose the tray and it's like, we have certain size boxes that we make sure we just make it easy for customers and we just make it work. 

Elie:

Right. Maybe you don't include the tray in the picking mix.

Felicia:

Yeah. Well we just,  we just gift wrap separately and put it together.So that's fantastic co, and anything else about the Nutcracker?

Elie:

I mean, if there's anything you want to tell me about not correct, is that I may not know what you're welcome to. Cause I'm still learning a lot about not crackers. I had to do a lot of reading on them because I didn't grow up reading that story. So I didn't, I wasn't very familiar with it

Speaker 3 (01:12:39):

Okay. With the rat king....

Elie:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's so many things I still need to learn. I, you know, it's crazy for some people it's just very, they've grown up with it and for others it's, it's the, you know, I don't know much about them. I didn't know much about, I'm nutcrackers.

Felicia:

It's been a forever obsession Christmas.

Elie:

Yeah, it is. Yeah. It's very, it really is a traditional iconic.

Felicia:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, if you look at Kathy Wolfhart - She's obviously has lots of nutcrackers and you know, actual functional nutcrackers as well as she does her wooden decorations.

Elie:

Oh, that'll be cool. 

Felicia:

Right. Into all different ones. Yeah.

Elie:

When they crack nuts,

Felicia:

They actually crack nuts yes. I bought an artist Nutcracker she did..but she does have hundreds, if not thousands of different ones she's done over the years. So there you go...  and I remember as a child having, you know, nutcrackers - I don't know if we didn't seem to have them anymore in our homes..

Elie:

I mean, I don't, and I think my, I think my parents do, I think that, yeah,

Felicia:

I reckon it's a generational thing because I remember going to my Nana's and she'd have a macadamia nut tree and trying to crack them on the stones to get a morsel of the nut... 

Elie:

That's nice. So what other Christmas traditions do you do you know of or you celebrate?

Felicia:

 that's a good question. I probably just being at the beach with a big thing, being born and living in Brisbane and we'd always go to the beach every year. That's a really big the beach and the ocean. And that is a really big part of summer here

Elie:

Are you a person that wears Christmas earrings?

Felicia:

 on the edge about it? That I'm worried what people will think about me when I do. So I try to wear, and I'm using very commerce, like tasteful, Christmas. I do try and read like now uses embedded from us like tasteful, Christmas earrings. Sometimes the more crazy they are, the better sometimes.

Elie:

Oh, well always the crazier, the better it's Christmas. It's the times it'd be silly.

Felicia:

Oh look, well, we do have around the office here. We have,  a lot of,  suggesting out, but you know, Christmas hats and silliness going on without little elf on the shelf. And he turns up in funny places around the office and things like that.

Elie:

Yeah. Once we had,  we put a Christmas stocking on every chair and every day I'll come into the office extra early or sometimes stay back, extra late. Cause I'm better at staying back than coming early anyway. And I'll put an extra little gift inside the stocking every day, they'll come to the office and they'll be an extra little thing in their stocking that it was wrapped on their chair. It was cute. And I stopped doing it. I should do it again.

Felicia:

That's a lovely idea.

Elie:

I couldn't do it obviously in the last two years, but we should maybe get back into it.

Felicia:

Yeah. That's beautiful. I love that one.

Elie:

It's cute because they will be so excited to come to work to see what will be extra in. And the pressure would be like to find something that, oh my gosh. Yeah, because sometimes they're all boring. There'll be like little shower gels, but then other times I'll like really good, like donuts that I got, you know? So it depends on how much time I had that day or the night I would organize

 

Yeah. It's yeah. It's thinking time and being prepared to order it or, or get up from somewhere wherever if whatever it is,

Felicia:

That's the thing about gifts, isn't it? It is really the thought that counts. It's what people are thinking.

Elie:

Yeah. And it's the excitement, you know, it's,  it's the happiness that people feel when they're opening a gift.  and I've always said that we are really in the very best industry because we're in the industry of happiness, we're in the industry of giving and receiving. And,  and it's nice to know that, you know, at the end, when we're really old and frail that we could go back and reflect on our lives and go, you know what, I've made a lot of people -  I've contributed to a lot of people smiling and being happy. And I think that's,

Felicia:

Yeah, that is nice. That's wonderful. Which brings me on to, or actually, is there any other range that we haven't really talked about,  before I sort of was going to ask you about supporting others, but,  the range about sort of you've reimagined a couple of ranges or,  use of in different ways and different colour sets like with your exotic paradiso. So this year. Yeah. So,  I was thinking, did you just bring that back? Because I mean, it's been very popular.

Elie:

Well, we've, we've brought up, we've had it for a while. So it started off as a floral parody. So which we explored Australian birds and Australian flowers and the point of difference for that range, wasn't the subject, but it was more the style of painting. We went for a very contemporary kind of brush stroke, kind of not, not abstract. It was still, it was still detailed, but in a very kind of graphic way. And that was great. And we did really well. So then we did exotic parodies, which explored, we introduced animals,but we specifically chose animals that,   they have beautiful prints and like, you know, you know, the spotted quoll or the,  you know, different animals with different kind of animal print on them.  and then we kind of did it a little bit of oceanic parody. So we explored, you know, same kind of style of illustration, but we went, we chose, we explored the under underwater, the ocean and all the beautiful creatures and flora in the ocean.

It didn't, we knew that it wouldn't resonate with everyone because a lot of stores, a lot of our stockers and a lot of our customers could be in the country and they don't really bond with images of, of the ocean as much as people like us who live near next to the beach.  and then there, and then now I thought, okay, what do we do now? What, how could I evolve this range for, for next year? And then I came up with this idea that,  of course it's called midnight Paradiso and midnight Paradiso is about mushrooms and flies and moths and, and exploring that. And then now after midnight may have parody, so what could we possibly do? I don't know. This is the thing I sometimes meet a wall. I'm like, I really, I think it's, I think that's the end of that range. You know, I can't evolve it anymore.

Felicia:

Yeah. When you, when the board is happy, you must come up here and you must come to the sanctuary, our volunteer out because there are so many animals and animal stories and all sorts of things that you'll be inspired. I guarantee...Endless amount of things going on there that you just never thought of before.

Elie:

I think that's what I need. I think I really need to come up there and get to know like what, there must be so many beautiful parks and yeah.

Felicia:

Yeah. We're on the edge of Springbrook national park, because it's just, you know, it's gone to honor up here literally.

Elie:

Yeah. Did you remember that? Cause you've seen mushrooms there.

Felicia:

No, just that, you know, that's a nine to land, you know, the,  where the Bush as we call it. So

Elie:

I see. Okay.  we didn't end up the range actually turned into something else and we didn't end up, we're not calling that midnight parody. So it's now called field trip and we've kind of changed it up a little bit, but it's a similar concept if say mushrooms, Matson, butterflies. Oh, cool. I'm wondering, do you think that Australians recognize what butterflies and moths are Australian? They wouldn't right. I mean, I don't, I had to look it up.

Felicia

I want to say yes, but I realise I'm a very particular person

Elie:

What butterflies?

Felicia

Cairns birdwing butterfly and things like that - certain iconic ones that I would definitely know - but I don't profess to know all butterflies and moths and things, but there are certain iconic ones, which yes, I would say that is an Australian butterfly. 

Elie:

That's so interesting.

Felicia:

Though probably I'm not a representative sample :-)

Elie:

Put a survey out there. Like how familiar are Australians with native butterflies and moths?

Felicia:

Hm, no, it probably not that that's a good question. We know what is, is on trend - like all the frogs - the native frogs appearing dead. :-( 

Elie:

Oh, there you go. I didn't know that. Tell me about frogs. Are they, are we, are we having frogs disappearing,

Felicia:

Having folks disappearing and it's quite,  this, and then I'll send you the links to some of organizations out there doing surveys of count, the frogs that they go through. And the green tree frogs are disappearing in like really huge numbers. And they kind of,  they don't know exactly why, which is why, like suddenly there'd been whole patches of them dying. Like people will find a hundred dead frogs. And they, I mean, at green tree frog, absorbs everything from the atmosphere. So it's taking in a lot of pollution and things like that, but they're not sure exactly what it is. So they're researching it. And that those beautiful little focus on the green tree frogs is so beautiful. And that's why when you handle one, you should wet your hands. So they're wet when they are on you. So, yeah.

Elie:

Right. I mean, I didn't know that, but I mean, I wouldn't handle, I get scared from the anything I'm not, I've never been that kid that just touches everything they see.

 

No, absolutely not. When I was little, when I was a kid and if I see it in animal, like a little dead,

It's green and slimy .. And if I, if I see them dead, I would create a little,  organize a little funeral for them,

Felicia

But upset you about the frog. So, but I think it's very big sign of the health of our ecosystem. A little frog.

Elie:

Yeah. I want to,  read up more about it. I'm very intrigued now. So yes. I mean anything you have or you've seen?

Felicia:

And I'm going to send you detail,  cause at the sanctuary where I volunteer  I talk about it a lot, but it's, it's massive really, but they're doing research on little tinker frogs, which are these tiny little baby frogs that are extinct and they're kind of trying to breed them again. 

...And they're, they're so tiny. And so someone's job would go, (my friend was telling me the other day) someone's job is to stand there and watch them until they turn from, you know, that tadpole... And then their feet suddenly pop out so obvious to watch and wait for those feet to pop out. Then when the feet pop out, they've got to put them in a different area, you know? And then someone watches them again... because they're actually trying to reintroduce the species.

 

Elie:

Well, I was, I was thinking along the lines of doing something with snakes, but maybe we could do frogs instead. 

Felicia:

And we love frogs. Well, I mean, I guess some people really love snakes too.

Elie:

Oh, the snakes, the thing with snakes is there is something very cool about a snake, but, but not, I mean, you either love or hate snakes or some people can't even look at an image of a snake. I remember being in a meeting once and I was showing ranges of products. I can't remember what of what exactly. And I pulled out something that had a snake and she freaked out. Like it was like I had the snake in front of it's, like I was a, the snake, but all it was was, it was an illustration of this snake. And she was like, please get that away from me... True story. So some people don't like snakes,

Felicia:

Would you hold a snake if you had no,

Elie:

That's the thing though. I'm a scaredy cat. I can't know.  but yeah, I'll look into, I'll look into frogs. That'll be the something to explore.

Felicia:

Yeah. I'll send you these little things. I've got I'm I'm no expert, but you know, I know a little bit, I guess. Cool. Sounds good. 

So that was exotic Paradiso and we've got,Aussie Aussie Aussie in the baubles...

Elie:

 Ozzy. Yeah. Well, I look at Aussie Aussie Aussie - it is again, it's a, it's a range that is niche purely because it's about sport and, and it would purely attract the people who, who loves sport families. Yes.  so for any family out there that are sport obsessed, this is the range for you.

Felicia:

Definitely. It's got to keep little Platypus swimming, which is my favorite of that. 

Elie:

Yeah. The Platypus is my favorite service.

Felicia:

Yeah. And the one with his football and the Dingo with cricket.

Elie:

Yeah. The dingo really does somehow look like an actual cricket player. I don't know. I think it's the colour of his hair 

Felicia:

Yeah. Yeah. It's cool. And then the soccer playing wallaby

Elie:

Yes. Yeah.  that was,  you know, look, it's a bit embarrassing, but I got confused. I was, cause I thought the wallabies, cause I was trying to connect the football. Yeah. And then it didn't work out, but then it kind of looked fine at there. And I was like, look, let's just keep it because Obviously I'm not into sport and obviously I don't know anything about,  but I tried my hardest, but I think it still works because while it is a shorter like Southern players and then yeah,

Felicia:

Yes. Yeah. And you've got the AFL and NRL.

Elie:

Yeah. And so they, the wombat definitely looks like a stocky kind of football player that works for you. So yeah. It kind of, it, it's really fun. It's a fun range for people who love sport.  yeah. And so that's the thing working in the gift industry is, is, is quite unique because you're not just thinking about the person purchasing the items, but rather the recipient of the gift constantly having to think of, well, you know, you could be so this, this kind of person, but your friends and family could be all sorts of people.  and that's what we try to do out loud on is create different ranges to suit different people.  yeah.

Felicia:

Yeah. Cause it is hard to cover all the bases. Yeah. I'm always feeling as a retailer. Oh, have we got something for, you know, babies? Or what about people like key like this that I don't know, someone says to be mighty, keep buying stuff from different people. And it's like, well, cause I've got gaps, you know, in my mind, I've got all these gaps in the ranges that it's really hard to cover everything

Elie:

Yes -  you have to, you have to, you have to feel all the guests, babies and children.  Well, most of the baby baby category, we struggle the most. I personally struggled the most and I think maybe I've never got it. Right. And I've tried.  and I think maybe because I've never had a baby, I don't, I don't know, but I, and maybe my aesthetic isn't isn't  isn't, that is not doesn't work or kind of people can't relate to it when they, when their moms maybe immature, maybe it's to detail. The style of art that we do is a bit too detailed and we're not very good at doing kind of baby like illustrations. I don't know. I don't know what it is, but I've kind of given up and gone, you know what? Babies is just not a thing for us.

Felicia:

Yeah. I mean, I certainly sell those lovely cards that you got,  ...

Elie:

Greeting cards are easy. No greeting cards are fine. We've got lots of baby greeting cards, but I'm talking more about like bag or a bag or a little children's melamine set or things like that. Like we've, we've done them before and they never really took off.

Felicia:

Well, I have to say the melamine set  sell a lot. Don't sell as well as things like the toys basically -  rattles and basically like swaddles and things like that. And then books, you know,

Elie:

I wouldn't mind doing like cushions like that. You find on children's room. It's like, it's funny because I always look at,  I see, I get newsletters from like some brands that are for babies and I'm always curious to see it because I love dinosaurs and fairies. And you know, this is something that you see often in, in children's kind of prince that is so pretty and cute and whimsical and whimsical, but maybe that's the, that's the thing is that there's so there's, there's already, market's filled with those things and we don't need to kind of jump in on that.

Felicia:

Yeah. It is. I think it's hard to add categories like that because it is so different.

Elie:

Yeah. And I don't want to be everything for everyone.  I mean if I started doing fabrics or something like that. It might be different because then you could get stuff.

Yeah. We've, we've toyed with the idea of fabrics. We want to get into more textiles and more

Felicia:

Things to do that. That would be exciting.

Elie:

Yeah. But,  yeah, we were looking at doing something like that, but we'll stay tuned.

Felicia:

So I'm just thinking, have we covered all your Christmas collections now? Have I missed anything?

Elie:

Yeah, I know. I think we have,  we've spoken about a lot of things,  in terms of ranges that we've launched, 

Felicia:

And then product types as

Elie:

Well. Yeah.

Felicia:

Yeah. I think we've covered, covered them for this year anyway. Excited to see the challenge for next year to, you know, you have had set the bar extremely high.

Elie:

Yeah. Well that's yeah. I hope I hope I continue to, well, I think it's as a team, you know, everyone that at La La Land, we're always striving to improve and grow and I really hope that we could continue to do that.  I think we will, you know, we had two difficult years and we still managed to remain a float and continue to evolve and grow. So I think, you know, I'm really excited about what's next.

Felicia:

Definitely. I'm excited too.  and just one last thing that Christmas, cause we didn't talk specifically about Christmas cards, but they're part of a lot of your ranges. Now. Now you've supported a lot of charities over the years. Do you have any Christmas charities? You support this?

Elie:

So the children's Starlight foundation is a charity with supported last year and this year,  we've spoken a little bit about it, but yeah, it's, it's a charity that I really love.  it's Christmas. When you think of Christmas, you think of, you know, children and when you think of sick children, it's heartbreaking. So I think for us, it's, it's a good charity to support.  last year we,  also donated, you know, Christmas ornaments to all of the sick children.  and yeah, we're working closely with them and hopefully we can raise lots of money for them. So,  the Starlight foundation is the, is the, is our go-to charity for this Christmas.

Felicia:

Awesome. Sounds great.  so we're excited to announce a little joint competition we've got going on today.

Elie:

Tell us all about it.

Tree full of Baubles Christmas Giveaway

Felicia:

Should I tell us about it? Well, we've got a tree full of bubbles and sprinklings of Christmas cheer to give away this year and early, you guys have kindly,  donated a heap of a tree full of bubbles, a smattering of the popular collections that we've talked about with a beautiful cockatoo tree topper and  the mother nature bauble sets and individual 3d bubbles, like the fairy bread and the cockatiel and the glass 3d bubbles.

Elie

There's more

Felicia

Right! That's not all. So we're thinking about how could, you know, singing, how could we contribute to that experience of putting up your decorations in your trees? So we're going to add a nice bottle of wine and some crackers and,  Maggie Beer  paste and,  some literally sprinkles of Christmas cheer. So if you would like to make your own fairy bread and put it on a tray while you decorate your tree might make it a little bit more fun.

Elie:

All things, all things, Ozzy, really

Felicia:

All things, Ozzy, exactly. An Australian Christmas tree. And then we've added as well, a lovely Christmas song list on Spotify for you to listen to, if you would like to add that extra bit of sparkle to you, decoration putting up in your home.

Elie:

I love how you always think of everything.

Felicia:

It's just trying to think of fun things, you know, and what, what would make the experience fun for

Elie:

People? Yeah, exactly.

Felicia:

Yeah. So,  yeah, so you don't have to buy anything or you don't have to do anything. All you have to do is I'll put the link in the podcast on our website. And if you want to do the same,  to a page where you can give us your email and name and we'll put you in the draw for the competition.  and by doing that, you'll subscribe to both your newsletter and my newsletter. So you can hear about all the exciting new product ranges and things that are happening in both our

Elie:

Companies. Amazing

Felicia:

Sound good?

Elie:

Yes. Yes. Thank you for being,  you know, I think it's a great idea and thank you for, including us in this, in this great competition.

Felicia:

Oh yeah. Thank you for your contribution. And I'm really excited to,  I'm excited to do it and to pick a winner. So it's running until the 11th of November. So you've got time. It depends on when you're listening to this podcast, I guess that's 11th of November, 2021. We'll be drawing a winner and publishing it on our socials and via email. There you go. Good luck everybody.  so to continue the fun, we've got our quick fire round Ellie,

ENTER HERE:

Elie:

that's the queue to  ask random questions,

Felicia:

But yeah, random Christmas questions all about Christmas.

Are you Ready? Okay. So what's your favorite Christmas song?

Elie:

And so this is Christmas.  I feel like that's like it's a classic and it's, it's just kind of like, you know, the song that you closed that last month, the last chapter of the year, and then you look forward to next year and you, you have good wishes. You're sending good wishes to your friends and family and it's just such a happy pleasant.

Felicia:

Hmm. I think that's nice too. Cause that's a massive collaboration that song as well. Isn't it? It's lots of

Elie:

People. What's your favorite Christmas song?

Felicia:

 oh, I find it so hard to pick a favourite, but my childhood favorite is I want a hippopotamus for Christmas!

Elie:

Oh yeah. Cute. And yeah. So you still bounce around and sing

Felicia:

And if I hear it, it just brings back just because it just brings back childhood memories, you know, of that innocence and just the excitement. And when you still believed in Santa and all those fun Christmas family memories of being in the car, mum used to have a Patsy Bisco cassette tape. Of course, that used to go in the cassette player in the car, you know, it would be driving down to the coast or whatever and listening to her songs, which my favorite one was the one hippopotamus for Christmas. Yeah. Yeah. So what's your favorite Christmas memory then?

Elie:

Well, I mean, I've got, there's two parts. I mean, my childhood, my childhood memory is,  well, cause my,   my family are very, very, very Catholic.  I come from a very Catholic family.  although I'm not,  I'm not a huge, like I'm not practicing as much these days, but growing up, going, you know, at Christmas it was going to church.  midnight mass was like this thing that when I was a kid, I'll get excited over. I don't know why, but I think there was, I think it was the idea of staying up till midnight.  and because it happened year after year, it was almost like this kind of thing that stayed in my mind.  and you know, now as an adult on Christmas night, we've got a tradition that I've kind of started with. My friends has been going on for over years where every Christmas, every year on Christmas night I have lots of friends come over for and we have a big party together. I know that by far is my greatest memories because we've had so much fun over the years celebrating together. Oh,That's a nice, it'd be extra special this year because of the lockdown you've

Been through. Yeah, exactly. Even like these, these days that we're going through now, when we see your friends where, you know, you're so great, you know, there's this strong feeling of gratitude that you have.

Felicia:

Yes, definitely. Hmm.  so that's your Christmas traditions. And have you ever been away from home for Christmas?

Elie:

Only once when I was a teenager.  cause I have family that lived in Boston and it was my first white Christmas. Oh, wow.  I hated it. I know it was so cold. It's so cold. And it's like, when you see what we experienced here in Australia and being in summer,  there's so much to celebrate. You're not just celebrating Christmas and family and friends. You're celebrating, you know, the weather, the ability to wear shorts and flip flops. You know, I dunno. I just find that Christmas in Australia is the best and  yeah, but I have experienced once many, many, many years ago at Christmas in Boston.

Felicia:

Let's say you were definitely homesick then ...

Elie:

Homesick is literally you couldn't be outside for more than five minutes. Like you was that cold. Yeah. It wasn't fun. 

Felicia:

Maybe it was because you weren't old enough to get into the mulled wine and the pubs! lol

Elie:

Yeah, maybe now, because I was, I was like 15. So maybe now as an adult, I'll appreciate the, the, you know, being around the fireplace and, and wearing like long coats with long cigars and

Felicia:

Yeah, cute. And like those little Christmas jumpers, you know,

Elie:

Which I didn't wear back then. So I think they need to do that at least once in my life where I jump up, I always wanted that photo.

Felicia:

Well, you know, there's the company here in Australia that does Christmas,   getting the word wrong, swimsuits, you know, like the hot summer rashies. What'd you call them Christmas Night. I do a Christmas jumper. I like long sleeve, not a wetsuit, but like a swimsuit that's got long sleeves.

Elie:

Oh, right. And it's the Christmas traditional Christmas jumper patents. Yeah.

Felicia:

And they sell out because they're super popular. Yeah.

Elie:

Because you know, we, we're still following tradition, but we're doing it our way.

Felicia

Exactly, exactly. Perfect example. Yeah. I'll put the picture in the podcast notes for you.

ugly christmas rashie

Elie:

Yeah. Yeah. Why not? I might buy one. 

Felicia:

After the COVID kilos. I won't be buying one this year and I have no excuse. I'm in Queensland. No excuse.  speaking of kilos, what do you eat for Christmas? Christmas is about lunch or dinner?

Elie:

For me. It's Christmas, Christmas Eve is that my parents and it's always a big barbecue,  and lots and lots of food. You know, my parents are Lebanese, so you can imagine the amount of food that they have.  and then for lunch, it's, it's at my sister's house and she's got a holiday house and terrible. So we go there and there's a huge lunch there and it's around seafood. How, wherever the irony is is that I'm actually vegetarian, almost vegan. I say, because I hardly eat dairy, but I, I don't call myself vegan completely. Cause sometimes I do.  and so I don't have much of the barbecue nor the seafood, but I do enjoy everything else back to that.  and so that's what I eat and, and obviously lots of lots and lots and lots of cake and, and, and dessert,  love the public, but yeah. What about you? What do you eat?

Felicia:

Yeah, that's my favorite is the Christmas pavlova and we make like a,  I make like Donna hay a few years ago. I did it like Christmas pavlova wreath. So you do it in the shape of a wreath and put all the beautiful berries and mango, obviously being a Queensland and mangoes, a big summer thing up here.

Elie:

Yeah, of course. And did you, did you make it?

Felicia:

Yeah. Yeah, my, I make it now and that's become a Christmas tradition now that I make that.

Elie:

Can you send me the recipe? Yeah, sure. I'm curious to see how it would look like too. So it's kind of like halo in the middle. Yeah.

Felicia:

It's really easy. Just put like spoonfuls of pebble over essentially for each, you know, if you think of a clock face for each number, it has a big spoonful and it all kind of mashes together.

Elie:

It sounds, it sounds delicious. I think Christmas, what I love about Christmas is that it's the only time in the year where kind of gluttony and drinking is okay.

 

Yeah. Go crazy. And then like, people like, you know, I often try to watch what I eat throughout the year, but you know, it's Christmas. So you stuffed your face and yeah. And I said, okay,

 

Yeah. And go down to the beach. He talks.

 

Yeah. You show off everything that you've added. All those.

Felicia:

Yeah. It's awesome. And, okay, so my last question is, is it okay to open presents before Christmas day?

Elie:

Look, I think because I'm a wog, maybe it was a, we stayed up until Christmas Eve, like Christmas night

...

After midnight mass maybe. Yeah.

So for me it was like, as long as you wait until midnight, then yes it's. Okay.

Felicia:

So you would open just one or like all of them,

Elie:

All of them when you come back, you know, when we came back.

But then I don't go. I don't go anymore. Like I don't go to,  I don't go to midnight mass anymore. I started many, many years ago, so I don't have that tradition, but maybe I shouldn't be started. We'll do something.

Yeah. Now, now we wait until, well now I wait till Christmas day with my, with my family and friends actually. Yeah. That's nice. Oh yeah. Back, back in those days.  it was midnight. So what do you think, do you think you could open presence before Christmas day?

Felicia:

Well, if someone, if one of my friends gives me one like that, I know I'm not going to see on Christmas day. I think it's okay. But I check in with them now because it's like, am I a kid? I put this because some people feel really strongly about it that no, you cannot open presents before  Christmas day. So I check, I check

Elie:

In. Yeah.

Felicia:

Yeah. So, but otherwise I would. Yeah. But , other than that, I would put them under the tree for Christmas morning. Cause it's nice to have like, it is nice to have than to open, you know, a few days.

Elie:

Oh yeah. There's, there's something very exciting and magical about Christmas morning. Yeah. Sorry if you're hearing,  a heavy breathing it's it's, it's my dog. That's next to me. You just come into the room. It's very excited because the door has been locked the whole time. And then by

Felicia:

Is it what sort of dog is it again?

Elie:

I've got, I've got two and now I'm minding my sister's dog. So this actual, this three in the apartment right now, that's cute. But Jack Russell Cross Foxy and a Maltese cross something we don't know. Cause they've been adopted. And my sisters one is a miniature poodle. Who's very cute.  I can't work out if he's really dumb or really smart,

Felicia:

Poodles are pretty smart and mines combined with another type of dog that's very stubborn. 

Elie:

Smart and stubborn, deadly combat,

Felicia:

But he's very lovable. You know, he's

Elie:

Our best friends. Yeah.

Felicia:

On right. What would we do without them? So do the dogs get Christmas presents?

Elie:

I have in the past last year, I didn't, I don't know why, but I have, I have toilet paper rolls, cause I just want to see them tear it apart. It actually makes me really excited. I have left,  when, when Thomas, which is the name of one of them when he was a puppy,  and if I ever were to leave, leave him for new year's Eve, I would leave a toilet roll. And I was like, you know what, let him have a party while we're celebrating, let him tear up that toilet roll however way he wants. That was the only time he was allowed to be naughty. And I was like,

Felicia:

Oh, that's very sweet. What a present that is for a dog.

Elie:

I don't think he cares anymore. He's the old grumpy man now. So I don't think he he's, I don't think he'll do much with the toilet roll if I give it to him. Yeah. I'll try

And make good memories for him. Yeah. Maybe it just like how we're, you know, reminiscing our Christmas childhood memories.

Felicia:

Maybe. Why not? You can only give it a go.

Elie:

Yeah, exactly.

Felicia: 

 so there you go. That pretty much is everything we wanted to talk about.

Elie:

Amazing. I think,  it was a great conversation. And once again,

Felicia:

Thank you so much. It's really inspiring and,  interesting to hear your thoughts and how you go about your creations.

Elie:

Thank you for having me, you know, I do appreciate it. I love, I love, I'm very passionate about what we do. So for me it comes so easy and natural. It's so natural for me to just talk a lot about it.  I also talk a lot in general. So talking about something that I really love is, you know, for all the people who are still listening, I'm sorry.

Felicia:

We all find it very interesting. It is really, because I think, you know, when you look at your things, it's obvious that there has been a lot of thought that goes in behind it and care and detail and yeah, you've done a fantastic job. :-)

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