Chrissy Lafian first launched her brand SUKU 7 years ago as a creative side hustle while working full-time at a high-end fashion retailer. Back then SUKU was producing a small range of bedding, sold pretty much exclusively online. Today the SUKU world encompasses bedding, tableware, fashion, and even incense, designed in Melbourne and manufactured in Indonesia. ‘I was born in Indonesia and grew up in Australia, so I guess I am kind of a SUKU product too’ she says!
In late October 2020, just one week before lockdown ended in Melbourne, Chrissy signed the lease on her very first Melbourne store on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. ‘I remember some people kept saying to me that it would be impossible to open the space before Christmas but I was like, we should at least try to aim for it’, recalls Chrissy. ‘I wasn’t taking no for an answer.’ With interior designer Natalie Held, and her partner Chris, along with Christopher Scott from Chair Boi on the shop build, they started ‘the impossible one month project’. The SUKU flagship store, Dream Baby, opened two weeks before Christmas!
Between the 8 staff Chrissy employs across the Melbourne and Bali offices, as well as the 25 person production team in Bali, efficient time management is critical. But for Chrissy, the real key to success has been getting the right people on board, and letting them do their thing. ‘When you work with a team across continents, you really cannot try to micromanage everyone, you just have to trust your team’, she says.
Fuelled by creativity, independence, and a genuine desire to create something special, Chrissy lets us in on her day-to-day!
I’m not an early morning person, I wake up at 8am. That’s pretty late. The first things I do are drink coffee and exercise. I do F45 regularly, reformer pilates at Good Times and mat pilates at Club Ronny at home when I am working from home. High intensity workouts like F45 really help me with my mental health, I struggled a bit last year when I couldn’t do this at home.
I like to take it slow and easy in the morning before I do my exercise.
I start work between 10-11am (ish!). The first few tasks of the day are checking emails and writing down my to-do list for the day, then setting up meetings with my team to plan the week/day.
I burn incense in the office to get me in the mood. My work requires me to be creative, make decisions, and be in the right headspace most of the time. That’s why creating a nice space to work from is important for me, this includes a space that smells nice with lots of natural light.
I am a lot better now, but I used to always forget to take a lunch break when I was working. Now I make sure to take a break around 12 or 1pm. I love the Vietnamese café, 2T café, next door to the store. They make the yummiest food!
Most days I don’t finish work until 7pm because I also have to work on Indonesia time and the time difference means I have to still be in contact with the team later in my day. Hence why I start my morning pretty slow and late.
My energy levels depend on when I do my exercise. I feel energised after I finish exercising – which is why I like to do my exercise in the morning.
Normally I finish work by 7pm, but on a busy day I might not be done until 9pm. Dinner depends on who feels like cooking that day… 100% pasta if my partner cooks. I like to take some time out of my day to read a book, or on a really busy day, a glass of red wine in the afternoon always helps!
To switch off, I have to put my phone down!
I usually go to sleep after midnight, I can’t fall asleep before 12.
Chrissy Lafian, founder and creative director of SUKU home, outside their new flagship store! Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Flowers by Blossom Bby at the SUKU store. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy uses SUKU as an opportunity to collaborate with many other creatives, like florist Blossom Bby whose bouquets are featured here. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
The beautiful SUKU flagship store, Dream Baby! Custom rug by Stacia Hadiutomo. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy wrapping orders at the SUKU store. Counter by Chair Boi. Artwork by Lauren Dunn as part of Sunday Salon’s pop-up exhibition. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy, interior designer Natalie Held, her partner Chris and Christopher Scott of Chair Boi. Custom rug by Stacia Hadiutomo. Artwork by Lauren Dunn. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy employs 8 staff across the Melbourne and Bali offices who handle the retail side of the business, and 25 production staff in Bali. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
The SUKU showroom in store at Dream Baby. Lamp by CCSS. Artwork by Lauren Dunn. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy and some of the SUKU Melbourne team around the lunch table. Jug by Soft Edge Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Working on new patterns from the latest SUKU range, In Full Bloom. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy at home on a Skype meeting with her team in Bali. Artwork by Katie Eraser. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Chrissy at home with her beloved dog Manja! Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Lighting incense gets Chrissy in the zone. Plate by Soft Edge Studio. Incense holder by is a collaboration between SUKU and Comfy Shrooms. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.