A burst of colour: the journey of Kip&Co

November 4, 2023 BY

Kip&Co's latest collaboration with Ernabella Arts, Australia's oldest Indigenous arts centre located in the Pukatja Community. Photo: SUPPLIED

It all started when Kate Heppell and her sister Hayley ventured into the world of business with a health food store.

However, things took an unexpected turn when a casual conversation with Alex McCabe, a dear friend from university, turned their entrepreneurial gaze towards something entirely different.

“There was lots of bedding being sold but it wasn’t colourful or fun. So we decided to give that a go,” Kate said.

Their new line was an instant hit and their brand, Kip&Co, quickly struck a chord with people seeking more colour in their lives.

“I think it resonated with people because everyone loves colour,” Kate said.

“We were all about showing people how to introduce it into their home.”

Langaliki Lewis’s ‘Tjala Tjukurpa (Honey Ant Dreaming)’ artwork is available as part of the Kip&Co and Ernabella Arts range. Photo: SUPPLIED

In the years that followed, Kip&Co has expanded its range beyond linens, with offerings now including babywear and swimwear.

“We’ve really tried to cover every corner of the home and every member of the family,” Kate said.

“We’ve evolved into a lifestyle brand rather than simply a homewares brand.”

Living in a region famed for its pristine beaches, Kate is intimately familiar with the allure of nature’s colours.

“Whether we’re walking the dog, catching waves, or sharing a meal, the beach is a huge part of our lives,” she said.

Central to Kip&Co’s brand is the belief in “a better way of living”. It’s a philosophy deeply personal to Kate.

“I’ve always seen my home as a sanctuary… a true reflection of me and my family,” she said, echoing the brand’s ethos of turning homes into vibrant, comforting spaces.

Langaliki Lewis’s ‘Tjala Tjukurpa (Honey Ant Dreaming)’ artwork is available as
part of the Kip&Co and Ernabella Arts range. Pictured here on the quilt cover.

Balancing personal and professional life remains a daily negotiation for Kate.

Nevertheless, she emphasises the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, not just for herself, but for her entire workforce.

“We are good at knowing the times you need to be with your family and the time you need to be at work.”

Hayley Pannekoecke, Kate Heppell and Alex McCabe.

The team visits India every year.

“It’s about nurturing connections with our suppliers and immersing ourselves in the rich culture of the place where our products originate,” Kate says.

“The travel trips are a huge part of what makes this business fun for us.

So we never want to give that up and we never want to lose that connection with where our products are made.”

Kip&Co’s latest collaboration with Ernabella Arts is a celebration of color and creativity. Photo: SUPPLIED.

Kip&Co’s journey has been marked by remarkable collaborations.

Their most recent venture involves a partnership with Ernabella Arts, Australia’s oldest continually running Indigenous art centre, located in the remote Pukatja Community.

The collaboration was two years in the making, and the memories of visiting Pukatja remain cherished for Kate.

“Collaborations are not just growth strategies for Kip&Co,” she said.

“More importantly, they allow us to work with artists that inspire us.”

Rupert Jack’s Ngayuku Ngura (My Country) artworks is available as part of the Kip&Co and Ernabella Arts range. Photo: SUPPLIED

Profits from this collaboration are evenly split, with 50 per cent being returned to Ernabella Arts.

Proudly 100 per cent female-owned, Kip&Co’s all-female staff wasn’t initially planned, but Kate believes it might be their secret ingredient.

“Unlike many companies with static value statements, we live ours every day,” she said.

For more information on Kip&Co, head to kipandco.com.au

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