24 Hours With… Deiji Studios
Byron Bay-based design duo, Juliette Harkness and Emma Nelson have been fine-tuning their minimalist style and easy, breezy aesthetic ever since they launched Deiji Studios back in 2016. If you’re looking for pieces that will work hard for you – cleverly (and consciously) crafted co-ords and separates that blur the lines between sleepwear and ready-to-wear – you need to make this brand your go-to. Here, the dream team gives us a glimpse into a day in their lives...
“Morning light at home.”
“Late morning rise with my littlest.”
“Quick shoot with Mia at the beautiful town of Bangalow.”
“A look around Yeah Nice, our local art gallery before lunch.”
What time do you wake up and where?
Emma: I’m an early riser, 5am wake up with the birdsong and my dogs at home in Newrybar (hinterland Byron Bay).
Juliette: I’m the opposite of Emma; I try to sleep in as much as I can. I wake up on the small coastal town of Byron Bay to my husband and three kids, always in a mad rush to leave the house for school drop off and work.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Juliette: Cuddle in bed with my husband before waking up Loulou (my middle child). We have one that loves to sleep in like me and the other two are early morning risers. Kids breakfast comes first then when I get a chance a quick decaf coffee or matcha, it’s the small things that count these days.
Emma: I ease into the morning with a tea on the deck as the rest of my family slowly surface.
Where are you usually based?
Juliette & Emma: We are based in Byron Bay on the Northern Rivers in NSW, Australia.
What does your average day look like?
Juliette: This is usually a busy day - we get out of the house, head to Bayleaf for a takeaway chai if I haven’t had a chance to have a hot drink at home (which is most days). Check in with all the girls at work and what they are up to for the day. Keeping clear communication with our team is really important to us, as we are like family here at Deiji. A little walk to our local, Tones for delicious lunch and Braer for weekly fresh flowers for the home. I feel so happy being amongst their beautiful space and creations.
We finish work early in time for school pick up and an early dinner as a family. Since we were kids, my mother always taught the importance of eating together as a family and food is such a big part of connection in our family, we all love to cook. I cherish the later hours spent with my husband once the kids are in bed. We love watching documentaries and then a book and herbal tea in bed to wind down from the day.
Emma: Mine is very similar to Juliette’s above, we are generally together during work hours. I will try to catch a yoga class before work, or maybe a walk up to the lighthouse after work – I have to exercise to sleep at night! After we have dinner my husband and I usually alternate having a sauna and putting our two girls to sleep, before I head to bed myself to read.
Do you have any morning rituals?
Juliette: I am consciously trying to spend less time on my phone and give more time to be present with myself in the mornings. I love a shower and beauty routine, if I have time, I’ll give myself a mask 2-3 mornings a week - being in my bathroom gives me peacefulness and quiet time.
Emma: Just sitting outside and waking up with the sunrise when it’s nice weather.
Where is your office located and how do you get there?
Juliette: I drive each morning to our studio in Byron Bay industrial. It’s a very artistic little area in Byron with lots of artists, small business operators, and beautiful Art Galleries.
Emma: I drive my children to school and then head over to our office in the Arts and Industrial Precinct.
“Delicious lunch every day at Tones café.”
“Fresh flowers at our local florist, Braer.”
“BTS at the look book shoot in our studio.”
How would you describe what you do?
Juliette & Emma: We are the founders and creative directors of Deiji Studios.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
Juliette: Being a mother has made me more resilient and determined to create something sustainable and special creatively.
Emma: I come from a small town in New Zealand, I always thought the world was so vast and exciting. I loved arts and fashion and I think I was seeking my place in this industry from my early teens.
How did you get your start in fashion?
Emma: I used to make and sell clothes to friends at high school, then studied a design degree before moving to Melbourne and working in retail stores to supplement my income. Eventually I worked for other brands in the back of house before starting my own.
What are the most important factors of the brand?
Juliette: Sustainability is a huge factor and core ethic of Deiji. We only like to work with natural biodegradable or recycled materials. We are always learning about new materials and how we can better our business in terms of giving back to the environment.
Emma: If the core of the brand is genuine, it flows through in all facets… through into the integrity of the final product. So, for me keeping that core honest, respectful, and self-aware is key – be kind to others and our planet before all else.
How do you get into a creative headspace?
Juliette: Music will normally get me into the zone of creativity as well as open discussions with the team on creative projects.
Emma: I feel like talking to our designers and team sparks most creativity these days, as so much of my time is now spent in numbers and admin.
What do you do to take a break from work?
Juliette: A walk with Emma to Tones café nearby and a chat with the lovely girls at Braer - we find a little break or walk during the day our best remedy for the intensities of juggling work and family life.
Do you have a favourite piece from your new collection?
Juliette: I love dressing for cooler days as we don’t get many here in Byron – we mostly experience hot and topical weather. When I do, I love wearing my Brown Tie Cardigan back with the Brown Curved Leg Pant and my black tabi sandals.
Emma: The Knot Dress in Russet Check is an everyday favourite for me, worn loose with sandals.
"Visiting the Deiji store with Toto."
“After work martinis.”
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
Juliette: I keep my books neatly stacked up on my bedside as a reminder to read a little before bed. Currently I am going between ‘All The Lovers In The Night’ by Mieko Kawakami and ‘Marshmallow’ by Victoria Hannan. I also love architecture magazines and enjoy flipping through my favourites when I get a quiet moment.
Emma: My bookshelf is overflowing with light-hearted fiction – I need to lull my brain to sleep these days.
What do you usually do for dinner?
Juliette: I grew up with a French mother who loves to cook. Her father was Hungarian so being creative with my cooking and making food from all around the world is a huge passion of mine. The kitchen is my favourite space within our home. It's social, happy, warm, and inviting.
Emma: We eat super simple, as fresh and clean as possible. I don’t tend to have a lot of time to cook these days and we eat early with our children so it's normally thrown together last minute.
What time do you go to bed?
Juliette: I aim for 9pm, this is something I constantly struggle with.
Emma: As I rise so early I try to go to bed at 8pm.
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Juliette: Read, drink a herbal tea, and usually a little chat in bed with my husband as this is the only time we get a moment to really unwind and tell each other about our day.
Emma: Wish it wasn’t true but check my phone for messages before turning it to flight mode.
What do you dream about?
Juliette: I have been having so many dreams about snakes and birds - I don’t really know what they mean but at the moment I dream about this most nights!
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