KWD is all about creating beautiful bespoke interiors for our clients. Sourcing and supplying unique pieces of furniture, art, lighting and decorative pieces is all part of our service, as is the creation of custom pieces where time and budget allows. One of our key partners when it comes to high end pieces is Boyd Blue. We discovered them some years ago and have now formed a strong bond with Shelley and her team.
“I love working with Shelley,” say Kate. “As a business woman she is so committed to what she has created with Boyd Blue. She backs herself and her team by carrying a really wide range of stock in Australia, much of which I have lusted after for many years and now love being able to specify for KWD clients. She is always impressive, and her range caters for so many different design styles. Her white glove service is outstanding which means our clients get the very best in terms of communication and the delivery of quality furniture, lighting, art and decorative pieces.”
Founder of Boyd Blue, Shelly Boyd, was always very creative and knew she wanted a career in textiles, which were her first love. Growing up in New Zealand, Shelley attended Wellington Polytech and studied textile design when she left school. A big fan of natural fibres, Shelley learnt all about pattern making and designing fabrics and everything to do with textiles.
Shelley was destined to be in an industry where she could travel and work with creatives minds from around the world. When she was young her parents took her and her siblings on a two-year journey exploring far off countries before retiring to Australia’s Gold Coast. Meanwhile Shelley travelled to England where she lived and worked for many years.
Explains Shelley, “I worked for an incredible woman in the UK called Ann Rossiter who founded a business called Rossiters of Bath in 1961, and it still operating today. It was like a ‘Georges’ department store, very high end, and Ann taught me everything about interior design and gave me such a good grounding for what I do now with the clients I work with. She was a fabulous mentor and I now mentor some young women in business myself which I love. It’s wonderful to give back.”
Moving to Australia 25 years ago to take up residence near her parents, Shelley worked with a company called Unique Fabrics for over five years as a rep selling fabrics to interior designers. When she decided it was time to launch her own business, she knew she didn’t want to be an interior designer herself, and she didn’t want to limit herself to textiles. Shelley wanted to be a one-stop-shop for interior designers where they could come to a beautiful showroom and find everything they needed – rugs, lighting, furniture, art. That was Shelley’s goal 22 years ago when Boyd Blue was born in 1999, and she opened her first showroom on the Gold Coast a year later.
“I opened a series of showrooms quite quickly,” says Shelley, “one on the Gold Coast then one in Brisbane followed by one in Sydney then a fourth in Melbourne eight years ago. Managing the showrooms prior to COVID-19 was quite easy because I was always on a plane visiting my teams. I just love travelling and normally spend six months overseas anyway sourcing product and working with my factories, so travelling between cities comes very naturally to me.”
Boyd Blue manufactures their own sofas and upholstery here in Australia but everything else is sourced overseas. “Our beautiful glassware is from Indian and our hand-knotted rugs are from central India, our beautiful furniture is manufactured in the Philippines and Indonesia. We work predominantly with family businesses that are three or four generations old in third world countries. I consider my business very much a family business too. I am extremely passionate about what I do, and I absolutely love it. I throw myself into everything I do and work like a crazy woman!”
The circumstances during 2020 with interstate lockdown restrictions curtailed Shelley’s travel, but not her drive and determination. “We have a big Boyd Blue van, so I got travel permits and drove to Sydney four times to deliver stock and drove to Melbourne twice,” explains Shelley. With her overseas partners there were many online meetings which worked really well, but of course the circumstances haven’t been ideal. And unfortunately Shelley didn’t get a lot of support from landlords. “Our showrooms are very large spaces and expensive to manage so the closure did play havoc with our bottom line and it has been very tough.”
Boyd Blue are all about quality. “Buy once and buy well” is Shelley’s mantra. “I never bargain with my supply partners – I pay them a fair price for their creations and in turn our clients understand that there is a reason for the price and story behind each of our pieces.” There is nothing cookie-cutter or mass-produced about Boyd Blue. They provide a unique, niche group of clients, who have discerning tastes and can afford quality, with timeless limited-edition pieces. They invest heavily in carrying stock here in Australia which they store in a 2500sqm warehouse halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, with a furniture upholstery and polishing business where they can create bespoke finishes for their clients.
Boyd Blue design custom pieces for clients, and imports that most stunning indoor and outdoor furniture, art and decorator items from their key overseas partners. Explains Shelley, “We work with Arteriors from America, which is a 35-year-old business, and Palecek which is a 50-year-old family company. All of their designs are inspired by nature, like we are, and are made by artisans in the countries where we manufacture our ranges, so there is such synergy. Their collections are huge though so we stock a certain range, and our clients can order anything they like from their collection which usually arrives in 14 to 20 weeks. One of the biggest knock-on effects of COVID-19 has been shipping delays so by carrying a range ourselves we haven’t let clients down. We pride ourselves of giving our clients beautiful customer service so we are always on the front foot, letting them know the status of their orders at every stage so they can in turn advise their clients.”
In terms of trends, Shelley intentionally doesn’t follow with trends. “I am inspired by a love of the finishes and textures that we use. There will be a beautiful modern twist to our collections over the next six months to 12 months with beautiful shagreen finishes and clever leather detailing. Lots of stone and fossilised clams and clever finishes from the Philippines – all derived from natural elements.“
“We’ll be a bit bold with the use of those because we like big, statement pieces like large consoles and sideboards, beautiful big mirrors and amazing large and unusual ceramic pieces. And we have just launched ‘laidback luxury’ which has a lighter palette and a more contemporary silhouette. It’s all about laid back sophistication with a coastal vibe. We create our own trends rather than following anyone else’s.”
BRISBANE SHOWROOM: 34 Arthur Street, Fortitude Valley
MELBOURNE SHOWROOM: 1390 High Street, Malvern
SYDNEY SHOWROOM: 789 Botany Road, Rosebery