As Australian luxury bedding and lifestyle brand CULTIVER has grown over the years, so too has its office space. In early 2016, Founder and Creative Director Nicolle Sullivan made the decision to transition her team into a large, open-floor-plan warehouse space. The result? A contemporary, light-filled interior that inspires its employees to collaborate and dream big.
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From the large bank of white trestle tables at the heart of the office to the sheer, soft gray curtains along a large wall of windows, the CULTIVER office is a true reflection of the brand’s aesthetic and mission: to enhance everyday activities with luxurious accessories.
Name: Nicolle Sullivan
Current job/company: Founder and Creative Director, CULTIVER
Education: Bachelor of Business, Master’s in Applied Finance
You worked in the financial sector for more than 10 years before launching CULTIVER. How did you decide to make the leap and go out on your own?
It was just time for something different. I loved working in financial markets but the long hours and travel took their toll on me. I was ready for a change—and now I work even harder! I was on my own running the company for more than a year. It wasn’t until I was so pregnant that I couldn’t physically carry the orders to the post office anymore that I took on part-time help two days a week.
What does a typical day at the CULTIVER office look like?
We work in an open plan office so there is a lot of teamwork and collaboration. We start the day chatting about what has happened overnight in the U.S., and then get into our daily tasks: customer service, production planning, reviewing samples, planning photoshoots, logistics, working with designers, retailers and press, collaborating with other brands and always a bit of accounting in there, too.
What’s next for CULTIVER?
We’re so excited to be growing in the U.S. This has taken a lot of our focus and energy, ensuring we have the right product mix for the U.S. lifestyle and seasons. We’re also developing new linen colors, refining or tabletop range, and adding new designs to our luxurious silk velvet pillow range.
What advice would you give other women wanting to start their own businesses?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’ve been fortunate to have met so many smart people who have helped and encouraged me along the way, and I make sure to pay it forward when I can.
As your team grew, so did your office space. Tell us about your decision to move to a large, open floor plan.
As we grew out of our previous space, we were working out of multiple locations. When the opportunity came up to move into a larger combined office and warehouse, it was perfect. We’ve never looked back and we all love coming to work here.
What tips and tricks can you offer to someone embarking on a workspace redesign a workspace? Where did you start when decorating the office?
We had an expert—Claudia Stephenson—a long-time friend of the brand who brought our vision to life. We enjoyed the process so much that we asked her to join our team. She is now our director of operations.
What was the biggest splurge for the space?
The marble-topped meeting table. It’s a beautiful shape, and luxe but not precious—just like CULTIVER. We love gathering at it for team meetings or lunch.
How would you describe your style?
Our style is timeless and comfortably luxurious. The space is fresh but sophisticated. We love playing around with the decor and changing things up, and this represents our products, since there are so many different styles they can work with.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for decor?
Blu Dot, Etsy, and ABC Carpet & Home.
What are your favorite elements of the new office?
We have two walls that are key to our creative environment. One gallery wall that constantly changes and also incorporates our mood board, and a dark charcoal wall that grounds all the white in the decor and provides a fantastic backdrop for impromptu shoots. I also love our DIY pottery cluster. It was such an easy project but makes a great impact.
What is your work-life balance like? Do you think such a thing even exists when running your own business?
Yes and no. Not on a daily basis, but overall I feel satisfied that I get quality time in each part of my life—it might just be spread across the week differently. I’ve learned this is key to getting more done and not losing time to too many daily transitions.
Best moment of your career so far?
The recognition a couple of years into CULTIVER that we had built a strong brand, and that beyond our products, our customers loved what we—as a company—stand for.
What advice would you give your 23-year-old self?
Don’t be scared to start something different, feeling like you have to be following a straight line or plan. Ten years into your career, you’ll be glad to draw on varied experiences to solve more complex problems and decisions
Nicolle Sullivan is The Everygirl…
Favorite way to start the morning?
A walk—I rarely do it but should try to more often!
Switching off from the phone, reading, going to the beach with my family, and casual dinners with friends.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
“Start as you mean to continue,” which is a way of saying be mindful with your actions, as they will show your intentions. I need to be reminded of this as I’m impatient and can tend to rush into things.
If you could have lunch with one woman, who would it be and what would you order?
I’d love to lunch with Diane von Furstenberg. Hopefully it would be at Nobu and we could have the blackened cod.