Bird and Knoll's Macayla Chapman in her Westmere home studio. Picture / Ginny Fisher

Inside The Home Studio of Bird & Knoll's Macayla Chapman

Co-founder of luxury scarf and resort wear company Macayla Chapman in her Westmere home studio

“Argh! Look at this!” exclaims Macayla Chapman, extracting sweet wrappers from under the sofa cushions in her Westmere home studio.

The mother of two and co-founder and creative director of luxury scarf and resort wear company Bird & Knoll is used to dealing with small interruptions and surprises from her children. She has to be, her home office is situated right next to her resort-like pool, where her kids play most days in the summer.

Macayla and business partner Natalie Knoll, launched the brand in 2013. Natalie, a travel photographer, had a novel idea from her sun lounger; print a photograph from an iconic destination on to a cashmere-blend scarf.

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Sydney-based Nat supplies the images, then the pair decides on which shots are best suited, colour-wise and graphically, to each collection.

The formula has proved a winner. The pair now sells their scarves all over the world, and the brand has become popular with celebrities, including actress Emily Blunt and supermodel Jessica Hart.

Run us through a typical day at your home studio.
My day starts with coffee on the way back from dropping the kids to school. I check emails and get any online orders packed and shipped.

After these tasks, the workload is varied — from designing new resort collections, overseeing fittings and working on samples, to sourcing fabrics and trims, looking at colour trends and organising photo shoots.

We’re also constantly selecting images for new scarves and writing descriptions or recommendations to go alongside our scarf destinations, then there’s managing the website and our social media channels.

I have numerous Skype conversations with Nat to plan and discuss issues; it’s quite amazing we can run Bird & Knoll from two countries.

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What are your biggest distractions? Your pool looks like it could be one! 
Ha! Yes the pool is very tempting, and Broccoli, our bunny, is so cute it’s hard not to want to sit and pat him all day. But, to be honest, I am pretty focused on what I need to get done so I can spend time with the kids after school.

Ever worked a day in your PJs?
No, I’ve never worked in pyjamas, but I often spend the day in a swimsuit and Bird & Knoll kaftan.

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Do you stick to a rigid routine or just roll with it?
I’m pretty relaxed, but there is an element of routine to my day. Nat and I will have a call most mornings to discuss key things we need to get done each day, which we both find really helpful. Given it is just the two of us, we need to be pretty flexible and react to what the day throws at us — it’s one of the perks really!

What’s on your screen saver?
A beautiful travel image, of course: a picture I took while we were at a friend’s place in Enclosure Bay, Waiheke — the light is just incredible, it looks surreal. I do change the screen saver regularly, but it’s always a travel image.

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Does your workday finish when your children get home from school?
I really try to, however, this often isn’t the case. As a business owner, you need to be available all the time and some of my phone meetings will be in different time zones, so the need to be flexible is important.

If you could set up a home office anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Today my office is in Whistler, Canada — we are away on a family holiday but even here, work continues. I think a home office on the beach in Tulum, Mexico, would be just heaven! Obviously, travel inspires our business, so a mobile office with an ever-changing destination would be ideal for us.

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