I’m soooooooo stoked to be launching “BTS with Terase” with local renegade Shannon Fricke from Shannon Fricke Heart & Home, I had a gut feeling the first time I met Shannon in the carpark at the Fig Tree Restaurant, that she had an amazing story to tell, and I wasn’t wrong!  Grab yourself a cup of tea, glass of wine or whatever you fancy and join me for a BTS insight into what makes Shannon Fricke so freck’n awesome!

Shannon grew up in Bondi, as an only child with her mum.  But like many children in a single parent house not being part of a traditional two parent family meant she benefited greatly from the theory that,“it takes a village to raise a child” with a big family clan that helped support, encourage and inspired her as a child, and women.

One of the things I love most about Shannon and her story is that in many ways, her career was unplanned and when opportunities presented themselves she dived straight in, often navigating uncharted waters and completely backing herself that she’d just make it happen!  As she did when the Lifestyle Channel approached her, (along with Pete Evans and Brendan Moar) to co-host “Home” where Shannon was the resident expert Interior Stylist, finding herself front and centre on camera guiding viewers through her game changing new vision for interior design (the series provided so successful that it ran for 6 years).  From the start Shannon was driven to change the focus of conventional thinking, and encourage viewers that we should be connecting emotion to design, successfully steering folks away from designing their homes as “show homes”, and giving them the confidence and knowhow to instead design and create home interiors that create energetic homes, homes that tell a story about the people and families and their lives, homes that are not designed out of a desire to impress visitors by displaying big expensive pieces, but rather share pieces that have been collected along the journey of life that have meaning, conjure up memories and connections. Not satisfied to only take this new thinking into many family homes, Shannon has also worked with big corporates over the years, to create positive throught provoking work spaces, inspired shopping experiences, YEP, you guessed it, Shannon’s approach to positive space and design can pretty much be integrated into all facets of our lives to create a life for ourselves that brings balance and harmony, and ultimately inner happiness and a sense of well being.

Shannon’s mum was a key early influencer, with Shannon lovingly describing her mum a “soulful mum”, her mum didn’t have a degree in design, and they didn’t have much if any spare cash in the household budget growing up BUT what her mum did have was a knack for creating a home that had a sense of belonging, creating positive energy, a home full of endless creative possibilities for Shannon, and without perhaps knowing it thus planting the seed from a very early age, for what would be Shannon’s career and I reckon her calling in life.

OK queue, girl crush alert!  When Shannon told me her first real job was Editor, Writer and Stylist at Dolly magazine.  I was like ……. WTF are you serious!  Because, I remember siting in the sand dunes at Dee Why Beach in Sydney as a teenager with my girlfriends listening to our friend Dolls (her name is Leanne but her surname is Dolly …… yep true story!), reading the “Dear Dolly” section of the magazine, which without exaggeration was responsible for educating generations of young girls in the highs and lows of growing up, kissing boys and all sorts of other essential girlie stuff, that of course we were too embarrassed to ask our parents and certainly wouldn’t dare asking the nuns!

Oh and have I mentioned yet that Shannon is also a published author YEP!  Her first book is called “Sense and Style” published by Murdoch and the second is “How to Decorate” published by Random House, which has also been translated into too many languages for me to list here BUT let’s just say that it is available in heeeeeeeaps of different languages!  I told you this chick had an freck’n awesome story!

The first full reno project Shannon undertook for her young family was featured in the second every “Inside Out Magazine”, giving Shannon an opportunity to put all her visionary game changing design theories into practice in one complete home reno.  Shannon completely refurb’d and renovated an old Fisherman’s Cottage at Camp Cove in Sydney, into an oasis of tranquility and belonging proving that her theory was completely doable and also struck a cord with folks looking to “really live” in their homes.  YAY proof that Shannon’s core philosophy of creating a home environment that is nurturing, inspiring and tells a story with this Fisherman’s Cottage reno, with the icing on the proof cake, being that it also is what caught the eye of the Lifestyle Channel producers, officially announcing Shannon as an up and coming talented young Interior Stylist that was doing something very different to the mainstream pack and folks loved it!

Throughout my interview with Shannon a couple of things really stood out for me, firstly this women is seriously driven by the desire to change peoples lives through liveable design, which is not so surprisingly is also the fundamental foundation of all Shannon’s bedlinen and Homeware range.  Being that our minds and body’s are most affecting at repairing, rebooting and open to new positive habits whilst we sleep, it makes perfectly perfect sense that Shannon’s desire to create an inspired and nurturing space has morphed into a hugely desirable and successful range of bedroom and homewares products is of no surprise.

Enter now ……… The Newrybar Merchants, another perfect example of Shannon’s instinctive ability to develop and create a vision that is outside the norm and ahead of the curve, for me though the real difference between Shannon and other creatives is her ability to take that high-level dream and long list of “we should’s”, to push forward and inspire others to come along for the ride AND then make it a living breathing reality, that is also a commercial success!  YEP that there takes an extraordinary vision, mixed with bundles of talent, guts and a double dose of old fashion determination, all of which Shannon has in abundance.

Shannon had actually been toying with the idea for years for The Newrybar Merchants (yeah spoiler alert nothing good happens overnight, sorry to disappoint!), having experienced “ABC Carpet @ Home” in New York with their six floors of homewares and restaurants that Shannon enthusiastically describes as a “wonderland”.

If you’ve not been before (run don’t walk!), you can find The Newrybar Merchants nestled happily in the village on Newrybar in Byron’s picture perfect Hinterland.   I have to confess, that I am often drawn to The Newrybar Merchants, when I am seeking some solace and creative inspiration (and yes OK, and maybe …… a little retail therapy too).  Now having spent time chatting to Shannon about how she and fellow members of the Newrybar Ownership Group have spent countless hours researching and choosing the other retails who share the space, staff selection, the flow and vibe of the space, creative balance and colour you soon realise that it is not by chance or a twist of fait that the very experience you feel and indeed leave with has been loving created and curated by Shannon, because creating these types of spaces is what she does, and it’s what she loves, and she’s bloody good at it!

So with The Newrybar Merchants now ticking along nicely, what and where is Shannon going to be turning her creative talent to next? Well, you might have seen that last year Shannon teamed up with her long time creative buddies Carla Coulson and Paula Hagiefremidis to create “A Creative Immersion Retreat on the Island of Lemmos” in Greece.  A workshop created to challenge the norm and get women to trust their instinct, identify with and create strategies to achieve their goals and chase their dreams in a meaningful and ultimately obtainable way!

If feel like Shannon’s drive to help and teach others to reach their full potential through her mentoring programme and women only retreats, is kind of like me with my cooking.  Because, connecting with people and inspiring them is like an itch that Shannon can’t help but scratch, where cooking and feeding people for me is very much a similar itch, that I can’t ignore and simply have to scratch.  I think we are both lucky to have found that think that truely is stamped in our DNA and now we just need to continue to follow the path and make it happen.

Fast and Fun Q&A:

TD : where you a Tom Boy or a girly girl growing up?
SF : Tom Boy! Actually I still am a Tom Boy!

TD : Who were the influential creative women in your childhood?
SF : My mum for sure! I also had some aunties that ran hotels, my Granny was a seamstress, and my Great Granny ran a farm in Kyogle.  Oh and we have a Tarot Card reading gypsy in our family.  I found knowing we had a gypsy in our family tree very comforting as a young teenager, particularly when I was feeling I wanted to run and explore!

TD : What and Who inspires you?
SF : My Children, People, Silence, Garden, Ocean

TD : What keeps you sane and centred?
SF : Salt water swims every day, massages, Reiki, Meditation, Kinesiology

TD : What is your family heritage?
SF : Português / Irish / Germany

TD : What are your plans for 2018?
SF : Expand our programme for women only retreats, create a mentoring programme for women, push more boundaries, explore, create and have fun!

If you don’t already follow Shannon’s adventures please join the fun on Instagram at @shannonfricke and of course you can also join the Taste Byron Bay adventures @tastebyronbay

I hope you’ve enjoyed our first in a series of BTS with Terase!

T xx