"Stay true to your beliefs and values. This may impact your short term gain but will be recognised in the long run."
After a career in the corporate world, Sasha Titchkosky founded Koskela in 2000 with her husband Russel Koskela. Koskela is an innovative designer and supplier of furniture to some of Australia's leading corporations, educational institutions, public buildings and private residences. Koskela is committed to manufacturing their range in Australia and using their design skills to effect social change.
The Yuta Badayala project is very close to Sasha's heart and reflects the key values behind Koselka. A collaboration with the indigenous weavers from Elcho Island in Arnhem Land, these design projects also include Tili Wiru with the Tjanpi weavers and Durrmu with renowned indigenous artist Regina Wilson.
My pivot point was probably the day Russel and I got together 16 years ago. We've been pretty much inseparable ever since. We met when we were in our late 20s and had both started carving out pretty good careers in our established fields, but both had this nagging feeling of not quite feeling fulfilled. Russel was working as an interior designer but always had a love of furniture and I was working at the Australian Stock Exchange heading up their communications area. We had a long 7-week holiday, the first real one in our working lives. We first floated the idea of doing something ourselves in a cafe in Paris. Russel was keen to make our own furniture range. We got back to Sydney and I looked at the market and felt there was a gap there for something we could fill.
Don't think it will happen easily. You need tonnes of tenacity to keep you going. Find a mentor or surround yourself with wise people. I found it much easier being part of a duo. When one of us was feeling disheartened, the other was there to pick them up. Stay true to your beliefs and values. It may impact your short-term gain, but it will be recognised in the long run.
Yuta Badayala is a project close to Koskela's heart. It's a range of lighting produced in collaboration with traditional Yolngu weavers from Elcho Island in Arnhem. I would love to expand the social enterprise part of our business to 1) work with more Australian indigenous communities, and 2) look at working with indigenous communities globally to create beautiful products that help preserve their culture and traditions.
All images used with permission from Sasha Titchkosky.