Shopping online for ethically made products is all well and good. But to be able to touch and feel them brings a completely different element to the shopping experience – that’s why Niccii Kugler and her husband Timo Kugler have opened a bricks-and-mortar version of their online store, Nash & Banks, in Avalon Beach.
“We just decided to have a base where people can really come and experience these products, to develop a massive crush on them and start to consume consciously and fall in love again with the products that they curate their life with,” Kugler tells Broadsheet.
While the Nash & Banks online marketplace features more than 3500 products, the store’s shelves are stocked with a “rolling curation” of only a handful of them. And some products are exclusively available in store. Like all products stocked by Nash & Banks, each is chosen to ensure it adheres to at least one of the brand’s eight core values: ethical, sustainable, minimal waste, vegan, upcycled, giving back, organic and artisan.
“We’ve kept the space relatively clutter-free because we’re wanting to hero each product,” Niccii tells Broadsheet. “We’ll have little information cards about the brand, so people can walk in and digest information about the products they like. It’s also just to make sure that the space remains interesting and alive.”
The store features brands such as body-care label Biode and its range of Australian-made natural deodorant, soap bars and lip balms, all of which are vegan, palm-oil free and come in compostable packaging. There’s also synthetic-free unisex perfume and candles by Melbourne-based brand Váhy.
Hats by Phylli, vegan chocolate by Planet Coco, macadamia nuts from Brother Mountains Macadamia and jewellery by Canadian brand Pyrrha are among the products available only in store.
The fit-out was driven by the ethos the brand is built on. The Kuglers worked with local suppliers, as well as interior designer Louise Walsh and Matt Ritchie Building & Design Services to prioritise the use of sustainable material and minimise wastage wherever possible. This included using reclaimed timber (for the store’s custom-made shelves), handcrafted brick tiles and water-based low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint. They even opted to use recycled craft paper to cover the windows instead of decals during the renovation.
“If we’re going to ask our brands to come to us and be transparent about their production and their values, it wouldn't be right if we weren’t doing exactly the same thing, so we wanted to make sure, in going to the space, that we started from the outset,” says Niccii.