Meet Amanda Ewbank from Pebble & Palm Interiors
Got your cuppa ready? Right, it’s time for some serious inspo. When Jess from Jess McEachen Copywriting took five with Amanda Ewbank, she was blown away. Amanda has had such a fascinating work and life journey to bring her to where she is today. From park ranger and day spas, to General Manager and international work opportunities, to now living her best life as an interior stylist and owner of Pebble & Palm. Alongside being an epic Talent Manager who designs leadership programs and facilitates strategic planning too, of course!
In this interview, you’ll feel empowered to take the leap, be inspired to lean on your tribe and look for the silver linings of this year. Plus, we’ve got you covered for Christmas, with Amanda’s Top 5 beautiful gifts to give. You’ll also have the added joy of knowing you’re supporting a local South Australian business.
It’s no secret that we are super excited to have our gorgeous SA Woman Member, Amanda, and her equally gorgeous store, Pebble & Palm Interiors, in the Business Spotlight for December.
// Thanks for chatting with us Amanda! First up – we’re getting the party tooters out because your biz is turning 2 this month!! For those in our community who haven’t come across your stunning store, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Pebble & Palm?
I know, 2 years, I can’t believe it! It has flown by. I am so incredibly grateful for all our local and loyal customer base.
For those that may not have heard about Pebble & Palm, we are a homewares and interiors store located in Warradale, in between Westfield Marion and the beach.
We specialise in coastal and tropical styling, however, you are guaranteed to find something to love. We have new stock arriving weekly, it is like Christmas all year ‘round, we get so excited unpacking new stock. Think cushions, candles, ceramics, prints, wall baskets, occasional furniture, rugs, serving ware and fashion.
We have built a lovely team at Pebble and Palm, we are all committed to providing personalised service to our beautiful customers. All bringing wonderfully different strengths to the team.
Me, well I am a local to the area, growing up in Glenelg. I spent a few years travelling Oz, however, came home to Adelaide, got married and put down some roots. I married my bestest friend and am one of those lucky people who is blissfully in love, still. I have 2 step-sons, they are Jackson 26, who lives in Queensland and Cooper 20, who is still home with us, both lovely young men. You may even see Cooper in store occasionally, especially when we have markets in the rear lane.
As well as running my little store, I also work part-time (3 days a week) for an Adelaide FinTech in HR, as a Talent Manager, where I design leadership programs, talent management strategies and facilitate the annual board and executive strategic planning cycle. I work with an amazing team and they give me the flexibility I need for the biz as well – very lucky.
// But, you weren’t always surrounded by gorgeous things in your very own shop, now were you? Park Ranger, Corporate Banking, HR & more…to Interior Design & Homewares store owner! Tell us a bit about your background, and how it led you to doing what you’re doing now & how it’s helped you in your small biz life.
No I haven’t. I have had a somewhat varied and interesting worklife. At age 16, I went to Uni in Queensland studying Aquatic Environments and Analytical Chemistry (that is a story for another day), then spent the next few years travelling Australia living and working, ended up back in Adelaide.
After working in travel, day spas and few other retail jobs, I somehow, found myself in Banking. Originally working in projects and then into Human Resources. In HR, I found a passion and stayed there eventually specialising in leadership development and cultural change.
During my time in the HR roles, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Mexico on a leadership immersion program – I loved it! At the bank, I worked hard and worked my way up to be the General Manager of a large subsidiary, which meant, great money, lots of travel. Although over time, it became exhausting. I needed a break and I needed to find my groove again. I had studied Interior Design whilst living in Victoria with the bank, as I was leading a large IT team and needed a creative outlet. It was time to apply what I had learnt and follow my dream.
So one night, on the verge of a serious melt down, my hubby asked me “What do you really want to do?” I was able to answer him straight away … Own a homewares store.
That was it, it all happened very fast, from there I signed a lease a few weeks later and have been on the biggest learning curve since! HUGE! I think working in a corporate environment gave me good planning tools, a strong sense for processes and systems.
// For anyone who’s feeling drawn to having a career change or starting off in a completely different arena – what are your biggest pieces of advice?
Do it! Take the leap, I know it is scary to give up what you know, what is comfortable, but if you aren’t happy … why keep going?
Life is incredibly short and I know that sounds very cliché, however, it is and we need to find what makes us happy, what energises us, what brings us joy. That little voice in your head telling you all the reasons why you shouldn’t … shoosh it!
I like to think I have a board of directors who guide me, only I get to choose who is on it, these are the people I listen to, who I trust. So if you have people on your board that are talking you down or telling you can’t or shouldn’t – kick them off!!
Having a good strategic plan is also really important, going through a structured process that considers your customers or stakeholder needs, your operational systems and processes that will support you, your people – the skills, the type of work environment you want to create and foster and finally the financial considerations both in terms of revenue and costs. There are some great planning tools out there or ask someone for help. Use your tribe’s collective brain to make it happen.
Do it! Take the leap.
I know it is scary to give up what you know, what is comfortable, but if you aren’t happy … why keep going?
Life is incredibly short…and we need to find what makes us happy, what energises us, what brings us joy. That little voice in your head telling you all the reasons why you shouldn’t … shoosh it!
// Bringing it back to right now…with the Summer months here, what trends and must-haves are you seeing for homewares & interior styling?
I must admit, I am not one for trends, so much. More about creating spaces that reflect those that live and love in them, however, in saying that, we can see definite trends from our wholesalers and from what we are seeing overseas.
For us in here in SA, it is all about creating cool, calm and relaxing spaces filled with natural light. We are seeing lots of white, with gorgeous greens and black accents in things like lighting and tapware.
The relaxed coastal or boho look is also very popular – we love this look!
Lots of texture with natural materials like wicker, rattan and cane, a fairly neutral colour pallet paired with timbers for added warmth. We are also seeing some soft pinks paired with rusts and mustards – divine!
I think the must haves for this season is all about big gorgeous wall décor, wall baskets, wall hangings and mirrors. We have had some amazing pieces come through the shop – they never seem to last long, such a great way to bring personality to a space.
// Yay for Christmas being just around the corner too! What are the top 5 items on your Christmas gift guide?
So many beautiful things for Christmas this year, okay so my top pics are –
5. Karina Jambrak Prints – coming in a range of styles and sizes these prints from Sydney artists are the perfect addition to any space. Prices start at $74.95
4. al.ive body products – Duo Alisa and Lysandra and fellow SAW members have out done themselves with this range, it is stunning. My personal favourite is the coconut and wild orange. We have the duo pack for $79 or sold separately for $38
3. Nomad Candle – Made here in SA by fellow SAW member Mel Barnes, these smell divine and take you to a tropical destination in moments. Personally, I can’t go past the coconut and lime coconut – gorgeous!!! Coconuts are $30, but we have a range starting at $20
2. Ceramic doll vases – now in a new range of designs these funky vases are the perfect gift, add a plant (or a faux alternative) for some crazy hair and you are ready to go – $29.95 each
1. Lush Print Alba Shirt Dress – Designer by South Australian fashion label The Eighth Letter, this one size fits all top screams – lazy summer days. With its beautiful tropical print it can be warn over white linen pants or as a dress.
// Obviously this year has been so tough for retail. What do you want let us all know about how important it is to buy local? What does it mean for shop owners like yourself?
It has been a somewhat challenging year, hasn’t it – wow! As a retailer we have survived because of our gorgeous loyal local customer base, they have been so supportive and we need that support to continue.
I think this year we all want to support small business; it is such an important part of the fabric of who we are as South Australians.
I love supporting local makers and will always be looking to pay it forward – it gives me such joy in seeing makers come in and seeing people buying their products. Smiles all round! Love that.
// What are the other lessons & triumphs that have come through for you during 2020?
Use your tribe! I am very fortunate to have an amazing supportive husband and some close friends who have supported me when that voice of self-doubt starts to creep in. I have learnt to say I am not okay and ask for help.
Despite the challenges we have also had some wins this year. We have had unprompted shout-outs from local influencers, which warms my heart and also increases our reach. Woo hoo to that! We have taken on new brands that have exceeded our expectations, and we have continued to grow our revenue year-on-year by over 40%.
Some lessons, try not to take feedback to heart – ironically I run classes in my ‘other’ job on the art of giving and receiving feedback and am also a coach on the topic. This year I got my first piece of negative feedback from a styling client, Ouch! It hurt, really, really hurt and I made the decision to stop styling for a few months afterwards. BUT, I got to a place where I realised I am never going to be able to please everyone 100% of the time and I am not going to get it right all the time … why? Well because no-one is perfect.
// Looking ahead, what are you looking forward to learning and doing in 2021 and beyond?
Bring on 2021!
This year we are looking at running more events and expand our workshop offering, which is really exciting. There will be lots of lessons in that I am sure. We want to run some focus groups for the first time as well, try and get a deeper understanding of our customer.
We also want to grow our online presence and drive online sales as well. We put together our website as a reaction to COVID-19, so we want to revisit it and give it the look and feel more in line with our in-store experience.
We would also like to bring on more SA makers and promote the amazing work they are doing. With some collaborations planned for in-store.
Exciting times ahead!!
// We’ve loved having you in our membership for a long time now. What’s important to you about being part of the SAW community and what have you gained from it?
I first joined SA Women, as I was desperately looking for people that were having the same struggles as me.
I was new to business ownership and knew I had a lot to learn… Oh my gosh, so much to learn. I’ll be honest, I also thought that the SAW community are my target market as well. So thought it may be an opportunity to promote my little store.
I have made some amazing friends from the group – shout out to Carly and Mel, these gals make me smile a lot and have become such important people in my life.
I think hearing the stories other SAW share, helps me a lot to. Sometimes it’s nice to hear people having the same struggles as you, and it also nice to share in their wins too. I love a good story, it motivates me to be better at what I do.
// Lastly, a question we do love to ask everyone – where are your favourite spots for a delish working lunch?
Umm, lunch? People have lunch?? Kidding … sort of … Can’t go past my local Coffee Shop Banks and Brown for great coffee. Or for lunch, maybe Feed on Jetty Road, Glenelg or Local Crowd in Colonial Light Gardens. Oh! Actually Rosie’s on Unley Road is a bit of a go to, as well.
Thanks for chatting with us Amanda!
Find out more about Pebble & Palm:
Facebook: Pebble & Palm Interiors
LinkedIn: Amanda Ewbank