Thursday, 6 August 2015

MR DRAPER

Alistair Birrell crafts quality fine linen products that
are made to be loved and to last


Tell us a bit about Mr Draper? 
Mr Draper is a Melbourne based home wares and bedding maker. Committed to offering a transparent, locally made and affordable product, Mr Draper crafts quality fine linen products that are made to be loved and to last. The linen comes from the wonderful folks at Merchant and Mills and all of my products are handcrafted right here in Melbourne. The philosophy of Mr. Draper is not about making more ‘stuff’ to go in your home, rather fewer but more considered pieces that you truly love.

Tell us about yourself and your background?
I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm just outside of Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road and I’ve been making stuff for as long as I can remember. While I was at university a buddy and I started making t-shirts. This grew into a label called Pigeon Combine and we ended up doing a few seasons, making appearances at Melbourne fashion week before putting it on hold indefinitely.
Pigeon was a great experience in starting a business and real learning curve. After Pigeon I wanted to see a different side of the world and do something a bit different. I ended up
joining the military and went on to do just over four years in the Air Force before leaving last year to start Mr Draper. It seems like a really random thing to do but it made (and makes) sense to me. I’m really glad I did it; it’s given me a new perspective and energy.

What sparked you to create your business?
I was tired of seeing so much poor quality, thoughtless stuff around people’s homes. Being in the military and even before that I moved around a lot so I never really had the option of owning a lot furniture or nice stuff for my home... It didn’t really trigger until I was cleaning out my grandma’s house when she moved into aged care. She had a bunch of beautiful old linen tea towels that she had been holding onto since the 50s and 60s. Although they had seen a lifetime of use they where still beautiful and fully functional. I decided then I wanted to make a conscious effort to stop buying as much ‘stuff’, instead buying or making a few really nice pieces that I loved.

TO READ THE FULL Q&A SEE OUR AUGUST ISSUE OUT NOW



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