We were delighted to be featured in Temple & Webster’s first Homegrown episode. Below is an excerpt of the blog.
Meet the creators of product design company Corban & Blair, a company dedicated to creating beautiful products that have heart. Their products are made to last and make for incredibly personal gifts, but what’s more, Corban & Blair is built on uplifting communities and the beauty of Australia.
Who are Corban & Blair
Cousins and co-founders, Gillian and Amanda are the creative duo behind Corban & Blair. In 1983, designer stationery was a market that was saturated with imported products that didn’t represent the beauty of Australia. There was a niche for more contemporary design and Gillian and Amanda seized the opportunity.
From the very beginning, they were dedicated to incorporating an environmental edge, so they began by importing recycled paper, which developed into working with Australian recyclers to create paper that was worthy of beautiful stationery. They’ve continued to push the recyclability of materials, and have recently worked with a manufacturer to create a leather that’s made out of completely recycled material.
How Corban & Blair collaborate
“Our purpose is to work with other people.” – Gillian Corban
Corban & Blair is a proud collaborative team, who see the value in working not just together as a company, but with many collaborators to create new, innovative products. Each collaboration is undertaken with meaning and with a particular goal in mind, whether that be to celebrate artists of a particular state, or to highlight indigenous art. It’s through this drive to work with others that saw them come together with Studio A.
Studio A works with artists with intellectual disabilities, proving them with the pathways and opportunities afforded to abled artists that aren’t always available to those with disabilities. The profits from exhibitions and sales are invested back into the education and facilities of the studio, increasing the opportunities for artists to grow their professional networks and achieve their artistic and economic goals. Their passion for inclusion, equity and respect creates an environment where artists can flourish, regardless of situations that may be hindering them.
“They’re really beautiful, because every piece is different.” – Amanda Blair
Mentoring and supporting Australian women
As a company founded by women in an industry and at a time that didn’t see that as much, Gillian and Amanda are very keen to transfer their knowledge and give back in any way they can. Currently, Gillian is working with Mentor Walks Australia in providing people with advice to give their lives or careers direction and enabling them to reach their personal goals.
“Mentoring is kind of a person-to-person thing, I mean when you’re mentoring, you get as much back from them as they do from you.” – Gillian Corban
This is something that Gillian has been doing for many years and allows her to meet an array of interesting and different people that, at times, gives great insight into her own product development.
Amanda has spent years working with Theresa House, a refuge for people experiencing homelessness, aiding them in the day-to-day tasks such as laundering.
They both also work with Red Room Poetry, the Social Outfit and Green Collect, either through supporting or mentoring.
Why they love their work
“One of the things that I’m most proud of is that it’s been over 30 years, and we’re still in business, and something that I think is really worth noting is that I enjoy getting up out of bed and going to work every day. That’s a real feat.” – Amanda Blair
After 33 years, their team and business has grown into one that works intuitively and seamlessly together, which allows them to enjoy every moment that they spend at work. They’ve been afforded the opportunities to travel and engage with many different people on unique projects that makes their work all the more meaningful.