“I think it’s a preconceived idea from the ’90s that you need a corporate office,” insists Lorna Jane Clarkson. “I know a lot of people start their businesses from home and one day dream of moving into an office, whereas I’m always telling women that if you can work from home well and have it all-encompassing, that’s perfect. I like to live my life a bit more fluidly.”
For most of us, a home office means a spare room converted into a study or a laptop propped on a dining table – not an entire ‘spare’ house dedicated to creativity. But this is the work-life arrangement of the founder of Australia’s most iconic activewear brand, whose success in the US has now motivated her to move stateside.
“Although launching the business in America has been exciting, staying in hotels with air conditioning and windows you can’t open is a nightmare for me,” says Lorna. “The idea was to create an environment that would make us want to spend more time in Los Angeles. I’m a real home bird and knew that if we invested in property it would make a difference.”
In early 2016, Lorna and her husband Bill Clarkson bought a patch of land in sought-after Santa Monica, which came with two palatial houses – one which they live in and one that has been converted into Lorna’s design studio..
“I wanted a space that meant I could spend more time at home rather than going to the office everyday, which is what I do when I’m in Brisbane,” says Lorna. “The dream was that I could have breakfast meetings with my team in this casual, creative space where they would feel relaxed and empowered.”