Helen and her youngest daughter Imogen outside the former Lovestar workshop in Moggill, QLD
As you all probably know, last month we suffered a fire in our Brisbane workshop. I had been working in our head office when my husband Chris rang me in tears, saying the shed had burned down. I honestly thought it was a joke at first. I had to ask him about 10 times ‘Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS?’. By the time I pulled up I saw the fire had destroyed everything.
It was devastating to see everything we’ve worked so hard for, and built up over the years, just disappear in a matter of minutes. That’s all it took. About seven minutes. There was so much smoke. Everything was gone.
The first thing that went through our minds was: holy moly, we don’t have insurance. We lost all our expensive machinery, our collection of custom handmade acrylic, we lost our ability to make any more vases. Many, many hours were spent out there perfecting the icons, cutting out prototypes, sampling new products. We made our giant vase collaboration with Westfield there. Everything. But in the grand scheme of things, it was really just a minor blip. There are much worse things that could have happened. One of the kids could have been in there, which they often are; our dog often hides in there to escape the heat; but everyone was ok.
The overwhelming support and love we received afterwards was amazing. Everyone was so kind, so supportive, so empathetic. People were buying products in good faith, knowing full well the product wasn’t there, to say to us: “I know you’ll be back up and running again soon and when you are, you can send it to me. Here’s my money in advance”. A lot of people did that and it was so beautiful. Like a big warm hug from strangers! Straight away I felt really compelled to just get on with things. Not once did we think about chucking it in. To not do Lovestar would be taking away something that gives us a hell of a lot of joy. It’s part of who I am now. My daughters want to work here some day.
Moving forward, we’ve all been working super hard on trying to bring new possibilities and new products to market that everyone will love. It was never an option that we wouldn’t be making vases again - our new machine is on its way! - but we lost quite a significant investment that will take some time to replenish. So in the meantime we’re going to channel the fun and the essence of Lovestar in a different way.
Maintaining integrity in what we produce and how we produce it, is what matters to us.
Helen pictured with Helen's husband Chris and her father-in-law Leigh (who are also part of the production team) with daughters Annabelle and Imogen.
Lovestar HQ, Morningside, QLD