Small business

Nancy McDonald dishes out success with La Casa

- May 31, 2023 4 MIN READ

 

After years of working to help promote other entrepreneurs and their startups, PR expert Nancy McDonald has taken the leap and launched her own homewares brand, La Casa.

Inspired by her love for interiors and entertaining, Nancy saw a gap in the market for glamorous, affordable homewares. She wanted to create a collection that evokes travel memories and exceptional experiences, allowing people to enjoy and use pieces that transport them back to cherished moments.

“I’ve wanted to create my brand for some time; it just took me a little while to work out what that would be,” says Nancy. “A very good friend said that to have a successful business, you must be completely obsessed with the brand and love everything about it for it to work. I love homewares and interiors; most of all, I love to entertain, and I felt there was a gap in the market for glamorous, affordable, not mass-produced homewares.”

A COVID rethink

Nancy tells Kochie’s Business Builders the idea for La Casa came about during the COVID lockdowns of 2021.


“During COVID, we would have these ‘digital dinner parties’ with friends and I missed hosting our friends at home, sharing dinners and laughs across the table in real life, setting the table for more than just myself and partner. When the borders re-opened and we could adventure around the globe again, I was reminded how special travel and exploring new cities and countries is. I wanted to create a collection of homewares that instantly evokes those memories and reminds you of your favourite adventures.”

What sets La Casa apart from the competition is this unique concept. The inspiration for each collection is a global destination, city or place, curated to be symbolic of that region or experience. Each collection is completely different to the next and has its unique backstory and source of inspiration – no two collections are the same.

“My heritage is Italian and the debut collection, The Sicily, is a nod to my late Nonna, who is my namesake, Nancy,” she reveals. “Bronte is a town in Sicily and the home of the Bronte Pistachio, which is the signature colour of our Sicily plate and I’m obsessed with Scopello, so it was a no brainer – it just felt right.”

La Casa homewares

La Casa homewares, from the Sicily Collection

 

Describing La Casa to the uninitiated, Nancy says, “La Casa is a new Australian homewares brand that takes its inspiration from global travel destinations and channels that into gorgeous dinner sets and homewares that remind us of the memories of travel. It celebrates the joy of entertaining and injects a little fun into the everyday.”


Bringing ‘pure joy’ to customers

Having worked as a PR professional and collaborated with numerous founders and entrepreneurs, Nancy’s experience in the industry has played a significant role in launching her own brand.

She notes, “Working for myself as a PR, working with incredible founders who have built businesses from scratch and done the hard yards, hustled and backed themselves, is hugely inspiring and a great continual source of inspiration for me every day.

“Working in PR for so long now, you learn the craft of storytelling and what makes a great brand built on a genuine connection, and all my experiences have helped me create the La Casa brand,” she adds.

When asked about the feeling she wants consumers to experience when interacting with the brand, Nancy replies, “Pure joy! We want our customers to look forward to using our collections, be proud and excited to host and entertain, and make them their own with their own unique pieces.”

The designs for La Casa homewares are meticulously crafted through close collaboration with overseas manufacturers. Nancy worked on selecting unique shapes, colours and designs that would evoke special memories.

“I’ve been very fortunate in that we have terrific manufacturing partners in different parts of the world who have worked with us very collaboratively on every single detail,” says Nancy.

She’s also collaborating with local designers for her next collection.

“I’ve also worked closely with Australian illustrator and artist, Alexandra Nea, on a bespoke Australian range called Sydney, which is launching very soon. This will be a very special collection and working with Alex has been a dream,” she exclaims.

The launch of La Casa has not been without its challenges.

“When you then embark on creating your own brand and putting that out into the world, it can be daunting and probably a rather large, unexpected challenge to take that leap,” Nancy shares.

“The most challenging day has been seeing plates arrive smashed, in pieces. It took us a little time to get our operations and freight perfect, but seeing 1,000kg of porcelain china be dropped off was an eye-watering challenge too!”

Despite the challenges, the brand has experienced overwhelming support – selling out on its first weekend in trade. Nancy expressed her gratitude for the positive reception.

“When you then embark on creating your own brand and putting that out into the world, it can be daunting and probably was a rather large, unexpected challenge actually to take that leap. But in saying that, the support and positive reception from people I admire have also been overwhelming. The love notes, social media and kind words mean the world.”


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