mahabis interviews // kaylie and karla, ternary london
This week, we caught up with Kaylie Mountford and Karla Boncompagni from Ternary London. Having recently launched their new accessories brand, they tell us a little more about how they balance their work, downtime, and everything else in between.
You both originate from creative backgrounds, how did you come together to start this venture?
I came from a fashion photography & production background and Karla from fine jewellery. Our paths crossed over 5 years ago when we met on set at a Jewellery shoot I was photographing and Karla had been involved with the collection design and styling.
Karla was still quite new to the UK and we arranged to meet so I could show her around some London galleries, we just hit it off with our shared love of culture and fashion. From here we worked together on many different shoots and projects.
We balance each other well, with our skills and working methods complimenting each other. We quite quickly realised we wanted to do something together on a more permanent basis and I have always aimed to open my own business. So Ternary was a natural step forward for us and we started to put together our first collections just over a year ago.
Your collections mix natural forms with graphic pieces and shapes, where do you get your inspiration from?
We have both always been fascinated by natural formations and patterning and recording this creatively. It’s fascinating to look at the contrasting softer natural forms versus harder angular urban cityscapes and how these forms layer up over one another.
For our first collections we have looked at four specific design stories ranging from graphic layering through to the transiency of life and death and the flow of seductive formations. This has lead to a strong series of accessories that convey these inspirations through patterns, structure and colour.
How do you balance your time between your separate careers, Ternary London, and family life?
It has been handwork. Karla continues to work as a freelance designer and I a photographer. Just because you venture out on your own doesn't mean you can drop previous working commitments to step into a new role or start up. You can only do this once the new venture can support it.
So you have to learn to do more, take on more and be more productive with your time. It does mean there is very little you time but when you do get it, it is appreciated so much more. What is lovely is the support we have had from friends and family, who all see what we have set out to achieve and who are always on hand to help.
When it comes to downtime, how important is unwinding for you both?
Starting a new business is full on and working 10 - 15 hours a day is standard, but life is about balance and we are both trying to find a happy medium between work and relaxing. It is not healthy to be busy all the time.
You need to have downtime, you need to be able to de-stress and let your body recoup after stints of hard work. We are both suckers for getting back home and jumping into lounge wear but hopefully we will get more time to switch off rather than continuing to work.
What are both of your ideal ways to spend your downtime?
Karla: Both myself and my husband are huge films buffs and what is more relaxing than being at home and watching back to back films on a rainy day with feet up and a Popcorn bowl in your lap.
Kaylie: My husband is a chef so most of our downtime is spent eating lots of amazing food at home or out at various restaurants, plus I always manage to squeeze in some gallery visits. We also have a 5 year old so she constantly keeps the entertainment going.
Karla, we loved your #mahabisselfie, why did you choose our larvik light grey and skane yellow combination?
I am in LOVE with my mahabis which were a birthday gift from Kaylie (she know me so well) as I am a great appreciator of Nordic simplistic design and mixing modern materials. I prefer to wear neutral base colours finished with a bold streak or highlight of colour or pattern. So the larvik light grey & yellow were the perfect choice.
If you each had to choose a city/ place in the world that you’d never tire of visiting, where would it be, and why?
Karla - New York, I was recently there for my birthday and it is just has this endless energy that keeps you on your toes. There is so much to see, eat and absorb. I love the vibrant eclectic mix of cultures that all come together to create, what seems like an ever evolving city. There really isn’t an opportunity to get bored there.
Kaylie - I am a terrible traveller so I always opt for somewhere closer to home. My family have a lovely place in Miremont in the South of France, which is like a mini sanctuary in the sun. You can pretty much haul yourself up there for a week and just enjoy the sun, beautiful views, food and of course the wine!
Where do you find it easiest to focus your creativity? Do you have a favourite place to work?
For both of us it has to be our studio. We have worked hard to make it an inspiring space, filled with creative books, specimens, art works and of course all our samples and designs going back to the start of Ternary. It’s great being in a place and seeing how things have evolved and grown over such a short space of time.
We recently shot a short film there as we are always being asked about how we create our collections and the inspiration behind them. So we thought it would be a good way to show a behind the scenes view.
If you had an extra hour in the day (I’m sure sometimes you wish you did!), how would you spend it?
Oh how lovely it would be to have an extra hour! We love being as busy as we are as it means things are moving forward but equally you need down time to digest what is going on around you.
When you take a moment to yourself this can tend to be when you have your best ideas or gain clarity over a situation or dilemma. So if we did gain an extra hour it would be to close the laptop and go take a walk, have a read or simply look at the view.