Our Mustard Made storage lockers are one of our best-selling products, thanks to their versatility, choice of bright colours and range of styles. To celebrate our exciting news that we will be increasing our range and stocking every single locker in every colour, we caught up with Jess Stern, one of the co-founders of Mustard Made, to find out a little bit more about your favourite lockers.
We love your lockers and so do our customers! How did Mustard Made Lockers begin? What was your inspiration to launch the brand?
Becca and I had spoken for years about starting a business together. It was one of those long-term dreams that had always been something we wanted to do ‘someday’. Then I was in Australia to meet Becca’s newborn son, Ellis in 2017 and on one long walk along the beach we started to really brainstorm what a business might look like.
Becca had recently read an article about ‘whisper ideas’, the kind of idea that is so timely that you have to whisper it in case anyone hears and beats you to it. But what the article said is that these ideas aren’t usually the businesses that are most successful. What is more likely to succeed is when you find an idea that is something only you could do. Which brought us to Becca’s love of vintage lockers.
Becca had collected a few old lockers she found in antique shops and flea markets over the years. They were so beautiful, but they were never very functional. We could see the potential to reimagine them into something that married both the beauty and the practicality. Six months later we were in China, with baby Ellis along for the ride, and six months after that we launched our first products at a trade show in Sydney.
What is the design process for the lockers and how do you come up with new models and colours?
We started Mustard with just two products, The Skinny and The Shorty, and we’ve been very deliberate and considered in the development of our products and the evolution of our locker family from there. Our products are seasonless, so rather than bringing out new ranges on a regular basis, we’ve chosen to grow our product family. This means that every new product we introduce has to complement those we already have, and I think that forces you to be really thoughtful.
We’ve also paid attention to our community and the feedback we’ve received to help guide our product development. For example, we developed the Midi locker because we had so many customers wanting a locker that they could use as a drink’s cabinet. (It’s lockable which is a real bonus for storing booze!)
How do you find working together as sisters?
We’ve grown Mustard as a business in a way that really plays to both our strengths and means there isn’t that much overlap in what we each do day-to-day. Becca manages the visuals of the brand and products, as well as all the marketing and communications. I have a background in buying and procurement, so I look after the day-to-day operations and logistics side of the business.
It’s meant that we can both do what we’re best at and we both respect each other’s strengths in that area, which means we very rarely hit on a difference of opinion.
One of the main challenges we face is making sure we make ‘business free time’ to catch up as sisters. We sometimes call each other for ‘sister chats’ where we just get to chat like sisters and ignore the work stuff! Ultimately, family is at the heart of our business, so keeping that front and centre in how we operate helps keep everything in perspective.
What are you favourite little details of the lockers?
One thing I love and am so proud of is how easy our lockers are to build. Our products arrive flat packed and are so seamless to assemble – no Allen Key required! I also love that our lockers are lockable, but that the door will stay shut even when they’re not locked. We’ve really put so much thought into every detail of these products, and that’s what makes a Mustard locker really special.
Have you seen any creative or unique ways how people are using your lockers?
We’ve seen our lockers used in some amazing ways and in amazing places! They’ve appeared on TV (shows like DIY SOS and This Way Up) and popped up in celebrities homes (hello Kim Kardashian and Amy Schumer!!!). One of my favourite creative uses I’ve seen was a Skinny with a rainbow of shelves inside, with each shelf being colour-coordinated to the items stored on it.
Which are your own favourite lockers and where do you use them in your own homes?
We’ve recently renovated our flat in London, so I don’t have as many as I used to (it was previously about 13). We currently have a Twinny in our daughter Poppy’s room and two blush Lowdowns in our lounge room. Becca’s favourite locker is the Olive Skinny and mine would have to be the Midi in Blush.