Labour & Love: Jodie & Reece

Jodie and Reece Arnold started designing and selling concrete homewares at Townsville markets in 2015, and haven't looked back since. IMAGE: Sarah Joy Photography

Jodie and Reece Arnold started designing and selling concrete homewares at Townsville markets in 2015. While they continue to do so as a ‘side hustle’, they hope to slowly transition their passion into full time work and, with a new shop front on Charters Towers Road and seven stockists across North Queensland, they’re well on track.

What made you decide to go into business together?
R: Jodie wanted something made out of concrete and I told her I could do it. It became a hobby and we just enjoyed it for no profit, but we thought “this stuff is good, we should try and sell it”. Our first markets went well, so we tried new pieces and it just slowly got bigger and bigger.

Are you involved in the making now as well, Jodie?
J: Yes, Reece taught me how to pour, so I can pour if I have to. I do the sanding, polishing and sealing, while Reece is making. Once they’re all set, 24hrs after, I can do that while he goes on to something else, because there’s timber work involved and I can’t do that. *Laughs* It works out well, we’ve both got a job to do to get them out and on the shelves.

Where do the ideas come from?
J: Some of them are accidents, some of them we talk about nonstop. The Lego men, we did cheat and get a cake mold – and they’re Robot men by the way!! My sister gave us these cake molds and said “try and pour them” and Reece said “No, that’s just silly”. But we took them to the market and they were a hit, and are a constant hit to this day. We have stockists out of town and that’s what they buy every month.
R: And most of them are adults too. They loved Lego as kids themselves and now they just think it’s a great idea
J: Now you think it’s a great idea *laughs*

Do you ever disagree on anything in the business?
J: Time management would be our biggest thing… It would just be nice to have time to think about things, rather than thinking on the go – we do plan things, but sometimes it just gets away from you because you’ve got life, you’ve got work, you’ve got kids, you’ve got everything to juggle as well as the business.

Do you find work life leaks into personal life?
J: It’s a bit strange for us because we kind of classify this work as being our personal life. We socialise around it, we get to catch up while we’re doing it and it’s not an issue for us.
R: We’re spending time together while we’re working together, so that’s sort of our downtime. As long as we’re still enjoying it, it’s not a job as such.

What made you take the leap of faith and take out the retail space?
J: Well, if you sit around doing nothing, nothing will change.
R: We thought we need to expand a little bit and I think having it out on the road, people see it as they drive past or visit the shops next door. They might look it up on Facebook and it means we’re generating more word of mouth. It’s a marketing tool, I guess, as well having a shop front.

For more creative couple interviews, click here for our chat with Ann Roberts School of Dance’s Jane Pirani and Andre Reynaud, or here for our chat with musicians Sarah Little and Chris Baker.

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