Brand SA Inside South Australia
2016 Regional Awards Nominee

Accessory to the farm mixes both worlds

By Gabrielle Hall

When city girl Nicky White met her now husband, Joel, at a night club in Adelaide, life on a farm at Hilltown, just North East of Clare and 150km north of Adelaide, wasn’t on the radar.

“I didn’t even know where Clare was,” Nicky says.

“The first time I came up here to visit Joel, I missed the turn off to Clare and ended up almost at Blanchetown.”

But farm life it was to be, and Nicky moved to the Mid North farm in 1998.

With a background in administration and having worked for insurance agencies, as a receptionist and even as a vet nurse, Nicky says once she and Joel married and started a family, it became obvious she needed a career change.

“To be able to run the farm I needed to be home during the busy times. It didn’t add up for me to work away from the farm so I needed to do something from home, where I could help out as well as manage the kids,” Nicky says.

In 2010, wanting a necklace that really “captured” her personality, Nicky’s statement accessories business, Mickelloo Designs, was born.

“Mickelloo was just something that almost found me I think,” Nicky says.

“I had ordered myself a hand-stamped necklace online and when it arrived it just didn’t really capture my personality, so I asked Joel to buy me a hammer and stamps for Christmas so I could make something that was really ‘me’.

“A friend saw it and asked if I could make her one, and it really just took off from there.”

Mickelloo Designs continues to grow, and includes gold and silver hand-stamped jewellery, hand-made wooden charms and jewellery and now textiles including the Mickelloo-designed Scardi, kaftans and kimonos.

Her latest offering is leather including the hand-cut “leather feather” accessories and Australian-designed belts, bags and jackets.

“In 2015 I added textiles to the mix and thought wouldn’t it be great if I had a jacket that could turn into a scarf and I developed the Scardi – a five in one product that can be a jacket, scarf, cape, vest or a cover-up,” Nicky says.

“Every season I have started a new collection so nothing is ever over-made and this year there’s a real Bohemian twist, with leather feather accessories and the introduction of kaftans.”

From her farm studio, Nicky does all her own photographs – setting up the camera on a tripod in the garage while her youngest child sleeps – as well as developing her own online ordering website, which she admits was “not a simple feat”.

While Nicky is selling her Mickelloo Designs faster than she can produce them, her focus remains on customised accessories that reflect and capture the wearer’s personality.

“Mickelloo is about statement accessories, it’s about the extra bits you can use to enhance your wardrobe and make you feel good and give you something a little bit different than what’s already out there,” she says.

“It’s hand-crafted accessories that can turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.”