Since taking her online bespoke footwear business, Shoes of Prey, to the US, this Sydney entrepreneur’s feet have barely touched the ground.
When did you move to the United States?
I left Australia in December 2014 and I’ve been all through the US – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, DC, and New Jersey – opening our six stores. This year, I’ve also been to Europe, Thailand, New Zealand and lots of places in Australia. I’ve actually got a spreadsheet of everywhere I’ve been.
What are you up to in the US?
We’re opening design studios in Nordstrom department stores. We see a lot of activity on our website but all the offline experiences are within Nordstrom. It made sense to move here to expand the business because you really do need to be on the ground.
Do you have a house?
No, I’ve been living out of a suitcase but I think I’ll end up with a residence in Los Angeles and split most of my time between LA and New York. I’m looking forward to having a place so I can fly my cat over.
Do you stay in hotels or apartments?
Mostly Airbnbs. It’s the closest thing I get to feeling like I’m in a home and I don’t have to eat out every night.
What do you like about the lifestyle?
The incredible freedom. It’s amazing to be able to focus purely on the business because there’s nothing else pulling at my time. But it has suspended a lot of things in my life that I don’t think I can suspend forever.
What’s the key to adapting to a new city?
Picking the right neighbourhood and finding all of those life services you need.
What do you like most about living in the US?
How convenient everything is. LA and New York are very bikeable. New York has the Citi Bike network – grab a bike, ride it where you want then drop it off at another Citi Bike station.
What do you miss most about Australia?
Gelato Messina! Sydney beaches. I miss that beautiful summer smell in the air, my friends, family and cat. Overall, I miss the familiarity. In Sydney, I’d be going to the beach on a Friday afternoon and having wine and a barbecue with friends on Saturday.
What aspect of Australian life would you like to see there?
Our dry, ironic sense of humour and a little informality as well. It’s funny; in the US there’s an extreme formality in business culture and an unbelievable informality in social situations. A balance would suit me more.
What’s your favourite place to eat in LA?
For breakfast, Gjusta in Venice. And on the first Friday of every month, food trucks line up on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, also in Venice. It’s a really fun night.
And New York?
Breakfast or dinner at Cafe Minerva for delicious Italian-influenced food.
The Ten Bells wine bar in Alphabet City [in New York’s East Village] and The Dead Rabbit [Financial District] for its cocktails.
Which place feels like home now?
Honestly, wherever my parents are.
What advice would you give a new expat?
Take a deep breath and start getting a routine into place.
Do you think you’ll return to Australia?
I’m really not sure. I’d like to live in a few more places. Next on my agenda is Europe.
What remains the most Australian thing about you?
I want to say my accent but, unfortunately, it’s dropping Australian colloquialisms into my speech. ￼