We have been thinking lately about how beautiful and supportive our Byron Bay business community is. From the hospitality industry through to other fashion brands, there’s a strong attitude of collaboration and support all around us. With this in mind, we decided to do a series called BYRON SET – about the amazing collection of people and business in the area that make it great!
To kick it off, we chatted to Ky Drury from The Grove. Ky has a warm and generous nature and always makes us feel right at home in her stunning hinterland homestead, she is always assisting us with her amazing styling flair and interior finesse.
If you saw our Christmas party last year or Lizzy’s wedding in October (coming to the blog soon!) you would already know about The Grove. Ky and her family live at The Grove, but it’s transformed into a beautiful event space almost every weekend of the year. If you haven’t seen it via Spell then we are sure you’ve come across her beautiful property on Pinterest!
Ky chats to us about finding her dream career and creating a unique wedding venue all with her family in tow:
Tell us about your working/business life before you began The Grove Byron Bay:
Since the very beginning I have been drawn to all things creative. After school, I started a graphic design course but three quarters of the way through, I quit. I was so frustrated – mind you, that was over 20 years ago, and the things you could do on a computer then were very limited compared to today.
From then I jumped into Visual Merchandising for Sportsgirl and Tree of Life, and also ran my own small business on the side for local boutiques. It was at this early age of 22 that I became a mum, and over the next 7 years, a mum of four kids. I loved it and truly felt like this was who I was destined to be, total clarity.
During this time my husband studied to become a builder and I spent many hours helping him with assignments while he also worked full time. This is when I fell in love with architecture and interiors and I soon began consulting his clients and many friends – learning so much along the way, it fit me really well.
Whilst bringing up our four kids and also supporting my husband’s growing building business in Sydney, I dabbled in many areas of creativity. I got involved in designing children’s clothing and swimwear, fabric design, soft furnishing fit outs for hotels and motels, interior decorating, website design and photography – all the while renovating and selling our own homes. As I list this down now, it sounds crazy to me, and makes complete sense as to why we are all a little bit nutty.
Jump forward to now and we land in Byron Bay, an area that we had loved for so many years. We had no intention of starting this type of business – we thought we would just keep on doing the same style of work we did in Sydney. However once we were here and started to truly feel our way, we decided to pour both of our talents into this property and see where it would lead us.
I learned a lot about the accommodation sector from my parents who worked in the Motel industry and understood the amount of effort it would take to get this thing up and running. It has just been one foot in front of the other, and at some points we’re sprinting, trying to keep up with the momentum of what path The Grove has now taken. For some, this would not be ideal, yet for us renting our home to a select bunch of people and providing them with the ultimate holiday or wedding experience was not daunting – we just had to take the property up a level.
What was the biggest lesson you learned along the way?
So many, way too many to speak of… mainly that mistakes are not a waste of time and effort – they are valuable lessons. Without mistakes and failings, we learn very little in life. My mum once said to me when I was feeling pretty low and sad as I had not completed a goal I had set myself, “honey it is not a failure, it’s a TICK. Been there, done that, move on…” – that has always stuck with me. New journeys or ideas crop up and it all eventually makes sense …sometimes it just takes a while.
Weddings in Byron are a big market – how did you know that you were going to achieve a point of difference and it would work?
We did not know if it would work – who does? We only hoped it would pay off. All we knew was that we had to stay true to who we were, and that at the end of the day, we gave it red hot go. So for us it’s been head down, bum up the past four years on this project, changing our ideas and our direction many times along the way.
It truly has been such an organic growth, as we approached this with all ears open, always listening to anyone who had knowledge on this type of venture and any other ideas that may be useful. We have been really lucky and have received an incredible amount of support from the community around us who have opened their hearts and businesses up to us. The amount of inspiring talent in this area is off the chart. Every day I see something that sparks my imagination or stirs up something deep inside, it’s never bland or boring in this neck of the woods. I think the spirit of Byron and its folk nurtures free thinking and free spirited people, and there is a place for each and every talented individual without raining on anyone else’s parade… it keeps the creative juices flowing. Forever inspiring.
Tell us about your styling experience – how do you make your home so Pinterest worthy?
I have not been trained by a cookie cutter type. My style has evolved over time, and a lot of the items in our house I have had since we were married 20 years ago. I rarely deviate from knowing when to buy something, as I get that feeling, that little feeling you know exactly what you have to do. When I force things, or force designs it never works out, it ends up missing the mark. The Grove’s internal styling has grown very slowly. My initial energy was all about the layout, the exterior and the finishes of the internal hard surfaces. Even the gardens were a huge focus for a while. I become quite obsessive about finding the answer to the next stage of building. Most of my ideas stay on the inspo board for quite a while, always waiting for the funds to hit that bank account.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse as the “girl in the know” in Byron for styling?
I draw from the talented people whose paths I cross. I am also on Instagram, Pinterest, and read house mags. I am not a huge fan of TV as it does not hold my attention, yet I can spend hours scrolling through Pinterest with a bottle of red, and not even realise it’s midnight. Pinterest is a renovator’s dream – it became the search engine for almost everything I needed to research. Without Pinterest, this house may have been quite different. For example my pantry has this recessed shelving box in it and the background is painted grey so it appears deeper. It is one of the best and most sensible ideas I have come across… I just put my own spin on it.
What is your favourite thing in your place right now?
My family, yeah seriously…when they are not in it, it’s just a really nice house. To be honest, I get a bit sad when the house is empty. I love the chaos of the different dynamics in one house…
What is the best part about renting your home out?
During Christmas, New Years and Easter holidays, we are able to rent our house out to holiday families, and go away to some pretty great places. It enables us to spend a little more than we would usually, so skiing overseas has become possible again. This is something that we had not been able to afford prior.
Any words of advice for budding entrepreneurs in this field?
Align yourselves with people and other entrepreneurs that you respect, people that inspire and share with you the ups and downs of their experiences from a place of honesty and trust. These newly discovered friends will be able to guide you through the maze of pitfalls and opportunities. I believe that without forming a tribe of people that you admire, you may find such an industry really hard. Creating a wedding involves a truckload off talented people, we are only a small part of such an amazing event. On any wedding weekend, you would find at least 50 people here going about their business, making sure that the bride and groom have the most amazing experience. And without this tribe there is no way we could pull it off, as you are only as good as the team that works with you.
We have so many people to thank for what has become “The Grove”.