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Studio Visit: Hobes On Tour

the style line hobes

Photos by Bridget Badore and Clare Plueckhahn for The Style Line

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Hobes – Photos by Bridget Badore and Clare Pluekcahn for The Style Line

Georgia Hobart is bridging the gap between two of the

world’s most sought-after cities. Enter Hobes, a quick fix for any girl on the go the brand has been making strides on a global level catering to those who need a simple yet statement finishing touch. The shoes themselves are physically compact and made with coveted materials: from a simple suede to embellishments like prints and metallic details it’s easy to imagine a pair of Hobes in just about any setting. Georgia who serves as the brand’s Founder embodies these sentiments, as she spends the majority of her time en route while managing a team in Melbourne and New York City which she currently calls home.

“Seeing the Hobes brand grow in my two favorite cities on it’s own has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my business to date,” Georgia mentioned in our interview below, “Melbourne and NYC whilst geographically distant, have much in common.” Speaking more to this idea, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to join Georgia at her home in Manhattan and in Melbourne where she gave us an exclusive tour of the brand’s sun-drenched office. Both dynamic environments made for an awe-inducing look into the world of Hobes which inevitably left us wanting to know more. Below you’ll have the opportunity to revisit our conversation with Georgia who delves deeper into life as a globetrotting business owner and her thoughts on the role creativity plays in all of life’s endeavors. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Georgia, it’s that sometimes the simplest solutions, style related or not, can be found right under our nose… and even on our feet.

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    www.bridgetbadore.com

I am pretty much a true Aussie girl through and through.

I grew up in a small coastal town about an hour out of Melbourne and I’m never happier that when I am on a beach. I was a very outdoorsy kid, always kicking around with a bunch of boys, I guess I was a tomboy. I first came to New York ten years ago for a few months and immediately knew I wanted to live here. Which is ironic considering I love the outdoors, wide open spaces and have a inherent need for the beach. I was working in brand management at the time and went back to Melbourne for a job with MINI (BMW Group) – which started as a contract and turned into 4 years. I’ve always loved working with brands, developing them, shaping them and watching them grow. Early 2010 I decided to develop a brand of my own, and it was simply through a lack of footwear options in my life that Hobes was born. Initially Hobes was a side project, but within a couple of weeks it became more than a full time job. The business grew very quickly and the first year saw a lot of travel through Europe and Asia dealing with suppliers. I moved to Milan for six months at the end of 2011 to work on the business (ok, I probably could have done what I need to in a few weeks, but who doesn’t want to live in Italy at least once right?) and following this I spent much of the next two years in Hong Kong. With a solid team working on the Australian business, last year presented the opportunity for me to move to New York to launch the brand into the U.S. After a lot of back and forth and a tenuous visa process I moved here permanently earlier this year. A small business can very easily take over every aspect of your life, and I have been guilty of living in a Hobes bubble for periods over the last few years. It’s taken a few life events to remind me that what I do value isn’t living inside my mac, but exists with the people I love and the places that are meaningful to me. Australia will always be where my real home is, the beach, the outdoors, my family and old friends. I’m lucky my work allows me to spend a lot of time between the two places I love most in the world, Melbourne and NY.   

What tools would you advise aspiring designers to utilize in their own endeavors? 

There are many people and brands I admire, and now more than ever it’s so easy to seek inspiration through digital channels. Having said this, I’m the first to admit I’m pretty old school. For me, inspiration comes from travel, walking around cities, visiting new places and real life experiences. Living in front of a screen isn’t inspiring to me, I seek inspiration from my environment.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of building a brand between two global and sought-after cities? 

Seeing the Hobes brand grow in my two favorite cities on it’s own has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my business to date. Melbourne and NY whilst geographically distant, have much in common. And many people who have lived in both cities will eagerly agree with this. Australian brands have only recently become popular in New York. When I lived here 10 years ago Australian brands were certainly not celebrated the way they are today. The recognition and respect Australian brands are receiving here in the U.S., particularly in NY and LA has been rewarding in itself.

How would you characterize the Hobes community?

When I launched Hobes, I was developing a product, and brand, that I wanted in my life. The idea was to fill a gap in the market for beautifully simple timeless suede shoes. The Hobes style initially, and naturally, mirrored my own style, and the brand that ensued was very laid back and casual – always with a sense of fun. The community around the brand very much feels like this. There is always an element of fun, nothing is taken too seriously and importantly Hobes is inclusive.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

People ask me often why I started Hobes, but I’m rarely asked what keeps driving me, and what makes it all worthwhile today. The answer to the first part is easy, I simply wanted to fill a gap in the market for a product i felt was missing, certainly one that was missing from my life. The first two years of a small business are like a honeymoon. Everything is new, exciting, fun and just having a business of your own is a thrill to wake up to each day. I’ve found the most challenging aspect of owning and running a small business comes after the first couple of years, when the newness rubs off. Did I ever think that five years later I would be running a business I launched in Melbourne on a whim in New York? Not a chance. Sometimes I think how much I would love a 9-5 job, to be able to leave at the end of the day and switch off, to have weekends, and to sleep – that old thing! The answer of what keeps me going, to what drives me today is much harder. I guess Hobes has become a part of me, it’s not only been my job, but it’s been an enormous part of my life over the last five years. Is it creepy for me to say it’s been like a baby!? And all I want now is for it to grow and become something I am proud of. Oh god that sounds so cheesy, probably just as well none ever asks me this question.

What do you think is the number one challenge footwear designers face and how have you gone through and solved this in your own experiences? 

Ok well naming just one might be hard, ha. At the moment I would have to say my number one challenge is running a business with teams across different time zones – which basically means I’m up all night. I think the biggest challenge for me is now taking a step back from certain elements of the business and allowing other people to take more responsibility. I need to realise that Hobes can, and will, run without me and to further grow the business, work out where my time is best deployed. This can be difficult when you have nurtured every aspect of the business from scratch.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe? 

As mentioned above, items that are versatile, classic and offer transition and ease are essential in my wardrobe. My personal style is inspired by timeless shapes and silhouettes.

Is there a particular evolution you hope to see for the Hobes brand and how have designing shoes inspired your approach to personal style?

My personal style is very simple, classic and my wardrobe revolves around high quality basics. A great pair of jeans, a simple silk t-shirt, a classic trench and a cashmere sweater is pretty much my uniform. Along with Hobes of course. The idea for Hobes was in developing a range of footwear basics, offering pieces that would live on through seasons, be trans-seasonal and versatile. The modern wardrobe demands classic styles, and versatility and comfort are key. Travel is now an everyday part of life today and footwear needs to be versatile and lightweight. Travel has always been a key driver for Hobes – keeping the product super lightweight, soft and easy to wear – during travel and on arrival – is always top of mind when we further develop the range and introduce new products. With this in mind, travel is at the forefront of the Hobes brand evolution.

*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN December 2015 and reflects updated changes to the introduction