Sally Milford has a special place in Dara's heart, she calls Sally her "ride or die".
When Dara, the founder of Byzantine Design (who grew up in Sydney) had the crazy idea to move to Melbourne (where she knew nobody) and start a tile store, she asked Sally if she wanted to come. And guess what? She said yes. Dara thinks that Byzantine Design - and Daylesford Picnic Boxes - wouldn't exist if they hadn't made this gutsy move.
Sally Milford calls herself a 'picnicologist' - her business, Daylesford Picnic Boxes, is a curated collection of food items which have been selected not only for their locality, superior taste and small-batch quality, but also because of their makers’ shared commitment to making and packaging their products in an environmentally thoughtful way.
We interviewed Sally about her business; her typical day; and her biggest lessons over the last 12 months (as well as her favourite tile from the Byzantine Design range!)
And now that we're back open - go get your damn picnic boxes from her! They're amazing, they taste great - Dara was even able to participate in the taste-testing phase before the boxes were released and can confirm that the quality and taste of ingredients is incredible.
Read on to learn more about Sally.
What’s your word for the next 12 months?
Describe your typical day
At the moment, I have a few versions of a ‘typical day’. Right now, my favourite typical day is my Saturday day. I wake up slowly around 8am when my sourdough delivery arrives, then I make a coffee and count how many cows and roos I can see across the paddocks from my big kitchen window. Next, I print out my orders for the day, and then onto my favourite task – into the picnic shed to pack my Saturday morning picnic boxes for local delivery. Usually setting off around 9am with my precious cargo lined up across the back seat, and my chilly esky in the boot, then it’s just me and google maps, and dirt roads, and country vistas. And winding driveways and pretty paths to front doors where I imagine people having lazy lie-ins – some excited for their picnic box to arrive, others who have forgotten about their order in the excitement of a weekend away, who will soon be pleasantly surprised when they get a gentle knock on their door, opened to find on the door mat their big white picnic box, sealed with a fresh sprig of lavender and a little red dot….
Depending on where my deliveries take me, some days I’ll pop in to say hi to one or two of my suppliers on the way home, and there’s usually a few stops to plot a new picnic table or recycle bin onto the DPB picnic map.
Saturday afternoons are for packing the picnic-mobile for the market in the morning, a twilight walk around the paddock, then a lazy dinner at home (and possibly a little soak in the outdoor hot tub to end the day off right!)
Describe your aesthetic
Rustic & relaxed
What’s your biggest lesson over the last 12 months?
“The time to hesitate is through.” That life is too short to be miserable 5 days a week for 2 days of joy, and that there’s never an ‘ideal’ time to launch a business – the uncertainty and doubt and challenges you endure at the start will only set you up to be more resilient.
What are your design predictions or up and coming trends in your industry?
I’m seeing lots of red and white gingham coming back into fashion.
What’s your process when starting a new project?
Think about it in depth for a little while, then go at it like a bull at a gate, then see how I come out the other side, and refine as I go.
What blogs, magazines, online journals or podcasts that are inspiring you at the moment?
I have the following podcasts on continual rotation at the moment: Smartless, Chat 10 Looks 3 & Armchair Expert.
Who are your ultimate dinner party guests from any period in time?
How big can my table be?! Ricky Jervais, Rob Brydon, Dax Shepard, Annabel Crabb, Leigh Sales, Anthony Bourdain, Poh Ling Yeow, Maggie Beer, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett & Ron Swanson.
Who would you sit on either side of you at this dinner party?
For the first half of the dinner, I’d insist on a ‘speed-dating’ type of arrangement where I’d get the chance to sit next to each guest. Then I’d disappear into a ‘fly on the wall’ scenario and just listen in to everyone else’s conversations.
Who are your back up dancers?
My Mum and Dad, my Ty, and my small but tight pack of girls.
Favourite movie, tv show and or book of the last 12 months
The Trip to Greece. The heady mix of travel, comedy and food is my love language.
Favourite live music or entertainment experience ever
Crowded House “final” concert on the Sydney Opera House foreshore. It’s also where I first came to know Powerfinger. No other live music experience has topped it since!
If we were to meet up in person what would you order?
A bottle of vino and a charcuterie board (extra crackers, double serving of pâté please and hold the goat’s cheese)
If you were on a reality show set in a prison, let’s call it “The Block” and you had to choose 1 tile to tile your cell, which one would you choose?
Amazon honey marble penny round. So I could while the days away putting my imagination to work examining the character and unique scene in each individual penny.