Marle Women is created to celebrate our philosophy of designing pieces for women of all ages and stages of their lives. Each feature profiles women, across the generations, that we admire and we hope each interview inspires you the same way in which these women inspire us.
We recently chatted with Sydney based Alyce Tran, an energetic and entrepreneurial force who is responsible for some of Australia’s most recognised lifestyle brands. We spoke about her upbringing and work ethic, her career to date, what inspires her creatively and how she finds meaning and calm in her happily busy life.
Please share a little bit about yourself, your upbringing and any defining moments that lead you to where you are today
I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia on my parents’ strawberry farm. Work has always been a really big part of my life as I grew up working alongside my parents so often when people express how “busy” or how much work I am doing I think it’s just normal and it is a privilege to be able to have a lot of things on and have the health and energy to tackle it all! I think it’s that attitude that has led me to where I am today.
From a corporate lawyer to entrepreneur (co-founding more than one successful business) as well as working as a brand strategist, talk us through your career to date.
I have a pretty varied career as you’ve identified. When I graduated from law school in Adelaide I initially moved to Perth to work at a large national law firm and then to Sydney, because my sister Caroline was also moving to Sydney after finishing school. I started my career in the legal industry at quite an interesting time, the market was a bit slow so there were real ebbs and flows with the work and as such I had a lot of time on my hands to look into different things. The side hustle, The Daily Edited, came about which initially was a fashion blog that morphed into a clothing line and then became a global fashion accessories brand. I was in that business for around seven years and then last year, was able to exit the business and for a period of time I thought I might take it easy.
But then what I call ‘COVID wave 2’ came about and Australia was in lockdown again. I thought if I can’t travel I may as well work so I took on a role at LTK (formerly rewardStyle). I find LTK quite an interesting business and the role came about because I have so much knowledge around all formats of digital marketing coupled with working with influencers and content creators - as they were key ways I built my first business and how I have built In the Roundhouse up. The role enables me to share my knowledge and experience with other businesses which is fun, always so many good conversations! And I guess now, In the Roundhouse is my new side hustle.
In the Roundhouse, as you mentioned, launched in the midst of Covid, what was the inspiration behind the brand?
I love creating products and working out how to market them. Through previous brand experience with TDE, influencer lunches, dinners and shoots I knew that brands that worked well for creating instagram content resonated with consumers.
I have always loved entertaining and making beautiful settings. Through this I found that there was a real gap in the market for table top items that really popped, are on trend and affordable so you can purchase more of a range and create so many different aesthetics.
I don’t believe there are many brands in market that have this amount of personality, tell a story, stay on top of popular trends and although there is a lot of product in the home space (I mean, there's a lot of product across every consumer vertical) finding items that really stand out and that are affordable is hard!
My good friend Brooke Bickmore was interested in doing this project with me as she had always wanted to do a tabletop homewares brand and so we decided to launch In The Roundhouse. We saw a movement that Gen Z and Millenials had a new found love and interest for interiors and the last two years have been a great time to grow a business in this category.
"I have quite a feminine style and have always liked colour. These things remain constant in my style but I have been able to shop higher quality pieces and keep them in my wardrobe longer, so I find myself wearing clothes that are older and I still feel good in them"
You have facilitated many great collaborations - what do you think makes for a great partnership?
A coming together of ideas, of course! We’ve started conversations with the intent to collaborate but at times we’ve found that someone might actually just want us to produce something for them (i.e. apply a specific artwork) rather than work together on an artwork and then bring the product to life together. It’s when we are able to work collaboratively that I get excited about a product and feel more passionate about bringing it to life and promoting it which ultimately leads to the commercial success of a partnership.
Your designs are so bright and fun & they seem to make mealtimes more memorable. In a time where we’re all ‘busy’ (by choice or not) and everything feels so fast, how do you bring meaning and slowness to your own day?
Spending quality time with my friends and family is what creates meaning in my life.
We read in another interview that you are “addicted to your phone, internet and consuming media at large”, how does this help (or hinder) your creativity?
It definitely helps as I see so many things in market across a range of different mediums and verticals and I am very stimulated by what I see.
What is your creative process for In the Roundhouse?
I start with moodboarding a particular theme, I might then try to interpret and draw the theme out myself onto our plates, bowls etc or I might see a fashion show where I really like a particular colour combination or pattern and work around a single image, figuring out how to translate that into tableware! Where I bomb out and think my drawings don’t work well or our designer gives me gentle feedback on that being the case we might engage an artist to do some work for us and then the product comes to life.
We’re in a digital age where we’ve seen the launch and rise of blogs, digital publications, social platforms, influencers, content creators. You clearly have an eye for what’s new and what’s next, what do you think we can expect in the digital space?
I think integration of social channels into our everyday lives is going to increase. We have seen how technology can identify our preferences and serve us content that is relevant to our lives, this is just going to happen more and more. I know some people don’t like this but from a marketing and retail standpoint it is pretty exciting, I guess it means we can easily target the right audience where our product resonates with most (I love efficient marketing) and as consumers, be served things we like! There is probably now more product than ever in market so having people we like and trust curate for us is probably going to happen more and more.
How would you describe your own personal style and how has this changed over the years?
I have quite a feminine style and have always liked colour. These things remain constant in my style but I have been able to shop higher quality pieces and keep them in my wardrobe longer, so I find myself wearing clothes that are older and I still feel good in them - although sometimes my sister says to me, “you look like you’re from 2015”, which is funny but I don’t mind.
At Marle, we design with intention and ensuring we have something for every stage and age of a woman’s life is important to us. We don’t design for trends, instead focusing on natural pieces that will become staples in a woman’s wardrobe. What key pieces make up your wardrobe?
Blazers, great shoes, great jeans and good basics - a lot of shirts and knits!
What do you love most about wearing Marle?
It is so comfortable and effortless.
Quick Fire Questions
Texture or colour?
Summer or winter?
Most treasured accessory?
Cartier Panther Watch
Currently listening to…
Intention at this moment?
To get through the coming week
Shop Alyce's Look
Martina Dress: This mid-length dress is knitted in a Cotton / Merino yarn with the rib subtle widening to create a feminine A-line silhouette. The Martina Dress also features a two-tone yarn which creates a soft contrast of caramel and black. Available in black / camel and oat / duck egg.
Norton Tee: Made from sand-washed silk the Norton Tee features a round neckline and raglan sleeve that fall at a flattering, elongated length. The body of this top is cut on the bias, designed to perfectly skim over your body. Available in black, pecan, clover and ivory.
Valentin Pant: A full-length silk pant crafted in our signature sand-washed silk, the Valentin Pants are a high-waisted pant, with a full-length straight leg. Secured by an invisible zipper on the side, they are finished with a rouleau tie and loop detailing around the waist.