â€œI think itâ€™s a preconceived idea from the â€™90s that you need a corporate office,â€ insists Lorna Jane Clarkson. â€œI know a lot of people start their businesses from home and one day dream of moving into an office, whereas Iâ€™m always telling women that if you can work from home well and have it all-encompassing, thatâ€™s perfect. I like to live my life a bit more fluidly.â€
For most of us, a home office means a spare room converted into a study or a laptop propped on a dining table â€“ not an entire â€˜spareâ€™ house dedicated to creativity. But this is the work-life arrangement of the founder of Australiaâ€™s most iconic activewear brand, whose success in the US has now motivated her to move stateside.
â€œAlthough launching the business in America has been exciting, staying in hotels with air conditioning and windows you canâ€™t open is a nightmare for me,â€ says Lorna. â€œThe idea was to create an environment that would make us want to spend more time in Los Angeles. Iâ€™m a real home bird and knew that if we invested in property it would make a difference.â€
In early 2016, Lorna and her husband Bill Clarkson bought a patch of land in sought-after Santa Monica, which came with two palatial houses â€“ one which they live in and one that has been converted into Lornaâ€™s design studio..
â€œI wanted a space that meant I could spend more time at home rather than going to the office everyday, which is what I do when Iâ€™m in Brisbane,â€ says Lorna. â€œThe dream was that I could have breakfast meetings with my team in this casual, creative space where they would feel relaxed and empowered.â€