Imby Langenbach, KARMME

Creating has always been a part of Imby Langenbach’s life. It’s what she does when life gets too busy, when she needs to clear her mind. Through a need and desire to create KARMME was born; a leather bag brand that at its core is all about quiet, peace, serenity, composure, and the absence of agitation.

Imby Langenbach, Karmme | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

When Imby Langenbach made a clutch as a gift to her sister, little did she know it would turn into a full-time business. The clutch soon gained traction on social media and led her to create the brand, KARMME.

Pronounced as “calm”, the Sydney-based brand creates elegant leather clutches, totes, travel bags and other bags and accessories using premium Italian leather. The simple yet practical design of KARMME bags was influenced when she needed to swap her shoulder bag for a handy clutch to keep her essentials, while recovering form neck surgery.

Apart from the simplicity and versatility of design, another hallmark of the KARMME clutches or as she likes to call them “the ladies” is its bespoke nature. The products are made locally in Sydney and consist of six collections including the Classic range with colours made exclusively for KARMME, and the signature Shibori range (a traditional Japanese dyeing technique).

We take a peek inside Imby’s life as she shares some interesting tidbits about herself, KARMME and her hometown Sydney.

What’s your first fashion memory?

Making my year 7 dance outfit, a mint green pencil skirt and a matching blouse, white with mint green butterflies on it!

Success is…

Waking up each day looking forward to spending the day doing what you love doing.

I can’t start my day until…

I’ve sat quietly with a coffee, scrolled through my emails and social media and chosen a playlist to listen to whilst I work.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I don’t tend to look for it but I find myself observing a lot whilst travelling, colours, textures, and thinking about how an object that’s practical and needed can be made beautiful.

How would you describe your design process?

I usually start with a need then I work out how I can best design a shape that works practically but also beautifully to fulfil that need. When I work with Shibori Textiles on collaborations with leather design, we think about colour and a story usually evolves once we work on pattern around that colour way.

What is your design philosophy?

Simple, elegant, not following trends, meaningful, well thought through, easy going and versatile.

Imby Langenbach, Karmme | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

"I have become better at drawing a line and not working when it’s family time but a creative business also needs to be fluid, sometimes I just have to make a design I have in my head."

What does work life balance mean to you?

I think when you love what you do there is a cross over of work and life. I don’t wait for Friday to come so I can finish ‘work’ I see it as part of my week in amongst raising three daughters. I have become better at drawing a line and not working when it’s family time but a creative business also needs to be fluid, sometimes I just have to make a design I have in my head and luckily my husband and kids know and understand that about me!

What advice do you wish you had received 5 years ago?

Be less concerned with what others think and go for it.

If you were not a designer, what would you be doing?

I would loved to have studied graphic art or been a pastry chef.

Who is your style icon?

Cate Blanchett, love everything about her

Which designer/s do you admire and why?

I love the designer behind Aesop. I think it’s such a clever concept with the stores, clean branding and beautiful products.

How would you describe your personal style?

Understated, simple, classic

How would you describe the style/vibe of Sydney?

Sydney has the best of both worlds. It is a big city with all that has to offer but also a collection of communities that bring with them their own unique vibe. I live on the beaches and it feels like I’m on summer holidays all the time. I love going into Surry Hills and the inner West for a completely different feel. You can mix it up very easily in Sydney.

What is your favourite thing about Sydney?

The variety of food, people, places and landscapes. You can be at the beaches in the morning then the mountains by the afternoon.

Shop The Story

Azure | Karmme | Imby Langenbach, Karmme | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa



Swoon | Karmme | Imby Langenbach, Karmme | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa



Bo - Mini | Karmme | Imby Langenbach, Karmme | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa


Bo – Mini

Bella | Karmme | Imby Langenbach, Karmme | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa



Guide to Shopping in Sydney CBD

Sydney CBD has a lot to offer a discerning shopper. From iconic department stores and grand shopping arcades, to shopping malls and stand alone boutiques, it’s not tough to find something to please everyone. Orient yourself for your next shopping experiences with these top shopping destinations in Sydney CBD.

Shopping in Sydney CBD | Travelshopa

Image: Queen Victoria Building, Tom Hall


Pitt Street Mall is the epicentre of shopping in Sydney’s CBD. Arguably the busiest cosmopolitan shopping spots in Australia, it holds the bulk of the retail scene with everything from high-end international brands to must-know local labels. The mall itself holds countless cafes, restaurants and street entertainers inviting eager shoppers into the adjacent shopping malls such as Glasshouse, The Strand Arcade, Mid City Shopping Centre, Sydney Arcade, Myer and Westfield Sydney.

Pitt St (between Market and King Streets), Sydney 2000 NSW 

Department Stores

David Jones and Myer are the two major departments stores in Sydney’s CBD. David Jones Elizabeth Street store first opened in 1927, and to mark the store’s 100th anniversary, another store on Market Street was opened in 1938. Both stores still remain open and are a must visit for their architectural beauty, and iconic piano man on the Ground floor of the Elizabeth Street store. Another historic CBD building, which first opened as a department store in 1885, is now the home of Myer on George Street. Both stores offer an extensive list of international and Australian fashion designers as well as a broad range of shoes, bags, accessories, homewares, furniture, beauty and food.

David Jones Elizabeth Street, 86 -108 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

David Jones Market Street, 65-77 Market Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Myer 436 George St, Sydney 2000 NSW


The Queen Victoria Building, known as the QVB, was completed in 1898 and replaced the Sydney markets. The elaborate Romanesque architecture building – lying between George, Market, Tork and Druitt Streets – is drenched with gloriously stained glass windows and dominant features like the mighty centre dome and 19th-century staircase. Take the time to marvel at this iconic shopping destinations, which is now home to some of Sydney’s finest fashion boutiques, homewares stores, galleries, art shops and jewellery stores.

455 George St, Sydney 2000 NSW 

Known as the only Victorian-style shopping arcade in Sydney, The Strand Arcade arcade may be small in size but it is packed with some of the most love Australian designer labels, speciality stores and cafes – so much to see and do. Stretched bewteen George and Pitt Street, some key local labels are Dion Lee, Lover, Scanlan Theodore, Camilla and Marc, Jac + Jack and more.

412-414 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Located on Pitt Street Mall and close proximity to the Mid City Centre and The Strand Arcade, Westfield Sydney holds over 280 flagship, food and lifestyle stores across six levels – making it the ultimate retail and dining destination.

Pitt St & Market St, Sydney NSW 2000

The newest, and hottest, shopping destination in Sydney’s CBD is Barangaroo. The laneways of Barangaroo’s southern precinct have brought bleisure to the heart of the new financial district with an exquisite edit of local and international designers and boutiques.

201 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Touted as the home of bespoke fashion, The Rocks features everything from high street luxury brands to emerging designers. Look to this enthralling precinct for a mix of jewellery designers, Australian art and photography, weekend craft and food markets. Meander along the cobblestone streets and sandstone architecture for a lesson in Australian history and culture.

The Rocks, 2000 NSW









Resorts with Sea Views in Bali

Want the sound of waves crashing, the caress of a salty breeze and uninterrupted beach views? Take in the spellbinding coastlines of Bali at these resorts with magnificent sea views.

Alila Seminyak | Resorts with Magnificent Sea Views in Bali | Travelshopa

Image: Alila Seminyak

Alila Seminyak

Take a dip in one of its five infinity swimming pools

Immerse yourself in a fantastic beachfront experience at Alila Seminyak. Unfurling along a pristine beach on Bali’s southwest coast, this lush secret garden offers soul-stirring beach views at any of its five infinity pools and contemporary-style Ocean Suites. Designed by Gaurang Khemka at the award-winning Singapore architectural firm URBNarc, Alila Seminyak holds private pool parties designed for sparkling social gatherings.

Jalan Taman Ganesha No. 9 Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali

Alila Seminyak | Resorts with Magnificent Sea Views in Bali | Travelshopa

The Royal Purnama

A hidden sanctuary with views of a sparkly black-sand beach

The adults-only Royal Purnama is a secluded sanctuary set in a tranquil location and is blessed with dramatic coastline views extending to the southern beaches including Pantai Purnama (Full Moon Black Sand Beach) and the eastern mountains. Relax in the freeform swimming pool at the open-air beach lounge or stay at the Jepun One-Bedroom Jacuzzi Suites for exceptional ocean views.

Jl. Pantai Purnama (Purnama Beach), Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali

The Royal Purnama | Resorts with Magnificent Sea Views in Bali | Travelshopa

What To Pack

Aimee Beach Scarf | The Wit and The Will | Resorts with Magnificent Sea Views in Bali | Travelshopa

The Wit and The Will

Aimee Beach Scarf

Fella Mad Max Full Piece, White | The Well Dressed Society | Resorts with Magnificent Sea Views in Bali | Travelshopa

The Well Dressed Society

Fella Mad Max Full Piece, White

Papeete Sarong Seaform | August Society | Resorts with Magnificent Sea Views in Bali | Travelshopa

August Society

Papeete Sarong, Seafoam

The Ungasan Clifftop Resort

Private plunge pools and stunning ocean vistas

Sitting majestically on a peninsula cliff is luxurious The Ungasan Clifftop Resort. This beachfront oasis is complete with seven fully staffed private pool villas but Villa Chintamani and Villa Nora is where you’ll find those breathtaking ocean views. Sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning ocean vista in your private bale for two or cool off in a private plunge pool with a backdrop of the open sea.

Jalan Pantai Selatan Gau, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan, Bali

Naumi Hotel | Colourful Boutique Hotels in Singapore | Travelshopa

Eleni Panagiotou, Candlelit and Co.

From her annual pilgrimage to her motherland, Greece, Eleni Panagiotou reflects on how she turned a “let’s get crafty and do a candle making workshop” thought into the successful Melbourne based business CANDLELIT & CO in the most unorthodox way.

Logan Komorowski, United Strangers | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

Many businesses start with a pain point or gap to fill, and some start as a love affair, turn into an obsession, and then become a business, organically. The latter is how Eleni Panagiotou started Candlelit and Co..

Raised by traditional Greek parents with a strong work ethic, Eleni feels it was only natural for her to turn a passion into a business. However, it was more than that. A strong love of homewares, a keen eye for design and a gap in the market fuel her creative process. As a result Eleni pioneered the true marble candle in Australia, swiftly moved onto the Scandinavian inspired grid candle and has now gone back to basics with a new CODED series.

Eleni visits her motherland each year for a bit of R&R. Like any true entrepreneur her mind never stops ticking and gathering ideas for what’s to come. She believes that moments are her greatest inspiration. This trip is no different. She confesses that her grandmother’s favourite tree lemon myrtle (in Athens, Greece) may be the start of her next move.

Can you describe the process of crating the perfect candle?

Our candles are carefully created from only the highest quality eco soy wax and through endless meetings with our parfumers to create the perfect scent. Quality over quantity is what we believe in when crafting each candle. Through years of testing we have discovered the perfect balance to creating a clean burning scented candle. We’ve recently started running Candle Making Workshops to share our tips and tricks of the trade with new candle makers looking to start a business, and also those looking for a new hobby.

How did the CODED series come about and what does it all mean?

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m self taught when it comes to the business and marketing side of Candlelit and Co.. Over the past 5 years, after repeated disappointing meetings, marketers from a number of major Australian homewares stores have refused our product due to our basic series “not being colour coded” – like so many other candle businesses. I often got “You NEED to colour code your series” or “It won’t matter that your brand will resemble another”.

They were convinced that we too should colour code our candles and packaging! But who wants to be like everyone else right? With the aim to offer a point of difference to our customers, we coded our latest series ‘CODED’ with the Greek Alphabet as an alternative to the colours and number codes that have penetrated the candle market.

The Greek letters were chosen as I was born and raised in Athens so it’s a part of who I am and I want to share that connection with our customers.

What inspires you?

Moments, mainly moments. It’s 6.23am in Athens, drinking my Greek coffee and overlooking a glimpse of Lykavittos and next to me my grandmothers favourite tree lemon myrtle and all I can think of is “that would make an amazing scent”.

What has been the biggest highlight in business?

My biggest highlight(s) are when I still to this day see sales coming in from stockists and customers that have supported our journey since day one – always fills my heart.

Logan Komorowski, United Strangers | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa
Logan Komorowski, United Strangers | Behind the Seams | Travelshopa

The Greek letters were chosen as I was born and raised in Athens so it’s a part of who I am and I want to share that connection with our customers.

How would you describe the style/vibe of Melbourne?

Individuality! Melbourne black is what we’re known for but don’t be fooled just around the corner you may just see pops of colour.

What is your favourite thing about Melbourne?

The Cafes – because coffee is taken on another level here, Restaurants – always something new with renowned chefs opening a piece of heaven for us to indulge, and Shops…where do I begin? If you need it, or want it, you’ll find it!

Which local retailers are your go to and why?

Homewares – If in Melbourne you need to visit Fenton & Fenton! Even the minimalists in you will surrender to owner Lucy’s love for colour. So many unique pieces to visually place in your world but this comes with a disclaimer – best you visit with all or no credit cards. You’ve been warned – Happy Shopping.

Fashion – Elk is the place to be – tucked away in Melbourne’s North you won’t be disappointed. Style, quality and artful pieces designed by local married duo Marnie and Adam. Hot tip – Get to their pop up sales if you dare (you’re welcome)!

What is your top style tip?

Comfort – Don’t let anyone tell you you have to feel binding in order to look amazing. Stay away from copy paste chains – search for unique boutiques that will have you love your body all over again with their one off pieces.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home

From industrial designer to interior architect to luxury retailer to fine artist, Stefanie Hauger clearly loves to work on new techniques and push boundaries. Here she talks to us about her journey, works, VANILLA HOME and retail in Singapore.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home | Interview | Travelshopa

Stefanie Hauger describes her life as an immersion into the world of art and design in one form or another. Her lifestyle emporium in Singapore, Vanilla Home, was a natural extension of her work as an interior architect. The retail space is a platform for the artists and designers that Stefanie has curated since 2002.

While Stefanie’s brush with art has been life long – her mother was a painter and she studied fine art at college – she felt that she should give herself the opportunity to explore this field in more depth. She explains it to be “a loud calling”. And in 2011 Stefanie followed that inner voice by returning to fine art. She has spent the last six years depicting many of her experiences in the works she creates, whether it be paintings or sculptures.

Her experimentation with techniques won her the prestigious 2013 UOB Southeast Asian and Singapore Painting of the Year awards, and her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, fairs and solo exhibitions. Evidently, she is not afraid to push boundaries in any form.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home | Interview | Travelshopa

How would you describe your signature style?

I have always worked with very fluid paint to see where I can push boundaries with the medium. Years of experimentation have led to a particular style which is called Biomorphic Abstract – this describes living organisms set into an abstract context in art. Much of my work now revolves around nature, texture and life on a molecular or microscopic level.

How did this come about?

Years of experimenting with differing liquidities of paint and how they react with one another led to the fine tuning of certain techniques. I always want to push to the next level, never be stuck in just one technique, constantly find new ways to move people with a work of art.

My dominant art influences are the abstract impressionists who broke through the traditional confines of painting to show us new possibilities, not without their critics, and who thus opened up new realms of acceptance within the artworld. They also invented the ‘all-over painting’ where an entire canvas is filled with the same rhythm or texture or technique which is very much the way I work.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home | Interview | Travelshopa

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished / Stefanie Hauger

What’s your favourite subject to paint?

Nature, texture and living things in an abstract form. For the last 10 months I have also been working with combining the canvas with metal fashion spikes which creates a multi-dimensional, interactive experience that is a heady mixture of the fluid art and the rigidity of the metal.

What types of techniques have your explored?

I have explored many different techniques, most notably thick impasto paintings and paintings that are created purely through manipulation of the canvas instead of using a brush. In fact I generally use a brush only to mix the paint, after that it is up to my physical interaction with the canvas that determines the outcome. It is sometimes like a dance and other times like a wrestling match.

What do you do when you feel uninspired?

I am rarely uninspired, I don’t really get artist’s block. If anything I have to stop myself going off in too many different directions, I am constantly having to pull myself back to what I am currently working on and sticking to one theme and a series. But when I am stuck I read about artists that inspire me and this gets me going again pretty fast.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home | Interview | Travelshopa

Adopt the pace of nature… / Stefanie Hauger

Art is a huge discipline; it is hard, hard work and requires massive concentration and perseverance. And there are many times when the results are not what one might have wished for and a ‘good artist’ will work through that with courage and determination and perhaps a small, healthy dose of self-belief. Fearlessness is another important factor in being a good artist, without that you will never make an unexpected stroke or think outside of the box.

Who are your top three creatives to follow on Instagram?

I love following @agathodee, @siemonandsalazar and @indiamahdavi… but there are hundreds more of course (@nacitopak for instance, he is a ceramics lecturer in Turkey)

How do you curate brands for Vanilla Home?

We select brands based on quality, craftsmanship, timeless elegance and their particular artisanal style. In other words we buy from small manufacturers and workshops who make a few products to an exceptional level, people who share our deep passion for the finest things in life that a customer will keep for life.

In your opinion, what’s the future state of the retail industry in Singapore?

For Singapore to once again become the premier shopping destination in South East Asia will require a huge joint effort from both the Government and retailers. The Government need to regulate high retail space rental costs, lower manufacturing costs in the industrial sector and address the very high number of shopping malls in Singapore all selling the same thing and offering a very similar experience.

Retailers are already doing their part. In order to survive against increased rivalry regionally, constant competition from eCommerce giants and the drastic change in demographics of shoppers they are embracing the power of digital and will be providing customers with a truly unique first-class 360-degree shopping experience. Success in the future will be had by those who provide the very best customer service, deliver a customer experience that seamlessly moves between online and bricks and mortar and by those who sell exciting, exclusive, good quality, well priced products. Sounds easy!

My advice for aspiring creatives is: fearlessness, courage, hard work, discipline and perseverance. Also train yourself to see the world through your ‘artist lens’, your interpretation and your mind’s eye, if you don’t take what you see around you too literally then your artistic self will have a chance to emerge. And don’t take yourself too seriously, sometimes when are having a real slump the best thing is to throw the painting on the floor and dance on it and see what happens next.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home | Interview | Travelshopa

Nature does not hurry… II / Stefanie Hauger

How would you describe the style/vibe of Singapore?

Singapore’s style is one of constant change due to it being a young country and a truly multicultural one. Singapore and Singaporeans are constantly adapting to incredibly fast changes made both to their urban landscape and population demographic. We’ve seen this lead to constant diffusion of new styles and creative hubs that need time to develop properly to become authentic cultural markers for Singapore. There is one constant however, and that is a Singaporean’s love for and affinity with luxury branded goods! A true marker of Singapore’s style.

Where is on the top of your travel bucket list?

At the top of my travel bucket list is actually India. I have never been even though my house is filled with Indian artefacts, textiles and furniture. Perhaps I have never gone because I know I would bring half of India home with me…

In 5 years you will find me…

probably doing exactly the same things I am doing now. I truly love everything I am involved in and have no desire for change.

Stefanie Hauger, Vanilla Home | Interview | Travelshopa

Hollywood’s Private Eye, Sid Avery

Sid Avery (1918 – 2002) was an American photographer and director who was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor. Avery founded the Hollywood Photographer's Archive (HPA), which is known today as, in an effort to preserve the work of early Hollywood photographers. A selection Sid Avery's works – curated by Jason Minty – is currently displayed at Becker Minty in Sydney. The opening night was a celebration of Avery’s works and life with the sharing of tales of his legendary subjects to boot.

Hollywood's Private Eye, Sid Avery | Travelshopa

Oceans Eleven Cast, 1960

Hollywood's Private Eye, Sid Avery | Travelshopa

Sammy Davis Jr with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop

Having studied under his uncle, Max Tatch, a landscape and architectural photographer, Avery discovered his love and talent of photography when he was young. After graduating from high school, Avery worked in a camera store on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, where he met many famous photographers. He began his work of photographing celebrities straight after returning from the war, and eventually became one of the top advertising photographers in Los Angeles.

Hollywood's Private Eye, Sid Avery | Travelshopa

Dean Martin and his Facel Vega HK500 in the driveway of his Beverly Hills home on Mountain Drive, 1961

Avery was key to pioneering a new style of glamour photography that emerged in the fifties. “Candid” was the word in vogue and it was Avery’s ability to candidly capture the private lives of celebrities that lead him to became the go-to photographer for magazine editors and art directors, and be named “Hollywood's Private Eye” by Vanity Fair.

Carrie K. and Disney Collaborate on a second collection | The Beauty and the Beast Collection | Travelshopa

Elizabeth Taylor sunning herself while on location in Marfa Texas for the film Giant, 1955

Hollywood's Private Eye, Sid Avery | Travelshopa

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward at their Beverly Hills home, 1958

After Avery passed away at the age of 83 in 2002, the New York Times described his work to be "a departure from the glamorized, soft-focus portraits of an earlier Hollywood era when images of the stars were tightly controlled by the major studios."

Hollywood's Private Eye, Sid Avery | Travelshopa

Debbie Reynolds before going into Paramount to film The Pleasure of His Company with her Lincoln Mark 2, 1960

Hollywood's Private Eye, Sid Avery | Travelshopa

Frank Sinatra at a Capitol Records recording session in Los Angeles, circa 1960

Pin It on Pinterest