Kaitie Manani, The Slow Mode

Designer and fashion entrepreneur, Kaitie Manani, has embraced slow living so much, she decided to launch a new business, THE SLOW MODE. Here, the Hong Kong-based Aussie shares her secrets to finding your slow.

Kaitie Manani should be no stranger to a fashion enthusiast. She is the founder of vamastyle, a hugely successful all-year-round swim and resort wear label. However, after 7 years of building the business, she was left feeling “so overburdened and stuck in a stressed state” that she was yearning for more purpose and meaning in her work.

A breakdown was the catalyst for her reassess her way of life, which led her to slow living. She has merged her two passions of slow living and quality design by setting up THE SLOW MODE which is a curation of slowly-made artisanal labels sourced from around the world, plus wellness guides to help others create a slower way of living.

Kaitie Manani, The Slow Mode | Interview | Travelshopa

All images supplied by Kaitie Manani

What is “slow” living?

Slow living to me is tuning into the now, being truly present and non judgmental. Allowing space in your everyday for nature, peace and clarity.

How do you incorporate “slow” into your buying/product curation?

It’s absolutely core to what The Slow Mode stands for… beautiful fashion, home and beauty products made slowly by artisans around the globe, with thoughtful and meaningful details. I look for those little ‘extras’ handmade finishes and touches that tells a unique story for our customers. They want a deeper connection to the designs and designers behind the brands, not a fast fashion impulse buy.

I can’t start my day until…

fresh plain celery juice upon rising, hot water lemon, bulletproof matcha… in that order !

What does your typical day look like?

Well it starts off with the above, drop my two boys to the bus… then I head up the peaks of Hong Kong for a power walk and get myself around nature… I’ve got a fave spot at a root of a beautiful tree along Bowen Rd – where I do my first meditation of the day. Then back home for breakfast and start the day in the home studio. Fulfilling orders, emails, sourcing etc.

You’ll never see me without…

A matcha in my hand

What does work life balance mean to you?

Finding my slow is being able to stop reset, rebalance myself when I start to feel like I’m spiralling our if control and dipping into an energy reserve I’ve had to fit so hard to get back. It’s a respect to your body first, to listen to it, don’t ever push it… By stepping away and going inwards with my meditation – I crave that peacefulness, and try to bring the calm & clarity I have after each session through out the day.

In 5 years you will find me…

I came across this beautiful quote the other day and it stopped me in my tracks, I thought it’s so simple and perfect “your future should look like the best parts of your present… “ so you’ll find me doing the things still that I love right now.

Kaitie's guide to #FindYourSlow


Twice daily 20 min Vedic meditation sessions that can be done pretty much anywhere (with zero props)


Infusing doterra essential oils through the home and my work space to transform the whole space into a COMO spa (well nearly…) these oils have a huge impact on mood and your emotions


3. Making myself multiple bullet-proof matcha’s through the day, I find this ritual very therapeutic.


I make sure I don’t sit for longer than an hour before some yoga or Pilates sequences.. just to get my body flowing on and off through the day feels good.

Anna van der Gardner, The Design Barn

Interior Designer Anna van der Gardner of The Design Barn has a keen eye for coastal interiors, travel and gardening, which is evident in the recently restored BRONTE HOUSE. When working on the home, Anna focused on bringing the outside into the 1845 building. Anna has successfully brought a classic contemporary style that has put a spotlight on the architecture of the Bronte home and the revived historic gardens.

Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa

Bronte House, Bronte, NSW
Images supplied by Anna van der Gardner

Since it was first built by Robert and Georgiana Lowe in 1845, Bronte House has seen multiple residents and owners. Since 2015 the van der Gardner family has been residing in the two acre property in Sydney’s Bronte.

With an advanced Diploma of Interior Design from Enmore Design Centre, Anna van der Gardner has added her feminine touch to this historic home. On the eve of a Bronte Home Open House, we chat to Anna about her work, style and of course all things Bronte House.

How did you start out as an interior designer? 

I started working for a boutique architectural studio where I was lucky enough to have two amazing mentors – I then went on to work for a high end residential Interior Designer until I went out on my own.

What’s your first interiors memory?

My absolute favourite building is a place called Neuendorf Villa in Mallorca by Claudio Silvestrin and John Pawson. I love the clean, simple, raw lines and textures.

I can’t start my day until…

I have my morning coffee in bed!

What is your top interior styling tip?

Don’t rush it – take your time finding the perfect pieces.

Where do you look for inspiration?

The rustic coastal regions of France and Italy as well as more exotic places like Morocco and Mexico where I have been on my travels.

If you were not an interior designer, what would you be doing?

Travelling the globe sourcing antique/vintage pieces to sell in Australia and taking photos along the way

What do you do in your downtime?

Hmm… how could I not be gardening!? I have also just started a botanical watercolour course.

Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa
Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa

We didn’t choose a ‘period style” look for Bronte House, rather a Classic contemporary style that allows the houses simple architectural details to shine.

How has style changed at Bronte House over the years?

Bronte House has had many uses over the years from the ‘country’ residence of the Lowes when it was built to being a wedding venue and Red Cross branch in the late 60s. We didn’t choose a ‘period style” look for Bronte House, rather a Classic contemporary style that allows the houses simple architectural details to shine.

How would you describe the style of Bronte House today?

A provincial inspired elegant coastal family home.

What changes have you made to Bronte House?

We have freshened the house with some new lighter wallpapers, light fittings, floor coverings and furniture.

How did you go about the design process of Bronte House?

I took inspiration from the house and its surroundings, bringing the outside in – I started with the foundation pieces such as rugs and lounges and built it from there.

What advice do you wish you had received before taking on Bronte House?

That you may have trouble getting wifi as the walls are so thick!!

What is one interesting fact one should know about Bronte House?

The original owner of Bronte House, Robert Lowe, was an albino and hence the exterior shutters to the house.

Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa
Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa

That it has opened a whole new world of knowledge for me – especially in the garden.

Favourite thing about Bronte House…

That it has opened a whole new world of knowledge for me – especially in the garden.

Favourite room at Bronte House…

The Dining Room with its large Bay windows looking out to the yellow and white border garden – this is where I like to do my paintings.

Favourite interiors item at Bronte House…

The large shell mirror above the fireplace in the Lounge Room.

Favourite Australian fashion designers…

Camilla and Spell & The Gypsy Collective

Favourite local homewares boutiques…

Orient House, Parterre and Maison et Jardin

Get The Look

Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa


Sign of Peace Long Sleeve Wrap Dress

Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa

Orient House

Blue & White Ginger Jar

Anna Van Der Gardner, The Design Barn | Interview | Travelshopa


Forged Iron Console

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.

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