Jace Banu — founded under the Australian sun, the brand embodies endless summers, reminiscent of moments and times gone by. We chat with Jack & Jake (founders) who tell us about the inspiration behind the brand, it’s journey from conception and the importance of considered trade over profit.
Loess: What inspired you to create Jace Banu?
Jace Banu: We both knew that we wanted to create something of our own but for a very long time we didn’t know what that ‘thing’ was. All we knew is that we wanted it to come naturally, for it to be a true expression of ourselves, something that added value to the world and we could be proud of. We can admit that there have been some crazy ideas but nothing truly stuck until this one. After countless workshopping sessions and long conversations Jace Banu was born; a true representation of the both of us and a culmination of our individual styles, professional strengths and experiences.
L: Where did the name Jace Banu come from?
JB: The name came quite naturally, which was an indication that we were one the right track. One night we were sitting at home and Jack threw some ideas together, playing around with letter formations and words until we hit Jace Banu. Jace is quite simply a blend of both Jack and Jake while Banu is derived from the word Bhanu which is Hindi for Sun.
L: Were there any unexpected challenges you faced during the process of creating Jace Banu?
JB: There is almost a new unexpected challenge every single day, whether it be communication with our manufacturers, production issues, freight delays, customer shipping hurdles and balancing a professional and romantic relationship at the same time. It is one of the hardest and rewarding things we have ever done together and we both understand that our success is measured on how we solve the challenges we are faced with. Nothing is impossible, it’s about problem solving.
L: Did you have a clear design vision for the brand and each piece from the beginning of conception? Or has the style evolved as the brands identity became clear?
JB: We held back on building out the brand identity until we knew what we were able to achieve when it came to manufacturing. We wanted Jace Banu to be product focused and for our entire attention to be on perfecting the product and creating something truly beautiful. Once we had sampled 20+ hats, slowly perfecting our vision, we started working on the brand. We wanted the brand direction and the product offering to be seamless.
L: Tell us about your pieces and the inspiration behind the designs.
JB: Our pieces are inspired by many different things, whether that be costume design in period films, photography, art or fashion trends. A strong inspiration behind the brand as a whole is art and culture of the 1950’s, which we both have a strong connection to. The pattern work of our Amira Bucket Hats were inspired by mid-century artworks, while the colour palette was drawn from current runway collections and the shape was built around practicality and personal style. We love pairing styles from both eras to create something truly unique.
L: We would love to know a little more about you both and your career backgrounds and how this has influenced the business?
JB: Both of our backgrounds are quite different but very complimentary, so we try to use that to our advantage as much as we can. Jake’s background is within graphic design and product development, having worked in a design agency and a popular lifestyle brand for many years. Jack’s background is marketing and finance, working across a number of different businesses and currently as the General Manager of a popular Australian fashion brand. Our personal styles are also quite different and we draw inspiration from different places, with Jake bringing a strong lifestyle and development focus to the brand and Jack championing the fashion aspect of the business.
L: We love that Jace Banu was founded on the grounds of responsible business with ethical and considered trade over profit. Tell us more about this and how you’re achieving this vision?
JB: Something that was always at the forefront of our minds was our responsibility to both the environment and the community. Whatever business we were going to create we knew that it had to be as responsible as possible, we wouldn’t be proud of our achievements if this wasn’t the case. As an ethical business we understand that there is a lot of room to grow and a lot more work to be done, so we never mark it off our list as complete.
So far, Jace Banu commits $1 from every sale to environmental support via Carbon Positive Australia and an additional $1 to Global Giving, where we are able to support local causes in the areas that we manufacture.
On a product and manufacturing level we also selected partners for their ethical standpoint before anything else, having implemented strong practices and signing our Code of Conduct and Modern Slavery Statement. Our products are also crafted using natural materials, the dying processes have been reviewed and internationally certified across numerous regions and we utilise local artisans and support traditional weaving techniques.
We know that we could probably create our pieces far cheaper and a lot closer to Australia but to do that wouldn’t feel right. It really wouldn’t be something we would be proud of.
L: What did your 8 y/o self want to be when you grew up?
Jack: For me, I wanted to be a performer. I loved performing and making home movies. The arts was something that I always gravitated toward.
Jake: At 8 years old I wanted to be an artist. Art was something that allowed me to express my creativity and from a young age I was always enjoyed drawing and painting.
L: What’s one thing that people wouldn’t know about you?
Jack: I am a trained and professional dancer (which feels like a lifetime ago). I trained from a young age and pursued a career for a few years after university.
Jake: I have a second set of wisdom teeth, so I guess that makes me more wise (or not).
L: When choosing a perfume, what type of scents are you attracted to?
JB: For the both of us it really does depend on our mood for the day. We circulate through a few different scents but unlike our wardrobe we don’t tend to share. We have a careful curation that is unique to each of us. Woody, cedar notes are definitely something that we are initially attracted to, combined with subtle sweet notes, like white honey.
L: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Jack: I absolutely love chocolate and I can’t get enough of it (unfortunately).
Jake: Streaming a new series in one sitting. I love a good series on Netflix.
L: We love hearing about businesses who are using their platform for good – tell us some brands you think people need to know about.
JB: A brand that has really stood out to us, especially during the flood crisis in Northern NSW, is Worn Store. They have such a wonderful philanthropic side of their business, paired with exceptional product. We also really like Sun Juju, a responsible suncare brand.
We caught up with Estelle Dippie, founder of Commonplace — a global sales and brand agency based in New Zealand who connect premium global brands...
We chatted with Innes Heywood, founder of Innes Lauren about the foundation of the company — her purpose for not only herself but her business...
From previous businesses, to life lessons and those unplanned moments, Jody & Jess, Founders of Nice Martin chat to us about where it all began,...