Where are they now? – Jacqui Daniels (1986)

Many readers will recognise Jacqui Daniels, she was the Old Girls’ Association Coordinator at Santa Maria College from 2016 – 2019. Since then, she has been working on her successful clothing and accessories brand, nest’d. Her products are bright and textured and reflect a life of travel and adventure.

What has been your journey since school?

Had I fully believed in my abilities, I would have embarked on a creative pathway as soon as I left school. However, I lacked confidence and became a primary school teacher instead. It did prove a solid choice because I happily channeled my energy into school drama and art, plus I met my husband at uni.

After a few years of teaching in private schools, life changed course. Through my husband’s work, we were transferred overseas, where I had the luxury of being able to expand my world through traversing the globe and bringing four children into this world.

Over 15 years, we lived throughout USA, Mexico, Russia, and Asia. Every two years we were transferred to a new location, which presented both mind-blowing experiences and challenges; all of which would make a most interesting book!

How has your business, nest’d evolved?

I have always dabbled in creative ‘stuff’. Born in Trinidad, West Indies I was always surrounded by colour, music, and movement. Carnival followed us to Australia from the Caribbean, and we were often surrounded by fabric, feathers, and sparkle! So, from an early age I watched and learnt from the best, in my mother and grandmother; both capable of mastering everything with flair! However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity of time and travel, that I started to gather momentum and break open my inner ‘itching’ for all things textural.

I embarked on absorbing as much as I could overseas – taking photos, collecting bits n bobs, and learning techniques and stories from various cultures. It formed a tapestry of knowledge which I draw on constantly.

I had always leaned toward an eclectic style, so my travels to countries rich in art, texture, design and vibrant colour heightened my love to the obsessive.  I am totally captivated by handmade pieces – anything with colour will ultimately find a way into my home, which is overflowing with art, fabrics and embroidery from around the globe.

Once I returned to WA, I was keen to fill my weekends with creating handmade pieces for friends and family. They encouraged me to start selling these pieces, which I did from home. From there, I finally took a leap and went to a local market to sell my ‘stuff’. It was a hit! I was a little surprised, as my bold colour and texture, is not for everyone. I get many people saying “Wow, your stuff is really different!” To me, that’s the best compliment you could give me. I don’t ever want to be like anyone else.

From there, it has been a slow and steady progression. With the slow fashion movement, came a strong pull to reduce, reuse and recycle. I upcycle a lot of my fabric and embellishments now and only use natural fibres. Many of my suppliers are small vendors who hand block their prints. I have launched a line of jewellery, where I use sea glass and broken shards of ceramic and pottery, collected locally and from around the globe.

I draw inspiration from so many diverse cultures but follow no rules. The best ideas come from the most seemingly inane experiences. Things like looking at a bike spoke, watching a leaf fall, a spoken word, a random shape on the footpath. All great inspo! To me, being creative is an expression of my life, it fills my cup, it’s who I am, and I am in love with that!

You have another passion that you’d like to share…

I am a marriage and funeral celebrant. I began this work in September 2020 and it brings me so much joy. I have the enormous privilege of celebrating huge moments in a family’s story. Of course, weddings are always happy occasions, but I find funerals equally as beautiful. I can learn about a life and share it with others. By honouring rites and rituals in ceremony, we are provided with an opportunity to stop, reflect, share and cast our own hopes and dreams across life’s tapestry.

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