Inside Portside – June 2018 – People of Portside


Get to know the faces that make up Portside Wharf and who Eat, Live and Play local every day. This month we caught up with Alison Casey, the owner of Co Design and Deer Sir and learnt a little bit about her and the business she created at Portside Wharf.

People of Portside Q/A

Name: Alison Casey

Business: Deer Sir & Co Design

Role in the business: Co-Owner, Manager & Director


Tell us a little bit about the history of your business?

Co Design was born out of the Cotton & Co jewellery store owned by Michael Cotton and was originally located on Racecourse Rd at Ascot. I started working with Michael around 11 years ago as a jewellery designer for the Cotton & Co brand. As the jewellery brand took off the Racecourse Rd store was placed in my hands to re-brand and re-invent. We re-launched as Co Design just over 7 years ago with a full makeover and the addition of homewares, gifts, furniture and fashion. Space was limited in the Ascot store and when an opportunity arose at Portside Wharf it seemed the perfect opportunity to expand the business. At this juncture I became co-owner of Co Design and took on full day to day operations of the business as Michael was busy with the success of Cotton & Co.

How long has your business been at Portside Wharf?

Just over 5 years now.

Why did you choose to open both Deer Sir and Co Design?

We decided that we wanted to embrace a concept store with the formation of our new business partnership and that led to the addition of Deer Sir Cafe. The vision was to create an environment where you could sit and enjoy quality coffee and be surrounded by beautiful objects.

I am a lover of a beautiful atmosphere.

What are your favourite fashion/jewellery picks for autumn?

It’s all about boho textures this season. Don’t be afraid to mix things up. A bold earring, anything rose gold, faux fur wraps, pom-poms, fringing and a bright lip. It’s a season to have fun and get adventurous ladies. Out with the chokers in with the long bohemian style necklaces, throw on some nude boots, grab a fabulous textural clutch and you’re ready to roll.

What is something interesting that we might not know about you?

I started my passion for all things fashion through designing and making textural jewellery. I have a creative passion and what now seems to be many moons ago won a number of awards from Swarovski Crystal for jewellery design in Australia, NZ and the pacific.

What’s your go to coffee and cake combination?

You can’t go past an Indian Spiced Chai Tea infused with almond milk and honey, with warm freshly baked Apple and Rhubarb crumble, oh and ice-cream, of course! #whatsummerbody

What’s a statement piece we should all have in our homes this season?

Winter for me is all about creating a cosy comfortable space. Simply changing up your cushions and adding a lush beautiful throw to your living area is an inexpensive makeover that will refresh the palate of your home and add comfort and warmth. Light a beautiful Mrs Darcy candle for ambience and aroma (every girl needs lots of candles) and pour yourself a glass of red.

How do you choose your one off pieces? What makes them stand out to you?

Buying is one of the hardest but also the most pleasurable experiences of owning a gift store. When I’m looking for the store I look for something unique, something special that jumps out at me. You see a lot of the same generic items when searching, so the trick is to find the needle in the hay stack. I also purchase things that I personally love.

If you could invite three people – dead or alive – to dinner, who would you invite and why?

Difficult question…top of my head

  1. David Bowie (complete with guitar or piano or both). Why? Because I think he was one of the most creative musical artists of my time.
  2. Leonardo Di Vinci – Why? Scientist, anatomist, engineer and artist. I think it would be intriguing to hear of his life’s experiences.
  3. Robin Williams Why? One of the most intelligent and talented comedians of my time and because I think three together would make for a very interesting evening!
  4. What was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now?

I was a child of the 80’s so it was the era of fluro plastic bracelets, blue eye shadow, shoulder pads and very high permed hair.

Quick five – Pick your favourite out of the below.

Coffee or tea? Both

Kaftan or candles? Candles

Earrings or rings? Rings

Contemporary or antique? An eclectic mix of both

Homewares or fashion? Fashion

What's on

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Plant & Flower Market

Celebrations will be in full bloom at the first-of-its-kind Portside Wharf Plant and Flower Market, hosted by The Market Folk, on Saturday, 16 July, from 10am to 2pm.

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