Recently I’ve met with Lisa, who has been involved since Cove’s inception, and is the creative force behind Cove. She does the all the visuals and is the buyer for the store.
We sat down to have a chat about her life in Bali in the last 18 months, how Covid has affected Cove and what’s coming in the near future for everyone’s favourite store.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – who are you, where are you from, what’s your job and how long you have been in Bali?
My name is Lisa Chedanne, I’m from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, but I lived in beautiful Sydney for a long time. In my younger days I did a few fun years in London and moved to Bali 5 years ago after a stint on the north shore of Hawaii. I’ve worked in many areas in the fashion industry for my whole life and being involved with a store like Cove was my lifelong dream. I have been coming to Bali to make clothes for my brand LILYA for over 15 years, so merchandising and buying for Cove was the natural next step in my career of 30 years in fashion, retail sales management and design.
My passion is aesthetics and how things look and make you feel. I love styling, decorating, and making things look amazing without breaking the budget. I’m a hardworking country girl that wears her heart on her sleeve, loves the good life and tries to be authentic. I grew up always yearning for more, to travel, to learn and to experience life. I never wanted to settle, but with that came many changes and a few ups and downs along the way. I have learned in my life in this field of work that style doesn’t have to cost money, and less is more.
What’s the inspiration behind the change in the interiors and exteriors of the shop?
At Cove, we wanted to express our luxe hippy style more with the recent changes to the store and we wanted to make the store a little more unique and warmer. There are now so many arches in Bali that we had to move a little and make some changes.
Also, so many people have commented that Cove felt cosy, natural, and authentic and they wanted to live in the space just like it, so we knew we were doing something right. Actually, when we first opened, even I was surprised at how beautifully the store came together. We didn’t want to lose that feeling, so we tried to expand on it and take it a step further, by adding some Alang Alang on the roof, more plants, different art on the walls, tinted bronze mirrors and a few more masculine touches. Change is a natural part of life and we must accept it to grow and to stay relevant, inspired, and appealing.
Biggest challenges to retail stores in Bali?
Staying relevant and interesting to others. We lost most of the tourist market, during this time, so Cove had to adapt to a growing market of domestic tourism. We also built on our appeal to an existing market of expats that live here by offering unique products and great customer service. We love that many customers from Jakarta and Surabaya and other parts of Indonesia are discovering Cove and loving it. Keeping up with all the social media channels is challenging, but in today’s world, it is imperative to stay relevant and afloat.
How has it been living in Bali in the last year and a half?
Personally, it’s been amazing for me in many ways, I met someone and fell in love right before COVID, so that kept my spirits high during this weird time. We travelled away to amazing places all over Bali that usually are full of people and much more expensive. You can really see the effects on the environment with the beaches and rivers becoming cleaner and people here redirecting their energy towards their beautiful island home. At Cove we managed to keep all our staff employed and we kept working closely with the factories that have worked with us for the past 15 years. It’s amazing to see the impact a small business like Cove can have. From environmentally-friendly practices to keeping people employed, this year more than ever we can see how connected we all are and how impactful we all are. This past two years has been challenging but has shown us that you must always try to remain hopeful and positive.
Tell us why you love living here and how do you keep being inspired.
I adore living here as there is a sense of freedom that just doesn’t exist in other places I have lived. There are a bunch of creative and interesting people from around the globe that I have enjoyed meeting. We learn a new culture, a new language, we are based in Asia, which is closer to the rest of the world. I love the culture and the people and the landscape. My son is unconcerned with people’s differences in appearance and religion and is very accepting and open-minded and I just love that. I also love that I am constantly reminded to laugh at things that go wrong, because they always do. I miss visiting my friends and family in Australia and I miss the inspiration that travel gives us. I also can’t wait to go to Europe, to visit the French side of my family and go to Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal and have a European summer.
How did Covid affect the business over the last 18 months
We have ridden the rollercoaster and survived quite well actually, despite these worldwide changes. Luckily, we had just had a busy season and restocked, so when COVID hit, the shelves had new stock that was all paid for. This helped us reduce the bills in the harder times. We also moved the clothing label LILYA into the store, which has been fantastic as it’s the only place you can buy it here. We developed some new products that are exclusive, which gave us some freedom to roll with the punches. This past two years we had to make some changes to stay ahead of the game, but also not change what wasn’t broken, so we decided to make some small changes to the appearance of the retail space, and take the leap to rebuild the brand image and website. Our team has worked harder than ever this past two years in marketing and ideas to move with the times, which has introduced us to a new market of customers from all over Indonesia.
Any new ventures or things we can expect in Cove in the next few months/year.
We just launched our new website, new branding, and refurbished the store, so we want to take a breather for a minute! We will be producing a lot more unique products and maybe some more men’s products for the store. We would love to do a few more collaborations and decorating projects. There may just be a new exciting location being planned in a different new expanded concept with lots of natural artisan and handcrafted products coming soon … stay tuned!