Ipso MoFo is not your average home furnishing store, you won’t be able to find any of its stocked products anywhere else is Australia. A tad out of the ordinary, Ipso MoFo products are creative, fun and laid-back. An unpretentious online store which focuses on stocking quality made, colourful and quirky products from independent European designers.
Ipso MoFo is the brainchild of Paul Noe, a quirky Brit, whose eye for anti-minimalist products has brought the fun back into furniture. We had the pleasure of speaking with Paul about his off-the-wall brand and about bringing colour, fun and functional furniture into Australian homes.
Paul spent 15 years of his life dedicated to his marketing career, then in 2000, he was given the opportunity to leave London for the warm sun and iconic beaches of Sydney. “I was working for a direct marketing company in London, for some guys who were responsible for flooding the streets with Charity Fundraisers, who everyone loves being accosted on the street by these days!” laughs Paul, “They needed some help setting up offices in Sydney, and I was lucky enough to be asked.”
Paul jokes with us about how during his career he still didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. Eventually leaving his marketing role to dabble in various other ventures, from the Audio Visual industry to driving trucks, whilst all the time trying to find something that he was really truly passionate about.
“As a professional procrastinator, the plans of starting my own venture were always there, but never quite put into action. I finally made the move in 2014 when a work contract ended. I was staring at the “what’s next” phase in my life,” reflects Paul. It was during this period that Paul and his wife, Deb, started searching for furnishings for their home. Struggling to find items that suited their tastes and need for quality boutique furnishings around them, Paul started searching overseas.
“At the time, Deb and I were searching for stuff for our apartment. We couldn’t find anything that we liked or matched our budget, and our budget didn’t match our taste for products at the top end of the market. That’s when we tried looking further afield, it was then that we found products that we did like and could afford.” Yet, Paul describes that his thoughts didn’t end there, he began thinking on a larger scale.
“We thought, if we liked these products, then surely others would too! We came up with a silly name, built a website and imported some products which is how we got to where we are now!” Paul exclaims. At this point we had to stop Paul and ask about the name, Ipso MoFo, we just had to know more about it.
“We wanted a name that was a bit cheeky and unique.” Paul laughs. “The whole idea of what I wanted to do, is just to have fun with cool designs. Some people in the industry take themselves and their products too seriously, I just wanted to have a bit of fun with it and not take ourselves too seriously. I came up with Ipso which is Latin for ‘by itself’ and well MoFo… I’ll leave that one for you to research!” laughs Paul.
Paul takes on most of the roles at Ipso, taking care of everything from sourcing products, managing the website, marketing and dispatch amongst other duties. Paul’s wife Deb has also been enlisted into the employee ranks as the MoFo Minster of Fun and Finance. “I wear most of the ‘hats’ but Deb keeps me grounded and makes sure we have money in the bank” Paul jests, “My duties day to day keep me busy, I’m always trying to tweak my website to provide a better shopping experience. My to-do list is never ending and seems to grow and grow. I do have support from some great freelancers all over the world. They have helped me get Ipso MoFo to where it is today” reflects Paul.
Stocking tables, chairs, storage units and homewares which are not your average pieces, Ipso MoFo takes on a fun approach to furniture design which is very tongue in cheek. “We love to go against the grain, and celebrate the quirky and colourful. We are a little bit cheeky and are all about original, quality pieces that will probably outlast the cat and avoid landfill. All of our products are sourced from small scale boutique makers, made mainly in the U.K and Europe.”
You can tell from Ipso MoFo’s online store that Paul takes great pride in the unique way he curates his collection of pieces. “For our first consignment of products, we have just gone with our hearts and our own tastes. We have mainly followed three simple, subjective guidelines. The first being: Does it look good? Does it fit within the MoFo Anti-Minimalist style, and will the available photography make good ‘Product Porn’. The second is: Is it affordable? And lastly, Is it good quality and made with love? If we can answer yes to all of these things then we are on a winner. We also love finding products and exposing Australian customers to things they haven’t seen previously.” Paul reflects.
Inspired by everyone who has ever gone through the same trial of starting a business from scratch, Paul is quick to confess his pleasure for his new profession. “It takes immense hard work, effort, balls and belief that you can do it. I am loving the challenge of growing this brand from just some crazy ideas and ‘what ifs’ into something real that I can share with people. Every time we send an order out, I have to pinch myself. Twelve months ago it was just on paper, now people are appreciating our work, it’s very exciting and scary at the same time.”
It’s hard not to get excited about Ispo MoFo’s products, Paul’s infectious excitement resonates through when he begins describing them. By not taking themselves too seriously, Paul has created a strong following. “Our Formabilio range has be popular. The guys that supply it to us have a great worldwide online presence, and with us being their only retailer in Australia we are super excited to introduce them down under.”
“I love all our products, but I have taken a strong liking to our Cora Pouf. Unfortunately we aren’t allowed one at home because our cats would shred it to pieces.” He sighs, “They rule the roost and can’t tell them no, otherwise I love my Longplates. These are wicked Italian porcelain plates that appear like vinyl records. They definitely make my breakfast more fun.” Comments Paul.
When it comes to giving buyers advice about purchasing online, Paul believes that research is vital and making sure suppliers have reasonable return policies is key. Paul’s passion for his Ispo MoFo will continue to grow, as will his collection of products.
“We are planning our second consignment as we speak. We are working on adding lots more cool brands from across the seas as well as finding some great Australian designers to feature on the site.” Paul informs us. Ispo MoFo is definitely a reflection of its creator. A fun and unique range of furniture, homewares and lifestyle products brought to Australian shores by an energetic Brit at the helm. With a second batch of products coming soon, we’re excited about it just as much as Paul is and we hope he continues to bring us fun and inspiring furniture.
House of Home would like to thank Paul from Ipso MoFo for his time and sharing more about his not so normal brand.