Meet the dynamic duo who own OTTWAY The Label, a lifestyle clothing brand. Manu and Neri recently purchased a beautiful property in Ocean Shores to be close to their new Byron Bay store. Discover the story behind their brand and why they chose the Northern Rivers to call home.
When did you open your OTTWAY Byron Bay store?
We started OTTWAY The Label five years ago while living in Melbourne. We established our headquarters and flagship store there while running the online business. We opened our new store in Byron Bay (15 Lawson Street) in September. We have always been told that our brand was meant to be in Byron Bay – and we believe so!
OTTWAY is more than a clothing label, you describe it as a lifestyle vehicle. Tell us more.
Our focus with launching OTTWAY was to build a community of likeminded people who share a strong sustainability focus. We want to inspire people in the way they live, the way they look, and the way they feel – our mantra is ‘Life is for living’. It’s about being in the moment, being with friends and thriving in communities.
How is OTTWAY contributing to a sustainable future?
Building a sustainable future is always at the forefront of our minds. We are a slow-fashion focused business and create unique designs in small batches using premium quality fabrics. We are always looking at ways to minimise our impact by reducing the amount of energy consumption at the warehouse, office and stores. We offset 100% of the electricity with renewable energy making us carbon neutral.
With every purchase we donate funds to install solar panels. Our sustainability program, Solo Sunny Days, has so far contributed 700 solar panels to community-owned projects around Australia – that’s enough energy to power more than 93 homes for an entire year!
You recently purchased your home in Ocean Shores. What inspired you to move to the region from Melbourne?
We came to Australia about eight years ago from Spain and settled in Melbourne. We were chasing dreams with the spirit for living a new adventure. Now we feel it is time to live the next chapter in Australia and find a place to call home. We have always loved this region for its laid-back lifestyle, its people, the nature, the weather and the amazing community of creators.
What appeals to you about Ocean Shores in particular?
It feels like we are living in a national park. It’s so lush and tropical. It is incredible having the option of the beach and river. We spend the majority of our time surfing, swimming, walking the dog, playing beach tennis and now we’re getting into fishing. We rented a tinny the other day and we’re considering getting a couple of paddle boards, too.
After eight years of living the city life, this is exactly what we were after, but we didn’t want to feel isolated. We have the serenity of this peaceful space yet we can meet up with friends at multiple venues around the corner.
You’ve got a gorgeous house and the entertaining deck is amazing. What was the first thing you fell in love with when you walked into the space?
Definitely the views. We really like the sense of open space and we’ve already started to make our mark. We have white-washed all the floors which looks amazing. It really brightens the space. It is becoming more of a white beach cottage which is the look we envisaged.
You purchased the property from MANA real estate. How was the experience?
It has been so easy since day one. We dealt with really nice people who were always available for any questions. We also loved the pamper box we were given after receiving the keys. It was such a lovely feeling having a cheese platter on the deck overlooking our amazing view.