Genevieve and LaurenWalter and George are real though. ‘The name [WalterG] comes from our grandfathers, Walter and George. They both passed away within a year of each other and we both inherited a small amount of money, but it was enough to start our business. The name was a little nod to them’.You can buy WalterG textiles from Sydney to New York; beautiful prints in coastal colours with vintage designs – but there is no ‘WalterG’, something that confused some of the company’s earliest suppliers. ‘Everyone thought we worked for someone called Walter who ran some big business empire’, remember Lauren and Genevieve, who co-founded WalterG in 2011. The name might have been the best planned aspect of the business (‘we didn’t even really do a business plan’). The rest, it seems, was a mixture of serendipity and huge amounts of hard work.

In the late 2000s, Lauren was staying in India completing an mandatory internship for her degree. ‘I was living in Hong Kong at the time’ says Genevieve, ‘and went to visit her as a friend on holiday. We fell in love with it and a week before Lauren flew home we emailed “hey, what do you think about starting a textile company?”’

Despite the fact that neither Lauren or Genevieve had graduated or run a company before, the answer was obviously ‘”Wow, sounds awesome, love to. How do we start?”’.

The answer, of course, is complex. Genevieve and Lauren explain that ‘It was probably a year before we started because we both had to save a bit more money and finish our degrees… At the end of the day, as a stock-based business. You can have all the dreams in the world but you kind of need cash’.

The stars ultimately aligned for Lauren and Genevieve. After a government grant and graduation, the money and timing came together which let Lauren and Genevieve move to India to for six months to ‘learn it all’.

Sanganer, a historical centre of textile production in Rajasthan where Lauren and Genevieve lived, presented huge challenges. ‘”It was just like ‘we’ve got this much”’, they recall ‘so we’ll have to live off this $2.50 a day so that we’ve got money to put into the stock’.

There were also incredible opportunities in Sanganer though. ‘It’s been a home of block printing for hundreds of years. Lots of natural dying happens there and in some of the surrounding villages. A lot of people who live in that area have something to do with block printing or block carving.’

LaurenLiving in Sanganer also meant a chance for Lauren and Genevieve to meet the local women who work in the textile industry. Though a lot of large firms are own along typical patriarchal lines, traditional block printing provides an independent income stream for many women in the area. ‘A lot of women work in block printing over there, which is fantastic because it’s something that women can do with a little room in their house… They’re able to have a traditional housewife role but have an income as well, which is great.’ 

Founding a company is very different from making it successful though. Lauren and Genevieve found out the hard way there is a limited market in Australia for naturally dyed textiles though. Brighter colours are more in vogue but there has been a resurgence of appreciation for the handmade, high quality goods that WalterG (and Bailey Nelson!) provide.

The United States also represents a huge opportunity. Genevieve and Lauren note that the country is really enthusiastic about Australian style. ‘They’re always saying to us “we’re loving everything that comes out of Australia, it’s so different”, but being in this country we take it for granted a little bit’.

It’s easy to understand the Americans’ love for WalterG’s textiles. As a country with a long heritage of making fabrics and a cold climate in Northern states, beautiful throws, blankets and bedding are essential for a lot of households.

As with Lauren and Genevieve’s time in India, entering the United States presents a lot of challenges for the three woman team behind WalterG. ‘We’re getting to the stage where we might need more people, but for the moment we’re just seeing how it goes.’ In what could be an unpaid ad for Microsoft or Google, Lauren and Genevieve attribute their ability to manage a company and live life at the same time to apps that let them work remotely.

The business world might be changing rapidly, but the story of WalterG shows that traditional ways of patterning and making textiles still have a place in people’s hearts, and homes.

Meet the Team: Volume 12

Phuong is our superstar optometrist down in Adelaide, at the Rundle Mall boutique. Come for a whirl through 12 questions for volume 12 of our 'Meet the Team' series.

Phuong 1

BN: What are your passions outside work?

PT: I like keeping fit and love social activities that involve a little bit of outdoor exercise. I do aerial fit which is a lot of fun. I get to swing on silk through the ceiling and I do a bit of hiking here and there too.

BN: If you had to leave your house in a hurry and not come back, what three things would you take?

PT: My mobile phone and my passport. I’ve only got two – that’s it.

BN: A very practical answer. If you had to have a fictional character over for dinner, who would you pick?

PT: That’s a hard one. I reckon the flying carpet from Aladin. It’d be really cool. I’d be able to find out where he’s been, what he’s been up to. He could take me for a ride, too. 

BN: If you had to have a historical person come over for dinner, who would you pick?

PT: I’d actually probably invite my grandma who I’ve never met. She passed away before I was born.

BN: That’s a such a touching answer! On that note, what are you most grateful for in life? 

PT: Family and health.

BN: Are you optimistic about the world?

PT: Yeah, probably. Obviously there’s lots of stuff going on but if you just focus on what’s good around you, the people around you then you can be pretty optimistic. 

Phuong 2PT: Shorts, T-shirt and sneakers. Pretty boring I know!BN: What’s your ideal outfit? 

BN: What’s your favourite happy movie?

PT: Happy feet.

BN: What’s your favourite sad movie?

Lion. It’s the new one with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. It’s happy-sad I suppose, but there’s a lot of tears going on in that movie. It’s a true story about an adopted boy from India who goes to discover his history.

BN: What’s the best present someone can give you?

PT: A holiday! I love travelling. I’m going to Nepal soon actually. Next month there’s an eye camp. I’ll be there for two weeks doing basic optometry because there isn’t much equipment available. We use old classrooms and letter charts, as well as our own retinoscope and opthalmoscope.

I’ve been a few times. I go with the same people, so it’ll be fantastic to see them all again. I’m visiting some of the same places that I’ve been to in the past too, so it’ll be good to see how it’s changed since I was there a few years ago.

I’ve got a day free so I might do a day hike in one of the trails. That should be really good. I did white water rafting and that was fun.

Phuong 3

BN: That sounds like an incredible trip, and really good work too. If you could change one thing about Adelaide, what would it be?

PT: The dry zone! I’d take out all the dry zones so that people could drink on the street. I’m so bad, but I love having a wine at the beach, but you can’t do that because it’s a dry zone. We have so many rules in Adelaide!

BN: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I’d say not to worry about what other people think and just go for it!

BN: Good advice! Thanks Phuong!

Photography by Sia Duff

Core Values

We’re huge fans of acetate. As a natural, flexible material it can be moulded to suit any face shape but when it gets hot, acetate feels the heat. On scorching summer days, old acetate frames can even start to droop.

Early optometrist solved that problem by embedding wire cores into the arms of acetate frames. It’s a method that we’re proud to still use today.  

We’re not satisfied with replicating those who have gone before us though. Bailey Nelson frames in translucent tones now feature custom wire cores. 

Our designers worked with a seventy year old Italian-French firm to perfect the process. BN cores are moulded from nickel silver, then tumble polished until they gleam. Every core is plated in a gold or silver tone, matching the overall aesthetic of the frame. 

Once it’s heated to exactly 35 degrees – hot enough to pierce the acetate, cool enough not to damage it – the core is shot through the acetate arm.

Don’t let the term ‘shoot’ fool you. It’s a precision process that places the core flush with the end of the arm at the temple and a few millimetres from the ear piece. 

Bailey Nelson cores have unique detailing too. Our name – just in case you forget who made your fresh specs – is on one arm and a set of small shapes grace the other. These icons: a diamond, oval, square, heart, triangle and circle represent the diverse ways a human face is shaped.

You’ll see our cores shining in crystal, smoky grey, amber and rosé frames.

Photo by Ben Murphy.

Meet the Team: Volume 11

Andrew didn’t have a burning desire to be an optometrist, when he started studying in the mid-1990s, but a talent for maths and a family background in medicine drew him towards the profession. Twenty years later, he looks back at the winding path that has taken him around the world and, eventually, to Bailey Nelson Takapuna.

“I graduated in 1998 in Brisbane and I’ve been all over the place since then. I just went here, there and everywhere. I went all around Australia; moved over to Dublin for a couple of years, in Ireland. Then, back to Australia for a while and now over in New Zealand”.

Favourite place to practice? “I really enjoyed working in Dublin because it was a bit different – exotic, y’know”. After years travelling, Andrew and his wife are ready for a more stable pace. “We’ve got two young boys now”, Andrew explains, “That’s forcing us to get a bit settled”.

Takapuna, in Auckland, is a pretty beautiful place to be settled.

“It’s not a typical Australian-type beach with big waves and body surfing, but for central Auckland it’s great. Young families can take walks along the beach, you can go paddle boarding, sunbake”. It’s there that Andrew practices as the optometrist for our Takapuna boutique. “The store is themed around the beach. It’s got natural floorboards reflecting the sand and a blue tone on the ceiling. It’s a lovely little store”.

Yet Andrew was not always as committed to optometry. “Before I heard about Bailey Nelson, I was having a bit of a crisis of passion… To be honest, I was looking around, trying to think of different careers that I could pursue to try to get a bit of passion back into my life." 

“I must admit, a lot of my passion for optometry has been reignited by BN”.

With two young sons, work and family are Andrew’s biggest commitments, but his passion has always been films,  “All aspects of them: watching them, the process that goes into making them and the history behind them”.

In a past life, Andrew and some mates made a film themselves. “I certainly wouldn’t show it to anyone, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to make, that’s for sure”, Andrew laughs.

As an Australian, Andrew loves Lantana – a 90s drama about the underside of suburban Sydney. “Now that I’m here in New Zealand, Peter Jackson features pretty highly”.

“The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a fantastic film. It has increased the scope of New Zealand films around the world”.Andrew isn’t thinking of The Hobbit though. Instead, he loves Jackson’s “really early ones, when he didn’t have big budgets. If you get a chance to watch one, they’re amazing. There’s one called Brain Dead and another one called Bad Taste… There’s more of a comedy element to his splatter films, in the sense that they’re so ridiculously over the top that there’s no sense of realism at all”.

It’s a feeling we understand in a different genre. Australia’s never been known for eyewear before, after all, but with people like Andrew, we’ll get there.

New Home in the Small City

Canberra City

Like a neighbour popping next door for some sugar, we've shifted around the corner in the Canberra Centre. We left our old digs near the food court for a boutique near Coles on the ground floor. It's a pleasure to be in the new space, which features acetate wall tiles (the same material forms most of our frames) and plush chairs. We're open 9-5:30, Monday to Thursday, 9-9 on Friday, 9-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Come say hi!

Meet the Team: Volume Ten

Shub (short for Shubhneet) is the exuberant optometrist at Bailey Nelson Ponsonby. She sat down on a quiet January afternoon to talk with the Journal about adventuring in Auckland and beyond.

Shub Image 1

Shub’s been with Bailey Nelson for just three months, which coincides with her move back to Auckland after a sojourn in Wellington. ‘I’ve got family here so I decided to come back for them. I grew up in Auckland.’

Shub didn’t come back for the city though, and ‘definitely not for the traffic’. ‘It’s more the people’ she says. ‘I love the beaches, though, I think that’s what I missed most when I lived in Wellington; the good hot summer weather’.

Some of Shub’s favourite beaches are a long way from the standard tourist fare. ‘I like the Waitakere Ranges. Even though [the beaches] are black sand, there are great hikes that you can do around there’. For resting on the white sand, Shub suggests Kohimarama, especially because ‘It’s quite close to the [Bailey Nelson] Ponsonby store and there’s a good ice cream shop nearby’. We're especially passionate about the latter.

Shub Image 2Hiking has become a bigger part of Shub’s life since returning. ‘I’ve done the Tongariro Crossing. It’s a 19km hike. I thought it’d be quite flat but it’s literally like climbing a mountain.’ For context, Tongariro is an active volcano. ‘It’s pretty slow going up, but it’s a little bit faster coming down. Your feet hurt from the impact when you’re running downhill though’, Shub says, but there's a payoff: ‘You get to see the Emerald Lakes – they’re beautiful. Although I did it on a cold, rainy day so I’d like to do it on a sunny day so I can enjoy the view of the lakes.’

‘After doing the Tongariro Crossing, that inspired me to do more in terms of hiking and training. I’m training for Round the Bays, it’s an 8.5km run around the Auckland bays. I did it a couple of years ago and the year before that. Now that I’m back in Auckland I’d love to do that and the Colour Run.’

Outside of NZ, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are in Shub’s sights. ‘I think I’d like to go to the Great Wall of China. Or, actually the pyramids!’Shub Image 3

You get the sense that Shub would like to go there with family. ‘My dad’s always like ‘what are your plans, what are you doing’. He’s always someone who has inspired me to do a lot better outside of work… He’s come from a business-y background. I think Dad always wanted to be in the medical profession, but never mentioned it to me. I was just always very science-y, and I wanted to do something to do with science. I also wanted to see patients – that was my goal.’

We’re delighted that we could help Shub make it there. She knows that her parents are proud ‘but I don’t think they say it as much as they should’, she laughs.

Photography by Emily Powell


BN People - ACME

Sydney’s epicurean scene has been through some tumultuous years, but ACME, a restaurant serving Italian Asian fusion dishes, has thrived. We spoke to Ed Loveday, drinks master and the ‘E’ in ACME about how the restaurant came to be and where it’s headed.

ACME Group Photo

The ACME guys seem to go way back. Ed started out in the restaurant business as a bartender, working for the Keystone Group, where he met Andy. ‘He was actually my boss at Cargo [Lounge and Bar] back in 2007. We started managing venues together and decided that we had to open up a bar of our own’.Ed Loveday

‘Andy and I opened the Passage in 2010. Cam, the ‘C’ in ACME, was our bar supervisor at Fringe when we were managing there. The three of us had worked together for a long time so he came and worked with us at Passage’.

‘I met Mitch just from going to the restaurants he was cooking at. One day he sent us a message and was like ‘hey, if you’re ever thinking about opening another venue, let me know’. Two years later, in 2014, ACME opened.

Andy, Cam, Mitch and Ed complete the ACME initials – a working title that became the final name of the restaurant. Ed’s got heaps of rejected names on an old computer somewhere but he’s ‘too embarrassed to dig them up now’.

No matter, ‘ACME’ seems to capture the personality of the restaurant, deeply rooted in its owners’ styles. Take the music: ‘Mitch has always been a big hip hop head. It’s the sort of music that all four of us like, but it’s definitely driven by Mitch’s passion for that style of music’. ‘We’re playing a lot of Future, a lot of Drake’ if it’s late and the restaurant is busy, Ed says. For more chilled out times, the playlist is built around Anderson .Paak, the breezy California rapper and singer. ‘Super vibey’ says Ed.

That balance of atmosphere, food and drink is at the core of Ed’s take on Sydney nightlife. He won’t be drawn on whether things are getting better or worse – ‘I’m not really in the game of making predictions after 2016.’ Plus, as Ed points out, there’s been a lot of negative talk about Sydney and ‘If you fill it all with negativity, everyone is going to move to Melbourne… and there won’t be anyone left to serve.’ Fair enough, but Ed does concede that the days when ‘you could just open a boozer and people would come’ are gone. ‘You really have to have a food component to a business, whether that’s interesting snacks and nibbles to go with your wine or a more substantial offering.’ACME Restaurant

Aside from regulatory changes, Ed sees two reasons for the shift to earlier evening dining: the food culture created by pop media like Masterchef and ‘growing up a bit’. Andy and Ed had been managing bars for a long time, after all.

ACME is in for the long haul though. The menu is constantly shifting, and the team recently opened Bar Brosé in Darlinghurst with Analiese Gregory (‘dynamo chef’). Ed’s not wrong when he says that there’s no time to take his finger of the pulse. It’s a good thing that the team still had time to try on some our newest frames though.

Three Final Questions 

What’s one drink you shouldn’t request?

I don’t want to tell people what to drink or what not to drink, but for the first twelve months at ACME, we didn’t do espresso martinis… I’d spend a week trying to come up with new drink ideas, products and produce. I’d think about flavour combinations and I’d put this menu together, but literally everyone who’d come in would be like ‘two espresso martinis thanks’. I thought, ‘fuck, I should just have made coffee all week and watched a movie or something’. So I reckon, the one drink you shouldn’t order is an espresso martini.
Ed notes that he now serves espresso martinis now, but only as a bit of an inside joke.

One drink you should order?
ACME Front
We spend a lot of time looking for small natural wine producers who are making really great booze. So we pride ourselves on the wine list. In terms of the cocktails, we keep the list pretty small, but it’s always built on seasonal produce.

If you stumbled into Acme today – hot and muggy in Sydney, Ed’s pick is ‘a drink with tequila, mango and cardamom. We’d blend it with a bit of ice to make it a little like a mango margarita, but it’s got that cardamom edge to it’. We’d stumble in pronto for that.

If there were just the four ACME guys stuck on a desert island, who would stay alive the longest and who’d win in a fight?

That’s a very good question and it’s one that I might get in trouble with my other business partners by answering. I’d say that Andy would be able to catch the most seafood. Mitch would be able to cook it the tastiest. I’d be reasonably important because I’d be handling the rationing of the rum and Cam would keep us all entertained. It’d be an even match, I reckon.’

A very diplomatic answer.
ACME is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday and for lunch on Saturdays. More at

Photography by Ben Murphy 


How Not to Lose Your Glasses on NYE

You're on a cruise

It’s hot. The ocean breeze is freshest when you lean just a little bit over the railing. The sunglasses were a bit loose and one gust later, a dolphin is wearing them. You won’t be getting those back.

Come in to any Bailey Nelson over the Christmas period for a free adjustment of your specs. We’ll make sure they’re fitting snug – not too tight, but not too loose.

Harbour Cruise

Blue Mountains

It’s a good day for a hike

There’s barely any haze left over the Blue Mountains and the sun is baring down. You were so sure that you packed your sunnies for this trip, but they’re just not in your bag.

You step out of the tent and… the world cools down as your glasses automatically tint to a soft blue.

Transition lenses, which transform from optical glasses to sunglasses on contact with bright light, are available in almost all Bailey Nelson frames. You can pick up a set at any of our boutiques. 

You wake up. It was a great night, probably

You had your sunnies safely in your bag before this started playing, but then… who knows.
Chalk that one up to an occupational hazard. There are some risks we can’t help with. Swing by your nearest boutique for a new set.

If your health fund resets on December 31, it might not even be a bad thing that you lost your old pair to Corey Hart’s banger: after all, it’s your money or theirs.

The Bondi Guide

Photo: Rachel Dray

Two guys, the Bondi markets – that’s where we begin.

We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to bring Bailey Nelson to locales around Australia and New Zealand, but it’s seriously special to be opening our second boutique in Bondi. To celebrate the upcoming opening of our Bondi Junction store, we put together this guide to the neighbourhood.

Stop 1: Aquabumps

A visit to Bondi isn’t complete without going to Aquabumps – a photo gallery by the sea. Driven by founder Eugene (Uge) Tan’s love for the beach, Aquabumps lets you see the beach in the light of a hundred different sunrises. We’ve been friends with Uge for a long time. Early last year we collaborated on a limited collection of sunnies. The last pairs are still available right here.

Stop 2: The Neighbourhood

Bondi has a reputation as a clean living mecca – the sun and sand will do that, but the clean life isn’t for everyone. If you’re feeling a bit gluttonous (and we all too often are) then the Neighbourhood is the go. You’ll find classic, American-style burgers and fresh oysters. We’d wash it down with a well named cocktail – the 'Dark and Stormy, Bra!' –captures the vibe perfectly.

'Horizon' - Lucy Humphrey - Sculpture by the Sea

Stop 3: Sculpture by the Sea

You can see why the Sculpture by the Sea art festival celebrates the walk from Bondi to Coogee every year – it’s truly sublime. Winding across the clifftops, you’ll get views here like nothing you’ve seen before. It's on annually in October to November.

Stop 4: Lox, Stock and Barrel

Lox, Stock and Barrel has one of the better twists on the phrase since Guy Ritchie’s classic crime thriller. Unlike the movie, you’ll be perfectly safe here – sipping some of the best drinks in Bondi and enjoying Lox’s signature baked goods. Worth a stop.

Want to take a shortcut?

Come visit us at our newly opened Bondi Junction store:
Shop 1018, Level 1, Bondi Junction Westfield
500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022

Style Guide: The Windsor Collection

Forgive the forthcoming history lesson, but we’re really passionate about round metal eyewear.

Invented in 1880, round metal frames remained popular through the early 1900’s. They fell out of favour when celluloid acetate was commercialised until they showed up again as the style of choice on U.S. navy submarines. In contrast to their mid-century military popularity, they were championed by supporters as diverse as John Lennon, Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs throughout the latter half of the 20th century.

Lennon Jobs

The Windsor was an early variant that took the best of both worlds to create a distinctive style – a thin band of acetate wrapped around the metal face of the frame.

So, here’s our update: we’ve recreated two of our favourite frames from this year, the Adler and Theodore, with Windsor rims. Each retains its original steel alloy construction, which shines through the acetate. Our craftsmen have made the acetate as durable as ever, yet only 2mm thin. 

Shop our new Windsor Rim collection here

Please select a wishlist category