Dinner has never looked so good with In The Roundhouse

In The Roundhouse Brooke Bickmore Alyce tran
There’s something very grown up about a beautifully set table. For many of us, after years relying on plastic IKEA plates in an array primary colours (a necessity when your home doubles as a playground for a rambunctious crew of little wrecking-balls), scrolling through In The Roundhouse's social media feels like getting a glimpse of an ultra-stylish dinner party in the heart of Capri, meticulously curated by the most fashionable people you know. 

But this too, can be yours. 

A lifestyle brand born from a vision to craft exceptional, modern homewares that will be loved for years (and meals) to come, In The Roundhouse’s array of mix-and-match plate prints add depth and interest to every tabletop, all without breaking the bank (even if you do happen to break a plate or two along the way!). What’s more, they’re microwave and dishwasher safe which is a win for families everywhere. 

We sit down with the creative minds behind this beautiful brand, Brooke Bickmore and Alyce Tran, who both hail from Adelaide originally. Discover the inspiration behind their unique designs, the journey from buddies to business partners, and the art of bringing everyday elegance to the table.

Could you share the inspiration behind In The Roundhouse and how it all started?

Brooke: I spent over a decade working in magazine publishing in both Sydney and London. It was when I moved back from London and had to set up a house again, I couldn’t find printed plates that I loved and that felt modern (and could be bought individually). I was a single gal at the time and didn’t need a matching set of 32 mugs, bowls and side plates and that’s when the conversation with Alyce started about the gap in the market.

Alyce: I was running The Daily Edited (a fashion accessories brand) at the time when Brooke reached out to me on the idea of doing some plates which initially I was a little unsure of but as I was organising and creating so many events with The Daily Edited I did think that there wasn’t much in the way of unique products in market that were affordable in this category and I thought it would be fun to have a second business. From there the business was born!

Alyce Tran and Brooke Bickmore of In The Roundhouse

As Adelaide girls and school friends, when did the idea of venturing into business together first spark for you?

Brooke: I think what has always worked with us is that we’re friends first, but friends that can bounce between talking about our weekends and also business. Alyce and I both ran other businesses when we first started In The Roundhouse and I think we both noticed that when we talked about business in general, we agreed on so many approaches to things that it felt like it would be a good fit.

Brooke, during COVID, you and your family moved back to Adelaide from Sydney. How has the experience been rediscovering Adelaide’s charms?

Brooke: We haven’t looked back for a second! Adelaide has so much to offer, especially in our current life stage, and we’re still discovering new places even two years in. I haven’t lived here for 18 years so it’s been like discovering an entirely new city, but one that has the comfort of family, old friends and familiar surroundings.

In The Roundhouse plate designs are so fun and joyful; truly like happiness on a dinner plate before the meal is even served! Can you walk us through the creative process and how you come up with the designs for your mix-and match product range?

Alyce: There are a few things that drive our design process. 

We like to look at what is resonating in fashion and interiors and pick up on the best of it to create products that fit within these trends and to ensure we have something for every type of customer, whether that be someone who is into a more minimal approach to table scaping to a maximalist who is all about colour.

We also like to think about things we haven’t seen before. I may go to a restaurant, hotel or experience a cool interior and think if I were to make things for a table that would go in this space what would they be like and then we go from there!

In The Roundhouse

Do you each have any favourite plate prints from your collection? If so, which ones and why?

Brooke: I change my answer to this every time a new plate print or design comes out. My current obsession is the scallop edge dining set – classic but with an In The Roundhouse twist!

As busy mums with families, we LOVE that your plates are dishwasher proof! How important was this (and other lifestyle and price point factors) in ensuring the dinnerware was accessible for families?

Brooke: No matter what stage of life you’re in, I don’t think anyone wants to be handwashing if they can avoid it! We really wanted the range to feel special enough it’s something you’d be proud to plate up on if you have guests over but functional enough for everyday use so dishwasher and microwave friendly products were extremely important to us.

What do you both enjoy most about the process of creating the products and building the brand?

Brooke: I’ve really enjoyed building the brand with Alyce and probably doing more of the back end stuff. Working on something together makes the process a little more special because we’re having fun along the way and I don’t think I’ll ever get over seeing someone post a photo to Instagram of their plated up meal on In The Roundhouse!

Alyce: When you create a brand you are building something from the ground up, a customer base, a following, an aesthetic and the sky’s the limit. I love seeing happy customers and engaged followers in what we do – we wouldn’t be here without them so that to me is the thing that propels me to keep building. Also, how nowadays you can easily export a brand so that sense of endless possibility and growth maintains my interest in ideation and brand building.

In THe Roundhouse

Balancing successful careers and starting a new business can be challenging. How did you find the time to launch In The Roundhouse, and how do you manage the juggle now?

Brooke: We both had quite demanding jobs at the time so really just worked around everything else we had going on in our lives when we could – weekends, lunch breaks, after hours – whatever time we could squeeze in and we were in no rush to launch it which meant there wasn’t a huge amount of pressure on us to get it out into the world by a certain date. Now I have both children in care 3 to 4 days a week and just sneak in emails when I can around that.

Alyce: I actually have a part time job working as the Head of Sales for the world’s largest influencer marketing platform being LTK and as a result I work generally 6 days a week to get everything done needed in both businesses. Because I don’t have a family, work is a big part of my life right now and I really enjoy it. I love the work that I do so it doesn’t feel like work generally, so therefore I don’t feel like I’m juggling per se.

In a world where takeaway food is so convenient, how do you bring meaning and significance to mealtime? Do you find yourself tipping your takeaway out onto pretty plates? Brooke, do your kids ever eat chicken nuggs or plain pasta with cheese on In The Roundhouse dinnerware?

Brooke: Chicken nuggets for president! We try to eat as a family most nights and there’s nothing better than properly setting the table and having it feel a bit more ‘done’ to hide the fact that we’re probably eating something straight from the freezer.

Alyce: I don’t cook so all of the imagery you see on my socials etc consists of me plating food that I have ordered onto our range, I would never eat food out of containers! Plating up takeaway makes it feel like it is more of a proper meal – I highly recommend, and if you have people over they are just as impressed when you do good plating as when you have cooked the meal yourself (so I think anyway!)

In The Roundhouse

When entertaining in your own lives, what kind of atmosphere do you aim to create, and how do you set this mood?

Alyce: I like to create a fun and relaxed vibe, I have people over when I feel like we need to catch up over a longer meal rather than going to a restaurant where you might be interrupted by wait staff, allocated a 2 hour dining slot etc. I always set the table prior to having guests over so they feel I am really organised (sometimes I am, sometimes I am not) and therefore don’t feel the need to “help” and can just relax, have a drink and nibble on snacks I will have put out. During the night I have good playlists, I light candles, have fresh flowers and I leave the cleaning until last.

Currently, what’s your go-to dish that you love to prepare and enjoy?

Brooke: I’m trying to make more simple salads at the moment and then creating a deconstructed version of that for the kids (who wouldn’t touch what the adults have plated up even if it was served covered in ice cream and sprinkles).

Alyce: The only meal I really make is breakfast, soft boiled eggs, toast with an array of condiments and fruit! I feel this keeps me going throughout the day.

How do you envision In The Roundhouse evolving in the future? Any new products or designs on the horizon?

Alyce: We hope that In the Roundhouse becomes the go-to brand for this generation for tabletop homewares, by the end of the year we will have a full range with everything you need for the table, for example we have already added cutlery and glassware to our range!

We are also excited to experiment with interesting retail concepts coming December this year too to enable our customers to experience our products in totality. 


@intheroundhouse
intheroundhouse.com

 

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