Anna Heyligers, Founder of Noel & Gladys

Founded on the South Coast of NSW, Noel & Gladys is a lifestyle store interweaving creative indulgence with individual sensibilities. A place for creative minds in search of unusual, truly unique and sometimes experimental goods from different corners of the world. Nestled in Thirroul, Noel & Gladys stocks goods from local artists, small scale makers and some products from LA. The little store (like a tiny house) is something for our local community.
Anna Heyligers is the creative force behind Noel & Gladys, Anna believes that individuality is key to the store’s purpose which propels an intimate relationship with its customers. Anna sees her customers as a directional crowd who share common beliefs about ethical production, environmental issues, people rights and supporting the longevity of small-scale artists and designers.

Words by Rachel Abbott

Why did you start Common People?

The journal is a passion project for me, opening a store like Noel & Gladys I meet so many people who are open to conversation about their lives. I believe there is more to people than what we see and I’ve always been intrigued by people’s stories.

When I opened the store I had the vision of it being more than a retail space, I wanted the store to have an alternative purpose and build a creative community beyond a retail experience. The journal is a way for us to connect the dots between the people who we speak to in our day to day and our broader network. I spend hours with some people who drop into the store just talking, it’s like we’re creating a little hub.

I’ve been both surprised and overwhelmed with how many people have shown interest in Common People. From students at the University of Wollongong who are collaborating with me to artists and makers all over Australia, the reaction to our blog has been rewarding.

What is the concept behind “Common People”?

The concept “Common People” comes from the everyday people we meet who have an inspiring story untold. Like the guy in front of you in the line at the IGA or the lady you’re sitting next to at the local cafe, you know they have a story you just don’t know what it is. I (we) go into the lives of the people we meet along our journey and dig deep to uncover what’s not so common about them. They could be people who make things, have an interesting home, are collectors or something intriguing we’re inspired by.

I want to celebrate creative people, make their story known and uncover the differences which somehow make us all the same.

The concept behind Common People is so relatable and learning about the unique aspect of each creative motivates me to keep developing the project. It really embodies what I love about running Noel & Gladys, “our crowd” as I like to call them have so much in common, their values and beliefs truly align with ours and the people we interview.

What do you see in the future for the Journal?

Since our launch in April we have received amazing feedback from our community, we initially started locally and now have plans to broaden the people that we interview over the coming months; the world is getting smaller, we’re meeting so many people from all over the globe, it’s invigorating. We’re planning another trip to Byron Bay shortly, then Melbourne and LA over the next 6 months; really it’s all about expanding our community such an exciting time.

I’d also like to add another segment to the journal however for now it’s baby steps, we’re most definitely still finding our feet. 

How can people follow along? 

I get so surprised when people want to read about what we’re doing, it’s so humbling. We publish the journal posts on our website and send out an email to our subscribers once a new article is published. I also like to put together some of my favourite photos and post on Instagram so people can follow along there too.