At only 22, Melbourne-based Priya McPherson has kickstarted the entrepreneurial life with the local handbag label Sage Avenue. Much like Reliquia Jewellery's OG inspiration, the line of statement yet minimalist bags draws on her mother's collection of vintage accessories – ripe for borrowing and restyling, playing and turning to day in, day out for an elevated look. Ties to family, community and her Thai heritage are paramount, with a wide support network and the growing influence of her proudly 'Made in Thailand' collection.
We caught up to chat about her lessons in business so far, where she finds inspiration and her must-visits in Thailand and Melbourne. Get the highlighter out for these wise notes.
Top 3 aspects of having your own business:
1. Meeting new people. I have been so blessed during my first year of Sage to connect and meet some truly incredible people. Whether it's a chat with someone new through our Instagram direct messages where we talk about their upcoming holiday, weekend away or life story, or meeting people on the street wearing our bags. There is so much to learn in this world as long as we listen to others.
2. Creative freedom. Far out, this is a goodie. One of the most beautiful luxuries I am grateful to experience is the creative freedom that running my business allows. From creating content on TikTok to designing and curating some unique handbag pieces, this ability to be able to follow your gut and listen to your own self. THAT is truly something special.
3. Learning and growth. I have learned SO much more from starting this business one year ago than I have in my whole work life. Everything from accounts to marketing and designing. The whole process has expanded my mind to new levels and has helped me grow into a better businessperson but also a better human too.
Top 3 things you wish you knew before starting:
1. Don't buy into the "overnight success" stories.
2. You create your own timeline. Avoid rushing into making a decision and, if anything, just sleep on it.
3. Know that you are about to embark on one of the most challenging years of your life, yet one that will be the most rewarding.
Top 3 tips for balancing the multi-hyphenate life:
1. Really, truly take some YOU days. A lot of people romanticise the idea of hustle culture wherein you spend every second breathing moment working on your business. And whilst yes, I do most definitely believe you need to put the work in, what I am saying is, you will burn out if you don't take YOU days. Try carving out some time in your schedule either once a week, if it allows, or once a month, where you consciously take some time for yourself. Whether it be half an hour to 2 hours, just trust me, that refresh will do you wonders.
2. If you aren't feeling it, don't push it. Sleep on it and revisit it in the morning. You will create something better with higher quality when you do.
3. Change your scenery up. Break things up a little, take yourself to a cafe and treat yourself to a coffee, some food and do work there. You never know what inspiration you may find with the person sitting next to you, plus you are treating yourself too. A one-hit wonder if you ask me, and a non-negotiable in my week.
Top 3 things you won't leave home without:
2. Lip gloss
3. Water bottle, because you best believe this gal is always keeping hydrated.
Top 3 sources of inspiration/motivation:
1. Archive runways. Some of my favourites are from the 90s, especially the Prada, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana shows.
2. Vintage stores. Whenever I am feeling a lack of inspiration, I will always take myself for a trip to the local vintage store. Where I can see colours, feel fabrics and textures, plus try on items. This always helps reignite and spark new motivation.
3. Magazines. I always love to browse magazines or books, especially vintage ones. I always find that being able to flip the pages, take notes or even cut things out always helps me. Plus, being able to do it with my favourite music on just makes the whole experience so much better.
Top 3 outfit/accessory essentials:
1. Handbag is my top non-negotiable.
2. Jewellery is a must and always helps to elevate a chic look.
3. Last, I can always rely on a blazer – always helps to uplift almost any outfit.
Top 3 ways to unwind after work:
1. Walking. I am a BIG walker; it is a non-negotiable for me to walk for a minimum of 1 hour every morning, and, typically, when I get back from work, I will try to walk another hour. Sometimes can be all too consuming, so being able to walk in nature helps just pull me back down to earth. The most grounding thing I can ever suggest anyone to do, plus, even better, I try to go without headphones and just listen to the trees, noises around and be as present as possible.
2. Time off my phone. Seriously, it can be so consuming that Instagram and TikTok feed and, gosh, sometimes I just need to put that god damn phone away and hang with the family.
3. Cooking. Some people love to cook; some people find it the most consuming thing ever. I am one of those people that find it extremely therapeutic and a moment for some down time. Put some music on, play around with some spices and just create what my body feels like eating can be the most satisfying and therapeutic thing for me to do.
Top 3 things that keep you going on the toughest days:
1. My family. I cannot stress enough how important it is to create a strong support system that you can lean on. So, when you have those tough days (which are so normal, and we all have them), it is in those moments when you can lean on those closest to help ignite your spark again.
2. A moment of reflection. Sometimes I find it so helpful to just take yourself for a coffee or tea and write out what you have been able to do so far. Doesn't have to be only big things – I mean, it's almost preferred to hyper focus on the small moments. Because it is in these small moments that you are able to find pockets of happiness, growth, and proud moments. To reflect on these and take a second to breathe it all in always helps me feel okay in those tough times, like, if I did that, I can do this.
3. Spending time in our DMs.I always find this a beautiful and awe moment for me every time I do it. It is where I am able to see all the incredible messages from people who just want the best for us. Who encourage me, who support me and love what I am creating. There is something truly magical about others (who don't even know you) wanting the best for you, and that really helps me pull out of my tough times.
Top 3 Melbourne haunts:
1. Carlton Wine Room (all-time FAV)
2. Currently loving this new cafe which also doubles as a wine bar called Sunhands.
3. Bar Holiday is another one of my go-to's. Can you tell I love the north side...
Top 3 Thailand must-sees/eats/dos:
1. Floating market! Seriously highly recommend. It is a market on the water, where people have stalls, and you float up to them in a boat.
2. If you are ever in Bangkok and love seafood, especially crab, you MUST try a restaurant called Thawandang. Hot tip: order the black pepper crab.
3. Siam Discovery. If you are a lover of streetwear fashion, this mall has all the up-and-coming Thai streetwear brands. Super cool, and always love getting some unique pieces, plus even some inspirations as to what is trending in the Thai culture.