Jess Eddy

Words by Ashley Gladwish
Photography by Jess Eddy & Ashley Gladwish
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User experience (UX) designer, Jess Eddy’s North Bondi home is a mixture of both story telling and ease. The items displayed are there for a reason, they represent memories from different times in her life but she makes a point to say that she doesn’t like to own too much.

Her space is naturally bright, sunlight hits the wooden floors and it’s as though her entire apartment comes to life. It’s difficult to shy away from the sun during Sydney summers and every living organism seems to be in full bloom. Located only a few streets behind the iconic Bondi Beach, Jess tells of her initial attraction to the coastal suburb for its community feel and relaxing vibes. She explains that living in Bondi has brought something new to her life, something that the major cities, New York and Boston – where she spent most of her adult life – could never have offered; space to breath.

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Claiming Sydney as her home for the past eight months, Jess tells of how she has come to live differently in the city. Her Bondi apartment illustrates a depth of interests and an eye for form. Though she claims to have always enjoyed design, she credits her experiences in dictating the spaces she surrounds herself with today. “I like a minimalist-functional space and furniture that’s built well.” She has a tweak Danish coffee table that has rounded edges like a surfboard, it’s simple but stands out.

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After completing a degree in journalism, Jess moved from her home in Maine to Boston and undertook a four and a half year journey absorbing everything she could. Jess admits that there was something special about her time in Boston, she met some incredible people and it was a time she describes of “sheer learning.” Having always been attracted to a space with lots of sunlight, Jess declares that she doesn’t need a big space but one that offers room for her own retreat.

It was in New York that things really fell into place. Knowing she never wanted to be a journalist, it was her interest in communication that acted as the driving force in her career. “When I moved to New York I started to become really interested in technology, digital products and software. I loved the idea of creating products and experiences to help people problem solve.” City life allowed for Jess to grow her skills in UX and design before creating her own consultancy platform working with startups. In New York, Jess developed an attraction to the old detailing in local apartments. “I loved seeing Brooklyn apartments that have been modernised with some of the original detail still in place.”

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“While learning everything I could in terms of user experience, my partner and I at the time started making ice cream at home for fun. I never would have thought our creative outlet would have grown into what it did.” After noticing a gap in the market for a product that was both authentic and adventurous, the duo started brainstorming ideas for ice cream made only from high quality ingredients. Building a product that didn’t exist yet allowed Jess to be expressive in attempting whatever ideas came to mind. “It’s a form of expression that’s difficult to find in most day jobs and we became addicted to the feeling that creating had on us.”

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What started out as a hobby soon lead to both founders quitting their day jobs to spend half a year prototyping five flavours. Phin & Phebes, born out of their Brooklyn apartment, is now sold nationwide in the United States. Jess left the business in 2015 to focus on UX and design but says that being included in The Kinfolk Table was “pretty cool,” adding that “the great thing about New York is that if you can execute an idea, you can really get somewhere with it.”

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While sitting in her Bondi home it’s easy to sense that Jess has made this place her own. After spending 11 years in New York she explains that she fell effortlessly into her new lifestyle. “When I first moved to Bondi I was blown away by its transience. There are several local vegetable patches that people contribute to and the coffee shops are filled with locals. In New York you may become a part of a community but it takes longer depending on where you live. New York is a massive city so it’s a little harder to achieve the feeling Bondi gives off so easily.”

When I ask her about the artefacts in her home, Jess reveals that she likes to keep things simple. “I didn’t arrive in Sydney with a lot and I wanted to keep it minimal. I like a space that feels underwhelming. I enjoy having a few tokens or prints that stand out to me at the time, that later symbolize the moment. It’s a nice way to keep memories.”