We sat down with founders of TOO Designs Sureen & Thomas Gouws, about their passion for creating unique minimalistic decor pieces for the contemporary home.

Tell us a bit about the story behind TOO Designs. What was your inspiration and your brand mission?
We are husband and wife team Sureen & Thomas Gouws. We are both qualified architects with a lifelong passion for art and design. When we immigrated to Australia in 2018, we felt the time was right to pursue our dream of creating an Art & Design Brand, and TOO Designs was born.

What sets your brand apart from others in the industry?

We are passionate about creating unique minimalistic decor pieces for the contemporary home. We believe great art & design should be simple, inspiring and timeless. Every handcrafted piece we create echoes our values of quality, integrity and longevity.

What is your favourite product and why?

We started out three years ago with our signature magnetic art and two-toned powder-coated clocks and gradually evolved into more of an Art brand. We love creating our own unique geometric fine art pieces and Art prints.

What were the first steps you took to launch? And what would you say was the scariest part/your biggest fear?
Starting out the year before Covid hit and navigating a start-up business through these turbulent times has been quite a challenge. We had to adapt and seek out new opportunities. We learnt that a business is ever evolving and rarely works out the way you planned. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

What do your customers love about your products?
The feedback that we receive most from our customers is that they love the timeless & minimalist aesthetic of our products.

What path led you to Life In Style and what is it about the show that makes it a great fit for you?
We were honoured to have won the Life Instyle Scholarship in 2020 amongst so many amazing start-up brands. Thanks to Covid we unfortunately haven’t been able to exhibit yet, but are truly excited that it is finally happening this year!

Can you share one of your proudest moments in business so far:
Winning the Life Instyle Scholarship in 2020, winning an Australian Good Design Award for our Magnetic Art in 2020 and another Australian Good Design Award for our TOO Tone Clocks in 2021.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?
There are many so-called experts in the industry, but very few truly are. It is good to listen to advice, but you have to figure out what works for you and your brand yourself. Trust your gut.

Who are some of the other brands in the Furniture & Object Design industry who you love/admire?
There are so many! Dowel Jones, Coco Flip, Idle Hands, Design by Them, Lightly Design, Made by Penn, Capra Designs & Milligram studio comes to mind, but there are really so many inspiring & creative brands in Australia.

Quick Fire Questions

Where do you see TOO Designs in five years' time? 
We would love to see TOO Designs established as a favourite and loved brand in the Australian Design scene.

What is your next dream travel destination? 
Probably somewhere in Europe, France or Spain maybe.

Tell us a fact about yourself that will surprise our readers! 
We used to design luxury houses for a living and had our own multi-award winning architectural practice in Pretoria, South Africa

Favourite dinner recipe? 
Bobotie, a popular South-African dish. It is a delicious mix of curried ground beef and fruit chutney oven-baked with a creamy egg custard topping.

Find a handcrafted piece from signature fine art prints to minimal wall clocks to suit your style from TOO Designs on stand 3066 at Life Instyle Melbourne, 28-31 July 2022 at the Royal Exhibition Building. Registration is now open.