Updated: Sep 14, 2021
Trader in the Spotlight: Lucente Collective
769e Glenferrie Road
Five years ago, Ariadne Bilardi struck the perfect work-life balance when she opened her own business, Glenferrie boutique Lucente Collective.
Growing up in Camberwell, Canterbury, and Hawthorn, Ariadne attended Methodist Ladies' College until year nine before completing highschool at Ruyton Girls School, while her two brothers attended the nearby Carey Grammar.
“Glenferrie Road was a bit sleepy back then, but now it’s a hub of activity.”
Ariadne then moved to Hobart to study arts and law, graduating from the University of Tasmania in 1999. By 2001, she was a qualified lawyer. Ariadne moved back to Melbourne where she and her husband bought their first home in South Yarra in 2005. Nine years later when their eldest was ready to start school, they moved to Hawthorn where they still live today.
“The area has changed,” she said. “It still has the classic characteristics of Hawthorn - tree-lined streets, beautiful homes, family dynamic - but now with lots of cafes, apartments, and more young people. It’s the right balance.”
Ariadne found herself at a crossroads in 2016, when her part-time position as an in-house lawyer became a full-time role. “I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to start a business.” Having just given birth to their third child, she decided to resign to focus on her family. Only a few months later, Ariadne opened Lucente Collective on Glenferrie Road.
With its focus on European fashion, it is no surprise the boutique was born from international inspirations. Ariadne’s first ‘lightbulb moment’ was sparked by the “cool, curated vibe with a relaxed twist” of Los Angeles’ boulevards where she just knew: “Glenferrie Road needs this”. The name itself was inspired by a trip to Bali where she climbed a volcano to watch a captivating sunrise. For a long time, Ariadne could not stop thinking about “that beautiful light before the sun”, searching for a name for it until she found ‘Lucente’, which means to glow or shine with light. “I really wanted to invoke that same light and positivity.”
Ariadne strives to support the local community and sustainability by employing local students and mothers to sell ethically-sourced, functional fashion and homewares in biodegradable packaging. “I understand the people of Glenferrie, their taste, their lifestyle,” she said. “We want to help people feel beautiful and spend money locally on things that reflect them and their values.”
While Ariadne appreciates the diversity of the area she does worry that without local government support and much-needed improvements to the street, Glenferrie risks becoming full of fast food, high rents, and vacant shops with nowhere to park for customers nor staff. “If they want small businesses to grow and employ more people, we need the facilities to do so.”
Ariadne feels lucky to have become “close colleagues” with ladies from other boutiques such as Hokey Curator and Muse over the years. She often visits Sandra at Piccolina Gelateria, The Leaf Store for greens, Homing Instincts for gifts, and her “knock-off favourite” Osteria 20 for a “mean lychee martini”. Ariadne also frequents Hawthorn’s local parks for her morning fitness bootcamps, walking the family’s Labragroodle Lucy, and to ride bikes and scooters with her kids.
“It sounds cheesy, but I just love being a Mum.”
After sixteen years as a lawyer, what Ariadne appreciates most about her job is the flexibility. “I work from home, meaning I can go see new collections and take care of my kids when they’re sick,” she said.
“That’s the beauty of running your own business.”