The fact that In The Roundhouse co-founder Alyce Tran owns a dinnerware brand but doesn’t cook is an irony not lost on the former corporate lawyer. “I re-plate the take-way,” says Tran, who admits that her friends have high expectations when it comes to dressing the table when she has them over. “I spend time laying everything out and carefully choosing the linen, but don’t go into the kitchen.”
Founded by Tran and her long-time friend Brooke Bickmore, In The Roundhouse started as an evening side hustle. During the day, Tran was busy running the multimillion-dollar accessories company The Daily Edited (tde.) she also co-founded and Bickmore was working full-time in fashion publishing. When they eventually launched In the Roundhouse in 2019, the brand found immediate success and skyrocketed during Covid-19.
“With no restaurants open and people at home more, the homewares category just blew up,” says Bickmore. Where dinner parties were once the domain of “grown-ups,” In the Roundhouse appeals to a younger generation with a collection of light-hearted plates that can be purchased individually for mixing and matching. “We wanted something fun that didn’t need hand-washing and was microwave safe. There wasn’t anything on the market ticking that box, but there’s been a huge shift in people taking massive pride in their homes using beautiful crockery, napkins or even soaps. People are really tapping into that.”
When it comes to designing, Tran and Bickmore are heavily influenced by fashion and how it can be expressed on a plate, especially with colourways from recent collections by luxury brands Loewe and Chanel. Travel too, is an inspiration. They have collaborated with Australian artist Daimon Downey on their “Going Greek”, “Seafood” and “Italian Words” collections, featuring culinary expressions such as Mangiamo (Lets eat!) and Delizioso (delicious). French Words adopts a simpler, brasserie-style aesthetic. “Without being able to go overseas, steak frite on a Bon Apetito plate or pasta on a Ciao Bella platter gives you the feeling – for a hot minute – that you could be anywhere other than your dining room,” says Tran. “It’s a nice, small moment to enjoy.”