All my life I have felt my life was ordinary, but when I speak to others I realise that really it hasn’t been. So I thought it would be nice to tell you a little bit about where I have come from, and why building a creative community is so important to me.  

The back story

I was the first child to my parents, a sound engineer and a singer living in Bondi Beach. My parents, Lizzi and Pixie (yes that’s my fathers name) were part of the rock and roll culture in WA and NSW in the late 80’s with my mum being a singer and keytar player in a band called Harpo’s Voice and my dad touring Australia and the world. Here’s a fun quintessential 80’s video clip to set the mood!

As they decided to start a family, they made the tree change like many young families did, and moved to the Leura in the Blue Mountains where they managed to find and buy the only BLACK house on the street! We were a rock-n-roll family through and through!

After a few years of struggle and saving every cent they could, they ended up opening a tiny greek restaurant in the main street of Katoomba called Triselies, which would go on to become a hugely influential and amazing community of creatives over the next 15 years. My dad’s father had been a restauranter in Melbourne when he grew up, so opening a restaurant was natural for him. I guess you could say that entrepreneurship runs in my family!

While the restaurant started small (I remember there being less than 10 tables at first) they eventually grew it into a 150 seat venue with live music which evolved and changed over time, first with bouzoukia nights (plate smashing and all), then with fantastic local and touring aussie bands including the thundamentals, hermitude and later turning more into a nightclub where people would come listen to music from wonderful bands mostly playing Australian hip-hop and funk with a little bit of everything else thrown in.

“I doubt I would be making hip hop if it wasn’t for that [venue]. I might not even be making music because there’s no outlet to perform it,” Tuka. 

Watch my IGTV where I talk more about the backstory

This is all to say that my childhood and teenage years were spent listening to amazing live music, helping out in the family business (i remember my first shift, I was 10 and was in charge of delivering the bills with a smile and saying “ευχαριστώ“ – thank you in greek) and watching two freakin amazing entrepreneurs make shit happen!

Sure, we spent a lot of time waiting to go home and doing our homework at restaurant tables or with babysitters, but we were part of a huge community who looked out for us and all had each other’s backs. 

Our Christmases weren’t like the other kids. We were the house where all the orphans and oddballs who didn’t have somewhere to go or had chosen to stay home for the holidays. It was always a relaxed party, full of musos, and artists, and the staff from the shop, many of whom we are still super close to now. 

Community was a huge part of what Triselies was about, and many who were there will tell you that it was a special moment in history, not just for us but for a huge number of people in the Blue Mountains at that time.

When I moved to Melbourne and took over in.cube8r (I’ve skipped a decade here but I’ll fill you in on that another time) I set out to recreate that creative community that I was missing (though I didn’t realise that was what I was doing at the time).

How this underpins the in.cube8r creative community

As someone who has always had creative people around them, and been in small business since I was a child, it comes natural to me to be social and collaborative in my approach to business. I’ve seen so many instances where community has brought people together and made magic happen, and hope that I can foster that in my work at in.cube8r. 

To this day, I don’t cope that well with being alone (though I am getting better at it as I practice and learn). I like being around people, having ongoing chats and knowing that everyone is OK. I like being there for my community, cheering them on at the sidelines and being the creator of opportunities for others to engage and collaborate. I care deeply about knowing everyone is OK, and welcoming those who share my values to my circle.  I guess you could say it’s in my DNA! 

Anyway, in 2019 someone asked me what I was trying to create at in.cube8r, what success looks like to me. And what came out of my mouth surprised me. I said “I want to create a creative community like the one I grew up with”. I hadn’t realised this was my motivation before that, but in review I realised that this was my core motivation. I had a sense of loss for my mountain community, it was the foundation of my childhood and formed my worldview! And it was at this moment I changed my focus at in.cube8r to be less about “running a business” and more about creating a community. 

Our memberships are about more than just renting a cube, or selling your stuff. They are about finding your people. Having support. Learning the biz. Having people cheer you on at the sidelines and be there when you need help. And I think, as time progresses, the community aspect is growing. Today we have more than 140 members, which warms my heart every day that more than one hundred people want to be part of this creative community. Add to that the amazing collection of artists who have exhibited with us over the years, and I realise our community is even stronger than that, and I am so happy to be able to connect with the greater cube community thanks to social media. 

Anyway, this was a bit of a deep and meaningful post today, because I was feeling sentimental and reminiscent of the past. I find Christmas always brings out a bittersweet feeling for me, as I long for those warm mountains Christmas days with extended family and friends. I look forward to recreating similar moments with the cube fam in the new year, and invite you to join us if your values align with mine!

With love



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Elle-May 👋 | Mentor for Makers (@may.michaels)