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Suitcase Series

Suitcase Series: Marre Muijs

Marre Muijs founded her footwear brand ESSEN in 2016, after noticing a gap in the market for carefully-considered shoes that transcend trends.

Encouraging people to buy less, ESSEN aspires to simplify women’s wardrobes by helping them consider what they really need, with an edit of permanent classics they’ll reach for time and time again. Without compromising on style, each ESSEN shoe is consciously manufactured, and Marre takes the time to develop each style, releasing one key staple at a time.

Marre tells us more about her childhood travel, where to eat in her hometown of Melbourne, and her packing essentials.

What is the first trip you remember taking?

A summer holiday in Italy, with my family. We would go camping every year but on this particular trip it had been raining for a few days, so we drove to find warmer weather. It was already quite late in the day when our car got stuck on a small road in the middle of nowhere. My parents pitched a tent for my siblings and I, cooked a simple dinner in the field, opened a bottle of wine, and we all slept under the stars. We were still quite little and it was so exciting. My parents’ love for adventure taught us to find the beauty in unexpected moments. 

What’s been your most memorable trip and why?

Tanzania, aged 18. I felt so much joy and gratitude being there. My family and I travelled around for six weeks with a local guide, and really went off the beaten path. We were invited to a traditional Maasai wedding, slept on the Serengeti as hyenas ran past our tent, danced while drinking homemade banana beer, had a lion fall asleep against our truck so we couldn’t leave for 3 hours, and swam with dolphins near Zanzibar. The people, the culture, the colours of the sunsets, the music, and the dancing – it was truly magical. 

Where or what is your escape?

Dancing in the sun, with friends.



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A post shared by ESSĒN (@essenthelabel)

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?

To enjoy the adventure when things don’t go to plan. I’ve met some of my best friends after plans have taken an unexpected turn. 

If I could go anywhere tomorrow I’d go to: 

The Netherlands, where my family is. I moved to Australia by myself nearly 15 years ago and consider this home now, but I still miss them a lot. I’ve always had to travel a lot for work which allowed me to see them once or twice every year but, the events of the last few years and the arrival of my baby, have made long distance travel a little more complicated. 

How would you spend your ideal afternoon in your home city?

I live in Melbourne. My ideal, lazy afternoon would be going to the beach or park with friends and family, followed by dinner at one of Melbourne’s many amazing restaurants and then walking home along the river. Nomad and Carlton Wine Rooms are two of my favourites.


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What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?

Switching off and living in the moment. Somewhere I can completely relax, but with options for me to explore. I’m not very good at sitting still for long and I love to experience the place I’m in. I’ve had some incredible adventures by being spontaneous – it makes a holiday extra special. 

Where do you get your holiday inspiration?

Friends, travel, food, and art. I’m always researching new design ideas which often leads me down a rabbit hole of beautiful design references and good food. I love food, so where we go and stay is often inspired by a restaurant I want to visit, or a local café that I’ve found. 

If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – who would it be? 

David Attenborough!

How do you recover from jet lag?

I make lots of plans during the day so I don’t give in to sleep and try to make it to 9pm before going to bed. I stay hydrated and, if I really need it, take some melatonin. 

Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time? 

I’d love to read a book, but I’d probably be running after my little boy or have work to catch up on. 

Favourite Hotel? 

Quinta Da Corte – it’s a 200-year old winery and guesthouse set in the Douro Valley in Portugal, and it has been re-worked by my favourite architect and interior designer, Pierre Yovanovitch. The people are lovely, the views are breathtaking, the food is so tasty, and there is incredible art everywhere you look.



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Favourite airline?

Singapore Airlines.

What’s on your travel playlist?

This playlist is years old by now, but it immediately brings back fond memories of one of my favourite holidays with friends.

What are your must-have travel picks? 

A comfortable and versatile pair of shoes that don’t take up too much room, a chic oversized shirt that can also be dressed down as a cover up for the beach, a heavy hitting facemask, a versatile and chic travel bag, a good book (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of these), and a pair of statement sunglasses. 

Where next?



Hand-luggage essential?

A good book.

Packing: roll or fold?

A mix.

Inflight book or inflight film?


Music or podcasts?


Time killer on a long-haul flight?

Reading a book, watching a movie, and letting my mind wander. Flights are one of the only times I truly switch off, and I really cherish that. I’m usually full of ideas by the time I land.

Holiday tipple of choice?


Bucket list destination?


Best shopping gem found abroad?

A beautiful hand woven rug in Morocco.

Beach or City?


Ultimate holiday treat? 

A facial.

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Any Questions or Tips to add?