Dream Sister ∞ Ishella Butler

Meet our latest Dream Sister, Ishella Butler the incredible force behind Sunhands, the hottest new spot on the northside of Melbourne! Located at the perfect corner of Drummond and Elgin, Sunhands has quickly become everyone's favourite place to drink, eat, and hang out. Ishella, a long-time sister gal and a true hospitality expert, has brought her years of experience to create a simple yet extraordinary concept. With a focus on fresh produce and beautiful arrangements, the food is our favourite kind of home-style cooking. It's no wonder that Sunhands has become the talk of the town, and we can't wait to share more about Ishella and the magic she's created! 

Q: What is your full name?
A: Ishella Butler

Q: What does work mean to you and what do you do?
A: I am a co-owner of Sunhands, a wine bar in Carlton.
I have always worked hard in anything I’m doing and now I get to work hard for myself, which is a liberating feeling and a long term goal. Sunhands is a space for me to be creative, create space for people and my staff to have a good place to earn an income while they study or work on their future goals. As much as it is important to create a beautiful venue to be in, the most important thing is creating a good space to work in.

I’ve always been passionate about wining' and dining with my friends and the community. I strive to set space, hold space and be present in the space. It's not just about the food & drinks for me; it is about the ambiance and the army of talented makers, bakers, and artists behind every detail. I cherish the small moments like testing the menu, watching customers enjoy the first sip of their wine/cocktail in the afternoon sun. Community and providing a sense of place is important - there is always a seat at the table, and all are welcome. And now I get to do this every day.

Q: Tell us a dream you’ve made come true?
A: My love for hospitality started with cooking. I always enjoyed being in the kitchen and making people happy with my food. From this stemmed a dream to open my own venue. Over the years that dream has ebbed and flowed as I developed my skills and fell in and out of love with hospitality once or twice.

About a year ago, my now business partners and I made a 3-5 year goal of how we were going to open a venue together, within the year we opened Sunhands. That to me is a dream come true.

Q: How do you unwind?
A: If I need to clear my head - a long walk preferably in nature.
If I need to slow the pace - a long hot bath.

Q: How do you wind up?
A: Music. Always music.

Q: What does sisterhood mean to you?
A: Sisterhood to me is empowerment, the community of people that I surround myself with that lift me up and support me and sometimes call me on my shit when needed. Unconditional love.

Q: Favourite food?
A: I can’t pick a specific food but my favourite cuisine is Mediterranean, specifically Greek food. I always enjoy cooking it and it makes me feel the best.

Q: Describe your favourite piece of clothing and why?
A: This winter my Ganni loafers have received a lot of love! They are so comfortable and will dress an outfit up or down depending on how you wear them.

Q: How do you keep a healthy mind, body and soul?
A: A combination of quality time alone, quality time with friends, exercise, gardening and time spent in nature. It has been difficult to priorities myself this year with a brand new business needing a lot from me, but when I’m living a balanced life these things keep me in check.

Q: Your most memorable holiday?
A: Probably a trip to Europe with my mum when I was 12. We spent a month in Crete. I’ve since been drawn back to the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the history, the culture and the ceremony around cooking and eating.

Q: Ocean or desert?
A: I grew up in Byron by the sea and will forever be drawn to the ocean.

Q: Apertiff or digestiff?
A: Apertiff… Gin martini with a twist to be specific. My favourite way to start an evening.

Q: Sunrise or sunset?
A: Sunset. I’m a slow person in the mornings and come to life as the day progresses. I love what sunset brings; the closing of the day, dinner with friends, the opportunity for a fresh start.

Q: Dance party or dinner party?
A: A dinner party that turns into a dance party.

Check our Sunhands at 169 Elgin Street, Carlton, 6 days a week. Follow them here.