What do you get when you combine Hobbe – renowned for chic rocking chairs which fuse comfort with style – with artwork by the wonderfully creative artist Georgia Macmillan?
Easy: the most dreamy rocking chairs you’ve ever seen. The best part? They’re designed for the little toddler in your life. The biggest dilemma is which one to pick. The chairs are available in a beautiful watercolour blush peony or a smart indigo stripe and paired with a divine contrasting cushion. We caught up with Hobbe founder Samantha Hobbelen to find out more about this exciting new collaboration.
What inspired you to launch Hobbe?
I was inspired to launch Hobbe back in 2014 when I was pregnant with our first baby, Hugo. Having been in the events/wedding industry prior to this, I simply assumed that like with weddings and events in Australia you could access pretty much anything you wanted to create a certain look and aesthetic, but soon found there was a gap in the market for beautiful and functional nursing chairs. We had purchased a rocking chair that looked lovely in our nursery, but it was beyond uncomfortable (even with pillows behind my back and under my arms) and so with a two week old baby that didn’t feed and settle well, in my haze of sleep-depravation and desperation (and a little bit of insanity in hindsight), the Hobbe concept was born.
What has been the best thing about launching your own business?
The best thing about launching Hobbe has been the opportunity to meet so many amazing new mums who have been positively impacted by Hobbe. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a Hobbe rocker would make a new mum’s feeding/settling journey that little bit easier. Every new mum’s story is so completely different and yet we continue to get beautiful, raw and real testimonials from our beautiful customers every single week. It’s humbling to know that we have played a small part.
What about the hardest?
The hardest thing about launching my own business was the timing. Hugo was two weeks old when I started planning and concepting the business and then as things progressed, grew and got busier, the balance between work and family life was most definitely stretched. I’m so fortunate to now have an amazing team around me.
What are your top three business tips for mothers looking to start a business?
1. Invest the time initially to plan meticulously. I believe that groundwork, planning and preparation done at the business conception can allow an easier work flow down the track for a number of aspects in a business.
2. Get a mentor. Whether it is a formal or informal arrangement, having someone in your world that has walked down your path before you can be a great comfort, encouragement and reality check.
3. Surround yourself with people that believe in you, as it makes it that little bit easier to believe in yourself.
What are your time management tips?
I try and get organised for the week ahead on a Sunday night. It’s all the mundane and boring jobs like washing, packing lunches etc to ensure that the start of the week runs smoothly and I am in the office early or at least on time. I also get up earlier than the rest of the household (except for the last few weeks when our 20 month old, Harvey has decided he is a morning person)! The other time management tool that I use is to make sure meetings start exactly when they are meant to and finish as close to the proposed finish time – it just minimises large blow outs of time that can push out the rest of my day out.
What makes you feel stressed?
Sometimes my workload can get on top of me, but then I remember the advice that my mum continues to give me today and to ‘just take it one hour at a time’. This advice has kept me sane in some high-stress moments over the past few years.
How do you unwind?
I find my unwind time really comes at the weekend. I try and get a small block of ‘me’ time, just an hour or so whether that be ducking out to our local shops for a browse, going for a walk, doing an early exercise class – it doesn’t really matter what the activity is. Even though we are in a chaotic season of life with a three-year-old and almost two-year-old, time all together with my husband and the boys is my favourite thing. On Sunday’s, it’s a phone and social media-free day for me, which allows me to be present, relax and enjoy the moments together.
How long have you known artist Georgia Macmillan for?
Georgia and I met at primary school in Toowoomba in Queensland. Our paths crossed again when we attended the same college at university in Brisbane. Even though we were in different years, we have a very dear friend in common and somehow our adult friendship was instantaneous. There is something magnetic about Georgia that always leaves me feeling energised after being with her. We were fortunately enough to both live in Sydney for a few years before she moved to Dubai and I look forward to us living in the same place again one day.
What do you love about her artwork?
Where do I start! I love her style and her beautiful use of colour in her acrylic works on canvas as well as her watercolour paintings. I’m by no means an art critic, but I know what I like and I simply adore everything that Georgia creates.
Can you tell us about your new collaboration with Georgia and how it all came about?
Like most wonderful things, it started as a small idea during one phone conversation (that are usually too few and far between nowadays as we have four children under five between us, plus the time difference between Dubai and Sydney). Our boys aren’t babies anymore and it got me thinking about beautiful furniture for their shared bedroom. It seemed natural to create a children’s rocking chair as rocking chairs are the core of Hobbe, but I wanted something different. Something that I hadn’t seen before. I cannot paint or draw to save myself, so it seemed only natural to ask Georgia if she might want to collaborate on a collection of children’s rocking chairs. Thankfully, she said yes!
How would you describe the chairs?
The chairs are beautiful and sophisticated with a unique design aesthetic that is a perfect blend of Hobbe x Georgia Macmillan. The Blush Peony Petite Children’s Rocking chair is a feminine and vibrant celebration, whilst the Indigo Stripe is a playful nautical interpretation. The contrast cushions were a fabulous addition that Georgia suggested – I think it finishes them off perfectly.
Describe your dream nursery…
As we already have two boys, I seem to have a natural affinity towards all things girl-related. My dream nursery would be predominantly crisp white, preppy-inspired with an custom oversized watercolour floral mural on at least one wall. It would also have to have one of our new Incy x Hobbe blush velvet rocking chairs too. They are so pretty!
What are your most vivid memories of being in a rocking chair with your babies?
One of the memories that stands out in my mind is when Hugo was about six or seven months old. He was sick, it was the middle of the night and he was absolutely inconsolable. Nothing we could do seemed to be able to soothe or comfort him. I remember sitting in our Positano rocking chair, feeding him and then holding him tight and just rocking him for hours and hours. He finally relaxed, stopped crying and it was just me and him and those little innocent, tired brown eyes looking up at me. They finally closed and he fell asleep and somehow I felt that by settling him that night, I had done something remarkable as his mum. It sounds silly in hindsight, but moments like those are the magic ones that I will always cherish.