From designing dreamy children’s rooms to tips on how to start a business from scratch, Kristy Withers is the ultimate #girlboss...
As the dynamic founder of Incy Interiors, a family run business which specialises in beautiful designer furniture for babies and children, the mother of two – Oscar, 8, and Polly, 5 – has created a much-loved brand with myriad options for babies through to adults (the four-poster beds designed in collaboration with interior stylist Megan Morton are impossibly chic). It’s no surprise to hear that Withers has loved interiors for longer than she can remember – one look at the brand’s designs and you can tell how passionate she is. “When I was growing up, I was forever convincing mum and dad that I needed a new doona cover or wall print. Our mum is also obsessed with interiors, so luckily she didn’t take much convincing,” she recalls.
2016 has been a big year for Incy Interiors. Starting with launching into the US market to opening up a new store in an old converted flour mill in Bathurst, NSW, to expanding into new fabrications such as velvet… the list goes on. We caught up with the talented Withers to quiz her on her business tips, find out more about the new collection and how she juggles it all with raising two children.
Go to www.incyinteriors.com.au
Shop the new Velvet range here
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Intense, organised and fun.
Have you always been creative?
I have always had a creative streak even from a young age decorating my cubby house with things I found around the garage and shearing sheds.
What do you remember most about your childhood?
I had an amazing childhood. I grew up on a farm with loads of cousins around so I spent my childhood building treehouses, playing backyard cricket and swimming in rivers. I really wanted my children to experience something similar and this was the driving force behind our move out of Sydney.
What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?
My mother is my hero. She is the most stylish person I know and is an eternal feminist. She has always taught me that I can do and be anything. She taught me to be strong but also soft, she taught me to always speak my mind but to remember to listen and she taught me to be supportive and giving but to look after myself. My mother managed to raise four independent children, support a husband running his own business all while working full time.
What are your top five business tips?
Know your numbers – make sure you understand and track regularly the key numbers for the business.
Surround yourself with intelligent and motivated people.
Understand your customer and listen to their feedback.
Know your brand and hold firm to your brand values.
Shop the Velvet range here
What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Having to be an expert on everything is the biggest challenge for me running my own business. Things I had never even considered like cubic metres and how things are constructed I am now supposed to be an expert on.
Can you tell us about your new collection for Incy Interiors?
Our latest collection sees us move in a new direction with the inclusion of velvet. The range includes three pieces – a bedhead, an ottoman and a settee. The range comes in three colours – blush, navy and teal.
What have been some highlights for the business this year? And what does the year ahead hold?
We have had two key highlights this year, the first one being the opening of our Bathurst store and outlet. We have an amazing space in an old converted flour mill. The other key highlight has been successfully launching into the US. 2017 will see us continue our focus on the Australian and US markets and we have a new product range launching early in the new year inspired by a recent Palm Springs trip.
How would you describe your interior style?
My style is classic but cool. I like classic pieces but with something a little different like the hospital style bed in a rose gold finish.
How do you keep your house in order with children?
I have never been officially diagnosed but I am sure I have OCD! I cannot go to bed of a night until everything is in its place.
Did your career change after you became a mother?
My career didn’t immediately change after motherhood, I returned to work after having Oscar and continued working at eBay for around 18 months before taking the leap and starting my own business. I have always been ambitious and determined but having my own business has made me more so as I now have the responsibility of not just me but the entire team.
How do you juggle motherhood with work?
Some days are great and other days not so great, but the thing I do that allows me to juggle both work and home with the least amount of guilt is to divide my day. I go into the office Monday – Friday from 9am – 5.30pm and I really try to limit my work to those hours so that when I am home I am spending quality time with my children and husband. My other tip is that I do as much as I possibly can the night before so the mornings are as stress free as possible. I make sure lunches are packed, clothes are laid out, dishwasher is unloaded, etc.
What’s your favourite way to spend time with your children?
My favourite times of the day are first thing in the morning when the kids jump into bed with me and we talk about what the day will bring and night time when I read them a story and tuck them in. My children both have big personalities and are lots of fun to be around so I am happy just to hang out with them doing anything.
How often do you change the furniture in their room?
Oscar still has all his original Incy furniture from his first big boy room with the exception of his bed, which we updated last year. Polly’s furniture has gone into storage while we finish the house. As she is sharing with Oscar at the moment, she too has a four-poster bed.
Did your children enjoy the transition from the cot to bed?
Polly just decided to climb out of her cot so she went straight into a big bed and didn’t miss a beat. Poor Oscar on the other hand I had in his cot until he was at least 2.5 years old because I couldn’t find a bed I liked for him to transition into. As he was so ready for the move the cot to bed transition for him was also ok.
Can you name three Instagram accounts we should follow now?
@petiteinteriorco for kids bedroom inspo, @captainandthegypsykid for all round amazingness and @misterzimi for cute summer dresses and swimwear.
Kristy in a flash:
Coffee or tea: Coffee in the morning and tea before bed.
Typical breakfast: Granola with yoghurt and a banana.
On your bedside table you’ll find: A family portrait, Meraki hand cream, fresh flowers and my jewellery (I take it all off as soon as I walk in the door).
Exercise of choice: My normal answer is running as I have always preferred intense exercise but I have recently discovered yoga and I am loving it!
Book you’re currently reading: I’m currently reading The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, I have only just started it so I can’t give you any insight yet.
Heels or flats: I have always been a heels girl as I am on the shorter side but lately (like the yoga) I am being nicer to myself and have embraced flats.
Sunglasses: I have been wearing the Dior So Real glasses for almost 12 months now, I’m due for a new pair soon.
Dream travel destination: Egypt. I studied Ancient History for my HSC and specialized in Ancient Egypt. I have wanted to go ever since and just haven’t made it yet.
Websites you regularly visit: I just checked my most visited sites and they are not exciting at all. They include my bank, our website, Google, Dropbox, Instagram and Facebook.
Last investment purchase: My investment purchases at the moment all revolve around our house we are in the process of building. I have just purchased an amazing brushed gold Oliveri sink and two amazing Oly chandeliers.