As far as career changes go, Daniella Rech is clocking up some pretty impressive miles on the dream jobs list. The Australian model-turned-photographed-turned-designer is one half of the label Summer & Storm, a collection of organic basics for children and women that blend comfort and style beautifully, all whilst being ethically produced...
Together with her sister Crystal, the two women tackle motherhood and running a business with a hefty dose of determination, flexibility and most importantly, self-love.
The secret to their daily juggle? “I try to practice living in the moment, sometimes that can be very hard with two boys and a full-time business. But once you do this all the to-do-lists melt away and you can just focus on what you are doing in that moment, whether it be playing with the boys or cooking dinner. This for sure makes me feel less overwhelmed and therefore happier,” says Daniella, a sentiment that sister Crystal (a mother of three) also shares. “As much as you love your children and want to do everything for them to live a happy and healthy life, you cannot pour from an empty cup. You need to give yourself love to be able to give it to your children.”
We caught up with the inspiring design duo to talk health and wellbeing, mixing motherhood with business and what working with your sibling is really like…
Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.summerandstorm.com
Can you take us through a typical morning for you?
Crystal: The mornings would have to be the busiest time of the day for me. Ideally if I am in a good routine, I like to get up and exercise. If I’m doing really well for time I will even do a quick guided meditation before I wake the kids for school. Once the family is awake and preparing for the day it’s mayhem until school drop-off. I then prepare for my day of working (on and off) with a toddler!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Daniella: Self-love. Others can never give you what you need. You need to be your own cheerleader.
So far, what has been the most challenging part of motherhood?
Crystal: Spreading yourself too thin and always catering to everyone else’s needs. As I mentioned above, it’s all about giving yourself time and love so that you can keep on balancing the life of a big family.
Daniella, how has your life changed since Storm arrived?
Life completely changed when Storm came along. Rio was eight-years-old when he was born and boy did he shake up our house. He has a massive personality and is very strong-willed. I stopped working so much as a photographer because he literally never slept through the night. He was one tough baby! But I do have to say that I love having two boys and knowing that they have each other’s backs for life makes it all worth it.
Growing up, did you always love fashion? Can you talk us through your career path from model to photographer and now mother?
Daniella: I wish I was a fashion lover. I admire people who do, but to be honest I’m a comfort girl all the way and I believe this shows in our collections. I modelled from my early teens and was very lucky to travel the world and experience life the way I did. I fell head over heels for photography, but once Storm came along I choose to spend more time at home. I guess this was how the brand was also born, we were both able to build it with our young families around us.
How long were you working on Summer & Storm before you launched?
Crystal: We started with the amber teething necklaces, so this process happened really quite fast for us. From the phone call that sparked the idea (which we both had!) to bringing out product and building website, it was around two months. The clothing took us a little longer as trying to find the right people for this was intense!
What is unique about the brand – and what kind of woman/child are you appealing to?
Daniella: The brand has grown very organically, we started just with the amber beads and we knew very early on we wanted to create clothing using organic and natural fibres. We have two clothing ranges for children and babies, ‘organic essentials’ which we are growing into a one-stop shop for organic basics, then we have our ‘collections’ which are fashion-forward pieces to love, hand-down and pass on. We hope that when shopping for babies and children the basics and pieces from the collection can be mixed and matched. We like to dress both our children in very comfortable clothes and I think you can see this in what we are creating. As for the womenswear, it’s all about lounging! We both spent so much time breastfeeding, cooking and cleaning at home that we wanted to create a cotton robe that was soft and lightweight. Something that you could just throw into the wash. We will also be launching an organic underwear range which we are super excited for! We are creating for women who are laid back and understated but also love to be comfortable, while also taking care of the environment for the next generation.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
Crystal: Our childhood memories are just beautiful. We grew up in the Byron shire, always outside from dawn till dusk, sunshine or rain. Playing, climbing trees, running through grass, rolling down hills and spending hours at the beach. We were free-range healthy children who had a beautiful, natural childhood. Oh the good old days!
How would you describe your sister – are you alike? Who stole who’s clothes growing up?
Daniella: We are so alike we sometimes joke that we are twins! I would like to say that Crystal still steals my clothes! Ha.
Crystal: What she said.
What about your approach to health and wellbeing?
Daniella: I’m not a big exercise person, but I do go for walks and I love bike riding. I try to do this everyday. I’m into eating well, I have a lot of green smoothies and I eat a mostly plant based diet, no dairy or meat. The more I read about the negative affects on my body, the more I weaned them out of my life. I eat loads of fruit and vegies and so do the boys (even though they are very particular on which ones!). I try my hardest to keep my mind positive and accept certain things that are out of my control. It’s all in your mind. Exercise and diet don’t mean anything if your thoughts are constantly negative. In saying that exercise and diet do also help with the mind. Fresh air and nature are the key to happiness.
Did your career change after you became a mother? Were you more or less ambitious?
Daniella: Looking back, I see that I was never overly driven with passion. I was never doing something I truly loved. I loved photography and worked very hard to be able to do the things I did. Summer & Storm has taken everything to another level of determination! I sometimes need to step back because otherwise this consumes all my thoughts! Being a mother drives me just that bit more – I now have a vision on how I want to raise my children, and that will take some work on my part.
How do you juggle motherhood with work?
Daniella: I’m still learning how to balance it all. Mornings I get up and answer emails before the boys get up, then I cook breakfast for the whole family and then I take Storm out of the house for a bit. Once I get back home it’s work time again. I set up little areas of toys for Storm but he doesn’t like to play by himself much, apparently he needs my help every five minutes… I don’t have the secret to perfect balance and I’m not going to say that it’s always easy. We have very productive days and others that are not so productive and that’s ok with us. Crystal and I are both very easy going and when one of us isn’t coping, the other will try and take some of the load off. We are very lucky to have each other.
Three must-visit places in Sydney with a child?
Daniella: Powerhouse Museum – both Storm and Rio love it there on rainy days. The Blue Mountains and the beach for fresh air!
Can you share your favourite smoothie recipe?
Daniella: Water from one fresh coconut, frozen banana, coconut oil and fresh baby spinach.
Coffee or tea?
Daniella: I don’t drink either so water.
Daniella: Avocado on rye with lime, salt and pepper.
Crystal: Coffee for breakfast (so bad I know!)
On your bedside table you’ll find:
Daniella: Loads of half read books, oh and I love eye masks!
Crystal: Pot plant, Rose quarts and laptop.
Exercise of choice:
Daniella: Walking or bike riding.
Heels or flats?
Daniella: Miu Miu
Dream travel destination:
Crystal: Yes I would love to visit Tibet!