Its not everyday you walk into an office as stylish and sunny as this one. The chic space in question belongs to Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston, the dynamic duo behind one of Australias most successful fashion labels: Bec & Bridge. Between them, they juggle three children (and one more on the way) with running their business. Cooper gave birth to a little boy, Max, almost a year ago, while Yorston is expecting her third child in a matter of weeks (can you see her tale here). We caught up with the talented women at their Sydney office to find out more about how they make it all work (hint: they have a nursery in the office)
What has motherhood taught you?
Bridget: To be myself and not compare my children or my situation to anyone else.
What career advice would you give to your own children?
Becky: Its so important to follow your passion and do what makes you happy. I was always encouraged by my parents to do whatever made me happiest.
Bridget: Pursue what you love and always with 110% effort.
What advice did your own mother give you on juggling a career and family?
Becky: My mum was a stay at home mum who devoted everything to her daughters. I am so lucky that she is so supportive of me working and juggling and she is very involved with looking after Max and comes with me to the office to look after him. I am very blessed to have her so involved in Maxs life.
Bridget: My mother stayed at home with my four siblings and me growing up, so I never had a role model to follow on juggling a career and family. I found initially that I had pangs of guilt about being a working mum and it wasnt until my mother told me that she thought being a working mum suited me well that I suddenly felt a whole lot better about my situation. On reflection, it seems silly to have carried so much guilt early on but I think more than anything, it shows how much I value and respect my mothers opinion.
Whats the best advice youve ever been given about motherhood?
Becky: Bridges husband actually once reassured me that babies are built to survive.
Bridget: Treat it as a privilege and enjoy every stage.
Can you tell us about the cot set up?
Becky: To be honest, the amount of time Max sleeps in the cot is minimal. Bridge is hoping her new bub will find it more useful than Max, the non-sleeper!.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to launch Bec & Bridge?
Becky: We met studying fashion design at UTS. We started doing uni assignments together and realised how much we loved working together.
Bridget: We were partnered together to work on our first assignment and discovered how much we enjoyed working together. So I guess the label was born initially out of a really strong friendship and a wonderful working relationship that we continue to enjoy to this day.
What inspires your work?
Becky: It can be anything: art, architecture, people, prints, travel
Bridget: We draw our inspiration from so many things, people and places. We love working together with our team of designers to get the creative juices flowing.
Can you tell us about your new Resort 2015 collection (launching July)?
Becky: It started with a book on Verushka who served as a muse for this collection. Some key pieces are wrap shirts in drapey rusts and midnight blues layered with grainy metallic swimwear and also a nod to mid 70s glamour with full metallic looks in the forms of shirts and hipster loose pants.
Bridget: We were inspired by the French Riviera and the colour palette was largely drawn from the works of famous French artist Matisse.
Why is Bec & Bridge unique in the market?
Becky: Its accessible but still has a strong design aesthetic and modern edge.
What are your tips for achieving balance?
Becky: My husband and I recently made a rule that we had to have dinner together at the table every night with no emails. Its really hard both having our own businesses and its so tempting as soon as Max goes to sleep to go back to work, but its important to try separate it when possible. We also try to have an hour of downtime before Max goes to sleep where we hang out on the couch, read stories and have some quality family time.
Bridget: Its an ongoing challenge, but I feel like understanding yourself and your personal limitations/capacities is always a good start. I have definitely noticed that it has started getting easier as the boys are getting a little older. Though Ill soon be going back to the start with the arrival of number three in early July.
What are your tips for time management?
Bridget: Discipline and lots of planning. My husband and I have an in-depth diary meeting once a week that often takes at least an hour. We start off by discussing our combined priorities such as each other and the kids, to stop us from both just launching into our own agendas and work commitments.
Do you ever procrastinate?
Becky: All the time! I am terrible with paying the bills. I am always the person forgetting to pay the water and electricity until I get the final reminder notice.
Bridget: Sadly, yes! By letting myself get endlessly distracted on blogs, Instagram and the SMH!.
And how do you focus?
Becky: I love to run although post having a baby I have to be careful as Im definitely a little more fragile and seem to injure myself much more easily.
Bridget: Apparently Im quite good at getting in the zone and staying there. This is according to my husband who finds it really frustrating at times.
What do you love about raising children in Sydney?
Becky: The beaches and outdoor lifestyle.
Bridget: For me personally, I love that being in Sydney means having my family close by. Its so wonderful that my boys get to see their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles on a regular basis.
How long have you been in this office and how would you describe it?
Becky: We have been here for seven years. Its the ever-evolving office as we keep expanding into and taking over different parts of the building. So while its a little disjointed, over all it seems to work.
Bridget: We love it here, it definitely feels like our Bec & Bridge home and we enjoy coming into the office. Its always buzzing with activity and it has a really great energy about it that comes from having a wonderful team. It can sometimes be a mad house there are so many different personalities and people coming and going all day long. There really is never a dull moment!
Do you spend a lot of time in your office?
Becky: We definitely spend more time in meetings than actually working in our office.
Bridget: Generally our days are spent across the different departments. Were not often in one place for long. Though it is nice to have our own sun-filled space to regroup in or just even to sit down and take a breath at times.
What are your desk essentials?
Becky: We always have a candle, current season look books, fresh flowers, a cup of ginger tea and Artline pens.
What are your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Becky: Get as much experience as possible! We entered the industry with no experience at all. We made a lot of mistakes early on which is a great way to learn, but it also means everything takes a lot longer.
Bridget: Everything takes longer than you think it will so be patient and persevere! Make sure you have a solid support network of people that you trust. They will help you through the tough times and help you keep things in perspective.
Whats the most rewarding part of running your own business?
Becky: Being able to create and nurture an environment that you want to be a part of and work in everyday.
What has been your biggest career highlight?
Becky: There are too many to name but more recently, our expansion into the USA has been really exciting. Having department stores over there stocking the label and over 300 boutiques has been fantastic. Also, seeing celebrities like Beyonce, Scarlett Johanssen and Taylor Swift choosing to wear the brand is very exciting.
How would you describe your personal style?
Becky: My style has definitely changed and its super practical now. Sneakers and T-shirts are staples and I cant wear as much white as I would like!