The Tale of Belynda Macpherson - The Grace Tales

The Tale of Belynda Macpherson

Photography: Trish Lee Makeup: Rajja Richani from Napoleon Perdis Words: Georgie Abay

“Time for myself is definitely a rare thing, but I feel like it’s the compromise you make for having your children,” says Banjo & Matilda founder Belynda Macpherson who lives in Sydney’s sunny Bondi with her husband Ben and their two children - Ines, six months, and Xander, seven. “The first few years are the hardest, but it gets easier with time and you need to remember that. At seven, my son is so self-sufficient, and had I not had another baby, I had quite a bit of time to work and get some occasional ‘me’ time.”

She might not currently have a lot of “me” time, but running her own cult cashmere label means she has a lot of flexibility. She started the label when she was pregnant with Xander. “I wanted to keep working, but in my own way,” says Macpherson. “I admire all of the women who can still make it to work by 8.30am and leave by 6pm while working for someone else, but I am not that organised. Running Banjo & Matilda and being a mum, means that I don’t necessarily need to be in the office from 9 to 5, and I can send emails when I can’t sleep at 2am, because it’s the most quiet time of the day!”

Banjo & Matilda launched its first knitwear collection in 2008 with three cashmere styles. The brand is now stocked around the world by high-end retailers such as Net-A-Porter Shopbop, Harvey Nichols London and Neiman Marcus and worn by celebrities such as Elle Macpherson (who also happens to be her sister-in-law), Naomi Watts, Claudia Schiffer and Gwyneth Paltrow. “When we first started, no one was really doing cashmere in a casual way,” she recalls. “We took the luxe vibe of cashmere yarn and applied to a casual sweatshirt. The market today is very different, and the cult of luxe-casual is definitely everywhere, but we were lucky we made our mark early. It has a unique brand heritage being cashmere sweaters from Bondi Beach, and on a world stage that has held us in good stead.”

Her advice to new mothers: “It is ok to think it is hard! I think the baby books and advice you get make you feel like you are the only mum in the world that is finding it difficult … and you suffer a little in silence. My personal style is to just do what works for you and ignore the advice if you can’t emulate all the strategies. A happy baby and mother is the most important part and hugs cure most things.” For Macpherson, survival tips include coffee and she’ll always watch the sunset even if she’s had a tiring night. “I find I am much better in the morning even if I am exhausted, so I try to get up and enjoy the day before I crash. Coffee is always a must, and watching the sunrise for a bit of energy and soul reinforcement. One thing I always remember, and tell other mothers, is that nothing will be as bad after you have a sleep. Tomorrow comes quickly.”

Belynda’s little list of loves:
My Nespresso machine – it’s the greatest indulgence to not have to leave the house for my morning coffee.
Cold Pressed Juices – it’s my morning kick-start before my coffee, and makes me feel so virtuous.
My black Chanel espadrilles – they are the perfect all-day shoe and can go from a meeting to school pick-up no problem.
My daughter’s gummy smile – she is six months old and never stops grinning.
My husband Ben – he picks up the slack with the new baby in the house and is my seven-year-old son’s best friend and mentor. It is so beautiful to watch them both grow.
A cup of English Breakfast tea – it fixes even the biggest problems.
My parents – since having children I appreciate them in so many different ways to when I was growing up. They inspire me to be as wonderful parents as they were.
The cold weather – finally I can wear all of my cashmere, and I have a lot.
Music – Fleetwood Mac always makes me feel like anything is possible.
My Banjo team – I couldn’t run my business without them, they make me proud every day.

My style has changed totally since I became a mother...

I used to wear high heels 24/7 and loved a great cut suit with a white shirt. Today I live in jeans and sweaters, and a great pair of espadrilles or ballet flats.


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