As a renowned makeup artist, Charlotte Blakeney was used to helping people look and feel good, so it’s no surprise to see that her illustrious career spanning top magazines, models and celebrities has led her to create By Charlotte, her namesake jewellery line that combines the spiritual with the beautiful...
While her career has always been full of triumphs, her road to motherhood hasn’t always been so smooth and simple. After undergoing 10 rounds of IVF and 3 miscarriages, Charlotte and her partner Ryan welcomed miracle baby Estelle into the world six months ago with thanks to a strong focus on self-healing and meditation, and an immeasurable amount of determination. We caught up with Charlotte to chat business and fertility, and how her difficult road to motherhood has taught her to slow down and re-focus on what’s really important… Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.bycharlotte.com.au
Tell us about your transition from makeup artist to jewellery designer and business owner?
I loved my 19 years as a freelance make-up artist—it allowed me to travel all over the world to incredible destinations like the Maldives, Vietnam, India and Thailand. The raw island life and deep spirituality that I experienced during my travels have continued to inspire not only my daily life but my designs as well. However, as I moved into the later years of my career I felt like I needed a change. I had always wanted to design my own jewellery range. My passion began when I was younger playing around in mum’s jewellery box; I’d adorn myself with beautiful Indian-inspired pieces set with gorgeous gemstones. This love for jewellery and passion for design was always in the back of my mind, so it was just a matter of time before I made it happen. I started out trying to juggle both, but as the brand continued to grow I knew that I had to commit to the jewellery—as they say, you can only really do one thing well.
By Charlotte is all about delicate jewels that make big impact - how do you get inspired each season? Is there a formula to designing new collections or are you more freestyle?
There isn’t really a set formula! Travel has always been a huge inspiration to me; I love learning about new cultures and exploring spiritually. I also look at the meanings behind semi-precious stones, crystals and symbols when seeking inspiration for my collections. The main philosophy behind By Charlotte is to create each collection with the foundation of being symbolic and meaningful. I always want people to relate to their jewels on a deeper and more personal level—it makes the experience of buying and adorning yourself in jewellery even more special! As a makeup artist, I loved making women look and feel beautiful, so this is something that continues to inspire my designs. The right piece of jewellery can really make someone look and feel amazing!
You’re a relatively new mama to beautiful baby Estelle, but it wasn’t an easy journey to have her. Can you tell us about your road through IVF?
Our little angel Estelle is a miracle and we feel so incredibly blessed to have little bub in our lives. My partner, Ryan and I had a very long and emotional journey to parenthood. Our six-year journey involved 10 rounds of IVF and three heart-wrenching miscarriages. After our ninth round of IVF, Ryan and I had to have a long discussion. We decided to have faith and try one last time. This time around, I was seeing a healer, Michael Trembath, and practising self-healing exercises. This included calming meditation and Samvahan vibration work which really relieved my stress during the whole process. I was determined to give this last attempt everything I had. When Ryan and I received the news that we were finally pregnant, we were over the moon and felt so incredibly blessed. It honestly felt surreal. Estelle has brought so much joy into our lives!
How did you handle your mental and physical state going through IVF - are there any tips or advice you’d want to pass on to others going through the same thing?
The 9 rounds of IVF was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting, but the three miscarriages were particularly devastating to us. During these times, I found it extremely difficult to stay positive and have hope. What helped me was having open communication with Ryan, my partner, and practising meditation and self-healing. The meditation was a great help with my anxiety by minimising my stress levels. My advice to women going through something similar is to try and minimise your stress as much as possible! Find a space where you can relax and practice self-care.
How do you balance your business with a new baby?
Ryan and our family have been a huge help. I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to bring her into the office. This was a blessing in the first few weeks when I just started breastfeeding. Everyone in the office absolutely loves her and she’s the best kind of distraction!
What does a typical morning in your household look like - how do you manage to get out the door?
We live next to Centennial Park, so at least three times a week we take a morning walk with Estelle and Bowie. It’s such a great and calming way to start the day. It can be a little frantic sometimes and I am often running a little late, but I’ve learnt to take my time and not rush. I want to enjoy every moment of motherhood that I can!
What has motherhood taught you so far?
Definitely, patience. I’ve learnt to take my time as I’m on her schedule now. More so now than ever, I’ve learnt to ‘stop and smell the roses’ and to enjoy this special time. Every moment I have with her is truly a blessing.
Has your approach to career and work changed since becoming a mother?
Estelle is definitely my priority now. I love designing jewellery and working in the business — I’m still very passionate about my work as I really love it. But, after the hard journey to motherhood, I just want to enjoy every single moment I have with Estelle.
What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?
I believe it’s important to take care of yourself to ensure that you can take care of everyone else. I really love practising meditation and each night I try to take some time out for myself. I also love to have a relaxing bath, I find that it’s to be the perfect way to unwind and de-stress. I mix in some rose salts or my calming oils to aid in my relaxation.
What are some of your go-to hair and makeup products to fake a good night’s sleep?
I’m a big believer in the six product rule! I also believe that gorgeous looking makeup starts with polished, hydrated and nourished skin. I like to use a tinted moisturiser and the peachy lip and cheek tint from The Base. I love the Base’s philosophy, fresh and natural! I’ve also recently discovered the Eyeko tattoo liner for my eyebrows. It lasts for days! And when you’re time poor it’s exactly what you need. I always curl my lashes with Shu Uemura’s eyelash curler and apply a Maybelline mascara. Curling your lashes is a must. It opens up the eyes and gives you a fresh look. I finish with my favourite Mecca tinted lipgloss.
What is the most surprising thing about motherhood to you so far?
Honestly, the exhaustion and more physical aspects of motherhood wasn’t a surprise at all. I think after 6 years of researching and hoping I was fairly prepared for the “messier” parts of having a baby. What’s been the real (and best!) surprise, is not only the immense love I have for Estelle but the love I can see she has for me. Every time she wakes up I can see her eyes light up with love, it’s amazing and overwhelming—in the best possible way.
What are 5 things you’re loving right now?
Snuggle time with Estelle and Bowie Big Little Lies (can’t wait for season two with Meryl Streep, my favourite actress) Pilates The Dinner Ladies (it’s saved my life and my relationship, as I now have absolutely no time to cook!) The Belleruth Naparstek affirmation and guided imagery for stress playlist on my phone.