Given Emma Hawkins’ most vivid memories of her childhood are of country life riding horses and just getting up to mischief with her siblings, it’s no surprise she’s gone on to create a wholesome life in the country with her own family...
The highs? “The space, air, stars, animals and privacy.” While the lows include running on rainwater and tank gas, meaning, “when we run out… we run out!”.
A mother of two girls – Arabella and Primrose – and wife of Geelong Cats star Tom Hawkins, Hawkins launched a childrenswear brand called Homegrown last year. Inspired by her own childhood, which was spent in easy-to-wear clothes, she set out to create a brand of comfortable, fuss-free clothes, for ages 1-4 with the single-minded aim of helping kids to do what they do best: have fun and make mischief.
Her new collection, entitled ‘Chapter 3’, features new colours, prints, waffles and designs. And all pieces are made from Australian Cotton. “Supporting Australian suppliers is something that is very important for us at Homegrown. This chapter holds a lot of inspiration from my childhood and the Australian way of life and I am super proud of it,” she says.
Here, we catch up with Hawkins and discover she’s as down-to-earth as she is dynamic, and dedicated to promoting honesty and openness in the motherhood community.
Go to homegrownkids.com.au
Emma with her girls Arabella and Primrose. The new Homegrown collection
Tell us about your childhood – where did you grow up and what are some of your most vivid memories of your childhood?
I grew up in Deniliquin, NSW on a farm outside of town. I rode horses from the age of 3 and competitively up until I finished high school. I loved my childhood and the older I get the more I look back on my childhood with great fondness and happy memories. I have three siblings and two wonderful parents. My most vivid memories are on the horses with my sister, getting up to mischief with my brothers, and all the antics I had with my siblings and friends on the local school bus.
Tell us the story behind your home. When did you move to the country and tell us about life on the farm – what are the highs and lows of living on a farm?
We were originally looking at a property across the road from the house we are in now. We heard this was going on the market, so we had a look at the unrenovated house sitting alone in a paddock. We fell in love with the views and have been working on it ever since. We are lucky in Geelong, you have the option to live regionally, coastal or in town. We decided to live regionally as Tom is a keen farmer and we both prefer the privacy and space that you inherit on a farm. We are only ten minutes out of town; however, it feels like we are miles away at times in a good way. The highs for me are definitely the space, air, stars, animals, and privacy. For the lows, we run on rainwater and tank gas – so when we run out… we run out!
Can you share your motherhood journey – what were the ups and downs?
I’ve loved my journey so far and feel so lucky to have two healthy girls. I found when the girls were 0 – 1 years old the hardest. I lost myself a little bit after I had Arabella with my identity and the pressure, I put on myself. 1-2 years old has been so enjoyable for us – I am so much more confident and content and know what is best for my family, which may be different to others and that’s absolutely OK.
Being in the public eye, did you feel added pressure after becoming a mother? You’ve spoken openly about the body-shaming you experienced after welcoming her second daughter in March 2019 – how did you deal with this?
I think there is an element of added pressure to an extent. However, it also comes down to how you feel in yourself. I’ve always been body confident. However, my body changed SO much after my two children and everyone else around me seemed to not change, so I just assumed it was only me. Even though I knew that wasn’t the case. I am very good at staying in my lane – if I mentally feel good, I physically feel good too. That’s the most important thing for me now.
How do you personally approach the post-partum period – how do you look after yourself in this period?
To be honest, both my pregnancies were so tough on my body. My post-partum experience was a breeze! I feel amazing compared to how I felt pregnant. However, I certainly don’t put any added pressure on my body. It’s already been through hell and back for nine months… twice!
Tell us about the launch of your new collection for Homegrown…
We are about to launch our latest Chapter on June 7th, and Chapter three is so beautiful. We are so proud of this collection and the hard work put into each and every element of it. Chapter 3 features new colours, prints, waffles, and designs. All pieces are made from Australian Cotton. Supporting Australian suppliers is something that is very important for us at Homegrown. This chapter holds a lot of inspiration from my childhood and the Australian way of life and I am super proud of it.
How has your business you adjusted to COVID-19?
We have adjusted accordingly like most businesses. We adapted our launch date and our campaign shoot. We worked with the amazing Sophie Vine, a local Geelong creative, who captured our collection in the comfort and safety of her own home, as well as using her own children as the models to ensure we were adhering to guidelines and making sure we shot the campaign in the safest way possible. Sophie blew us away with her images.
What about practical tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Work out what you are not good at and outsource those so you can focus and absolutely nail the areas you are good at. We can’t all be good at everything.
Tell us about The Lady Bunch and how that all began?
We were honestly having a chat on the phone the four of us about COVID-19 and what it meant for our industry moving forward. A few chats later Bec Harding said, guys, I think I have an idea we could do to create additional and fun content during this period. One thing led to another and now we are filming season two. It has been a blast!
What are your time management tips – how do you get everything done?
Firstly, I have help. I think it’s so important, to be honest with other mothers and women who may look at busy mothers/entrepreneurs online and think they are amazing because “they do it all”. Well, I don’t do it all. At least not well. I have help with the kids so when I work, I’m working and when I’m with the kids I’m not working at all. I distinguish my time between the kids and work really well now and I’m ruthless when I’m with my kids – no one is to call or expect an email back.
If you can – get yourself a good husband. I have found that to be very handy
Clear work times set aside – only work during those hours.
If you could go back to before you had children, what would you tell yourself?
Don’t feel guilty about being hungover and staying in bed all day with uber eats. Enjoy it. You won’t get the luxury to do that very often after kids!
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You’ve got five minutes to get dressed, what do you put on?
This is a challenge? I have five minutes every day regardless of where I’m heading haha! Ummm… Jeans, crisp shirt and a cardigan with RM’s.
What about your face – what are your mum beauty essentials?
Rationale if you want to send yourself broke, but it’s very good. Otherwise, I’m finally starting to use botanicals by luxe which is local, and I love it.