I'm sure I'm not alone in admitting that many of my childhood memories centre around a beanbag at my nan's house.
It formed the base for impressive forts, was where I perched myself to have my back rubbed, and was where all the best cousin secrets were divulged.
I loved that faded grey beanbag, but let’s just say I haven’t felt a strong desire to bring one into my own lounge room. Until now.
Thanks to GlamSwag, I now have three varieties in my cart, and a selection of matching cushions. But let’s be clear, these are not your grandmother’s beanbags. For starters, the covers are made from 100% French Flax linen, which has been pre-washed for the ultimate in softness and durability. They’re also filled with a cloud of feathers, so they’re as comfortable as they are luxurious. What’s more, GlamSwags aren’t that awkward shape that fills the corner of a room, but rather, they’re long and lean, making them completely portable (but I guarantee you won’t want to stash these away).
Perfect for everything from kids’ sleepovers and picnics in the park, to outdoor concerts and the beach, GlamSwag does it all. We spoke to the founder and brains behind GlamSwag, Rebecca Johnson (a woman who does it all herself), and now hold her completely accountable for our brand new obsession.
What did your career entail prior to GlamSwag?
Before GlamSwag and my three boys I worked in Advertising. Starting in Perth, as a junior account executive. Here I learnt the ropes from some fabulous mentors. When I felt I had gained enough experience, I made the move to Sydney. I was lucky enough to land a job at John Singleton Advertising. I worked there for seven years, starting at the bottom, and working my way up to Senior Account Manager on the Qantas Account. It was such an amazing job, the best people to work with, and we had a lot of fun.
Had you always been entrepreneurial?
My initial answer to this – and you would probably hear this from many of the (female) entrepreneurs you speak with – is absolutely not! However I’ve probably surprised myself on this journey. Taking the plunge and starting a business is daunting, terrifying and it comes with a high level of risk. In my younger years I always lent on the security of working for someone else, it wasn’t until I was at home with the boys when they were younger that I started to really think about what I was good at and what I could do that allowed me to still be present for the kids.
I’ve always loved beautiful homewares, antiques and fabulous clothing. Which was a problem, because on one income (my husband is a photographer) I had to be creative with how I decorated my home and the clothes I bought. I realised then, that I had a good eye on a small budget. I always worked part-time when the boys were young – always in retail. Firstly homewares and then fashion and about four years ago was approached by a good friend to be the buyer for her fashion store. I loved it – and to my surprise was good at it!
I then felt I had developed enough confidence to open a store myself and after a year of trade fairs, internet searches, meeting with local artists and designers, I opened my first (tiny) bricks and mortar store in Perth. I got a feel for what worked and what didn’t, what people wanted at what price point and the gaps in the market. The retail space then morphed into developing sourcing and manufacturing Glam Swags and the journey I now find myself on. As anyone in this space will tell you, it is hard work, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and learnt so much about every aspect of running a small business. I love what I do, despite the stress and sleepless nights, but what I love most is my customers sharing with me how much they love our products. We’re always evolving, changing and growing and listening to what our customers want from us.
What inspired the launch of GlamSwag?
I was in upstate New York for a dear friends wedding. Her theme was “Moroccan inspired” It was like being in Marrakesh in a beautiful Riad. Huge cushions everywhere, in beautiful colours. I couldn’t get it out of my head, how I would love to have something like this at home, to lie on in the garden when friends came over. I realised however, that they needed to be lighter, washable and portable, whilst being super comfortable and luxurious.
I hate to sound like a snob, but beanbags and Thomas the Tank Engine couches never did if for me!
As a mother of teenage boys I’ve navigated countless sleep-overs, picnics, sporting events and beach trips, mostly in absolute discomfort. So you can see where the inspiration came from.
This is the essence of the GlamSwag – beauty, comfort, friends and family!
Tell us about the vision behind GlamSwag.
Really it’s about good looks, comfort and family.
I also noticed the trend in Glamping worldwide. Previously the thought of camping was not my cup of tea – in fact the thought horrified me! But I’m very much looking forward to heading outdoors with the kids. We have just purchased a fabulous Bell Tent from Home Camp and can’t wait to fill it with our swags and chill out.
You have three boys (in good company here!) - how have you used/how do you continue to use GlamSwag throughout your home with the boys?
My boys.Charlie 21, Toby 19 and Nicholas 14 totally love them. With the older two, the uses are many and varied. From their inebriated friends crashing on them, to camping trips and boating holidays with friends – they take them everywhere. I designed them to roll up and tuck into a custom made bag. They each have one on the end of the Bed and one in the cupboard.
We all use them to watch movies, as Rob and I hog a sofa each. The boys lie on the floor, usually with a Bedhead for extra comfort.
They are definitely the most used product in our house (the dog also loves them)!
Tell us about the mix of comfort and luxury and how you make that work in your pieces (particularly that gorgeous linen).
We literally made 15 different prototypes to get it just how we wanted it to be.
Thick enough to be able to sleep on, but with the right amount of down for it to be soft enough. The other 50% is cotton fill so you don’t sink down too much.
As for linen, it’s my favourite product, breathable, timeless and gets softer the more times you wash it.
How do you style the pieces throughout your home?
In all the bedrooms there is one at the end of the bed. They look gorgeous and if you’ve made the bed but want to sneak off for some cheeky Netflix time, it easy to pull up and cuddle under.
As I mentioned – especially in winter, they are used on the sofa and the floor. During the day I just roll them up – they then look like a bolster so I mix them up with my other cushions and no need to put them away.
In summer – they adorn our two daybeds along with our Bedheads, great for reading that book (and swigging some rose).
We also use the Bedhead cushions to adorn all the beds in the house. We have two on our king size bed – that literally form a bedhead. The boys all have one on theirs as a feature mixed up with their other pillows.