The tale of Kristy Withers
If youre looking for bed inspiration, youre guaranteed to find it in the country home of Incy Interiors founder Kristy Withers. She might also inspire you to make a tree change. I had the best childhood. I grew up on a sheep farm in Central NSW with lots of cousins and lots of freedom, recalls the mother of two (Oscar, 7, and Polly, 3). We were so imaginative, always making tree houses or creating our own fun. I always knew that I wanted the same upbringing for my own children. When her son Oscar was three years old, Withers and her husband made the decision to get out of the city. They packed up their life and moved to the country. It truly is almost as idyllic as you would imagine. Life is simpler and calmer and my stress levels halve every week when I drive out of the city. In saying that, the majority of our friends still live in the city, so while we have lots of family around it was initially isolating as sometimes you just need your friends. Now that we have been here a little we have picked up old friendships and made new ones so the feeling of isolation has disappeared.
To run her business, the former corporate marketing executive regularly travels between their home in Central NSW and apartment in Sydney. She spent over a decade working for St. George Bank and eBay Australia before deciding to launch Incy Interiors. Incy began when my son was two and was ready to move into a big boy bed. At the time I was working at eBay Australia, travelling regularly to the US/Europe and seeing all the amazing products available there, she says. Withers had an image in her mind of a dark brown iron bed. She searched high and low for it but just couldnt find what she was looking for. I tried to get one made, I tried to buy old ones off eBay but they had lead paint and I tried to import one but I just kept coming up with barriers. I harped on and on at anyone who would listen about my quest for this bed. Finally my husband said to me one day for god sake, stop talking about it and you just do it. This was the push I needed and from then, Incy was born! That was over five years ago. Withers has since expanded the range from beds to bookcases to side tables to change tables to toys and has collaborated with leading interior stylist Megan Morton. The brand also opened their first store in Sydneys Chatswood Chase earlier in the year. We jumped in the car and drove out to the country to visit Withers at her charming country home to find out more
Motherhood has taught me patience and endless love
I am not a super patient person. I like to get things done quickly and efficiently so a swishy little newborn who took an hour to feed, meaning that some days I couldnt leave the house before midday, was a complete shock and to be honest, I struggled with the loss of control. I pretty quickly caught on that the more I fought it, the harder it was on everyone so whilst patience doesnt come naturally, I do now possess more of it! I also didnt realise it was possible to love as hard or as fiercely as I do now. Its not just my children I love endlessly, it is also my husband, my parents, my siblings and my friends. Its like the love multiplies once you have children!
When it comes to guiding my children on career, Ill refer to that classic saying
Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. This is something I firmly believe in and hope my children can find for themselves.
My mum is a super classy lady
Our house and her wardrobe has always been fabulous so I guess it has been in me from birth. If you are constantly around beautiful/well designed pieces it becomes second nature. My housemates while at uni couldnt believe that all of my items, from crockery to linen to arm chairs, all co-ordinated (probably too much in hindsight) and as a result, I was the butt of many jokes.
Its funny the places you can find inspiration
The coloured metal beds came about after fridge shopping one day and seeing the Smeg coloured fridges and the metallic range came about after I got a rose gold watch for Christmas. It really is amazing where you can find inspiration.
The special thing about our business is that everything we do is from the heart
This includes everything from our product designs, which are all named after the special people in our lives, to the stores that stock our products and the brands we sell in our store. We know and love the story behind each and every one of them, hence why we have chosen to work with them. We also aim to create a beautiful but not intimidating shopping experience in our own store so that people are inspired but not pressured to buy or be afraid to ask questions. Every decision we make is from the heart.
My single biggest career highlight would have to be the opening of our Chatswood Chase store
It was a mammoth effort to get there but it is a project I am incredibly proud of. Some other highlights would be our two collaborations with Kip & Co and Megan Morton and our four poster bed featuring in most Country Road stores across Australia.
We have two super exciting collections in the works
We have just launched our new nickel range which is our masculine answer to copper, covering the whole family with the collection going from cot to king size. We have another limited edition collaboration launching in three weeks. This is an extension of an existing collaboration and one I am certain will be a huge hit!
I have two big tips for decorating a childs room
Firstly, ensure you personalise the space for your little one, to make it their own. This can be done without the inclusion of a single piece of Disney merchandise. Simply include framed Lego blueprints for the Lego nuts or vintage ballet slippers for the tiny dancer in your life. Secondly, spend as much as you can afford on the furniture pieces in the room and then use inexpensive items such as cushions or blankets, to create the personality.
SHOP: Polly wears Seed. Oscar wears Country Road T-shirt, $34.95.
I wouldnt say I am a homebody
Im more of an out and about girl but in saying that, now that my life is so chaotic, I really appreciate and value my time at home. After a day or two, I am climbing the walls and ready for a change of scenery.
After I became a mother, my career didnt initially change
After having Oscar I went back to work at eBay but my heart wasnt in it. After 18 months of long days and lots of travel I decided I wanted more from life. This just happened to coincide with my quest for a big boy bed and the rest, as they say, is history.
My day varies wildly
I may be doing anything from marketing plans through to financial forecasts, entering orders or talking to customers. We have no egos at Incy so everyone pitches in and does what needs to be done. Once a fortnight I am in Sydney for two days so I cram my days with all of my meetings, WIPs with the two teams down there, helping out in the store, etc.
I am one of those people that is awesome if I have 2,000 things to do in a day
If I just have a normal amount I just dont seem to get anything done. I check Instagram and Facebook (totally legit), pop down and grab a coffee, call a meeting so I have someone else to procrastinate with or plan my next holiday (as I now have so much spare time).
I keep myself focused by keeping myself busy
If I am busy I become ruthless with my time and prioritise like a maniac. My time at eBay made me very good at prioritising and staying on track. It was similar to Incy. We had so many opportunities but you only had so much time in the day so you quickly realise where to focus your time and energy.
SHOP: Incy Interiors dresser, $799.
The most challenging thing for me is balancing my family and my business
I have a tendency to throw myself 150% into whatever I am doing but obviously I cannot do that now. I have a husband and children so trying to give both Incy and my family my all sends me a little crazy most weeks. My favourite saying is work hard, stay humble and I think it works not just for running a business but also for having a successful life.
The hardest part about being a mum is that it is constantly changing
You feel like you have everything sorted and under control and then the smallest little thing will change (like dropping a day sleep) and everything is thrown out and your beautiful little angel now resembles something similar to a raging savage ready to tear anything in sight limb from limb! The flip side is the love. There is honestly nothing better than an unprompted sweezy cuddle or a tiny little hand searching for yours to guide and protect them.
When it comes to my personal style
If I am in Bathurst I wear jeans, boots in winter and flats in summer and a jacket. I have a very impressive jacket collection! If I am in Sydney I tend to take advantage of the opportunity to dress up so I will wear a dress/skirt and heels. My go to stores for work essentials are Seed, Country Road, Witchery and Sass & Bide. I do also love a new Instagram find I may have a small addiction!
I tend to stick to the one bag until it gets to a point of no return
My everyday bag at the moment is a Goyard Tote Bag which is packed full of band aids, hair clips, Lego people and random colouring pencils.
I absolutely love when, first thing in the morning, the kids climb into our bed
We snuggle and talk about what the day will bring.
Kristys little list of loves:
Toni Maticevski I love every piece from his new collection.
Blossoms bring on spring!
Morning snuggles with my babes.
Dessert - any type, anytime, anywhere.
Our new nickel collection.
Running I certainly dont do it as often as I should but when I do I absolutely love it.
Yves Saint Laurent concealer.
Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo Words: Georgie Abay