Making A Splash: Vamastyle’s Kaitie Manani
We offer a colourful, coordinated and complete vacay-ready wardrobe, says Vamastyles founder Kaitie Manani. Inspired by endless summer holidays and designing for the all-year-round summer lifestyle, Mananis chic offering includes everything from stylish swimsuits to cover-ups to totes in punchy prints. It's no surprise her vibrant designs are all over Instagram and worn by stylish mothers such as Innika Choo, Anna Mavridis and Shihfen Gavala. In fact, by the time you've finished looking at her feed (@vamastyle), you'll probably have a palm print jumpsuit or a leopard print swimsuit in your cart. We caught up with the Hong Kong based mother of two boys to talk summer style and motherhood
What has motherhood taught you so far?
Be in the present, patience (still perfecting that one though!) and unconditional love.
Whats a typical day like for you?
5.50am: I meditate for 20 minutes; its not always pretty as the boys often interrupt at least once. But they now know to leave me until I come out and start breakfast. I love this time of the day, having breakfast with my boys. 8am: My eldest boy goes to school on a bus at 8am then I drive my youngest son to his school on the south side of the island. I love this drive; we go from urban hard edge city vibes to green jungle mountain scenery in five minutes! 9am: Its work time. I love having a flexible work life. Some days I need to be with my production manager in the studio, other days I work remote in cool little cafes sprouting up over HK. Its a mix and match daily approach for me - every day is different. Its a real juggle sometimes but I love not sitting at my desk day in day out. I train a few lunch times a week, which keeps me sane, focused and feeling strong. Afternoons are filled with school pick ups, homework, then I squeeze another few hours in the late afternoon and evening for more design work, planning and marketing. By the end of the day I am kind of over dinner, so I have a basic light protein meal. By 10pm I am ready for bed!
What's your daily beauty routine consist of?
I actually now set a timer on my beauty/makeup time as I used to really take a long time. I dont have that endless time anymore, so it's 35 minutes for a shower, getting dressed and makeup.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to launch Vamastyle?
My background is in graphic design; I worked for many fashion and lifestyle labels in Australia and the UK (where I lived previously to Hong Kong). I knew when we moved from London to Hong Kong I was going to start something of my own in fashion. It took me a little while to work out exactly what but I had a gut feeling I would work it out. Initially Vamastyle was just resortwear but after moving to Singapore for three years the lack of swimwear became apparent and I added the swimwear range into the collection and havent looked back! By adding the swimwear into the brand, its really helped me define the vision for the label.
Did your career change at all after the birth of your children?
It actually started after the birth of my first son. I had wanted to run my own business for a while but never had the confidence to really start it until we moved to Hong Kong. Timing is everything and it just felt like the right time to start my own label.
How do you juggle working with being a mother?
As I said earlier, its a mix and match approach. I have got much better at time management since running my own business and having the two boys. I break everything down to 30 minute time slots and work out which things I can do post and pre-school pick ups and what is best to leave until later in the home studio.
What are your key tips for running a successful business?
Passion trumps everything. If you dont have the passion at the start, I think many people trail off when it starts to get tough. Its relentless hard work and you never switch off properly when you run your own business. There is always something more you should be doing. Saying that, learning to create boundaries around your work and personal life is crucial. There must be a balance. Otherwise you burn out; I have got close to that point before and never want to get to that point again. Thats where meditation has become my BBF; it creates clarity and lightness across everything you do or say, and very importantly, how you react to situations.
Can you tell us about your passion for fashion design?
I grew up on a farm in north west NSW and have always loved creating and designing things. I loved drawing and making my own little shops. Id find anything I could (stones, leaves, pegs, etc ) on the farm and sell them to my family. My eye has always jumped to pattern and colour. I loved using these elements in my graphic design work and even more across designing my own prints from Vamastyle.
What clothes do you live in day-to-day?
In summer, basically my own label, plus a little denim and basics from Alexander Wang and Zara. In winter, its a lot of Zara mixed in with some Helmut Lang and Isabel Marant that I can score on sale!
What mum bag do you use day-to-day?
I have a few on rotation. In summer, I use our Vamastyle beach daze tote bags and a tan leather bucket bag from Mansur Gavriel. In winter I use a camo print tote bag from Hong Kong brand MISCHA and an oxblood Celine leather tote.
So far what has been the hardest part of motherhood?
The juggle of work life did use to play a guilty tune in my head. As the boys have got a little older now (4 and 7), I have worked out my own rhythm with work and being a mum. I dont feel the pressure as much to be the so-called perfect mother. I like creating my own path.
Whats your favourite part of the day?
What took you to Hong Kong and what do you love about living there?
My husbands work initially in 2007, then we moved to Singapore for four years and we are now back in Hong Kong for both our jobs. I loved the energy and the pulse of Hong Kong. It really fuelled my creative juices and kick started the journey to creating Vamastyle. Its so different to any other country I had ever lived in. I love the vibrant street markets and little lanes selling all sorts of things for such a bargain!