The Tale Of Meaghan Kendall - The Grace Tales

The Tale Of Meaghan Kendall

Geelong-based Meaghan Kendall is a woman on the move. As the head buyer for Cotton On KIDS, she travels every eight weeks to keep updated on current trends. She’s also the mother of three gorgeous children - Jack, 12, Issey, 10, and Arabella, 3 - who thanks to their globe-trotting mother, have already seen a lot of the world. “When Arabella was three months old, she joined me on a 10-day round the world buying trip. She has since joined me on three of these trips to Paris, Antwerp, London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo,” says Kendall.

It’s a demanding role, yet almost a decade with the company, it’s one Kendall has mastered. Her secret to success? She’s passionate about what she does and also has a great support network around her. “I receive a lot of support from my husband Cam, in-laws and my family. I joined the Cotton On Group 10 months after Issey was born. They are really supportive of working mums and I’ve got flexible hours and work from home on Fridays.”

This month the brand launches their new Cotton On KIDS Active range, spearheaded by the talented Kendall. “I noticed a global trend of sports luxe becoming part of people’s everyday wardrobe,” she says. “This trend inspired us to create our first Active wear category, but of course with our famous kids twist on it.” What can we expect? Fun, colourful prints, sparkle for the girls and a bit of attitude for the boys. “The range is fun and practical and caters for boys and girls from age two to 14. What’s also great about Active is that the garments match back to our existing apparel ranges, so parents and kids can enjoy mixing and matching back to their existing wardrobe,” she says.

Issey wears Free by Cotton On racer back top, $19.95, and leggings, $24.95.

Kendall is also passionate about health and wellbeing in children and encouraging movement. “We’ve created a range children will love to wear – it makes being active even more fun for them. So many mums live in chic workout wear, it’s cute for their kids to copy the look.”

While life is hectic with three young children, Kendall grew up surrounded by kids so says she’s used to the chaos that comes with young children. “I’m from a big family. We’ve always had lots of kids around. Probably the biggest change for me after becoming a mother was just more noise, but I’m so much more fulfilled,” she says. These days, it’s the little things that matter the most to her: “coming home and seeing the kid’s smiles greet me when I walk in the door. I also LOVE goodnight kisses.” Or there are the heart-melting moments when her youngest daughter Arabella tells her she’s “the best mumma in the whole wide world.” The family also spend a lot of time at home on their farm where they can reconnect and wind down together.

cottonon_Capture_004 cottonon_Capture_014
Jack wears Free by Cotton On Axel hoodie, $29.95, and tech pant, $19.95. Arabella wears Cotton On Kids Dance leotard, $22.95, skirt, $24.95, and wrap, $22.95. Issey wears Free by Cotton On racer back top, $19.95, and leggings, $24.95.

Kendall admits the travel can be challenging at times. “The hardest part of motherhood for me is missing out on school occasions and also sometimes birthdays due to travel,” she says. She makes an effort to balance this out with regular family holidays. We visited Kendall to find out more about the new Active range, Cotton On’s 10th anniversary and how she juggles so many hats…

Jack wears Free by Cotton On Axel hoodie, $29.95, and tech pant, $19.95. Arabella wears Cotton On Kids Dance leotard, $22.95, skirt, $24.95, and wrap, $22.95. Issey wears Free by Cotton On racer back top, $19.95, and leggings, $24.95.

“Motherhood has taught me…
The importance of organisation, multitasking, patience and flexibility. You have to be on top of all of these things when you wear so many hats and are juggling kids, work, lifestyle etc.

I could not imagine life not being a mum...
As Jack and Issey have gotten older recently, it's changed as more time is spent in the car being the taxi driver taking the kids to their after school and weekend activities.

cottonon_Capture_032 cottonon_Capture_058 cottonon_Capture_077
Meaghan wears her own clothes. Jack wears Free by Cotton On axel hoodie, $29.95, and tech pant, $19.95. Arabella wears Cotton On KIDS Dance leotard, $22.95, skirt, $24.95, and wrap, $22.95. Issey wears Free by Cotton On racer back top, $19.95, and leggings, $24.95.

There is a seven-year age gap between Issey and Arabella…
With Jack and Issey being older, they were much more independent and I could give Arabella the attention she required. Jack and Issey were already at school and in an established routine and Arabella was a great baby.

I never wear lots of makeup...
I’ve always preferred a natural make up look and that has definitely followed me into motherhood. Tinted moisturiser is my go-to make-up product. My skin routine includes a daily cleanser, facial scrub every few days, and a weekly mask.

Issey wears Free by Cotton On crop top, $19.95 and play short, $26.95.

Issey wears Free by Cotton On crop top, $19.95 and play shorts, $26.95. Jack wears Free by Cotton On tech tee, $24.95, and footy shorts, $24.95. 

I exercised throughout my first pregnancy…
Issey wasn’t as easy, my waters broke at 19 weeks and she was born at 30 weeks. She is a real fighter and my miracle, there were quite a few complications during the pregnancy and then also when she was born. With Arabella, I exercised the entire pregnancy and now I do personal training three times a week and have recently gotten into reformer Pilates.

I love pushing the boundaries, interpreting adult's trend and adapting them for kid's fashion...
You can have so much fun with colour when designing for kids. I particularly love the trims and embellishments you can add to girl's garments, and how you can be really creative with apparel, then create accessories that match back.

Issey wears Free by Cotton On crop top, $19.95, and jacket, $44.95. 

We are really proud of the entire team and reaching this 10-year anniversary milestone…
A lot of our success comes down to a few things such as listening to our customers. We have a really engaged retail and online team that take customer feedback and share with our buyers and designers to ensure we are always evolving. We always aim to exceed our customer’s expectations and of course we are passionate about Cotton On KIDS! Most of our team have kids, so we understand the market really well. Since opening our first store in Knox, Victoria in 2005, we have grown to have 92 stores in Australia.

cottonon_Capture_142 cottonon_Capture_147
Arabella wears Cotton On KIDS Active tank, $18.95, and cropped leggings, $18.95.

Issey wears Free by Cotton On racer back, $19.95, jacket, $44.95, and leggings, $24.95. Arabella wears Cotton On KIDS Active tank, $18.95, and cropped leggings, $18.95. Jack wears Free by Cotton On axel hoodie, $29.95, and tech pants, $19.95. 

We worked with the Cotton On Body team on the launch of Active…
We took a lot of their learnings and applied these to the Cotton On KIDS range. We wanted to ensure we were creating practical, age-appropriate apparel, but had our own handwriting, glitter, colour and attitude. We did a lot of market research and asked people with kids and tweens what they wanted and what their kids wear to sport or on the weekend. Then of course, being a mum I knew what the market place was missing.

We are working on Christmas at the moment…
For girls, it’s all about the sparkle, dresses, beautiful embroidery, printed and embellished skirts, for boys foiling and licensed T-shirts. Indigo also is a colour trend. Coloured denims and our upcoming swimwear all feature fun summer colours. We will put sparkle in everyone’s world?. I don't want to wish the year away, but our Christmas range is amazing and I can’t wait for it to hit the stores. We’ve got all the must haves ?looking new and different and then all the lust haves that no-one will be able to say no to. Every week there will be something ?new.”

Issey wears Free by Cotton On top, $19.95, and leggings, $24.95. Arabella wears Cotton On KIDS Active top, $18.95, Cotton On KIDS Queenie crown, $6.95 and Cotton On KIDS Dance skirt, $24.95. 


cottonon_Capture_261 cottonon_Capture_286
Issey wears Free by Cotton On top, $19.95, and leggings, $24.95. Arabella wears Cotton On KIDS Active top, $18.95.

Meaghan’s little list of loves:
Holidays with my family.
Hot water with lemon first thing in the morning.
Watching Jack play footy.
Watching Issey and Arabella’s dancing concerts they put on for us every night!
Pinning on Pinterest.
Cooking on the weekend.
Getting my hair done.
Working on the Cotton On KIDS summer collection – the colours and prints are fantastic!
Ed Sheeran when I need some music to chill out to and slow the pace down. Adam Lambert and Meaghan Traynor for a bit more face paced. Unfortunately with young kids Taylor Swift, 1D and Frozen are continuously on shuffle.
Bedtime. Means we’ve made it through another day. My time to reflect ?on the day and prepare for the next one.
My husband. For keeping me real and putting everything in perspective.
My mum's mum. She was a single mum of three girls and worked hard her whole life. She worked in retail at Myer for over 30 years. She was a gentle, loving lady. She always had a smile on her face, had a wicked sense of humour and told great jokes. She never had a bad word to say about anyone. She loved people and lived life to the fullest. She passed away the week before Arabella was born. I often say to my family that nana and Arabella are kindred spirits and Arabella is here to keep nana’s spirit alive.

Photography: Julie Adams Words: Georgie Abay

cottonon_Capture_309 cottonon_Capture_324 cottonon_Capture_330Issey wears Free by Cotton On racer back, $19.95, and leggings, $22.95. Jack wears Free by Cotton On axel hoodie, $29.95, and tech pants, $19.95. Arabella wears Cotton On KIDS Active tee, $18.95, and play shorts, $24.95. 


Unlock unlimited access to the world of GRACE.
Catch up on our complete archive of members-only
features and never miss an inspiring mama story again!