Today we're getting to know one of our fabulous GRACE Collective Members, Alana Tiller!
As the entrepreneurial powerhouse behind cult children’s label Goldie + Ace, we were keen to know more about Alana, her work and her family…
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your work?
I am Alana Tiller and am the owner and designer of clothing label Goldie + Ace, as well as mum to Judson (3) and Lottie (1). I started my career as a Retail Buyer in home interiors then moved into textiles. I met my husband, Tristan, when I was the bedlinen buyer at Harris Scarfe, he was the bedding buyer. You could say it was meant to be! I then moved to Adairs and was the bedlinen buyer there for almost 7 years until I had Lottie. It was there that my obsession with quality textiles and beautiful design really evolved. I launched Goldie + Ace, a babies and kids clothing label, in 2017 together with my business partner Chris Kontos.
What does a typical morning look like in your household?
A typical morning in our house starts about 7.00am when the kids wake up. If I’ve been organised I’ve already been to a pilates class (let’s be honest, that isn’t a typical morning) and if Tristan doesn’t leave early for work, the two of us can get the kids ready for kinder/daycare. Those mornings are always fun and generally, the kids will be ready to head out the door just after 8. Tristan is so organised and I am always in awe of how he can round up the kids so quickly. The mornings he leaves early for work and it’s just me to get the kids ready, it’s mayhem, they never want to get dressed and it’s basically an hour and half of trying to get them to eat, brush their teeth, get dressed and be out the door before 9. I’m lucky if I get time to brush my hair on those mornings…
Did your work or career shift since becoming a mother? How do you make the juggle work in your family?
My career as a retail buyer was always quite demanding with long hours and regular buying trips for weeks at a time. I always knew when I became a mum I would probably want to give it up. Weirdly I didn’t, and after Judson was born I went back after a few months. I think I didn’t know how to just stop and not work. We had an amazing nanny and Tristan was super flexible with his hours because he runs his own business, so I felt like it worked. But I was tired, all the time.
When I fell pregnant with Lottie I decided to finally launch my clothing label (that I’d been writing business plans for since I was 16) to have a more flexible work-life and be more present for the kids. I think I’m a better person, a better mum, when I’m doing what I love so I don’t feel guilty anymore about working.
I now work 3-4 days a week, and spend the rest of the time with the kids. I absolutely couldn’t do it without Tristan who picks up a lot of the slack when I need to work more hours due to travel or a trade fair or a pop-up shop we might be running. We are definitely crazy for both having our own businesses, but the flexibility is amazing.
What's your proudest career achievement to date?
My proudest career achievement to date would have to be Goldie + Ace. It’s my third baby, and I couldn’t be prouder to watch it evolve and grow.
What’s your most memorable moment of motherhood so far?
Holding them in the seconds after they were born, looking into their eyes and wondering who they will be. I never want to forget those moments.
How do you switch off and make time for you?
Making time for exercise is a priority especially after two kids, the body is not so forgiving! I always feel better for it, but prioritising it is difficult, something I need to improve on. But where I really switch off and just be me is when I’m designing.
What lessons are you hoping to instil in your children, or legacy are you hoping to create?
I’m really trying to teach them to be kind and respectful. Ever since I can remember, my beautiful Grandma Betty would tell me to always look for the good in people, never to judge anyone and to always be kind. Of course, I never understood this until later in life but I’d like my kids to understand this instinctively. Lottie is still learning to talk but loves books. We found this great one by Wonderbly that allows you to personalise the story based on what values you want to instil in your child, as well as personalising it with their name so the story is all about them. Judson is still learning to share and be gentle with his friends, so we have a way to go yet…
What sacrifices have you had to make since becoming a mother?
Life has completely changed since becoming a mum, yes there’s less time with friends, declining standards at home and in how I look leaving the house, but it’s a new chapter that I’m embracing.
After the birth of my son, I felt completely different, but not in a good way. I couldn’t look in the mirror and I was convinced my husband would never find me attractive again, even though he told me that was far from the truth, there was no way I believed him. I was down all the time and convinced I was depressed. After about 6 months I sought counselling and she basically laughed at me (in the most lovely way) saying what I was experiencing was so common and that I just needed to embrace this new way of life that included much less sleep and far lower standards of appearance than what I’d previously had. She promised me it would get easier. And that I had to prioritise myself. Everything has become true as I’ve learnt to navigate life as a mum, but prioritising myself is still difficult! Perhaps working, and building my brand, is prioritising myself as it is something I am so passionate about. And enjoy.
What are the top items on your favourites list at the moment?
- Go-To Skincare’s Face Masks are my current obsession, they really do make you look like you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
- The new Goldie + Ace summer collection is definitely on my favourites list, my kids are already living in the terry-towelling basics and it all washes up so well.
- Podcast – Wardrobe Crisis. Sustainable fashion is what we are all about at Goldie + Ace and this podcast gives constant inspiration on how to improve what we do every day to help the planet.
- Marley Spoon – our meal box arrives every Monday and I don’t have to think about what we are having for dinner that week. It’s a life saver, and I love that there is no waste as the ingredients are exactly portioned.
- ‘Now Say This’ by Heather Turgeon & Julie Wright. Speaking to my children to get them to listen was such a challenge until I read this book. Such an eye opener for me, and so helpful.