Meet The GRACE Collective: Melissa Karlson - The Grace Tales

Meet The GRACE Collective: Melissa Karlson

Today, we're taking a look inside the life of GRACE Collective member, Melissa Karlson...

As an entrepreneur, mother and all-round multitasking style guru, we couldn’t wait to find out more about Melissa, her work and her family … 

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your work?

I’m a 41-year-old mother of Lily (7 years) and Leo (5 years), wife to Jamie and owner of Luxury e-tailer Porte à Vie. I have a Bachelor of Business where I majored in accounting, and I also studied corporate finance at London Business School.

I am the founder of “Be Giving,” which is a circle of women volunteering in, and raising money for, Perth Children’s Hospital and am the Executive Director of my family’s investment vehicle, Wyllie Group.

My home and family are in Perth but I am currently spending four days every fortnight in Sydney.

What does a typical morning look like in your household?

In Perth – it commences at 5 am when Leo hops into bed with us. We normally manage to fall back to sleep before the mad rush, which consists of six different boxes of morning tea, lunch, crunch & sip and afternoon tea. Library books, homework bags, violins, dance clothes … I’m sure you know the drill!

In Sydney – it is rolling out of bed at what feels like an ungodly hour (the time difference kills me), when I’m quickly showered and dressed, with a coffee from Bellagio on the way into my Paddington office.

Did your work or career shift since becoming a mother?

Absolutely! I made a commitment to myself very early on that I would only leave my children with a sitter or sacrifice time with them if I was passionate, proud of, and enjoying what I was doing. This is what sparked me to branch out into my personal investments in both Porte à Vie, Stacey Surfboards (which my husband runs) and my philanthropy. I wanted my children to be inspired by and proud of their working Mum. 

How do you make the juggle work in your family?

In Perth, I have lots of family support which is why we haven’t made the move to Sydney, which essentially would be the more logical thing to do as both my and Jamie’s work is on the east coast.  This decision has been supported by leaving the children in private schools instead of a local school, which was what we had planned. With us travelling so much, we feel that they benefit from the extra support the private schools offer.

What’s your proudest career achievement to date?

It will be the introduction of Agent Provocateur back into the Australian market later this year. I secured the brand for Porte à Vie in July.

What’s your most memorable moment of motherhood so far?

Skiing and snow holidays. It’s the one thing the whole family enjoys – which is rare! Oh, and when my son won his pre-primary athletic carnival 60m sprint after declaring across the crowd, “I’m going to do this for you Mum!”

How do you switch off and make time for you?

TV – Netflix, SBS on Demand, Apple TV, you name it. I’m an addict! And the occasional (and I mean occasional!) session of Lagree pilates.

What lessons are you hoping to instil in your children, or legacy are you hoping to create?

  • Work hard/play hard
  • Travel travel travel.
  • Know every business you’re involved with inside and out, and from the ground up.

What sacrifices have you had to make since becoming a mother?

Disposable income! Kids are so expensive and discretion goes out the window as you just want them to have the best of everything… Whether it be piano lessons, raspberries when they are not in season, a holiday, etc.