“I love the saying ‘The days are long but the years are short’. Time with children does seem to go on forever and then suddenly it has flown by. I always try to remember this and appreciate the present more, rather than always thinking of what’s around the corner,” says Auckland-based Georgia Faull on the best advice she’s ever been given on motherhood...
The dynamic mother of three – Eliza, 17, Nat, 13, and Thea, 8 – launched childrenswear brand Nature Baby with her husband Jacob back in 1998 after discovering they were pregnant with their first child. Their goal? To create a brand which offered parents organic innovative products. They haven’t looked back. In 2014, they were the top-selling babywear line for J.Crew’s online store. They have three stores in New Zealand (Grey Lynn, Newmarket and Takapuna) as well as a thriving e-commerce store, which offers everything from clothes and accessories to beauty products to toys. Basically, Nature Baby is a one-stop shop for eco-minded parents. As the name suggests, the family business specialises in products that nurture you, your baby and nature. Softness, breathability, warmth and durability are key to their philosophy and they work with fabrications such as 100% pure certified organic cotton and pure New Zealand merino wool. “Small children often describe Nature Baby clothes as ‘the comfy ones’,” says Faull. Indeed, while kids might describe them as “comfy”, mothers are sure to add on words such as wholesome, all-natural, chemical-free, beautiful and innovative. Nature Baby offers the ultimate fusion of fashion and function and whether it’s bibs, blankets or bodysuits you’re after, Nature Baby is bound to become your new go-to brand (that is, if it’s not already). And you’re not alone – Jennifer Garner, Miranda Kerr and Pink are among the many celebrity fans of Nature Baby. Read on to find out more about Faull’s business tips, advice on motherhood and more. Go to www.naturebaby.com.au
Georgia with her eight-year-old daughter Thea
Take us back to those early days of juggling a new business with a newborn baby…
Lots of sleepless nights, both because of the baby and also spent thinking about the business. We lived in a classic tiny working-man’s cottage in Ponsonby, in inner city Auckland. Our entire front room was filled with stock. There wasn’t a lot of room for us and the baby (which was both exciting and daunting).
Is there anything you would have done differently?
It’s hard to say, we have learnt a lot from our approach (warts and all), which we would never trade. The beauty of working at a more organic pace means we retain a greater connection with the brand and customers, although some days you wish it would all run with the push of a magic button!
What would your advice be to women wanting to launch their own business?
To think outside of the square, don’t try to duplicate ideas that have already been done, and timing is crucial!
What keeps you driven and inspired?
The kick you get out of offering something to the world that has come from some dreamy area of your brain and been turned into a reality.
How would you describe your own parenting style?
I think I would describe my parenting style as quite intuitive. I try not to be too rigid and I tend to follow what is happening at the particular time/stage etc. I have read a lot of books about childhood, but wouldn’t say I subscribe to any one philosophy and with three children, your parenting style can change a lot from one child to the next.
Can you take us back to your childhood…
I grew up in Auckland City. We lived on the city fringe, but with a big wild inner city garden, and I grew up exploring nature with a lot of beach and camping trips and a gaggle of pets.
Is motherhood getting easier? What has been the most challenging part of motherhood for you?
I don’t really know if motherhood really ever gets ‘easier’. Things definitely change and you find you might have more time available (like to brush your teeth!), or that you are not rushing quite as much, however the worry about whether they are going to be ok (happy, healthy etc) is still there – and you realise that worry is never going to go away even when your child reaches 50!
What has been one of your favourite ages/stages with your children and why?
I love ages three and four before they start school. They are so free and imaginative and uninhibited, and they have mastered control over their bodies and language and their personality is emerging in full force.
Talk us through your philosophy “let’s look at the everyday and figure out how to make things more interesting”…
On the surface we offer organic and natural products for this special time, but beneath this we look to empower our customers in a way that is both beautiful and interesting but at the same time real, simple and useful, so that they are inspired to make great choices for their baby. We play a lot between these two types of ideas throughout our business – taking something that is humble and everyday and making it the most interesting and beautiful thing – from specific baby fabrics, a particular way of swaddling, or the useful bodysuit, down to the messaging on our store windows. Design plays a big part in what we do too, not as decoration, but in a way that explains what we are trying to achieve together.
Take us through some key parts of the Nature Baby range – what are you most proud of?
I am proud of the fact that we have been pioneers in the field of organic cotton, and we have really worked hard to maintain the fair-trade ethics in the production process, which is really not easy or the norm in the clothing business.
Talk us through what the key focuses are for the brand for the next five years?
We really want to work with a bigger community of mothers and families. Not necessarily broader, but tuning in and supporting the groundswell of mothers that want to be part of this change for the better in their own family and the world. We have an initiative that we are kicking off in August this early next year, which we are really excited about. I can’t say too much now but it will be in Australia and this will form the basis for the future.
Top three essentials for a new mama?
Our lovely, comfy Henley T-shirt (shop it here) is great for pregnancy and nursing; Mum’s Butter (shop it here) is so multi-purpose it can literally be used for everything from cracked lips to nappy rash; and allowing yourself time to rest following birth.
Describe polyester in three words…
Hot, sticky, sweaty.
How do you handle the inevitable stress that comes with juggling motherhood with work?
By exercise and mindfulness – I try to slow my mental activity at certain times, and find having quiet time to myself is necessary to have clarity and feel balanced.
What are your greatest strengths?
I enjoy seeing both the big picture and the small detail of things.
What makes you really laugh?
When people don’t take themselves too seriously and are happy to poke fun at themselves.
Those days when you feel life is just an uphill battle, and you are not a good parent/wife/breadwinner…
How would you describe life in New Zealand?
Life in NZ is amazing, I feel very privileged and grateful to live in country with such natural beauty and open spaces – and free from the uncomfortable politics of other places.
Are you messy or tidy?
I wouldn’t describe myself as a clean freak or a minimalist because I do like to have a lot going on around me visually all the time – and really, I don’t have a lot of time to keep a perfect house with five people (plus dog) living in it – but I do like everything I surround myself with to be objects that are meaningful and purpose filled, so that means I try not to collect meaningless “stuff” and keep clutter to a minimum.
What’s the secret to a happy marriage after children?
Firstly, respecting that you need to try to be ‘team mates’ and best friends, and realise that sometimes we need to adjust our expectations and respect difference. Secondly, I know personally and hear often that a lot of marriage tension arises out of domestic chores and childcare issues, who does what etc, so I think a good distribution of labour around these, especially if both parents are working, is essential.