Do you cleanse your face properly?
For so many of us, the answer is probably no (and it doesn't help when you have a small child at your feet trying to get your attention). Which is why we like to keep our skincare regime simple and effective, and also why we opt for oil-based skincare.
Enter Smoosh, a fuss-free, natural skincare range based on the hydrating power of oils, created by Sydney mum of three and teacher Mim Gascoigne.
"Cleansing is such an important step in your routine. If the cleansing step is too harsh and dries out the skin, you are a few steps back and you've only just stepped onto the starting block," she says, referring to that feeling of dryness that can come after cleansing if you've stripped all the hydration out of your skin. She set about solving that skincare dilemma. Smoosh's Silky Cleansing Oil, contains six organic and natural plant oils, including camellia, peach, jojoba, watermelon and passionfruit and leaves your skin feeling soft, supple and hydrated (the opposite to the aforementioned dry, tight state).
Next in the Smoosh skincare regime is a serum, and there are three in the range, so there's something for all skin types. "Pregnancy, menopause, hormonal changes, illness, travelling, seasonal changes, stress, shaving (men love our Soothing Balance oil serum) are just some of the things that can change how skin is behaving and its specific needs," she says. "I wanted to offer three multifaceted organic and natural face oil serums, free from fragrance and essential oils, that would offer nourishment and visible results to skin during the different phases life throws our way." As for what serum actually does (i.e. how it'll help us glow), she explains that a serum is that extra step after you cleanse and before you moisturise, that will deliver a concentrated dose of vitamins, antioxidants and/or actives to your skincare routine. If your skin still feels dry after you apply serum, Mim advises you to keep your skin damp when you apply: "our oil serums absorb quickest when skin is damp. after cleansing or misting is a great time to smoosh. Three to four drops massaged into damp skin should leave skin supple, bouncy and moisturised never greasy."
Her passion for plant-based skincare products came from her mother, who is a GP and studied naturopathy. "She has a real passion for research so was great at teaching me, from a very young age, all about plants, their great benefits as well as their contraindications," says Mim. And as for the name Smoosh, it was inspired by the feeling you get when you see chubby baby thighs. "You really want to 'smoosh' them," says Mim. "Whatever age you are, healthy skin has that beautiful glow and softness that brings about the desire to touch and smoosh it."
Here we talk to Mim about how she got her business off the ground (and the ups and downs of that journey), the key ingredients in her products and why your skin will love them, practical time management tips for the working mother, and most importantly, how to Smoosh.
Go to www.smooshskin.com
Smoosh Silky Cleansing Oil
Smoosh's range of serums
There are so many cleansers in the market, why did you decide to launch an oil cleanser and what are the benefits of oil cleansers?
So many cleansers, yet I still felt like I hadn't found my perfect one. Personally, having such sensitive skin I really wanted to create an oil cleansing blend that was free from essential oils and fragrance, yet was also light and silky enough for all skin types. A cleanser that is gentle yet thorough is crucial. This is where an oil cleanser shines, it has the ability to cleanse away the most stubborn makeup and sunscreen yet leave your skin soft, hydrated and your skin barrier healthy and intact. I also had customers asking for me to create one.
What skin types would this product suit? For example, should oilier skins steer clear?
All skin types can benefit from our Silky Cleansing Oil, each plant oil in the blend has been thoughtfully chosen to provide just the right amount of slip for a beautifully smooth massage and cleansing ritual, without overloading the skin. Once massaged in and gently removed with lukewarm water and a soft cloth, your skin will be perfectly cleansed, super smooth, nourished and glowing. No greasy oil slick in sight.
Smoosh has three different serums. Firstly, what role does serum play in our skincare?
A serum is that little step that will deliver a concentrated dose of vitamins, antioxidants and/or actives to your skincare routine. Our oil serums can be used alone or added to your moisturiser. Luxurious, potent and brimming with goodness each of the three oil serums is loaded with omega fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants to help nurture and bring about healthy and glowing skin.
What is the difference between the three serums you offer - and how did you settle on three?
I settled on three, as I feel within the trilogy, all skin types can find a a blend to support them. Whatever skin season they are having. Pregnancy, menopause, hormonal changes, illness, travelling, seasonal changes, stress, shaving (men love our Soothing Balance oil serum) are just some of the things that can change how skin is behaving and its specific needs. I wanted to offer three multifaceted organic and natural face oil serums, free from fragrance and essential oils, that would offer nourishment and visible results to skin during the different phases life throws our way.
Radiance oil serum is a nectar-like oil serum, deeply moisturising so wonderful for very dry and/or mature skin. It turns around lack lustre skin really quickly and it's also wonderful in cold windy weather. Soothing Balance oil serum is for all skin types, especially those prone to breakouts, it's silky and light yet still provides beautiful moisture. It's calming on inflammation and brings clarity to confused skin. Nourish oil serum is a satiny, berry packed oil serum, it gives dewy hydration, nourishment and is really rejuvenating for normal to dry skin types. It's a bit like a super berry smoothie in a face oil!
Natural skincare has always been part of your life - tell me how your mother influenced your skincare decisions and how you approach your skincare regime?
My mum is a GP and also studied naturopathy so I was surrounded by tinctures and natural skincare products from a very young age. She has a real passion for research so was great at teaching me, from a very young age, all about plants, their great benefits as well as their contraindications. She was also instrumental in teaching me about the benefits of nutritious healthy food, the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle and how both can impact skin health for the better. She was into bone broth long before it was trendy!
Skincare has changed a lot over the years, what are some ingredients or products which have stood the test of time?
I think face oils have been around for a long time but have definitely become more mainstream which is great as I think they are really transformative. Oil and balm cleansers have been used by actors and stage performers for decades to remove heaving makeup so their credentials are pretty good too. Weleda Skin food is a great classic as is Dr Haushka Rose Cream. Lanolin is another ingredient that has stood the test of time, Lanolips 101 ointment, is such a great formula. Glycerin is a bit of an underrated ingredient, it's been around for ages and is so healing for dry skin. It seems to be having a bit of a resurgence though!
The term "clean beauty" is very trendy - how would you define clean beauty?
As there is no official definition for the term, I feel the term can sometimes be confusing. One brand's clean list can vary from another. I would say Smoosh Skin is a clean beauty brand insofar as it is organic and natural, plant-based, free from added fragrance, vegan and cruelty free.
What are the hero ingredients in your products?
This is a hard one; we source 26 of the highest quality organic and natural plant oils and create all our formulas in small batches so they are fresh and vibrant. They all play an important role, but special mention to the luminous coral red of the organic Rosehip fruit oil, and the dark vivid green of our virgin Hemp seed oil, however, they are all such a delight to blend and work with.
Where do so many of us go wrong when it comes to skincare?
I think trying too many new products, all at once can often send skin into a spin. I speak from experience in this area! Adding one new product to your skincare routine at a time and using it for a few days before adding the next, is the best way to see if a product is working for you. Also, when using actives like retinol and acid toners it makes you even more susceptible to sunburn so it's so important to practice good sun safety.
Smoosh founder Mim Gascoigne
What lead you to launch your own business - was there a defining moment where you made the decision?
I'd thought about it for many years, however, once I started having babies it took a back seat. Once I had my third child, I somehow felt ready to start a new chapter and had the confidence to jump in. I've always been naturally driven by creative projects and have a genuine passion for skincare so it helps to have a real love for what I'm doing.
The beginning is often a stumbling block for so many women when it comes to launching their own business. Where did you start and how quickly did you launch?
Much of the product line is a culmination of decades of my own research and experience so developing the products has taken years. However, once I decided to go for it, building the brand and business itself, took about six months to solidify. I drew on a bit of knowledge I had from some marketing subjects I did at university. My husband works in marketing so he offered to give me a framework to build the business from i.e. key steps to follow in launching the business, which was very helpful.
What has been the most challenging part of starting a business?
The most challenging parts have been sourcing packaging, labelling and suppliers. Some of our oils have been very hard to source. Covid-19 social distancing and restrictions hit just as I was launching, which brought new challenges as many of our oils were suddenly out of stock. Lastly, being from outside the skincare business, it is a challenge to build brand awareness as a small start-up as it is a crowded market, so that is our biggest challenge right now.
What about the most rewarding?
Customer feedback. Seeing our customers' skin transformations from our products. Having sensitive skin myself and dealing with eczema and more recently rosacea, I know how hard it can be to find a product that works and supports your skin. I genuinely love that we can help our customers get relief for their skin condition and attain healthy, happy skin.
Now, how do you manage your time between your children and your business?
It is a constant juggle, especially as many of the aspects of starting a new business are completely new to me, so I feel like it takes me more time than the next person, I have to do more research and this comes with more frustration! I have three kids, 9, 7 and 2, so working with them around makes any task infinitely longer! When possible, I plan ahead and carve out pockets of time to work when they are otherwise engaged. I have moved into a casual teaching role which gives me more flexibility to work on the business too.
How do you look after your skin daily? What products do you personally use?
I cleanse every night with our Silky Cleansing Oil and a soft cloth. I then use one of our three oil serums depending on how my skin is feeling.
In winter I mostly reach for Radiance oil serum in the evenings, it's so deeply moisturising and wonderful for dry winter skin. I then often choose the lighter, Soothing Balance oil serum in the morning. In the summer it's more often Soothing Balance in the day and Nourish oil serum at night.
I don't cleanse in the morning unless I've used a mask overnight. Skipping the morning cleanse has been really helpful in calming rosacea flare ups.
Every 7-10 days I use the Allies of Skin retinal and peptides overnight mask. I also use a pure white french clay mask mixed with one of the Smoosh oil serums if I need a soothing mask.
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser and RMS Un-Cover Up
Baby Cheeks Blush Stick by Westman Atelier
Tubing mascara as I have hooded eyes and no mascara stays put!
Lanolips 101 Ointment
"I had burnout mid last year trying to do too much. After having reached that point, I am very careful about what I take on and I'm also a lot more comfortable with letting go and not feeling like a failure if I say no," says Tabatha Brixton, the Melbourne-based mother and founder and director of womenswear brand Allora. She's speaking honestly about the reality of running a business while raising small humans. The word failure is key – if we're not running at a million miles per hours, we often feel we're failing. Stepping back and slowing down, needs to be celebrated.
Georgie Abay wearing an Allora cape
What does sustainability mean to you and why was making Australian made and ethically produced fashion so important to you?<p>Sustainability to me is about ensuring my purchases are considered and not something I will only use once and throw away. I invest in pieces that I really value and will use for a long time. As a brand we are constantly looking for ways to improve and become more sustainable including sourcing sustainable and premium quality fabrics, reducing our textile waste, recycling off-cuts, eliminating plastic from swing tags and using biodegradable packaging.</p><p>Making in Australia has always been important to me as I've always valued buying local. I've worked in the fashion industry for most of my working life and I've seen so many Australian brands move their production overseas and the adverse impact that this has had on the local industry. I feel strongly about supporting local manufacturing as I think it's important that we keep skills and jobs here. We have so many talented makers and factories in Australia that we need to look after and we also need to make sure we keep the industry alive so it's available for future designers and makers too. I also really value having a direct relationship with the makers and knowing the people who make my clothing.</p>
COVID-19 has changed the way we consume – do you think we will be focusing on buying less, but buying better?<p>I think in these times we do gravitate towards well-made classic pieces. People are becoming more 'conscious consumers' and thinking about fashion purchases and the impact it has on people and our environment. That said I also think there is still a way to go. Fast fashion is still prevalent and there is an overabundance of product in the marketplace which COVID-19 has highlighted to us again, it's not anything new. I do hope COVID-19 has made people think and reflect about what they <em>really</em> need and how much.</p>
Why start your brand with capes – where did your love of capes come from?<p>I fell in love with capes while I was looking at historic fashion photography of women in the 1960's. Capes were so popular, especially in Europe and I just loved how effortless, chic and stylish they looked and how versatile and practical they are. Living in Melbourne with its four seasons in one day I really took to the idea of creating a beautiful cape as it just seemed like the perfect item for my wardrobe and women I know.</p>
Some women aren’t sure how to style a cape – how would you advise they style their cape?<p>One of my favourite and most frequently worn ways is with a classic shirt, blouse or a knit and a pair of jeans. That is my go to look as a busy mum and working woman. It takes me anywhere. A cape also allows you to show off a beautiful sleeve or cuff detail and be a bit more creative with your look.</p><p>I've designed the capes in classic colours such as soft grey, black, ink and bisque so they are easy to coordinate with anything in your wardrobe from plains, stripes or prints. Over the years we have styled the capes many different ways to show the versatility and ease of wearing capes – from layering over a blazer to a more relaxed weekend style with jeans and a stripy tee. Our website is full of inspiration.</p>
What are your winter wardrobe staples?<p>A cape, coat, blazer, blouse, knit, jeans and a couple of winter dresses with boots. </p>
Georgie in the Allora Claremont dress
Georgie in the Allora Claremont dress
At what stage of the business did you decide you wanted to expand into other categories?<p>I had purely been a cape label for two years before I expanded into other pieces. It really was a natural progression as I had had such great success and feedback on the capes and customers were coming back for a second and sometimes third cape. I had a loyal customer who appreciated my quality, style and ethics. I really wanted to offer her more, firstly pieces to wear back with the cape she already had and then to offer her something completely new that was made to the same high standard of quality that she appreciates.</p>
Tell us about your colour palette for this season?<p>The palette this season is earthy and neutral which is timeless. It features Burnt Orange, Ecru, Wheat and Cream that all work well with our classic cape and coat colours. </p>
Georgie wears Allora Superfine Merino Skivvy
Georgie wears Allora Superfine Merino Skivvy
You’re a mother of two – talk us through how you’ve navigated a growing business with young children?<p>It hasn't been easy and at times very challenging to juggle everything. There is always so much to do and life gets really busy. It's hard to find the right balance sometimes. Looking after myself and my health is a priority and blocking out work time and family time is really important. Children are small for such a short time and I am lucky that I have been able to have them with me so much. They have been on the journey with me the whole way, coming to the factory and that's been wonderful. They have been a huge part of the Allora story and I'm very thankful for that.</p>
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?<p>When COVID-19 first began and we went into our first lockdown in late March I was right in the final stages of launching the new A/W20 collection that we had all worked so hard on. It was a year of work and we were all devastated to watch everything just stop after we had put so much in. I had to put some of the production and fabric orders on hold and had to just see what was going to happen. Like all businesses at this uncertain time we have had to focus on what we can do to continue to trade and move forward. </p><p><br>While sales have not been what we had forecast due to lockdown with events cancelled and people working from home, we are so thankful our customers have continued to shop with us. Our pieces are timeless and well-made and that is what our customer comes to us for. There has also been an increased movement towards buying Australian made and people really wanting to support Australian manufacturing and that has helped us a lot.</p>
If a mum could only buy three things for winter, what would you recommend?<p>1. A Cape. I really think it is a mum's essential wardrobe piece. When I was pregnant and feeding all the time my capes were my saviour. I would throw one around my shoulders and head out the door.</p><p>2. Merino Knitwear – Nothing makes you feel better than something beautiful and soft to the skin. It's a beautiful layering piece and you can wear your favourite blouse or dress over the top.</p><p>3. Wide Leg Pants – I think our Becker wide leg pants are the most comfortable pair of pants on the planet. Wide leg pant with a pair of white sneakers and you are set to go anywhere and they are also super comfortable for at home. </p>
And what do you love most about being an entrepreneur?<p>I love the freedom and creativity of building a brand from scratch but mostly I love building a business that aligns with my values and ethics especially around local manufacturing. I'm driven everyday knowing that decisions I make, both big and small, align with my mission and that I am making a contribution to an industry that I am passionate about.</p><p>It makes my day when I receive a beautiful email or note from a customer who is so happy with their purchase from Allora and who appreciates all the work that has gone in – it's the best feeling and tells me I'm on the right path and to keep going no matter what challenges lie ahead. </p>
I have a cousin who was born three days after me, so we grew up as twin sisters and this I consider such a gift.
"We grew up with our grandparents spending half of the year in the mountains and when I think I back I always smile," Margherita Cardelli reminisces about her childhood in Italy. She'd make pasta with her great grandmother, ride horses, ski in the mountains – to say it was idyllic is an understatement.
I love working with my husband...<p>We have completely different responsibilities, but we share everything each morning before taking any decisions. Lots of people ask us how we can work together. We actually love it and consider it a miracle.</p>
I always wanted to be a mother...<p>I never thought not to have children. It's the best gift one can receive and I feel very grateful I got to be a mother. It teaches me so many things and it always makes me think of when I was little and how I took certain decisions while I was growing up.</p>
We travel a lot for work and making this work with a baby is difficult...<p>I always feel I need to do more to make both my child and my husband happy and making this work with all the job responsibilities is not an easy thing. We don't have our families in Rome, so we needed to have a nanny. My mother comes often and helps us a lot. The main reason why I work this much is the future of our baby and I would never consider slowing it down. Also working makes me feel empowered and satisfied.</p>
Since COVID-19 hit, the future is still uncertain but we strongly believe it will be for the better...<p>We started from 0 and we are not afraid. We firmly believe in what we do and nothing will stop us.</p>
The best part of motherhood is...<p>Knowing that I am doing good and the smiles of Aida Atena. I can't even describe what I feel. I am so grateful to have her and make her grow in our family.</p>
I love a clean look with lots of styling such as vintage jewelry and hair accessories...<p>I definitely love a masculine look but never forget to stay feminine. So I use a lot of vintage silk shirts and feminine slingbacks.</p>
Giuliva was born out of a common idea I had with Gerardo about repurposing menswear into womenswear and the tailoring skills on a feminine look...<p>I love the sleekness and the power a masculine outfit gives to a woman's body. And again never fail to make it feminine.</p>
We only buy children's clothing made of natural products...<p>She's a mini-me and we look for baby clothing that resemblance what we wear. <a href="https://shop.misha-and-puff.com/" target="_blank">Misha and Puff</a> is definitely my favorite.</p>
Live your children free to choose their life always supporting them if needed...<p>Make them open their eyes and teach kindness and respect for anything.</p>
Right now, I am loving...<p>The Peter Diamandis book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Peter-H.-Diamandis/e/B006392BR2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share" target="_blank"><em>Abundance,</em></a> trying to master it and benefiting from the optimistic point of view it gives you. I am rediscovering the pleasure of cooking and water color painting. I am enjoying the pleasure of slowing down re-reading classics listening to classic Italian music, my favorite Lucio Dalla. Dancing the days away with Aida Atena and our dog Ottone in our living room.</p>
We're officially at the half way point. And this has been one of the first winters where I haven't wished it away.
Maybe because we've had no choice but to get nice and cosy because of COVID-19 or because I've made my home more of a retreat, but I'm enjoying these colder months far more than years past.
While we will not be jumping on a plane to somewhere sunny anytime soon...
We can still dream and put together a fun summer wardrobe. Here, our edit of some of summer's most covetable pieces.
Holding image: Julie Adams
The Grace Tales is a global lifestyle platform for mothers searching for style, substance, and solidarity. Driven by creating content, community and connection, we celebrate the paradox of modern motherhood; the struggle and the beauty, the joy and the relentlessness.
Coco & Wolf’s Amy Hemmings-Batt Has Created The Largest Selection of Liberty Fabric Bedding in the World
"I always said that I never wanted my own business, I enjoyed the stable secure monthly salary," says Amy Hemmings-Batt, the founder of contemporary luxury bedding and lifestyle brand Coco & Wolf, who spent over 10 years working as a fashion buyer (she spent the last few years of her career working with Kate Moss on her clothing collections for TopShop)...
Hemmings-Batt relocated with her husband to the British countryside from London just weeks before her daughter was born, and the plan was always to move back to London when her daughter turned one (years later, they haven't left).
She started searching for children's clothes that weren't pink, primary colours or fussy, and when she couldn't find anything she loved in her favourite prints and fabric – Liberty's iconic prints in Tana Lawn cotton – Hemmings-Batt started making the clothes herself. Before she knew it, friends started to ask if she could make things for their children. She was then approached by her first retailer, a small independent shop. "It was at this point that I started to build the website and launch the brand and when it really took off," she recalls. Years later, her brand is renowned for selling luxury, heirloom pieces for both adults and little ones, all handmade by a dedicated team of seamstresses in the company's Somerset based design studio. Coco & Wolf now offers the largest selection of Liberty fabric bedding in the world.
Here, we find out more about her career journey and what a typical day looks like.
Tell us about your own childhood…<p>My childhood was spent in the countryside, I grew up in a small village (that I couldn't wait to leave). We spent a lot of time outside, den building and crafting. My parents were both teachers, although when my brother and I were little my mum had her own sewing business. My parents have always both been creative people, they encouraged my brother and I to do what we love and follow our passions. When I was growing up, I knew there was a big wide world out there and I wanted to see it and live it. As soon as I had finished school, I was desperate to live in a city and escape the countryside. Little did I know that I would end up doing a full circle and move back to the countryside to offer my children the upbringing I was lucky to have.</p>
What did your career entail prior to children?<p>Before I had my children, I worked as a fashion Buyer for over 10 years. It was my dream job and my whole life, I absolutely loved it. I traveled the world for inspiration and sourced product for the global fashion market. I spent the last few years working with Kate Moss on her clothing collections. It seems like a different life when I think back to it. The fashion buying work has changed immensely since I left, I feel lucky to have done it when I did, and it gave me such good grounding for having the business now.</p>
Tell us about your experience when pregnant with your daughter, and what you started making...<p>When I was pregnant with my daughter the baby and children's clothing market was very small. I was obsessed with Liberty's iconic prints and knew the Tana Lawn cotton would make beautiful clothing for babies and children. I couldn't find anything that I liked out there, so I bought a few metres of different prints and started making the clothes and nursery accessories for her. </p>
What prompted you to turn this venture into a business?<p>I always said that I never wanted my own business, I enjoyed the stable secure monthly salary. We relocated to the countryside weeks before my daughter was born, the plan was always to move back to London when she was one. After she was born, I used to dress her in the clothes I had made for her. I was very lucky that she was a good sleeper, this enabled me to sew when she slept. Friends started to ask if I could make things for their children and then I was approached by a little independent shop that wanted to stock our collection. It was at this point that I started to build the website and launch the brand and when it really took off.</p>
Tell us about Coco & Wolf…<p><a href="https://cocoandwolf.com/" target="_blank">Coco & Wolf</a> is a contemporary and luxury bedding and lifestyle brand using Liberty fabric. We sell luxury, heirloom pieces for you and your little one, all handmade by a dedicated team of seamstresses in our Somerset based design studio. We have evolved over the years to increase our product range and now offer the largest selection of Liberty fabric bedding in the world. We work directly with Liberty Fabrics on developing our own unique colourways of their iconic prints launching four collections a year in line with Liberty Fabrics launching their prints. We work with inspiring stylists and photographers who bring our collections to life. There really is nothing more luxurious to sleep on than Liberty cotton and silk. It is so soft to the touch and breathable, just dreamy. We sell our bedding and clothing all over the world and are stocked in some of the most prestigious retailers. We believe every home has a space for Liberty's quintessentially British prints. With a key emphasis on style and quality all items are proudly handmade in England and are made using the iconic Liberty fabric which we have become famous for. Coco & Wolf is known worldwide for creating premium, unique and bespoke fashion, interior and lifestyle products, using the luxury Tana Lawn® Liberty fabric. The brand ethos remains the same as in the very beginning, every piece is thoughtfully designed, revolving around clean shapes and delicate detailing that is evident in every single handmade piece.</p>
What do you love about Liberty fabrics?<p>I love how inspiring the prints are, I love the thought and design process that goes into creating them. I love the stories they tell, steeped in history, and the emotions they evoke when people see them. I love the finish and feel of their fabrics.</p>
What are some of your most adored styles?<p>Our most adored styles are our bedding sets in Betsy and Capel. Two iconic Liberty prints that are synonymous all over the world and that have been produced in some of the most beautiful colours. Whenever we launch a new product we always launch it in either one of these prints. Our frill edge and silk pillowcases are favourite at the moment.</p>
How do you approach mixing and matching patterns?<p>There are a few rules I stick too when choosing print combinations. The first is an anchor print, a print that is often a favourite, a starting point. From this, I will then look for a print to compliment it in terms of colour and scale, so if the first print is a medium to large scale I will always mix it with a smaller scale ditsy floral that is the same colour palette or very similar. To add in third and fourth prints I will then look at highlight colour tones and two colour patterns. I will pick out a colour, or a couple of highlight colours that will often look to be a contrast to the first two prints but there will be some element of continuity. If choosing prints for a room, I will always work with the wall colour so this may be where one of the highlight prints comes from and helps to pull the collection together.</p>
What does a typical day like for you?<p>On a typical day, I have breakfast with the children and often take them to school. I use the journey home from the school run to gather my thoughts for the day ahead. I always try and clear emails first thing in the morning and then only check them again at lunchtime and then right before I finish otherwise, I lose a lot of time to them! At the beginning of the week, I have production meetings with the team to plan for the week ahead and make sure everyone is up to date for what is going on. I spend time designing new products and planning the new collections. We always have at least one season on the go at any one time, we work 6 months ahead in terms of print selection. The afternoons are often spent planing content, updating the website or, meetings with stylists and collaborators. I am VERY easily distracted though and always find myself coming back to the creative side of my job.</p>
How do you manage the juggle in your family?<p>The juggle is real! I am very lucky to have my mum living close by who helps us enormously with childcare, and she has a very close relationship with the children, which is so special. The plan was to be a mum first and have a business second, this worked initially when the business was tiny and I only had one child! I can remember launching the bedding two days after my son was born. When I think about that now I do not know how I did it. As the business grew, I realised that I needed more day time hours to work as my energy levels in the evening were terrible and not hugely productive. When my son started school in September last year I adapted my working hours to be all during school days, freeing up my evenings and weekends. I always try and make sure I am home to cook tea, so we can sit down as a family and then I can put the children to bed.</p>
How do your surroundings inspire your work?<p>Living in the countryside we are blessed with far-reaching views of fields, trees, and hills. I often find myself gazing out of the windows whilst thinking things through (always getting distracted). Nature and the outdoors are a constant source of inspiration, the changing effects of the seasons, the new flowers popping up and springing into life. This season one of our main focuses is on outdoor living, creating indoor spaces outside. </p>
We’re operating in a really challenging time for small business. How are you keeping yourself motivated?<p>My motivation at the moment is my two children. Adapting our family to our 'new normal', realising why I do what I do, the passion I have for the business and wanting to continue to be able to offer our products to our customers through this turbulent time. Creating a relaxing home environment and providing some light distraction.</p>
What brands or women do you admire?<p>I really admire independent brands who are doing their own thing and totally owning it, a couple of my favourite who are run by great friends and inspiring lovely ladies are <a href="https://apolina-kids.com/" target="_blank">Apolina Kids</a> and<a href="https://edit58.com/" target="_blank"> Edit 58</a>. Caroline at Apolina creates the most beautiful modern embroidered childrenswear with a sense of craft, all handmade In India. Lisa at Edit 58 has the most inspiring interiors eye and sources divine rugs and homewares from all over the world. </p>
Do you ever feel mother’s guilt?<p>Yes. Daily. Today I had a day off work to spend it with the children, we had a really lovely day, we made things, we walked, we talked, we read some stories, we hung out and then I had to nip off to work for an hour right before bedtime or and felt guilty for that even though I had spent the whole day with them! I always leave phone and laptop in a totally different room when having downtime with the children so I can focus on them.</p>
How do you wind down or take time for yourself?<p>Pilates and running. I am so grateful that my Pilates instructor is doing classes virtually at the moment and I can still get outside for run. Both of these activities are huge stress relievers for me and really help me unwind and switch off.</p>
What’s on your list of loves at the moment?<p>My Liberty silk pillowcase. <br>Rose Quartz Facial Roller. <br>Aesop Resurrection Aromatic Hand Balm. <br>Diptyque's new Insolite candle. <br>Super Kingsize fitted sheets in Liberty cotton (now I don't need to climb into my children's beds to experience sleeping on the silky soft cotton!). <br>House Party app. <br>Happy Place podcast by Fearne Cotton. <br>Le Labo The Noir 29. <br>Almond Butter Porridge. <br>Morning hugs from my children who make everything feel like everything is ok.<br>Silk nightwear I am trialing ready for launch in July!<br>Topics of Conversation: A novel by Miranda Popkey</p>
“I don’t do it all” – Homegrown founder Emma Hawkins On Why We All Need To Be Honest With Each Other
Given Emma Hawkins' most vivid memories of her childhood are of country life riding horses and just getting up to mischief with her siblings, it's no surprise she's gone on to create a wholesome life in the country with her own family...
The highs? "The space, air, stars, animals and privacy." While the lows include running on rainwater and tank gas, meaning, "when we run out… we run out!".
A mother of two girls – Arabella and Primrose – and wife of Geelong Cats star Tom Hawkins, Hawkins launched a childrenswear brand called Homegrown last year. Inspired by her own childhood, which was spent in easy-to-wear clothes, she set out to create a brand of comfortable, fuss-free clothes, for ages 1-4 with the single-minded aim of helping kids to do what they do best: have fun and make mischief.