Virgine Batterson is the talented woman behind Sydneys most charming childrens store, Mamapapa. Given how beautifully designed her shop is, it makes perfect sense that shes French and impossibly chic herself. Located in the beachside suburb of Avalon, the mother-to-three stocks her own line Mamapapa, along with brands such as Album di Famiglia Store, ATELiER ATSUYO ET AKiKO, Jess Brown Design, Numéro 74, and Muskhane, to name just a few. There’s also a great selection of womenswear. ”I only allow myself to buy a product if Ive fallen completely in love with it, in the hope that my customers will enjoy it as much as I do,” she says. The store is brimming with a heavenly mix of products which are so thoughtfully displayed, it reminds you that while online shopping is wonderfully convenient, theres nothing quite like the experience of browsing through a fabulous bricks and mortar store.
Mother to Kenyon, 15, Ella, 11, and Liam, 7, Batterson says her children were the inspiration for launching her own line. “They definitely inspired me to launch my own children’s clothing label. Living abroad isnt always easy. I love beautiful things and to be totally honest, I had a hard time finding goodies that I liked for my children. I couldnt find what I was looking for, or if I did, it was way above my price range, so this is why I started Mamapapa. It launched in 2005 and was an exciting new chapter in my life.”
Batterson began her career in retail in the inner city Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, where she owned a childrenswear store called Manon et Gwenaelle. “It was a dream come true, something I always wanted to accomplish, but I never thought it would become a reality,” she says. The store closed down in 2012. ”We closed really suddenly, due to some family issues, and moved to the Northern Beaches. We needed a change of scenery and to be honest, it was the best move we have ever done. After relocating to Avalon, she started working on her next project, Mamapapa. It wasnt planned at all, but a space I love was offered to me, and it was just meant to be.”
How would you describe the interior of Mamapapa?
The store changes all the time. Every second or third week, everything moves around from the displays to the colour. I love changing and rearranging the store.
What would your top picks from the store be?
It’s too hard to pick as I love all of it, but I have to say Album di Famiglia Store, Mor Mor Rita and Jess Brown Design would have to be my favourites.
You also style homes and childrens rooms what are your tips for decorating?
Decorating children’s rooms is always a new challenge. Every now and again a few of my clients ask me to help them. Depending on my schedule, I try and find time to help. You want to make sure that Mum is not only happy, but also the little ones. My own childrens rooms are a reflection of them. I try to replicate what they like into their room and work in what I like too together its perfect.
How do you juggle motherhood with work?
Every day is a new day and to be honest, I take one day at the time. Im trying to have regular days in Sydney and two days at the shop, but it doesnt always work out that way. I try to get my family organised first, then work is next on my list. We have a pretty good balance. In regards to time for myself, I dont have a lot. I think this is the same with many mothers, but I hope that one day I will have more time.
How did your career change after the birth of your children?
I have to say, Im not much of a career person. Having children was the greatest gift of life and it just made me experience something new that I had yet to explore. I really believe its important to be doing what you love and that is what Im inspired to do every day. I love new challenges. For the moment, I love making people happy by sharing with them all the things I love in life and I am inspired when they feel the same passion.
What has motherhood taught you?
Love and more love.
What are your style essentials?
I love oversize black pants and oversize white shirts. I love layers! The more layers I have on, the better I feel. I love everything oversized and always have. My favourite fashion brand at the moment is Album di Famiglia.
What are you most proud of in life?
My children for sure and our achievement as a family, my husband Scott included as without him nothing would have been possible. Kenyon, our oldest son, is very artistic and takes the most amazing photos, I love it. Ella is my little model and Liam is going to be a sports star one day.
What is the hardest and best part of motherhood?
The hardest of motherhood is making sure your children are safe and happy at all times, but its hard as you also want to spend every minute with them, but are not able to. The best part of being a Mum is teaching them common sense and to be able to enjoy their laughter.
Whats your favourite time of day?
I love dinner time as we are all together and we all share our day. I also love the mornings too, as my little Liam always wakes up with a smile and comes to our room every morning.
For more information, go to www.mamapapa.com.au