After seeing a gap in the market, a chat over the back fence and nine months of creating, mother + joey was born.
This is a wonderful story about two mother’s who saw a gap in the market, wanted to create a legacy and still have the flexibility to manage their five kids aged five and under.
This is also a story of gratitude, collaboration and helping a fellow small business out.
I go way back with Peta, one of the founders of mother + joey. Back years to our university days when, one of my longest school friends met Peta while studying at Newcastle University. Peta quickly become part of our ‘crew’ and we often found ourselves discussing businesses ideas, marketing strategy, travel and fitness. When I came back after seven years in London, I bumped into Peta running the City 2 Surf and we have continued to pop in and out of each other’s lives since.
When Peta started creating mother + joey I reached out to say how excited I was for her new venture and that I was always here to bounce ideas or help. Little did I know that she would be helping me in a time of need.
When businesses are created from passion, creativity and a genuine love to give back, the possibilities are endless.
Here is the story of mother + joey…
We are not from a fashion background and have part-time jobs with 5 kids aged 5 and under between us. But between us we have the skills needed to start-up a business like this:
– Rowena is a Registered Nurse, with an eye for design and strengths in brand development
– Peta is a marketing specialist and can sew, and looks after business operations like production but also stakeholder management and marketing
We literally had a chat over the fence about 12 months ago about starting a fashion label dedicated to family fashion after we realised no one was doing it in Australia.
After 9 months or planning, testing and organising the business essentials, we had a product to launch.
Creating a lifestyle business
Being your own boss definitely has it’s perks – especially being able to work around family commitments so creating a lifestyle business is very important.
You can see this is the catalyst for so many business mums now doing the same, to hold onto that precious time with our children while they are so young.
We also want to inspire our kids to follow their dreams and go for it, no matter what your situation or location is.
Doing something we love is the best – it means you don’t take note of the countless hours needed to succeed otherwise it would be a chore.
The liberation of working and doing it for yourself
Being able to determine and experience your own self worth and importance, setting your own working conditions and knowing you are working for something you have created.
And of course the fact we couldn’t find on the market what we wanted, so we decided to make it ourselves like many other entrepreneurs.
The bigger picture for us is the conscious decision around #whomademyclothes. We are an active part of the Fashion Revolution, a global organisation fighting to make “slow fashion” the new normal. Being made in Australia is what we do best, and is something we are very proud of.
Collaborating is so essential to getting traction without big investment.
Any key learnings to share?
Oh my where do we start!
1. Collaborating is so essential to getting traction without big investment.
2. Fail (fast) on a small scale and learn from it so you can make better decisions. Going through that process is essential.
3. Put yourself out there and the universe will respond.
4. Back yourself from the start. Put your best foot forward and work the rest out as you go. You have one chance to make a good impression, invest in the important things like visual branding.
Your biggest win so far
We saw the call out by the Collective Hub, who were partnering with Lexus to offer 10 start-up packages worth 50K in marketing and mentoring. We decided to commission our filmmaker to create and winning entry (for less than your average price to advertise in anything these days) and we won!
Over the past 3 months, we have had use of the car and the fuel to develop our business – travelling all over the place making deliveries, picking up our clothes from our production team and visiting stockists and stakeholders as part of the prize. We even recorded our first podcast from inside of it last week.
From even before we had product to sell, we were in the eyes of the media, which gave us a great platform to launch from. We used our existing contacts from other networks to put our new venture on the radar.
Don’t be afraid to be bold and put your business out there.
We are all dreamers… tell us where you see mother + joey in the next 5 years
We can see our brand having an impact on the international market, as we know how much the world loves Australians and our culture. Our vision is to be involved in Fashion Week in the big cities, and to help give other fashion labels the access to produce in Australia like we do.
How do you maintain a work / life balance? Especially with so many kids.
Hide from them in the cupboard while posting on social media, they will want your phone to watch The Wiggles…LOL.
No seriously, time management is the key – be organised so when you have a moment of opportunity alone you are geared to make the most of it. We have to be extremely focused on bite size tasks in order to actually get anything done with our joeys always close by.. Trying to manage energy levels through the day so we can work late into the night and be up early is a challenge.
5 things on your bucket list
1. Ride a leg of the Tour de France as a shadow cyclist and experience the race
2. Participate (somehow in the Olympic Games)… shooting I think is the go. Age is not a barrier, so I still have time
3. Drive from one end of Australia to the other in a Landover, Ive had 4 so far…
4. Watch the Ashes at Lordes Cricket Ground. We go to the Sydney test every year for 5 days as our family Christmas….mmm some people say.
5. Own some land in the beautiful southern highlands, and why not a pony
What are your favourite 5 accessories you can’t do without?
1. Lifeproof phone case – my phone would be cactus otherwise
2. My Nixon watch
3. A warm snood for winter
4. My Oroton sunglasses
5. mother + joey bud earrings in linen
Favourite blogger and Instagram accounts?
@R.M.Williams and @Allthatisshe [her #allthatisthree feed resonated quite highly with our style!]
Also local interior stylist Louise Hatcher Styling’s #houseperv.
Bonus question… What’s your favourite Hills & West accessory?
It would have to be the Morgan Business Folio in whiskey… because we love anything that is tan leather that looks this good with everything! Being in the fashion game, we need to look the part.
Well I certainly put it out into the universe that I needed some help and Peta came to the rescue. I needed someone to help craft my Finders Keepers stand and of course Peta knew a guy. Whilst I had to rush to Ireland with a sickness in the family, she took over control and said not to worry about anything.
Family is always first.
She has gone above and beyond, has such an amazing attitude and oozes positivity; I know mother + joey is going to be a huge success.
I love that this label is all-Australian and is helping spread the Australian-made word. I am also incredibly grateful and lucky to have Peta in my world.
Look forward to mother + joey entering the homes of many Australian families, taking the global stage and becoming an international name.
Also looking forward to growing together, making dreams come true and many more collaborations.
If you are stuck for something wonderful to give this Mother’s Day, check out mother + joey and gift yourself, or your mum, something special this mothers day.
* Quick shout out – latest feature of mother + joey in Minty Magazine mentions Hills & West. Check it out here.