How many identities do you have?
I have many but I'm hopefully not defined by any. I am a mother, a fiance, a designer, a collaborator, an entrepreneur, a traveller and a creative.. and I'm sure there are more in there somewhere! I have never really been big on job titles and that also goes for titles for myself. At the end of the day, I'm just a girl going for her dreams with her family by her side. To be honest, I still cannot believe I am a mother or an entrepreneur. The idea of what they are in my head is so different to what and who I am! When someone asks me what I do I usually respond with, "I'm a Landscape Designer". But it is a little more multi-faceted than that. I've realised I really need to work on my elevator pitch!
Have you always been creative?
Not at all. I stumbled, or should I say fumbled, across my creativity. Growing up, I was a math and science kid. I was studious, shy and the thought of art class or theatre made me extremely anxious! A case of rebellion in Year 11 led to a drop in grades and the dream of going to Uni to become a Zoologist slipped away. I was pulled into the principal's office and advised I would not graduate from high school if I continued the way I was. To ensure this wasn't my fate I had to swap my TEE subjects to dance, photography, maths in practice and IT. I was so out of my comfort zone but it turned out to be one of the best years I've ever had at school. Thankfully I graduated, and gained use of a whole other side of my brain that I never knew existed! I still remember how much of a failure I felt at the time. I never thought I would recover from it. I had dreamed of going to University and become a Zoologist for as long as I could remember. I now see that time as a beautiful lesson and opportunity. It was the start of my creative path.
What made you start your own company?
I had my first job at 13, working in the bakery at the Wanneroo Markets. I've tried many different job roles and I've had some pretty testing jobs - telemarketer and door to door sales were some of the worst - but even in these jobs I always did my best. I've never been afraid of hard work, but I found I just couldn't stick to one job. I was either always looking for more or felt unsettled, or should I say trapped! I'm not from an entrepreneurial family so the world of business was very foreign to me. But working 9-5 for someone else didn't appeal to me.
I knew there was something else out there but I wasn't sure what it was until I decided to pack my bags and head to the UK on a 2 year working visa in my early 20's. Before settling in London I wanted to travel through the US and Central America but I was working in retail fashion at the time and my store manager wage definitely wasn't going to cut it! I had to find a way to make some money to cover my round the world ticket and trip. At the time, I was making earrings and jewellery to wear with my outfits to work. Friends, family and customers were always asking where I got them from so I started taking orders. One day I had a thought... If I could get these stocked in a nationwide store I might be able to get enough money together to make this trip a reality. I called Sportsgirl, asked for the name of the accessories buyer and sent a range of samples. I will never forget the day I got a call from them to place an order for one of the lines to be stocked Australia wide. That was the day I knew I wanted to start my own company, one that would allow me to build a life for myself and my future family.
What made you decide to become an author?
I am open and I love to share. I think that's why writing and publishing a book has been a dream of mine since I started in the landscape industry a decade ago. I recently self-published my first book, SLIGHTLY GARDEN OBSESSED III. I opened my design business, Slightly Garden Obsessed, three years ago. The past three years have been the most amazing years of my life, both personally and professionally. I wanted to capture those years and projects in time. I have had a few book ideas over the past ten years but this was the one I felt I had the right content for to provide inspiration and share a little about my story. The next will be very different to this.
How do you balance motherhood with such a thriving career?
You know what? I don't! I am yet to find that balance. Sebastian is 6 months old and needs Phil and I more than anything right now so there's a lot of working around his sleeping, which means late nights and working through the weekend. This had taken its toll around the 4-5 month mark and for the first time ever I wanted to quit the business. I felt guilty to Seb for working and I felt guilty to my clients if I was spending time with Seb. I know - crazy! I knew I was letting clients down with blown out timeframes. Not one of them have said a thing to me - I have the most amazing clients - but I knew within myself I had let them down. I had let myself down. (I am very hard on myself btw). It is so fortunate that Phil now has a few months off from work to allow me to get back on top of things and we have help from our parents here and there. It really does make all the difference.
I approach my business differently now. I realised I used to work myself to the bone. I understand how precious time is now. My choices are clear. I have a newfound appreciation for what I do. I am grateful I have this business that allows me to be with my family at all times. I choose the work I want to take and set clear intentions to what that will be. I feel I have evolved.
What do you believe the secret to happiness is?
I believe everyone's idea of happiness is different. For me, happiness is being able to provide for my family, having my best friend as my life partner and creating memories together by living life to its fullest. Pretty simple.
What advise would you give to other "Modern Day Women" out there to inspire them to embrace their multiple identities?
There is so much to learn of ourselves when we push past the comfort. I see multiple identities as opening up, stretching and evolving. We become better versions of ourselves as we add depth and layers. This cannot happen if we stay within the same identity, day in and day out.