For over 20 years I did the grown-up work thing and held down a successful career in Human Resources. The last 6 years were at Aesop as the Global GM of HR. The role was huge and challenging, yet I enjoyed the experience. I was fortunate enough to travel overseas regularly which was great until the cracks started to appear.
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At the same time as working part time (yeah as if it was really part time!), I had three youngish children and my mother passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Two of the kids have special needs and one is a real challenge to parent. My health, family and friends were suffering. After a few health and stress issues, I took some unplanned time off. After returning a few months later, I faced redundancy. Completely out of the blue.
After getting over the hurt, disappointment and then enjoying some much-needed time to soul search, I decided to follow a long held dream to become a florist. Off to study I went, organised some great work experience with much admired florists and I was on my way to floristry. I established Bespoke Botanics which has now been running for 3 years. It is a home-based florist studio and we specialise in event florals as well as a flower subscription service.
Along the way I enjoyed more time with the kids and my husband by being home more often. Our daughter Matilda who is 9 is on the Autism spectrum and has an intellectual disability. Many hours are spent with her each week helping her to keep up with school work and therapy.
Matilda loved being involved with my floristry, often as an early riser, she would come to the market with me. And she always had fresh flowers in her room and would get annoyed when they die. So the idea came to me to photograph the flowers and print them off for her.
The idea evolved to a bigger concept when I realised there was no one making simple and creative floral prints for young girls. Initially partnering with a friend who was a photographer, we photographed a range of beautiful fresh flowers to preserve them as prints. My friend couldn’t commit to establishing the business, so I took it on fully and Love Miss M was born.
Our current range of prints are close ups showcasing the finer details of the blooms. Providing young curious minds, the opportunity to connect with nature in its simplicity. We are already working on our next range which will of course be flower focused but in another aspect.
Matilda is hands on with assisting with the collation and packing of orders. Her attention to details isn’t quite the same as mine so I do need to find my patience with her. Whilst I like my sticky labels perfectly straight I am hoping to educate our customers that Matilda is only 9 and involved in this aspect, so they are a little more tolerant.
We are selling online now but attended our first retail trade fair recently. I was feeling petrified in the lead up. Confidence has never been my thing and as a creative I rely on customers feedback so much to help reassure us that we have a desirable product which is bringing a little natural joy into people’s lives.
Being hands on, creative and getting to use elements of photography that I had studied way back when at uni, I am in my element. It is tricky running two business and doing nearly everything on my own. Multi-tasker is a word I’m sure all Mums can relate to.
One of the upsides is I have learnt so much by running my own businesses and get to enjoy immense flexibility. Of course, there are down sides which is the lack of a regular of an income and feeling confident to take a break and put the businesses on hold.
The aim of the business is to grow it so that Matilda can keep increasing her role in the business. If I am honest, I hope it is the sort of business that could grow with her and becomes her safe place of employment as she grows.
So for now we are taking it one pretty flower at a time and celebrating how simply tasks like fulfilling an order mean a great development opportunity for Matilda to practice her counting.
I'm passionate, can’t sit still, creative and caring.
Hood: Bayside Melbourne
Children: 3 children ages ranging from 16-9
Motherhood in 5 words: Harder than I expected. But worth it.
Fav family friendly place: Dumplings in the city.
Coffee order: Hot, hot chocolate.
Biz: Love Miss M
We photograph and design beautiful natural prints for girl's rooms.
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