Linea by Jim Hannon-Tan

Interviewed: Jen Bishop (Interiors Addict)


Today, Jen Bishop, founder of Interiors Addict and much loved Australian reno addict shares her
experience and insights on being a flourishing business entrepreneur, wife and mother.
Here’s her take on being successful in her achievements, the emotional hurdles which occur
with multiple role conflict, and 1-2 life lessons she’s learnt along the way.

You can do it all. Truth or myth? What’s your take?

It depends what you consider all and what you’re happy with. Personally, I love being able to juggle a satisfying and enjoyable career, and to contribute financially to our household, while being a stay at home mum two days a week (although things aren’t always that straightforward!). Life is always a bit hectic but I think I’d be bored if it were any other way. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder but somehow I still have more freedom and flexibility too. You can’t do it all yourself though; I think that’s the key. I have great people working for me and a wonderful part-time nanny and I couldn’t do it all without them. I had no childcare (and virtually no mat leave) for the first 13 months of Sebastian’s life and that was too long. I’m not sure how I didn’t lose the plot! Delegation is a wonderful thing and you have to spend money (on people) to make money.

Interiors Addict is an impressive achievement. What are you most proud of, and what satisfaction has come in building your dream?

To be honest, I’m just proud and grateful to still have a growing blogging business after five years. It’s a funny thing to call yourself a full-time blogger and you have to constantly keep on top of the latest changes and developments to stay relevant and making money. The absolute best thing about my job though, is being my own boss and being able to spend more time, more flexibly, with my son, Sebastian. I still pinch myself that I get to do what I love for work, even though it’s not always as glamorous as people might imagine! 

Best business mentor advice you’ve been given?

I think it was the good friend and fellow business owner who encouraged me to take on my first part-time staff member a few years ago. That was a game changer. 

You managed to build Interiors Addict whilst also being a wife and mother. Working and managing a family is well documented as stressful, with most of us experiencing the daily the tug between family, and work commitments. How do you cope with the role conflict?

I’m forever grateful that I started Interiors Addict, and made the transition from it being a hobby to a business, before I became a wife and mum. And then becoming a mum a couple of years later just made me a power multi-tasker so I could handle anything! I’m not sure I would have had the time or energy to get the business off the ground in the early days if I’d already had a child. I take my hat off to anyone who starts and establishes a business when they already have kids but then again, those aforementioned mum multi-tasking super powers do come in incredibly useful!

Planning and organisation are critical to being able to successfully make things happen – can you share with us your organisational routine.

I wish I had some amazing secrets to share but to be honest, a lot of the time I’m flying by the seat of my pants and making it up as I go along! I swear by my paper week-to-view diary, to many people’s disgust, as well as various paper to-do lists scattered around my desk! Working from home, I find a physical office is essential so I can keep things somewhat separate.

*Jen Bishop is a former newspaper and magazine journalist from the UK who moved to Sydney 10 years ago. She started her blog, Interiors Addict, as a hobby, as a way to write about what she was passionate about; interior design and homewares. Five years ago, that blog became a business and is now one of Australia’s largest design sites. Jen is married to Damian and mum to Sebastian, three. She is currently renovating her own home in Sydney’s north.

 


          Interviewed: Susan Chung (Made By Pen)

 

As part of our Magic Mums series we would be amiss not to interview and glean the insights
from Susan Chung, Made By Pen’s founding partner and mother to two primary school aged
boys.

 Made By Pen (we can triumphantly say) is an impressive achievement. What are you most proud of, and what satisfaction has come in building your dream?

This is a hard one to answer. I am proud of the team of people who have worked so hard to make what we do possible in such a short period of time. We are still building the dream, but any little progress we make gives me confidence we are inching closer to our vision of taking Australian design to the global stage.

How do you cope with demands of both business and home?

Both roles do demand a lot of you, to cope I break down the boundaries of work and home so I am able to do both. From a business perspective I do not think in hours (9to5), but more in tasks and milestones to be reached. At Pen we operate in a truly flexible environment, much of our work gets done between school hours, then we break to devote time to the family and re-engage in work in the evening. If I look at delivering tasks then I can conduct business in the available time I have, currently I am at the dentist with my son!

You can do it all. Truth or myth? What’s your take?

I wish I could do it all. However, for me it is a total myth. At Made by Pen, we do everything in-house from product ideation all the way to the sales. I am a believer in hiring or outsourcing the right people for certain tasks. I am also a strong believer in surrounding yourself with a great tribe – at work with a great team and home with family support.

 

Planning and organisation are critical to being able to successfully make things happen – can you share with us your organisational routine?

I am a very visual person so I need to be able to see what needs to be done. We take advantages of app and tools that help us communicate, log and priorities tasks.

Best business mentor advice you’ve been given?

Be prepared to learn, read, absorb and network. As a business owner you’ll be wearing many hats.

We all experience ‘mum failures’ – would you like to share yours?

There are sooooo many…. Forgotten friend’s birthdays parties to late pick-ups. Perhaps the worst one was, when my youngest son lost his first tooth, and the tooth fairy didn’t turn up. He came into our room crying in the morning saying that maybe the tooth fairy didn’t come because the tooth wasn’t white enough. That broke my heart. That night however, the tooth fairy did visit and wrote him a note explaining it was too windy to fly.

 

 


                Interviewed: Kate Vale (KVDC)


Today, Kate Vale, interior designer and owner of Kate Vale Design & Consulting (KVDC)
shared her experience and insights on being a flourishing business owner, wife and mother
(and 35 -weeks pregnant). Here’s her take on being successful in her achievements, the emotional
hurdles which occur with multiple role conflict, and 1-2 life lessons she’s learnt along the way.

KVDC is an impressive achievement. What are you most proud of, and what satisfaction has come in building your dream?

I would say it’s a work in progress. Having my own studio means I get to bring my ideas and visions to life which is always incredibly satisfying. Combining this with the flexibility to work around my (growing) family is also a great thing. I’m most proud that I get to enjoy having a career and a family and like to think I’m making the best of both. Each role is incredibly important to me and being able to have the two concurrently is great.

You managed to build KVDC whilst also being a wife and mother. Working and managing a family is well documented as stressful, with most of us experiencing the daily the tug between family, and work commitments. How do you cope with the role conflict?

It’s not easy and a constant juggle. There are certainly early mornings and late nights and last minute calls for baby sitters. However, I’m incredibly fortunate in the fact that I have brilliant family support that I can call on when required. One of my favourite things about running a small business is the close relationship you build with your clients. Sometimes you need to cancel a meeting due to having a sick baby but if you have a strong client relationship, they will understand. At the end of the day, we’re all just people doing the best we can. Sometimes we drop the ball and that’s just what will happen every now and again. It’s about recovering quickly and learning every day to be the best you can be in every role you play.

You can do it all. Truth or myth? What’s your take?

Ah….. sure. To a point. I am honestly so inspired by women today and what they can achieve! I’m always pushing myself to be the best I can however I also understand the importance of not burning out. You can’t give to anyone without feeling well yourself so I try to stay on top of that. If I start to feel overwhelmed I’ll try and take some “me” time to recover so I can “go again”. The possibilities are endless and every day I see an example of an inspirational woman who’s doing amazing things! You just need to know to put your hand up and ask for help when you need it and always be there to do the same for others when they do.

Planning and organisation are critical to being able to successfully make things happen – can you share with us your organisational routine.

I really try and set aside time each week for working “on the business and not just “in” the business. Also, not easy to do as you get so involved in projects and just want to give your clients all your time. It doesn’t happen the same time every week for me currently, but that’s my goal. It’s one of my favourite times in the week, so exciting to plan ahead and see your vision come to life.

Best business mentor advice you’ve been given?

“When you’re looking after your clients, you’re working on growing your business” Just a nice reminder that although the process can feel like it’s a slow one, taking your time matters.

We all experience ‘mum failures’ – would you like to share yours?

Like when you forget to pick your kid up from daycare? (Hubby tells me we’d had the conversation that morning but I’d completely forgotten) This happened the other day, I’m blaming baby brain. (I’m 35 weeks pregnant) I was in the middle of a presentation and it was 5 to 6, my stomach just dropped! Luckily, my hubby had picked him up hours earlier but there was certainly a brain glitch that day. I cried in the car on the way home that day. That was a hard day.

How did you spend your Mother’s day?

With the family. These are the best days.

 

 

 


                Interviewed: Terri Winter (top3 by design)

      

  Today, Terri Winter, owner, curator and Australian entrepreneur of top3 by design shared
her experience and insights on being a flourishing business owner, wife and mother. Here’s
her take on being successful in her achievements, the emotional hurdles which occur with
multiple role conflict, and 1-2 life lessons she’s learnt along the way.

top3 is an impressive achievement. What are you most proud of, and what satisfaction has come in building your dream?

I am most proud of my team. I love being at work and working with a group of people that love design and love what they do. Over the 17 years we have seen the attitude towards “throwawayism” start to ship – slowly… but It is changing. We are big believers in buying less and buying better, and it is nice to see people being more mindful in their purchases.

You managed to build top3 whilst also being a wife and mother. Working and managing a family is well documented as stressful, with most of us experiencing the daily the tug between family, and work commitments. How do you cope with the role conflict?

I think you have to learn to do everything in bite-sized pieces and learn what your priorities are. You totally have to accept that you can never do everything. Don’t try – the supermum thing is a complete fallacy – we all do what we do and do the best we can. Sometimes you drop the ball. Ease up on yourself when you do.

Planning and organisation are critical to being able to successfully make things happen – can you share with us your organisational routine.

I like to time-block. Even within my daily work routine I like to work on one project at a time. I always have a lot going on, and feel pressured to be doing a thousand things at once. I don’t believe there really is such a thing as multi-tasking. I like to do each thing – once again – bite-sized pieces!

You can do it all. Truth or myth? What’s your take?

I think I just answered that! Fake! You can HAVE both – but don’t be under the illusion that you can do it all. The grass is always greener where you water it is one of my favourite sayings and you just need to keep an eye on where your attention is needed most at any given time.

Best business mentor advice you’ve been given?

Don’t let your day be run by your inbox. Set times to check it and then get on with what you want to do. Then check it again when YOU are ready. You can easily spend your whole day responding to your inbox. There is a big difference to being busy and being productive and I think the inbox is the biggest culprit for destroying productivity. You run it – it should not run you. And surround yourself with people better at things that you are. I love my team, and could not do it without them.

We all experience ‘mum failures’ – would you like to share yours?

I am constantly up for another “mother of the year award” as I always say when I get it wrong… I try not to think of it that way. You drive yourself crazy. It seems there is guilt if you are a working mother and guilt if you are a full-time mum. Let’s celebrate the fact that we manage at all.

What are you hoping for this Mother’s Day?

Breakfast in bed and I might treat myself to a new velvet clutch from our new WOUF collection from Spain! –