Juliet Bates with her daughter Vita. Picture / Supplied.

Cool Mums: Marle Designer Juliet Bates

The clothing designer talks to Our Grand Tour founder Lucy Burke about juggling motherhood with business

Lucy Burke's website Our Grand Tour was created as a realistic and honest guide for mothers, featuring interviews with busy mums talking about their experiences. Here, Lucy chats to Marle designer Juliet Bates about juggling motherhood with business.

From Juliet:
We’re a tight little three pack, my fiancé, Justin, our 2 year old daughter, Vita and I. We have recently moved from Auckland to the Mount and we’ve been getting stuck into renovating our house. It’s been a nice change of pace down here, it’s so great to have our office 3 minutes from home and then the beach a 2 minute walk away. I started working on my business, Marle, a women’s knitwear label, over a year ago now and we delivered our first range to stores in February.

How did becoming a mother change your outlook on work? Did becoming a mother see the start of your company, Marle?
Having Vita gave me even more motivation and drive to start my company which had been a dream of mine for a long time. I was quite unprepared for how being a mother would feel, I found that there were a lot of slightly negative comments made before and during my pregnancy, such as ‘your life as you know it is over’ and do this and that before its too late so I was terrified. However, the moment I held Vita for the first time I can honestly say I have never felt anything like it, my love and protection for her was so overwhelming I never wanted to leave her side, yes life as I knew it has changed but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I felt so empowered. 

Five tips for juggling motherhood and a business?
1. Be as organised as you can be – one thing that really helps is I pack Vita’s bag the night before daycare, she has a way of knowing when I’m in a rush and she is still getting used to going to daycare so those mornings are usually taken up with lots of cuddles which is so lovely but also means I have no hands for bag packing - let alone getting dressed properly and make up. Also, have a good way of managing your to do list for home and work, if its all written out (just a quick scribble on a piece of whatever paper is lying around) I find that it clears my head so I can just get on and do it, although nothing can help me keep on top of the perpetual washing pile we have… never ending.

2. Love what you do!

3. Make sure there is time in each week that is your own, go for a walk, read a book, whatever it is, make sure you do it to keep sane and calm with all that goes on in a week

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

5. Remember that family and friends are number 1, they are what make your world go around so enjoy time with them every chance you get, put everything aside and be present in the moment.

What has been the biggest challenge so far since starting your business?
The juggle!! Being a mum is 24/7, then add running a new business and renovating a house on top of that, has meant some serious juggling. There are definitely days (a lot) where I feel like it’s all too much but then I tell myself to shut up and that I’m lucky to be in this position. I seriously don’t know how mothers with more than one baby do it, they are absolute super humans and I’m totally in awe of them!

What are your main goals for the future of Marle?
Firstly we want to continue to support our retailers here and we also would like to expand the business to overseas markets and eventually expand into other areas… watch this space!

— This article was extracted with permission from ourgrandtour.org

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