From Backpacker to Boss Mama
Posted on September 13 2020
Welcome to the Apple of My Eye blog! We're so excited to be launching our new baby!
We figured that before we get into everything Mama and baby related, you might like to get to know us a bit better!
So, we're throwing all the questions we can (seriously, nothing's off the table) at business Founder Liberty. We're finding how she went from backpacking and farm work, to calling Australia home and then launching not only one but two businesses - all while being a Mama to her adorable little girl.
Tell us how you came to live in Australia?
I first came to Australia on a holiday visa with my best friend in 2013 as part of our travelling after graduating from Uni. We kept on pushing our flights further and further back because we loved Australia so much and didn't want to leave. However, in the end, it got close to December. We still had a couple of countries to visit on our trip before going home for Christmas, so we had to end our visit to Australia.
We returned home to England for Christmas. I was really missing Australia so after a few months of working in a pub to save a little bit of money, I decided to take the plunge and fly back to Australia on my own. But this time on a working holiday visa that would allow me to stay for 2 years.
I worked for a month or two on a farm in the Southern Downs Region of QLD, picking apples. During my time working on the farm, I made some really great friends who I planned a trip with, but only got as far as Brisbane before we managed to spend all of our money and returned to the farm!
It was during my second stint working on the farm that I met my now Husband, Rodney. (Talk about destiny, Rodney's family owned the farm!)
You own 2 businesses (powerhouse!) that we want to talk about, but let's start with Apple of My Eye Boutique, your baby fashion, and accessory boutique.
What was your inspiration to start Apple of my eye Boutique?
I started Apple of My Eye not long after the birth of my Daughter, Fallyn. While I was pregnant and once she was born, I found so much pleasure in searching for beautiful little pieces of clothing & accessories for her that I decided perhaps there was a way of taking this 'hobby' or maybe more of an addiction, ha-ha! Into a way of being able to stay at home to look after Fallyn and try and help towards providing for our family.
What do you look for in a brand, what's your definition of a quality brand?
I try to source brands that have been created and established by fellow Mums and where I can, Australian brands. I think quality brands are ones that aren't mass-produced and really cheap (yes, we all love the $5 kids leggings or $10 bodysuits from Kmart, but it is also nice to own pieces for our little ones that are 100% cotton or organic materials).
I think quality brands are ones that have had care when being designed and materials chosen. Quality brands, to me, aren't members of the 'fast and throwaway fashion' that we see a lot of now, they are brands that produce pieces that we want to take care of and pass on through family members or to friends when they have children. I think they are also brands that produce sentimental pieces that we want to keep forever as memories.
How do you find brands to stock?
I mostly just search online and Instagram and find brands that I personally love and think that others will love too, so reach out to them and see if they do wholesale. One of the brands that I reached out to introduced me to The Gibson Agency, who I have worked with to stock some brands.
A Jill of all trades, Liberty is also the owner of another business. This one is quite different to the world of baby clothes and accessories but still allows her to indulge her creative side.
You have another business called "Baked by Liberty". When did you start that business?
I started Baked by Liberty after I decided that Australia was going to be home. I was still working on the apple farm at the time in the office but wanted to have something that was my own. I had and still do have a passion for baking, and I decided I wanted to turn that passion into a business.
It's no secret that the addition of our babes to our world sometimes means changing our plans and having to adapt quickly to big changes! For Liberty, that was the case when baby Fallyn decided she couldn't wait to meet the world and arrived 5 weeks early!
What shifted your focus to baby clothing?
I had hoped to continue baking right up until the birth of Fallyn and get back into it not long after, however, like most things, that didn't happen the way I had planned and so I put my baking on hold. I did a few bakes that I had booked in but then decided to stop taking any more orders until I could really give baking my full attention again.
Why have you decided to go back to baking now?
Now that Fallyn is 1.5 years old, I decided that I could start to ease myself back into baking slowly, starting with weekly brownie and cookie orders and see how this works out. I love feeling like I am being productive and have a purpose beyond being a mum, and I felt that I had enough time to do this alongside Apple of My Eye.
Beyond her business babies, Liberty is the Mum to a gorgeous little girl, and like it is for most Mums, life can be a juggling act. So, of course, we wanted to know more about little Fallyn.
Can you share how you felt when you held Fallyn for the first time?
It really was quite an extraordinary feeling. One minute I was screaming my head off (this is not an exaggeration, my midwife told me 'Liberty, if you don't stop screaming and start pushing, this baby is never going to come out!) and in the worst pain and then the next minute the pain was over and I had this little baby girl in my hands and Rodney by my side, and I don't think I could quite believe it. The labour felt so long, and I think through it all, I lost sight of the reason why I was actually there, so when Fallyn was finally in my arms, it was really a 'woahhh' moment for me. We had actually created this little person in my arms, and she was ours!
I just remember her eyes; they were so big and bright and wide open as if she was staring straight at me, taking me in as much as I was her!
I think I was also in shock because I was so sure I was having a boy!
What's your motherhood journey looked like so far?
It's been so much harder than I ever imagined, but at the same time, so much more amazing than I ever thought it would be. Every day I'm learning something new about myself, about Fallyn and about being a mum in general.
The hardest part about my journey has been how far away I am from my family and friends in the UK. I constantly feel guilty that they can't see and spend time with Fallyn as much as they would like to and that they are missing out on so much, especially this year, with all the restrictions on travel.
What is the best thing you've learned, being a mother? And a business owner? How do you juggle the two?
I've learned that it's ok to enjoy days of just being a mum, and its ok to also enjoy days where I was to be a business owner and not think about snacks and nappies. It doesn't make you a bad Mum to need a break every now again. For me, I think it helps me to be a better Mum to step away, even if it's just for an hour to do something for me or for my business and to come back and feel kind of, refreshed and ready to go at the whole motherhood thing!
I think that the best thing I've learned is that I am capable of way more than I ever thought I was before being a Mum.
Is there a particular moment, memory, or story that stands out for you as a Mum and Business Owner?
I think a day that I really felt like I was winning as a Mum and as a businesswoman (if I can call myself that ha-ha) was just recently, during my first week back baking. I was baking, working on things for Apple of My Eye, and being a Mum all in the same day, and I really just felt proud of myself and had a real 'I can do this moment'.
What inspires you when you're having a tough day?
Some days, I really struggle to get out of my 'funks' where I think what am I even doing, why am I doing this? But I find that just stepping away on a tough day is the best thing for me; otherwise, I find myself absolutely overthinking everything. I love using other businesses that have had great success to inspire me on days when I'm struggling with my own.
And there you have it, lovelies! That's the story of how these real-life small businesses began. We're so excited to bring you more blogs talking about everything, Mama, baby, and business very soon!
Are you a business owner and a Mum? Drop us a comment below, we'd love to hear how you balance home and work life. How do you achieve your own "I can do this" moments or handle those tough days?