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Motherhood and business

Dreamersanddrifters Byron Bay maternity friendly dress designer boutique byron bay women's fashion designer boutique byron bay women's fashion

Motherhood and business

Hopes, dreams, fears

At the beginning of 2017 after a swim at the Byron Bay pool I noticed a “for lease” sign up on the old DVD store in town. With hair still dripping wet and shoeless, I walked into the shop space and fell in love. At the same time I was booked in to do a trade show in Sydney to grow my wholesale (which had cost me every last penny) so my mom lent me the money for the shop’s deposit.

"One step closer to every fashion designer’s goal: your very own store to fill with your dreams; an extension of yourself; YOU presenting your creations to the world with the silent hope that it will make someone happy enough to buy your offering."

Btw, also 5 months pregnant and filled with ignorant bliss. Byron Bay Life in Style tradeshow booth Byron Bay Life in Style tradeshow booth

My partner and I drove down to Sydney with our Combi laden with samples and trade show paraphernalia, this was going to turn around my business (the brochure had promised). The tradeshow was filled with droves of “stylists” (wanting gifted items) and “online stores” (that weren’t live yet) that took all my goodie bags and left me with a sunken feeling.

It was a disaster, we packed up everything into our van we had also slept in and drove home in silence. My poor babydaddy, supporting my dreams unconditionally but also pushed to the limit with another one of my wild ideas. Byron Bay fashion boutique empty store

Once back in Byron, I had 2 short weeks of free rent to get the shell of the DVD shop into a beautiful boutique space that would entice passers by to stay a while and maybe try on a new dress. signs going up

Now, I can make beautiful clothes with a frenzied passion but interiors is just not my thing. I will therefore forever be grateful to my generous friend Julie, of Whitewood design who stepped in and saved me from drowning in rattan (she literally had to say: “not everything can be rattan” haha).

The shop opening was a success, with my beautiful friends supporting me and me sighing a sigh of relief that we were finally open. designer boutique byron bay women's designer boutique byron bay women's fashion

Photo of me and Julie from Whitewood interior designs designer boutique byron bay women's fashion

Front area of the Boutique, styled up for the grand opening, April 2017 designer boutique byron bay women's fashion designer boutique byron bay women's fashion designer boutique byron bay women's fashion

My supportive partner (Paris) and I, 8 months pregnant

I continued to do the Sunday markets along with working in the store right up to 2weeks before Felix came. In retrospect I should have tried to take more time off but a lean business doesn’t have those luxuries, life goes on and we just try make it work. And honestly, I tried to ask people about how it would be when the baby came but no straight answer came. I naively thought I’d just bring the baby to the shop in a basket… (which I did, but as you can imagine not an easy task). designer working at market bluesfest festival pregnant designer  

(1) Photo of me at the Byron Bay Sunday markets (2) Photo in my Bluesfest 2017 festival stall

 Felix arrived on his due date early July, my beautiful boy.

 dreamersanddrifters byron bay

Part 2.
At the risk of being too real, I will say this: I found motherhood hard. Breastfeeding was painful and I had weeks of mastitis. Babies don’t always nap when the important calls came through. Getting up early to finish a few things on the To Do List after being awake all night was impossible. But somehow we kept things going.

I have always been lucky to have beautiful shop assistants that have gone above & beyond, and the business could not have survived this time without their support. When Felix was 3 months old my mom came over from South Africa and all 3 of us started doing a few days in the shop, to help with staff costs and my amazing mom, trying to lift me out of the baby blues and inspire me to create again.

 dreamersanddrifters byron bay The breastfeeding chair The breastfeeding chair at Dreamers and drifters store Byron Bay 

The Change Room "boyfriend seat" very soon became the “breast-feeding chair”.

 Changing a nappy on the shop floor at Dreamers and Drifters Byron Bay Working mum at shop with baby

Embracing my hippie roots, I have literally served customers while breastfeeding Felix in my arms. Some people found it confronting having a baby where they, the customer, were meant to be the centre of attention, but mostly people were supportive saying how lucky I was to have him there, and a few (mothers) would say you’re doing a good job, this must be hard – which for me was the best comment, an acknowledgement of the struggle of working mothers. The feelings of being torn between fiercely loving your baby but also wanting to do what you love. I can’t tell you the guilt I carried over this.

 Baby at boutique with designer working mum Byron Bay  dreamersanddrifters byron bay dreamersanddrifters byron bay

From about 5 months I was consistently bringing Felix into the shop with me a few days a week, the days were long, frustrating, beautiful and memorable. The food in the carpet counter balanced by the joy of being with him a little longer, knowing that a lot of working mums didn’t have this luxury. I set up a camp cot in the one change room and put noise cancelling headphones on him once he fell asleep for his nap.

Felix asleep at the shop dreamersanddrifters byron bay dreamersanddrifters byron bay

Around his first birthday Felix took his first steps next to me in the boutique, my heart filled with pride seeing his little wobbly legs coming towards me but also a sense of dread with oh no, now I have to keep him in. I found a baby gate on Gumtree and put it at the shop’s front door with a hand painted “please come in” sign, most people asked where the puppy was 😊

 baby in shop dreamers and drifters byron bay dreamersanddrifters byron bay dreamersanddrifters byron bay dreamersanddrifters byron bay  dreamers and drifters byron bay clothing boutique dreamers and drifters byron bay clothing boutique

There’s been a lot between then and now (he’s about to turn 3) I am a mom before anything else, if Felix is sick I drop everything (and hope the business lives to see another day, which it always does despite my anxiety around this). It’s cliché but he does teach me to not take things too seriously.

dreamersanddrifters byron bay dreamersanddrifters byron bay

Felix sweet talking customers with his cute baby face

dreamersanddrifters byron bay bridesmaids dresses dreamersanddrifters byron bay baby in the stockroom

(1) Getting involved in a Bridesmaid's fitting (2) Sorting out the stock room, so helpful!

 dreamers and drifters byron bay clothing boutique silk scarves

Thank you to the good humans who buy my designs, I mean ultimately I’m doing this all for you.

With love & good vibes,
Verity x

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