Jess: Atelier/Child is a luxury children’s knitwear brand creating mini classics for the modern child. We combine statement luxury with the wearability that children demand, and have sourced the finest natural yarns to create beautiful heirloom quality knits that mothers will love to own, and children will love to wear.
Our first collection features statement sweaters for children aged 1-7, and luxury cashmere blend baby blankets. Next season, we have expanded the collection to include more styles for children, and gorgeous one pieces for babies aged 0–18 months.
Georgie: We spent a lot of time researching the market and looking for what was missing. We kept coming back to the knitwear market – we both personally love knits and in winter, it’s all about a great knit and jeans. For kids, there were a few options but nothing that really appealed to us. We wanted to create a brand that the fashion-forward mother and child would love. We’re only just getting started!
Jess: We are both Australian and met through a mutual friend in Sydney who thought we would get along, and have been close friends ever since. We’ve always talked about having a business together and started talking more seriously around two years ago. It’s a great match. As well as being very close friends, we share a passion for great quality and beautiful design and our skills are really complementary.
Jess: Working in different hemispheres definitely has its challenges, but we communicate daily on Skype and Whatsapp and work very well together despite the distance. On the plus side, we are able to take full advantage of being based in two amazing international cities and the various benefits that each provide. For example, Hong Kong is an incredible place from a sourcing and production perspective, while we work with excellent photographers and creatives in Sydney. It’s the best of both worlds.
Jess: As a general rule I focus largely on production and operations, while Georgie leads marketing and design direction. Having said that, there is often a lot of crossover. We collaborate very closely on decision–making and everything to do with brand direction.
Jess: The piece of business advice that has served me well every day over the past eighteen months is not to get overwhelmed by the enormous amount of work in front of you. Instead, break everything down into smaller tasks and tackle them one at time. This advice has been particularly relevant to me as a creative working mother because like all of us, I often only have short periods in which to get a task completed.
The piece of business advice that has served me well every day over the past eighteen months is not to get overwhelmed by the enormous amount of work in front of you. Instead, break everything down into smaller tasks and tackle them one at time.
Georgie: Take one day a time. Whenever I get overwhelmed, my husband tells me to write a list and tackle it one by one. It’s good advice. I’m often trying to do 10 tasks at once which probably isn’t the most productive way to do things! Recently my girlfriend told me to get out of bed at 5am – I’ve done it a few times and it’s a game-changer. I’m able to get two hours of work done before my children are up. It means I’m ahead of the day before it’s even started.
Jess: The most challenging part of launching Atelier/Child has definitely balancing the focus that a new business requires with the needs of very small children. Between us, Georgie and I have four (soon to be five) children aged four and under, so everyday is a juggle! For me exercise is the key to balance. I am extremely pregnant right now, but ordinarily try to exercise every day.
Georgie: I always thought working from home would be a great way to juggle work and children. It’s not as easy as I imagined. I think it’d be easier to go to an office and completely separate the two things. That said, I did work from an office when my first daughter was born when I was still at Vogue, and I felt totally disconnected from her. I do love that I feel very present and connected to my girls (even if it’s easier to get distracted!).
Jess: I am definitely more efficient if I write myself a to do list at the end of each day, so I know what I need to do when I sit down at my desk the following morning. It’s impossible for me to be regimented about my time with a two-year-old and a four-year-old at home, but I’m trying to be more disciplined and focused. It’s a work in progress!
Georgie: Get up early! I am still working on this, and it depends on how much sleep I’ve had the night before – my girls are often up during the night. If they’ve slept through, a 5:30am start means I’m ahead of the day before it’s even started. Also prioritise. I don’t socialize with my friends as much as I’d like because family and work take priority. If I get overtired, everyone suffers!
Georgie: I worked in fashion magazines for over a decade. I fell pregnant when I was the deputy editor/fashion features director of VOGUE Australia magazine. I’d had an incredible career which involved travelling all over the world. I feel very grateful I got to experience everything I did and will never forget it. But to be honest, I left it behind in my 20s. I fell pregnant in my 30s and when my daughter arrived, I fell out of love with my job. I didn’t want to travel, I didn’t like leaving her three days a week and having no real flexibility. I also still loved the fashion industry, but was looking for a publication that spoke to me as a mother. I wanted to create a website where inspiring women shared their stories.
I also still loved the fashion industry, but was looking for a publication that spoke to me as a mother. I wanted to create a website where inspiring women shared their stories.
Gosh, every time I shoot someone new I have a new crush. I really think mothers are extraordinary – the ultimate multi-taskers! Everyone I feature on The Grace Tales is inspiring. When I was at Vogue, I once interviewed Rosita Missoni. I had the biggest grandmother crush on her – I could have spent hours chatting to her! She was so warm and kind and spoke so lovingly of her family. She described her daughter Margherita as a little centipede because she had so many shoes – I loved that.
The flexibility and creativity. For Atelier/Child, I love building our own brand from scratch – it’s exciting, challenging, nerve wracking and really rewarding. And for The Grace Tales, I love creating content that inspires other women. Having worked in print for so many years, I also love working online!
Jessica: I worked in a variety of communications roles within large media organisations for years, and then spent three years doing public affairs for Amnesty International. My experience spans everything from writing and producing shoots, to tour and events management, to publicity and issues advocacy. I’ve always wanted to have my own business, and am now finding that each of my previous roles has prepared me in its own way for the many hats you have to wear in the early stages of a new business.
Our experience has been very a very positive one so far. Being based here definitely makes it easier as I have built up a rapport with the workshop and they have worked closely with us to ensure we achieve the premium finish that defines the Atelier/Child brand.
A lot of research and little luck. Despite me being based in Hong Kong, we looked all over the world for the best manufacturing partner and considered producing in places all the way from Italy to Peru. Each knitting region of the world has its own specialty and we realized that most of the world’s fine luxury knits are produced right here in my backyard. We sampled with a few different makers and were lucky to find a highly experienced factory that was willing to work with us in the quantities we required. These factories do exist, but it takes a lot of legwork to find them.
My top pieces of advice would be to do your research and be prepared to be flexible. Finding the right manufacturing partner takes much more time than you initially think you’ll need, but be sure to be thorough. Don’t go with the first maker you meet, or with the most impressive sales pitch – these people are not necessarily the most capable or the best partners. As with any relationship, working with factories is a two-way street and it’s crucial to find someone who understands your business needs, who you can communicate with, and who will be honest with you.
As with any relationship, working with factories is a two-way street and it’s crucial to find someone who understands your business needs, who you can communicate with, and who will be honest with you.
Atelier Child is offering a special 20% off discount to hey mamas at www.atelierchild.com ,which will run from August 26 to September 26. Enter OHHEYMAMA at checkout.