To celebrate Mother's Day this year, we thought what better way that to interview our Creative Director and Founder, Rebecca Meyer. Join us as we talk all things business and motherhood. From humble beginnings in a small town to running a successful business with three children in tow, Bec gives us an insight into her journey as a business woman and mother!
You've had a super interesting life - tell us about your childhood, what are some of your favourite memories?
I grew up in the country, in a town of 1200 people surrounded by farming communities. My Dad had his own business and share farmed rice, my Mum was a nurse. I'm one of three - I have a brother who is 18 months younger, and a sister who was born 10 years later. It was a huge highlight to have a younger sister. We honestly spent a lot of time outside exploring and grew up on the Murray River. We loved sports and I really enjoyed being creative. Growing up in the country provided the perfect background for this lifestyle.
You started sewing at a young age. Was this something you taught yourself, or was it passed down in your family?
My Mum taught me how to sew initially. She used to make our dance outfits and lot of our clothing. The nearest shops were a good two hours away and online didn't exist back then - at least not until Myer began mailing out a catalogue. My passion for sewing really took off in the beginning of high school, we had some crazy passionate teachers at our school and that was really inspiring.
Where does your passion for kids and babies wear stem from?
To be honest, after initially being accepted into fashion I was so excited - I started out studying fashion with a dream to later move into magazines. After doing work experience with Marie Claire and Pacific Publications, I decided that magazines wasn't something that I wanted to venture into.
In my second year at university I really struggled with direction and started working at OshKosh. My sister was born with Down Syndrome and independent dressing was getting more difficult for her - so I did my final project on new closures for clothing to help aid independence and self dressing.
I loved working on this project and I felt like it gave me the direction I needed and have worked in kidswear ever since. I love it.
What did you feel was missing in the kids space?
After university, I went and worked in the kids space in London for 5 years. I loved it! I managed to gain so much experience - everything from visiting factories overseas, to meetings with buyers on some of the top high street brands. It really was such an incredible experience for a country girl. After moving back to Australia and having my first child, I went in search for natural fibre toy and to my horror the market was pretty much non-existent.
That was 12 years ago now, and the market has changed a lot. I think the next 10 years will bring even more amazing change in this space.
Why do you feel so strongly about natural fibres?
I guess in growing up making our clothes, we soon learnt what the fibres do and how they react and really how they affect the wear of a garment. Also, growing up in a farming family, knowing about farming and it's impacts - I did my whole Year 12 geography project on organic farming and I was honestly fascinated.
I lost touch with this a little while working in bigger companies where products were a lot more price driven and so many of them had synthetic fibres being used to bring down cost.
When starting Miann & Co, I wanted to do things differently. Using all natural fibres is something we started with over 12 years ago, before words like 'eco-friendly' and 'sustainable' were even being talked about. My first born would get horrible eczema that led to staph infections - this lead us on a mission to make sure he was wearing and playing with products that are made in their most natural state.
It was a gap we saw in the market and we really wanted to serve other families who also value these things. I guess there is so much that we are finally hearing about the body and skin absorbing what we put on it - I have never felt more passionate about using natural fibres and educating people on the benefits of these.
What took you to London?
Like many Australians, I applied and was accepted for the two year working visa. I was then sponsored to stay and I really, really loved my job and the people I worked with. I still feel so lucky to have experienced those 5 years. I learnt so much being surrounded by incredible humans and I also met my husband who was from South Africa, in London.
Did you always know that you wanted kids?
Absolutely. I loved kids and when I hit my mid-twenties that desire grew quite strong, and working in kids and babies clothing I was constantly clucky - I still am.
When did your business start in your mother hood journey ?
It started just after baby number two, when going back to work and paying the childcare fees was rather daunting. So we decided to start a business with the kids at home. It was hard. My husband worked over an hour away and commuted everyday - he would leave at 5:30 AM and get home around 7 PM. Those early days of juggling a new business and two kids with no family around was hard. I look back and think 'we were crazy' but we managed to do it.
You have now had a third child, how was that?
Adding our daughter to the crew has honestly been the ultimate blessing. We had a bit of gap between kids because of the business (it was like giving birth to another child) and time just passed by so, so fast.
I think because of the gap we just got to enjoy it so much more. She came to the office a lot days in that first year and she was the kind of baby that we could take anywhere.
Having the boys be that little bit older was such a help too. I honestly found two boys under 2.5 and starting a business quite hectic and overwhelming at times. So the transition from two to three children was super smooth, although we did forget about those initial gruelling 8 weeks with newborns!
What is your favourite thing about being mum?
Honestly, everything. I love being a mum and I have been blessed with three very different individuals to nurture, learn from and grow with.
What has been the hardest part of your motherhood journey?
Probably those long, sleepless times in the early days. The boys had contestant ear infections, so there wasn't a lot of sleep happening when we started the business. Raising little people with no family around and moving to a new area where we literally knew one person was so challenging, but the rewards that came from this hard time have been so, so brilliant.
What is your favourite thing to do with your family ?
Honestly being in nature with the kids we are massive beach lovers and we are all so happy at the beach a picnic and sunshine. The simple things are the best things and it really is the magic of being together as a family .
What did an average day-in-the-life look like before COVID?
It really wasn't very glamorous and life at the moment looks very similar. We wake up every morning to a little person calling our name - our 2 year old is still the first up and refuses to get out of bed unless someone gets her up. I would love to say I exercise in the morning but there is never time with school lunches and getting the kids and ourselves ready and out the door for 9 AM.
Before lockdown, both my husband and I were working in the business full time, and he's now working from home and helping the kids with home learning. There are only two of us working full time in the business at the moment, with a casual coming in a couple of days a week. A work day can be anything from talking to factories, costings product, developing ranges and prints to photography. The days are always very full.
Our kids normally have training or sport so one of us will do daycare pick up and the other drop them off. After that, we normally have family dinner around the table together and then bath and bed for the kids - and of recent times we do a little more work before hitting bed.
How do you juggle home and work-life?
We prefer to call it a blend rather than a juggle. Our sole focus is the kids and spending time with them - which can be hard when you own a business, we prioritise family holidays every year for this reason. We don't subscribe to parental guilt and we always make our kids needs the first priority, always. And I would also say having a supportive partner in all aspects of our life - we are a team in everything and knowing you are supportive of each other and in the trenches together some days .