Hi my loves! Hope you all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend. Paris was such a treat. From the mothers I have spoken to it seems as though most were dreading their first trips without baby and cried for a lot of the way to their destination. But once there, they did a happy dance and enjoyed every second. And thats sort of how it was for me. I almost thought about cancelling so many times before we left and on the train to Paris I kept thinking am I an AWFUL mother for doing this. I missed her every second (we facetimed several times a day!) But I really did cherish those 2 days spent with just my husband. I think that its so easy to get so absorbed into the parenting life that you can easily forget about yourself and your partner. So these kind of trips are so important. Scrap that. They are a necessity. And they make you a better parent. I am really good at making sure we have a date night once a week but actually going away is totally different. You remember what its like to properly relax. I mean how often do any of you mummies have lie-in these days? Or go out for dinner and not even think about the time? It was such a liberating feeling to have no schedule and to have no nappies in sight! And it made coming home to Mila even sweeter than usual. Ill share some more bits about our trip later on.
Its been a while since I have done one of my interviews but here is one with a woman I have gotten to know and admire. I love that I have made connections through Instagram and there are many people that I communicate with almost on a daily basis. But I also love that fact that you can become real life friends with someone that you met through social media. And thats been the case for the person I have interviewed today – Olivia Rubin. I don’t even remember how we initially connected but it was early last year when I was pregnant with Mila and she was pregnant with her second daughter Ella. We decided to go for breakfast, instantly hit it off and have been friends ever since. She studied at Central St Martins and after working at John Galliano and Alexander McQueen (I mean the dream!) she launched her label (also called Olivia Rubin) in 2007. It quickly gained a lot of attention and she became very well known for her prints. However a few years ago she decided to take some time off to focus on being a mother as well as doing freelance work but she is now relaunching her label. When I asked her what is different about the label this time around she told me “I have an even greater desire to work. Maybe because taking time out has made me miss what I do, or maybe I’ve learned along the way that it’s not just talent that leads to success, it’s proper grafting. As I’ve evolved as a person so has my style and ultimately I hope my brand will come back a newer, refreshed #oliviarubin!” Read on to learn a little more about her.
Tell us a little bit about your business – when did you start and how did you come up with the idea?
My business is a contemporary womenswear label specialising in prints (which I also design myself). I had studied Fashion Print at Central St Martins for 5 years and consequently worked with a few big name designers (Mcqueen and Dior to name a couple) before having the urge to branch out on my own. I got to the final stages of a national fashion competition to kickstart your own fashion label, and although I didn’t win I got shortlisted, and this gave me the push to start. I saw there was a gap in the market for printed womenswear brands, so thought if I don’t go for it now I may never have the opportunity again. I never looked back!
What’s the most challenging thing about running your own business? And the most rewarding?
The most challenging part at the moment is the mother/work life balance and there being enough hours in the day to get everything done with 2 young girls! I can be flexible with my hours, but I am pretty much a one woman band when it comes to my business (as well as a perfectionist) so I do find I’m up late at night working and find it near impossible to switch off (ask my husband!). The most rewarding is the sense of achievement finishing a collection and seeing some really positive reactions from press, clients, Instagram comments on pieces that I have created.
How do you juggle being a parent with running your own fashion brand?
It is a matter of being very organised with my time. A lot of work is done during nap/sleep times (I’m writing this at 10pm at night lol) and when Chloe is at school. I try and spend most afternoons with my girls as I don’t want to miss out on these early years when time flies by in the blink of an eye. But my work motivates and after a stint of work I come back more energised for my girls. I also want my girls to grow up and see that it is important to have ambition and independence in their life.
Any plans to have more children?
No. I feel complete with my two girls.
Favourite place to go for a date night?
Mostly we like low key, early dinners at the moment! Grangers, The Electric, Noor Jahan 2 (local curry house) and the Ivy cafe are some regular haunts.
Favourite way to unwind?
Watching trashy TV and spinning at Psycle. Not at the same time!
Who is your role model?
My dad. He started his business from scratch and has built it into a big retail chain. I watched the expansion growing up and went with him to work at weekends and holidays. He taught me my strong work ethic and made me view my brand with a business brain as well as creatively.
Travel with kids – yes or no?
Yes, I miss my girls too much if I’m away for them for long! Although my husband and I are going on our first weekend away without the girls soon and I am looking forward to it 😉
Favourite holiday destination?
Barbados. My whole family goes most years and we all have the best time. It’s such a fun loving beautiful island with the best sea and the most surreal rainbows.
What are your tips for throwing a kids birthday party?
Every year I say to my husband we are just going to do something small. This soon spirals into a big party complete with the full works from immense cake, to entertainers and deluxe goody bags lol! I have such fond memories of my parties growing up that I just want to make the same for my girls. I find doing parties at home have a more low key vibe. I just threw my daughter Ella’s first birthday at home with some close friends and family and it was one of the best parties I’ve done and she has the best time! Do something you know your child will enjoy.
What advice would you give to Ella and Chloe if they decided to start their own business?
As long as they had some key experience in their field and had genuine passion for their idea then I would say go for it! I would encourage doing a part time business course as well as this helped me focus on the areas of business I had less experience on…
You are stranded on a desert island with your children – what one thing would you want to have with you?
Best piece of parenting advice you ever received?
Don’t take advice to heart. Follow your own feelings as a mother; nobody knows your child better than you.
Favourite child friendly spot in London?
London Zoo. Kids and adults, all ages, have a great time at the zoo and there’s facilities for babies. I did a record three trips there in one week with my girls!
Where do you hope to see the brand in 5 years time?
Growing organically after my relaunch. Possible expansion into matching childrenswear. Collaborating with some more great industry creatives.
Scroll down for some more images. Olivia Rubin will be launching soon and I will keep you posted xx