Ponchik Babies + Kids

Interviews

@ponchikbabieskids - Archie - Moss Green Overalls, Pebble Rib, Mulberry Beanie + Eva (owner) 2

If you’re looking for those soft, timeless colours in children’s pieces to wear over and over, then look no further than Melbourne based business, Ponchik Babies + Kids. Our children have been wearing clothing from Ponchik Babies + Kids since they were little tiny babies! I loved everything about this business – the staple pieces, the neutral tones, the size range available, that I could do my whole season shop at one business, the designs, service and the amazing quality of their pieces which have been handed down between my children and still last all the dirt play, crawling, food messes and have seen my children through all their milestones. We have an exclusive code WUWU15 which will give you 15% off their entire website.

1. How did you come up with the name of your business?

Great question! In Russian heritage, beautiful, chubby bubs are affectionately called Ponchik, and so was my son Archie. My Mum was born in the former Soviet Union and we try to incorporate Russian in our household as much as we can.

2. What do you sell?

Timeless cotton pieces that look gorgeous for dress and play.

3. How did you get the idea to start Ponchik?

When Archie was four months old I was really struggling with letting go of my prior corporate life and straight into motherhood. I felt like I still needed a bit of business to help me through. Honestly, in the beginning I thought it would be a hobby. Now I can’t quite believe where the business has gone and we’re now stocked in over 80 stores around Australia and NZ.

4. What is your business background?

I studied a Bachelor of Business at uni, then went to the Melbourne School of Fashion to study Fashion Business. My first job out of uni was with a major footwear retailer in the planning department. I was there for around 8 years. I am also a yoga teacher and before becoming a mumma taught yoga full time for a year.

5. Where do you get inspiration for your designs and new collections?

Really it comes to me in dreams, fabrics, colours, designs. So I have to make sure I wake myself up properly to write it all down! Also, I design what I want Archie to wear, and if I had a girl what I would want her to wear 🙂

6. What is important to you for your business?

A good quality product, a happy production team and happy customers is of massive importance.

7. What motivates you?

Alana, I am loving these questions! If you ask my husband, I wake up happy and positive most mornings (just need a good night’s sleep!), I am a little bit of a perfectionist and very dedicated to things I am a part of and care about. So I think that is motivation enough for me. Also, running this business gives me endorphins I am pretty sure – so I keep coming back to my desk daily excited!

8. A question for a bit of fun now… would you rather smell like rotten eggs for a day or dead fish?

Ew! Can I change this question? Haha! Neither, really!

Monday Design Co

Interviews

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My relationship with Monday Design Co was forged after several email exchanges to create a special custom made height ruler to feature in our home. Every part of our height chart was customised from the beautiful Tasmanian oak timber used, the grain, our family name was designed then drafted, we could choose the starting number of the height chart and even the length of the horizontal height lines. Every single detail was made just for us.

We are dedicated to checking our son’s height every six months, as children just grow before your eyes! Hubby and I will check yearly but we have been told as we get older, that we will also become shorter and we will also be documenting those heights as this is a piece we will feature and treasure forever.

A beautiful idea that I would also like to share with you, is to write your family history on the back of the height chart. It is so often that we ask questions about the history of our families but we do not have the answers, as the memories have gone from those who have passed. 

Without further ado, introducing you to Monday Design Co:

What is something you said you would never do as a parent before you had Harrison?

I laugh now because honestly there are so many things you say you will not do before you have kids. I was very adamant that there was no way I would play children’s music in the car. The idea of being trapped in a car listening to kids music just made me cringe pre baby. Now I find myself singing along to the Wiggles …and enjoying it, actions and all!!!

What is something you love doing outside of Monday Design Co?

Ryan and I share a love of travel and the beach. Our favourite days are those spent by the water with Harrison and our two dogs Charlie and Poppy.

Is there anything special you do for Harrison as a parent?

Yes, I write letters to Harrison. For our baby shower we were gifted a beautiful little book with pages to write letters to your child. I sit down every 6 months or so and write about the funny things he’s said or done, milestones he has achieved and what life is like for us as his parents and as a family. I personally have a terrible memory and this is a beautiful way to hold a piece of the present which will one day be the past.

How did you and Ryan meet?

We met on a working holiday at Perisher, NSW. We worked in ski hire and lived in Jindabyne for the season. We didn’t start dating until we came home, luckily we both lived in Brisbane.

Is there any advice you would give to mums – or mums in business?

Take care of yourself. It is so easy to prioritise your children, your family and work but it is so important to look after yourself. This could be as simple as listening to a podcast for an hour a week, taking a walk or having a pedi. I am an all or nothing person and often burn myself out by doing it all. Recently I treated myself to a pedicure and honestly, I am a better person for it.

How did the business come to be/how did you come up with the business name?

Ryans background is in carpentry, after ten years in the trade he headed to university and studied a Bachelor of Product Design. Shortly after he graduated we had Harrison and the idea to make Timber Height Charts was born. On Monday Ryan takes a day off so he and Harrison can play, dream and go on adventures. These days of play result in new and creative ideas – this is why we named our business Monday Design Co.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you tell 14 year old Sarah today?

I love this question, so many things but the one that stands out is “Don’t worry about becoming an adult”. Being an adult is so fun, rewarding, exciting and now we are parents, what an honour it is to raise a child. 14 year old Sarah was scared of making phone calls and the idea of having to pay a bill, now I am part running a small business.

How did you learn to make your products and where do you make them?

We make a variety of products from Name Plaques to Timber Earrings but we are best known for our Personalised Timber Height Charts. Ryan designs and makes these himself in our workshop from home. He is self taught with the knowledge gained from his years as a carpenter and at uni.

What is the most special piece you have made?

The most special piece we’ve made was probably the very first. It was made from American Walnut, a friend purchased it from us for her friends daughter as a first birthday gift. Seeing a piece of timber become a beautiful keepsake within a few hours is amazing and each time we make a new one I claim it to be my favourite.

We have a new style of Height Chart coming out very soon which we are soooo excited about – watch this space.

Ten years from now, how do you see your lives?

I had to think about this question as I rarely look this far ahead. Ryan operates on Fiji time so he’s on his own clock and I am living at maximum 7 days ahead. In ten years our hope is that we’ve welcomed another baby into the family, travelled more of the world and that the business is our full time job. Our biggest hope is that we are happy and healthy, cliche – but isn’t that the most important thing?

Karla Cola

Interviews

Where do I start? My husband often says there are two parts of me – the one which loves colour and the other which is super neutral and basic loving. After having a baby, I found I was longing for a some clothes which were colourful, as somehow wearing colour makes me feel happy. I was in search for a dress which was colourful, feeding friendly, could be worn after nursing days, supported a small Australian business, could be worn to work or weekends and something stylish of course! This is how my relationship with Karla Cola was forged. Read on about this stylish boss mama.

Tell me three things we might not know about you!

I’m scared of heights , I opted to do something else the day everyone went zip lining in Hawaii. Heights tend to give me vertigo and it’s just not a pleasant feeling for me at all.

I’m super short, something that used to bother me immensely growing up and now I never ever think about it. 155cm short and totally ok with that.

I have 3 nationalities. USA by birth, Australian by residence and Canadian from my dad and I briefly lived there in 1997 also.

How did you start Karla Cola?

I actually started KarlaCola based on how underwhelming I found the local stores for choices when I moved to Australia. Wanting something a bit brighter and happier, I begun working with textile designs that were uniquely different and branched out to many colours from then on out. Let’s just say I have always enjoyed being a little different.

How did you learn to sew?

My grandma taught me. I had a sewing machine at the age of 12 and spent a lot of time teaching myself after she taught me the basics. I’m very determined when I want to learn something new and there was certainly a lot of trial and error over the years.

You created a breastfeeding friendly dress? What was your inspiration?

I can’t tell you how many messages we get a week asking for nursing friendly dresses. New customers or previous customers that just desperately wanted something fun to wear while breast feeding. It’s taken me some time to develop something I sell
Comfortable selling at the price point that can be used for continuous years on and not just nursing days.

What is your favourite dress of all time?

That is really really hard. I am not supposed to have a favourite- usually it’s the one I pick that I wear that particular day. If I was pressed to pick it would tie between the protea lovers and my very first Pete Cromer design – Feeling Cocky. 2 prints by 2 of my favourite artist.

Can you tell us a little more about how your dresses support slow fashion?

All our dresses are hand cut and hand sewn. Despite rising cost and GST we have stuck true to what we believe in. Creating small batches of dresses and supporting jobs in Australia. We have a small but mighty team of dependable machinists, all of which I am equally reliant and thankful for. In the last few years I have realised we had the potential to grow so much more but decided that as a family we are happy with our work load and I am not willing to compromise on quality or overseas production for our clothing. I think my customers understand this and it’s part of small slow ethical fashion.

What inspired you to have a vegan lifestyle and is your family?

I’ve been vegetarian for 11 years and dairy free for 2. The choice for vegetarian was my choice to do my part for the environment and reduce our meat consumption for a family of 5. After a while I just stopped needing it and or wanting it and relay enjoy being creative with vegetarian dishes. The choice for dairy was actually due a intolerance and was super hard to give up cheese! The kids eat vegetarian 5 nights a week and meat along with my husband 2 nights a week so it’s a good healthy balance.

What are some of your family favourite meals?

Easy as when I am not creating in my work room you will always find me in the kitchen creating! Taco salad – an easy favourite. Stuffed Mexican sweet potatoes (slow roasted) topped with beans, corn, avocado – so so good! Lastly a yummy coconut Dahl we enjoy once per week.

Who are some of your favourite Instagram accounts?

To be honest I’ve really had to cut down my time on Insta. I find it can be a labyrinth for me and after working all day and responding to DMs my time can be at 2 + hours which feels like a lot of screen time. Pages I check out when I have a chance are @tribeofwuwu (of course!), @neonpunk__ , @emmylou_loves and @realmumstyle.

How do you spend time with family?

My time is almost always spent outdoors when possible with my family. Walking is a great way for the kids to open up chat and it’s important to us to exercise and enjoy fresh air and vitamin D every chance we get. In summer you’ll find us at the beach!

Heritage Blankets

Interviews

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I had my eye on Kate’s blankets from the beginning of my pregnancy with Spencer. I absolutely adored her floral blankets and knew we would likely be purchasing the whole range if we had a little girl! After speaking with Kate who has two boys herself, we went with the classic white lace blanket and the grey. These are keepsake blankets which we will treasure forever. We have used her blankets for swaddling, to sit on, as a pram cover, a blanket, for styling and truly is the perfect essential for your bub. Read on about my interview with Kate below.

Heritage Blankets is such a sentimental name. How did you come up with it?

The name ‘Heritage’ came very easily to me as I felt it had the essence of a timeless keepsake, a memory woven item. And that’s exactly what I wanted the mums to feel when they held their babes wrapped in a blanket. A blanket truly is the greatest reminder of the snuggles and love that was shared between a Mum and her baby. 

What is something your mother often told you?

Eat those peas Kate! No but jokes aside Mum showed me how to just get on with it, I feel like she never felt sorry for herself for very long.

What is your favourite product in store?

Oh this is hard! My florals hold my heart! I dont often fall in love with one more than another and actually, I love seeing them stacked together. But I do have a red floral kept aside for my one day maybe baby girl. The red floral was called ‘the Ruby’ and it was just perfection!

Tell me about a childhood memory which still makes you laugh.

Believe it or not, I was the biggest tom boy and I was taught to keep up with everything my brothers did. Motorbike riding, fort building and everything dirty. I never had feminine style in me! I felt ridiculous all pretty in a dress! But now I cant get enough of my pretty florals and lace obviously!!

Which three Instagram accounts inspire you and why?

Oh man this one is a hard one because different people inspire me at different times depending on what similarities I have with them. Tami from the @themilkboutique at the moment inspires me so much as she juggles a two little ones and an amazing business. @life.of.mama.cc and @reviejane are great gal pals to follow too

What is your dream for your business?

I sat here looking at this question because wow it actually makes me think! This had been my project and passion as I navigated this new mum thing. It was my way of truly coming out of my ‘shell’. I love what I do and conecting with my gorgeous HB mummas. So really Im living the dream now.  But I would love to be able to provide a full income for my family, and also have other mums on my team so that they also can experience the flexibility of running a business and being able to be immersed in their kids lives. I’m not tied down with regular work hours and I know its a gift that can be shared!