Many moons ago (2012 – I’ve just checked!) I ran across The Beetleshack blog, written by a tired young mum and I immediately fell in love with Emily and her realness. Her blog was so pretty and her posts so relatable, she quickly became one of my all-time favourites.
A few years ago Emily wanted to buy a jacket that she found online but it was sold out and wasn’t going to be re-stocked. Looking around, she found someone that could make a similar jacket, but the catch was she couldn’t just buy one – she would have to bulk buy 10 of them! Knowing that her readers might want to chip in, she put in her order and to her surprise, she sold the lot in two hours. I love that she realised there was something in this, and set about creating the types of clothes she wanted to wear and making them available to fellow mamas who wanted something easy and stylish that was also breastfeeding and snot-finger friendly.
When Bohemian Traders first started out, it was super-bohemian and while I trawled the website pretty constantly, I just couldn’t see anything that I could wear without feeling like a tablecloth. As time has gone on and the collections have evolved, I’ve often turned to BT for everything from casual dresses and cute shorts to warm jackets and pants. It’s usually my first port of call when I need something because I want to support a friend and I know I’m getting beautifully well-made clothes.
I’m super-excited at the brand new premium denim line just launched (like, yesterday) where my black denim heart swells over torn skinny jeans and amazing jackets – my winter wardrobe sorted!
I asked Em if she wouldn’t mind answering a few questions because I think she’s a bit of a kickass chick.
Hi, my name is Emily. I’m a wife, mother, washed up blogger at The Beetle Shack and founder and creative director of Bohemian Traders, a women’s fashion label.
What do you do?
I wipe bottoms, do endless loads of washing and attempt to keep on top of the house work. Other than that I, along with my husband Dave, run an amazing team of people for our brand Bohemian Traders. We currently have a team of 6 – I do the designing and liaise with our amazing manufacturers, Dave is our CEO and the rest of our team manage the warehouse and look after our loyal customers as well as helping us grow and develop the brand! Each day is different and exciting!
Why do you do it?
Because it’s fun, of course!
How did it start?
Well, the family started on a wee little getaway to Paris… but that’s a story for another time. I suspect you’re more interested in the business right?
I began writing my little old blog, The Beetle Shack as a creative outlet whilst I was at home with 2 young kids. I was starved of conversation and creativity but I didn’t want to leave the house or make a mess with paints… perfect solution, right? Bohemian Traders began a few years and an extra baby later. I imported a small collection of Kantha Jackets and created some hand made necklaces sometime at the end of 2013 – they were well received by readers of the blog and the brand quickly gained momentum.
In the winter of 2014 I designed a very small collection of wash & wear items – you know the things I really wanted to wear but couldn’t find at the local shopping centre. Striped Dresses with extra length, T-shirts with some swing through waist and pants that felt like PJ’s! These pieces still form the basis of the Bohemian Traders brand.
Skip to now and we have just launched our own line of Premium Denim, taking our sizes from 8-18+ as well as bringing a small collection of Childrenswear to our dedicated customers.
Were you scared, or did you know it had that something that would see it through?
Of course, I’m always scared! Fear and curiosity (and boredom, actually) are such strong motivators though. When I began Bohemian Traders, I wasn’t taking it seriously, I had no vision of where it might go or what it could become. I just wanted to try my hand at something new. So I did! What a nutter!
Have there been rough patches where you doubted yourself and your choice to create your company? What did you do?
Yes, always. On a daily basis there are decisions that need to be made that are important and impacting to the brand. I’ve learnt to just be a bit more ballsy, to be honest. There is no alternative than to back yourself. Of course being informed and educated as much as possible is vital but in the end, you’ve got to make the calls and wear the consequences.
How do you make it work with your family and your lifestyle?
I’m not going to lie. It comes with it’s own stresses. It’s busy and crazy but when it’s all too much, we can go to the beach without having to get a doctors certificate. Guilt free ocean swims are a major plus in my book.
What does a typical day look like for you?
At what time of the morning should I start? 3:30 am when some small personal calls my name for a cuddle? 6am when everyone climbs into our bed? Or perhaps 8:30 when we all head out the door to walk the kids to school.
There are only a couple of fixed features in our day and they are dictated by the school bell. Other duties may include designing pieces for a new collection, liaising with our wonderful manufacturers, organising photo shoots, brainstorming campaigns or overseeing the running of the warehouse.
Would you recommend this work/way of life to someone else?
The only thing I would ever recommend to anyone is a glass of good wine after dark.
What is the best piece of work advice you’ve ever been given?
Get the business out of your house.
Vegemite or peanut butter?
Ooh that one is really hard. Can I get back to you with an answer?
“There is no alternative than to back yourself.” Oy, have I learned that or what.
Thanks Em for being a Kickass chick, and if you want to read more stories of women I admire, they’re all yours:
- Kelley Sheenan, Peppermint Magazine
- Cate Bolt, Foundation 18
- Lorraine Elliott, Not Quite Nigella
- Cath Young, My Bearded Pigeon
- Kickass Chicks: Mo Wyse and Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters
- Ruth Bruten, Gourmet Girlfriend
- Kate Zarboch, Escargot Kids