Wednesday, 16 September 2015

FOX IN FOCUS: JESSI, INTERIOR STYLIST & FOUNDER OF DREAMCATCHER DESIGNS


Jessi Deakin
My friendship with Jess has lasted a lifetime and I feel so incredibly grateful to share her journey with you. Jessi is as kind as she is talented. She is deeply in-tune with her emotions and searches for purpose in every avenue of her life. For her, money and possessions are not enough, she needs to feed her creative soul with a job that she truly adores. Throwing it all in to chase your dreams is by no means an easy feat, and should be celebrated. Read on as Jess shares her very honest account on the birth of her brand, 'Dream Catcher Designs':

"After high school, I went on to study Primary School Teaching at Uni. I was less than a year away from graduating when I realised it was not the right path for me. I deferred and worked in a local coastal homewares store, while I worked out my next move.

I decided to take a full time job in the fashion industry and spent the best part of the last decade working for Aussie-owned womens fashion brands, MINKPINK, Staple The Label and Somedays Lovin. My lightbulb moment was when I moved out of home and got my first apartment with my partner. I enjoyed every moment of moving in, furnishing and styling our home and never wanted it to end! I just wanted more and more blank space to bring all my design ideas to life. It occurred to me that I could in fact do this for a living and use my creativity and passion to help other people achieve their dream homes too. While still working in the fashion industry I began studying interiors and design of an evening at ISCD and it was during this time, I launched my macramé and interiors business ‘Dreamcatcher Designs’. After graduation I continued working in the fashion industry but dropped down to part time hours to allow myself a few days a week to work on my business.

The concept behind 'Dreamcatcher Designs' was to create an outlet for my creativity that allowed me to share my ideas with others and implement those ideas in their homes via interior styling. The macramé side of my business happened by accident as I began making macramé plant hangers for myself just for fun and suddenly friends and family wanted to buy them from me. I set up an Etsy store and it all rolled out from there! Along with selling my standard plant hangers and wall hanging designs, I now also specialise in customised macramé pieces for everything from commercial spaces to events.

My personal aesthetic has a strong coastal and bohemian influence which often translates through to my designs. I find a lot of inspiration simply from nature and also fashion brands like Spell Designs, Anthropologie and Free People as well as talented creatives like Sibella Court and Emily Henderson.  

Dreamcatcher Designs HQ

I’ve learnt that even in the digital age of selfies and status updates, I really struggle to promote myself! It does not come naturally to me and makes me cringe inside every time I have to talk about my achievements. For the sake of PR, I had to learn to separate my brand from my personal life and just get on with it! The dream is to one day have someone do my PR for me! Ha!

I have also learnt that I strongly value collaboration over competition. I see so much more value in collaborating with like-minded people and sharing skills and experiences rather than keeping competitors at arms-length. Competitors are not the enemy… they are usually quite the opposite, as just by sharing the same passion you already have so much in common!  

Creating custom macramé pieces for fashion giants Spell Designs and Guess would have to be the highlights for me so far. I created a huge macramé wedding arch for Spell Designs which featured in their pop up shop at the Splendour In The Grass music festival in Byron Bay this year. This was very special to me as Spell Designs is my personal favourite fashion brand and has been such an inspiration to me aesthetically throughout my entire career. I also currently have my custom macramé wall hangings in Guess store windows right across Australia. They are alongside Gigi Hadid’s latest Guess campaign! Still pinching myself about that one!  

'Dreamcatcher Designs custom made macramé for Spell Designs. Image via @spell_byronbay

I definitely have days where I lack creativity and inspiration, motivation as such is really not an issue when you genuinely love what you do day-to-day! You just have to be kind to yourself and accept that sometimes you will have less productive days than others and that’s ok! Just ride it out until you find your flow again.

Finding balance in my life was (and still is) a personal challenge for me sometimes. At one point in my journey I was working full time in fashion during the day, studying interiors of an evening, interning for an Interior Stylist AND running my own business with whatever moments I had spare whilst still trying to be a decent girlfriend, daughter, sister and friend! I just had to learn to make time each week to switch off and enjoy time with family and friends. As no day or week is ever the same for me, keeping a healthy life balance is a constant (but important) challenge!

I really want to focus on building the styling component of my business. Styling is my passion and where I see myself long term within the industry. Everything from interior styling to property styling to product styling to event styling – I love it all!"

For more information go to: www.dreamcatcherdesigns.com.au

If you are a Australian brand or creative and would like to be features, please contact jade.theblondefox@gmail.com

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

FOX IN FOCUS: MICHELLE MOORE, FOUNDER OF LYLA & BO


Michelle Moore is the Founder of fashion label Lyla & Bo and is one of the most humble women I have been lucky enough to interview. From the moment I contacted her about featuring on The Blond Fox, she was so incredibly polite and forthcoming – Traits which I consider to be extremely rare for a busy, in demand woman. I use the word ‘humble’ to describe her as not only has she created a beautiful brand that is the very definition of chic, she has successfully grown her hobby into a local and international success in just under two years, with stockists in the USA, England, New Zealand and Australia, and has somehow managed to stay completely grounded. Read on as Michelle shares her story:

“I was born in the UK, then my parents migrated to Australia when I was really young, so I grew up here. I moved to Canada in the last couple of years between Toronto and New York, now I reside in Brisbane. I've been around a bit. Essentially I grew up in Australia.

I studied and completed a Creative Industries Degree at QUT (Queensland University of Technology), majoring in Fashion and Business. I was always interested in the business – Fashion was always very much a big part of my life so with this degree I was able to pursue both business and fashion.

I started Lyla & Bo in late 2013, while I was in Canada. During the Winter, as you know, it was pretty cold and I just refused to be one of those people that wore beanies everyday. So I started buying a lot of hats. Hats aren’t hard to find, but finding a good quality hat for a reasonable price was impossible. I started looking at ways to make them and initially I was just making hats for myself.  Then I thought, I've found a bit of a gap in the market, good quality hats for an inexpensive price tag.

When I first started out, I was unsure, I knew loved my hats but wasn’t certain if anyone else would love my products as much as I did. I decided to test the market. My first collection I only had two styles – a black and a blue and set up a super budget website. I got 50 pieces of each made and they sold out in the first month! One of the hardest things is to trust yourself and your decisions and trust your gut feeling. I found trusting myself was the hardest thing to overcome when first starting out because there is always that little voice in your head saying ‘what if you fail?’ I follow Humans Of New York on Facebook and read a quote about a man you use to own a convenient store, that said something like, ‘I don’t own it now but the fact that I did is an incredible.' That’s exactly it. The fact that you went out on a limb in the first place is an achievement.

My inspiration comes from my travels. It’s a combination of my experiences, I've immersed myself in a lot of different cultures as well. I remember certain things and colours, feelings and memories that really resonate with me when designing. A few of my hats represent places that I have been to and have stuck in my mind – the red Sahara hat reminds me of Italy and the European summer. I feel that personal connection throughout the creative process.



People procrastinate at the start. I don’t believe there is a single thing that you should do when you start a business, you just have to start. I started making hats for myself then it snowballed from there. I didn’t know I was creating a business but once you do know, you just have to start and if you work hard everything will fall into place.

The bralettes are a new thing. The idea to do bralettes came about as hats actually take a long time to manufacture. They are something that I enjoy making and it was firstly just a back up product but they have been doing insanely well with my customers. I will be incorporating more into the collection and focusing on the hats and bralettes equally. I want to keep things simple, make and design products really well, rather than having a brand that sell everything.




I always start my day researching and looking for inspiration and what's trending. From there I send out emails, look a shipping and orders. It's a bit crazy. I have a really small team. I’m a bit of a control freak so I like to oversee everything. I have two new interns who have been a massive help and having my sister on board is great. 

Working for yourself is a really great thing but you kind of never leave work. I should have work hours but I don’t. It’s hard to balance. I try to give myself one day off and this is what keeps me sane. If I have a day off, I spend the day at home, doing my thing. I have dinner with friends or lay in bed and watch movies. I’m a bit of a homebody. It's boring but I enjoy it and think it's important to give yourself that break. 

I always seem to take on more and more tasks. The fashion scene is much smaller in Brisbane so I try to be involved as much as I can. If there’s ever an event in Brisbane, I always go to every event that I can or try to sponsor any fashion events. There are quite a few brands coming out of Brissy. Here, there isn’t a lot of exposure and I try to be involved with as much as I can. Networking is key and I’m in the process of organising a bit of a catch up with local brands as part of relaxed networking event to share insights and experiences. I believe it's important to work together as a group and to build each other up together.”

To shop Lyla & Bo go to: http://lylaandbo.com/

Follow Michelle @Mich_Moore / @Lyla_And_Bo

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

THE BEAUTY CHEF ON WHY GUT HEALTH IS VITAL FOR GLOWING SKIN

I recently interviewed Carla Oates, best known as The Beauty Chef on how to achieve healthy, glowing skin. Rather than focusing on products, the discussion turned to focus on something even more important to skin health - the gut. Being an ex spa therapist, I have always cared for my skin but lately I have been feeling not so confident about being bare faced because of irregular breakouts and the scars they leave behind. 

Carla, so kindly sent me a few of her products to sample and I have converted. I've simplified my skincare routine and have placed focus on my diet. Since using the Glow Inner Beauty Powder and the Inner Beauty Boost Elixir, I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin and feel a whole lot happier about my appearance. 

If you suffer from unwarranted breakouts, hormonal spots or think your skin could use a boost, I urge you to rethink the types of foods you are feeding your body and skin. Read on as The Beauty Chef talks about the relationship between digestion and skin health:


WHY NUTRITION IS KEY

"The skin, hair and nails are the last places to receive nutrients, as they go to more important organs first. Nutrition and healthy digestion is key. If we're not getting enough nutrients or digesting our food properly due to poor gut health, our skin will start to starve.

Our gut is where we make collagen, skin boosting nutrients and detoxifying enzymes that help keep our skin healthy, metabolise hormones and neutralise pathogens. Our gut health can therefore impact greatly on our skin."

HOW TO ACHIEVE A HEALTHY GUT

"We now know that a lack of hydrochloric acid in the gut can contribute to skin problems such as rosacea, and what increases the levels of this is lactic acid bacteria which can be found in fermented foods. New research shows that gut inflammation is linked to skin inflammation. Having a healthy gut can improve the fatty acid profile (meaning how moisturised and hydrated your skin is) of your skin.

I highly recommend taking ALL the processed and packet foods out of your diet and add some fermented foods instead! Lacto-fermented foods boost immunity, help your body make detoxifying enzymes, metabolise hormones, improve digestion and create probiotics that help detoxify your system."

DECODE YOUR BREAKOUTS

"People who don't normally have pimples or acne breakouts they commonly occur due to stress or unusual, and unhealthy dietary patterns. Those who are genetically prone to having pimples though, breakouts are usually hormone related, stress related, dietary related or toxicity related. 

One of the biggest myths is that acne is NOT food related. While for some people –food isn't the main cause behind their acne; it will certainly exacerbate people's skin problems. For example, acne is usually driven by androgens (like testosterone) and over active sebaceous glands. Eating foods high in sugar, which raises blood sugar levels, insulin levels and then testosterone levels, worsens both of these mechanisms. Acne is referred to as skin diabetes."

IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE

"One of the best ways to help balance gut flora is to take probiotics - beneficial bacteria that help to keep your gut in good health.   I also recommend eating lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut, or trying The Beauty Chef GLOW Inner Beauty Powder. Lacto-Fermented foods are rich in bio-available nutrients to feed the skin from within and are great for improving digestion.

Additionally I would suggest eating lots of greens, good fats, anti-inflammatory foods, exercise regularly and try not to stress!"



TIPS FOR BOOSTING SKIN HEALTH  

1. STEPPING UP THE ANTIOXIDANTS
"Coloured fruits and vegetables mop up free radicals and work as anti-inflammatories so it's a great idea to up your intake of these to give skin (and your immune system) a healthy boost during winter.  The Beauty Chef's ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost is another way to get an extra dose of antioxidants as it's specifically formulated to repair and rejuvenate skin, fight free radicals, address fine lines and skin firmness and boost overall skin radiance."

2. EATING ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FATS AND OILS
"Eating "good" oils help to lubricate the skin and make it glow from the inside out.  Omega 3 fats are very important and, while we tend to get enough of our omega 6's, Omega 3s are often forgotten, so up the intake of your wild salmon, sardines, krill oil, flaxseed, and walnuts."

3. CONSUMING MORE FERMENTED FOODS
"I can't stress enough how well fermented foods aid digestion and in turn help the skin – Sauerkraut, kefir, live yoghurt and kimchi are all great options. The Beauty Chef GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, BODY Inner Beauty Powder and our Inner Beauty Boosts are also perfect for giving your body and skin a much needed boost."


For more information on skin health and The Beauty Chef: http://www.thebeautychef.com/ 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

CONTACT


FREELANCE ENQUIRIES
Jade is a beauty, health, fashion and lifestyle writer with experience in print, digital and social media. Her previous role as a digital editor saw her working with brands such as YSL Beauty and eBay Fashion to provide digital and social media content, copywriting and creative strategies. 

Specialising in writing and tone of voice,  Jade is available for freelance opportunities for brands and individuals.

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES
Jade is always on the lookout for authentic individuals, beauty and health products to enhance the natural beauty within, and interesting fashion/fitness labels and accessories.

Please contact: Jade.theblondefox@gmail.com 

Monday, 31 August 2015

AYURVEDIC RITUALS WITH MADELAINE WHITTER, CO-FOUNDER OF AYU



Souq by Ayu has become one most treasured items, mostly for the way it makes me feel when I wear it. The aromatic elixir unlocks a certain happiness in my heart and gives me a sense of clarity and sits on my desk with other items I cherish. From the powerful aromas to the luxe packaging, Madelaine Whitter, Co-Founder of Ayu explains Ayuvedic processes behind the very enchanting fragrance.  

THE MAKING OF AYU 

"Having studied the Vedas and travelling to India to learn more, we are always inspired to include these practises into every day life. Being able to bottle this up into beautiful scents is a dream! When applied to the pulse points, the oils are absorbed by the skin affecting the senses immediately. Oils also have a more long lasting affect than a normal perfume and are quite often more highly concentrated, meaning you need to wear less and the scent lasts for much longer. The oil itself can have therapeutic properties depending on the type of oil. 

There are quite a few processes in making Souq. First we select the traditional herbs based on their affect on the nervous system. Their Vedic attributes are carefully considered before we hand blend them into precious carrier oils in small batches which forms the base to our oil blend. To this we add the sacred aromatics sourced globally according to their notes and their various affects on the body and mind. We use natural fixatives and preservatives and try to use materials that are ethical in their nature."

BALANCE ALL DOSHA'S

"We always strive to be balanced for when we are balanced we are at ease. Where there is unbalance in our energy there is "dis"ease. Souq has within its mix herbs that possess the ability to bring balance to all Dosha's because of their healing properties and calming, clearing and uplifting affects. So in this way you could say it’s ‘Tri-Doshic’ in nature."

SOUQ 



"Souq, is a luminous floral blend with heady notes of jasmine, musk rose and base notes of sandalwood. The ingredients are chosen for their clarifying and uplifting effects on the body and mind, the herbs for their rejuvenating affects. For me it evokes memories of wandering through the magnificent gardens in the grand Colonial style houses of Delhi and of summertime in Sydney walking to the pools by the beach. So for me it’s happiness, it takes me back to the best memories of exotic travels and summer time."

AYURVEDIC BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS

"From an Ayurvedic perspective it would be Lavender for calming anxiety and sleeplessness. Brahmi oil is also another revered Ayurvedic oil for alleviating the same symptoms. Patchouli is good for counteracting feelings of anxiousness and Ashwagandha is a beautiful oil revered for it’s overall balancing, rejuvenating and grounding properties."

FRAGRANCE IS PERSONAL

"If you love it then it’s right for you. Go with your instincts as every perfume smells different on the skin of each wearer. It’s also nice when someone compliments you on your perfume, that’s when you know you’re onto something."

For more information on Ayu: http://www.theayu.com.au/ 

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

SEVEN TIPS FOR CREATING POSITIVE VIBES



Sometimes it can be difficult to see the silver lining in really awful situations. I have often struggled with this but having my incredibly optimistic boyfriend by my side when my life wasn't so easy has helped me a lot. He taught me to put the positive vibes out there and good things will come. Positive vibes are very real and as soon as you remove or minimise the negative energy, the universe will respond.

I share my top seven tips that I found incredibly helpful when I wasn't feeling so positive: 

SOCIAL DETOX
This includes friends IRL and social media. Especially social media - I found myself constantly comparing myself to other peoples lives/careers/bodies so I unfollowed the accounts who I deemed to be toxic to me. Ask yourself, are they contributing to my happiness or motivating me to become a better version of myself? If the answer is no then trust me (and the universe) when I say you will be better off without them.

CREATE A POSITIVE SPACE
I recently bought myself a desk to work from home and have filled it with the things I love and what motivates me. Whether it’s a little sunny corner of your home, your desk at work or an entire room (if you have the space), create a space that is filled with things that make you happy. It can be as simple as adding plants for colour, lighting a candle in your favourite scent and displaying images of past memories or motivational quotes. 

DEVELOP A HEALTHY MORNING RITUAL
Hitting snooze on your alarm, skipping breakfast, missing your workout and rushing out the door every morning is no way to live. It’s important to start your day with a positive mind, body and soul.
I have my alarms labelled with motivational slogans to get me out of bed and stick to my fitness goals. My favourites are, “Rise and Grind”, “You got this,” or “Wake Up. Kick Ass. Repeat.” The positive endorphins from my workout put me in the right frame of mind for whatever the day throws at me.

EAT HEALTHY, BE HAPPY
Consuming the right foods can stabilises hormones and minimise stress levels in the body. Food is fuel, fill your body with nutrient-dense food and try to incorporate ‘happy foods’ such as berries, bananas, brazil nuts, seafood and dark chocolate.

EXPRESS GRATITUDE
Being grateful and expressing gratitude can promote feelings of optimism, help you to relish good experiences, improve health and state of mind and also assist in building strong and positive relationships. There are many ways to express gratitude, from showing appreciation for someone or something, keeping a gratitude journal or creating a gratitude jar, being kind to others or simply by waking every morning with a grateful heart and saying to yourself, “Today I am grateful for…” 

SET GOALS & VISUALISE
Another thing my boyfriend taught me, set goals. For everything. I have shot and long-term goals for my health, career, financial and relationship. 

Having goals can act as the best motivation for a positive life. First, figure out what it is you truly desire and write a strategy for how you plan to achieve it. Start small with daily/weekly goals and work your way up to the long term. Then, everyday take some time out to reassess and visualise your goals – really see yourself achieving those goals and how accomplishing them makes you feel.

BE AUTHENTIC
Struggling with your identity can be exhausting and not to mention, incredibly damaging to your self-esteem and self-worth. The moment you start being true to yourself is the moment stop judging and comparing yourself to others. Decide what is important to you and present the best version of yourself to the world. 


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FOX IN FOCUS: SALI STEVANJA


Sali is one inspirational woman for many reasons. She is the founder of Stylerunner, a motivational speaker and mentor, and a proud mother and wife. She has now turned her talents to building a community of women, along with the other incredible team members of Poppy Renegade. I met Sali when she had just left Stylerunner to follow her dreams. Her story really resonated with me as I was at the stage of taking a very scary leap into the world of freelance and blogging but she was able to my inner critic and confirmed that I must do what makes me happy.   Read, be inspired and take that leap.

“When I first started Stylerunner I was single and for the first two and a half years, working like crazy when you’re single, you cope with it fine because work almost becomes you’re partner - you feel as though you’re literally married to it. When Nathan and I got together, things changed… It wasn’t as though I lost my passion for Stylerunner, but it wasn’t just about Stylerunner anymore. I didn’t want to work until midnight, I wanted to be home to have dinner with my beloved.

I guess my priorities shifted and I was less inclined to live a life dictated by my work. I had a week off for my wedding and Nathan said, “do not touch your phone – you’re going to be present this week.” That week, I had my son and Nathan and all we did was play Xbox but it was the first time I genuinely felt present in the last three years – It was like an awakening for me, I thought nah, I just can’t go back... I can’t do something that no longer fulfils me.

[When I left] It was kind of freaky… There was a moment of what am I doing? But I’ve always been driven by a feeling or understanding of whatever’s meant to be, will be. When something feels right go for it, when something doesn’t feel right trust that feeling but I follow wholeheartedly. I thought well I’m good at public speaking, I like helping people achieve success, so that’s when I started mentoring and consulting.

One of my biggest things when I started Stylerunner was building a community and I wanted to continue. This was my chance to start a community (not based around lycra), so I identified four other women who were completely different but all have a really inspiring message. It feels like these days women feel like they have to be an entrepreneur or run a business to be deemed successful and I really hate that. I feel like there is all this pressure on women who might be a stay at home mum or working a nine to five who all of a sudden feel inadequate. I had a lot of girlfriends who started to question their own positions and I wanted to eliminate these feelings of “am I doing enough”?

The main purpose is for the five of us to build a community (website and app) that inspires women to stand taller than a tall poppy. So whatever it is you do in life, you own it, you will not be jealous of other women, you will actually feel inspired and driven. It was kind of like a jigsaw – we all just kind of fit together. I wanted every woman to be able to identify a bit of themselves with one of us.

There will be an online platform where you can choose your own mentor, we will hold interactive workshops that will be really fun and unexpected. It’s not just all about business, its may also be that someone might be going through a divorce and needs to talk to someone but doesn’t want to be judged. It’s all about creating a community."

SALI'S TIPS FOR STARTING A NEW VENTURE
1. The most important thing is to just get started! So many people wait for the perfect moment but you just need to get started. Even when I started Poppy Renegade, I didn’t even have a logo but I started getting the message out there straight away.
2. Be authentic and honest because people really resonate with that. Lisa Messenger is a great example of this.
3. With momentum comes greatness, hesitation kills the vibe so just go for it.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
When I was really young, someone always said never change who you are. Always be true to yourself. I do my best work when I’m being true to myself. People are attracted to that authenticity.


Poppy Renegade is set to launch late August. Keep up to date by subscribing to http://www.poppyrenegade.com/ and get involved by following @POPPYRENEGADE on Instagram.

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