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':
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.
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
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!
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
'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
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
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!"
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.”
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
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."
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FATS AND OILS
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."
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/
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.email@example.com
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/ <a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14377363/?claim=cxybz2m7ke6">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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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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
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
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
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
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
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