I am a huge fan of longer hemlines. There’s something so elegant and classic about wearing a gorgeous dress with a midi or ankle length hem. However I know it can be a little daunting to wear it, particularly if you’re not used to dealing with the extra coverage and fabric of a longer dress or skirt. Don’t let that deter you though because with the right styling techniques you’ll be well on your way to truly embracing this trend.
I was recently interviewed by Channel 7 about this particular trend (which is going to be huge for autumn racing) and shared all my tried and tested tips for working longer hemlines into your fashion repertoire. I promise it’s really easy!
Check out the video below, and scroll down to shop some of my favourite dresses befitting this trend.
She’s a modern day slashie— singer, songwriter and actress Sabrina Carpenter already has three albums to her name and has opened for singer Ariana Grande. She has appeared in shows like Orange is the New Black, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and was the lead in Disney show Girl Meets World. Here I sit down with Sabrina to chat about her new single, having Beyonce as a fan and how she gets through a crazy touring schedule.
What are you doing in Australia?
I’m here promoting my new single, “Almost Love,” but honestly, just being able to come and do some things before I hopefully get to tour here next year. I’m just such a fan of Australia. Whenever they ask me to come, I’m like, “Sure!”
You’ve been to Australia before. What are some of your favourite things to do while you’re here?
Eat Tim Tams. Eat more kinds of Tim Tams…No honestly, I’ve been able to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do over time of coming here, like going to the zoo and going to the beaches. We went to Bondi Beach. It’s just beautiful. The people are my favourite part. Everyone’s got such a nice energy.
Tell me about your single, “Almost Love.”
I wrote the song with Stargate, and, honestly, it was kind of inspired by these events where you feel like you’re on the cusp of something really great, a new possible, whether it’s a relationship or not, it’s that really exciting feeling, where you just want it to speed up and happen quicker. I actually had the words to the song in my phone for a couple of years. And it was one of those things that when I got into the studio, it was the right day to write the song, and now it’s the first single off the album.
What is the writing process for you?
It depends, it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s very quick and very easy, and other times, I will break down the song and write it over the course of three months. So, it’s never quite the same. I’d like to believe that every song that I write ties into my life somehow, because that’s the best way that I can write, where I feel like I’m getting something out of it, you know? I don’t think I ever to write to just write.
Tell me a little bit about the album.
It’s called “Singular,” and I really just wanted to embody the feeling and sound of this confident, empowered version of myself, that I feel like I’ve always sort of been since I was little, but I think that I had to learn to really be that way as a young woman in this industry. There’s so many doors slammed in your face, and there’s also so many fears that you have to overcome in order to have people listen to you, and understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from. So, it’s been such a journey, and I think that was one of the reasons why I called it “Singular,” but now, at this point, sonically, it’s such a departure from everything I’ve done before. So, I’m really excited for my fans to hear it.
What would you tell your younger self, considering you would have learned so much over the years?
I would tell my younger self, like, stop with the pink and sparkles! Like, I wore way too much pink, it was a problem, when I was like, 10. But, I would say trust your instincts, because I think that that’s a huge thing that I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to put my own opinions before other people’s, because it’s so easy to be, “Oh, well, maybe they know what’s best.” But then, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be your choice.
You’re immersed in singing and film. Out of the two genres, what do you gravitate more to?
I put it this way, music is my own voice, music is my stories and I have complete control. And with acting, I get to tell other people’s stories, and I get to put myself in someone else’s shoes, and I really, really get to feel what they’re feeling, and hopefully contribute something else to this world in a way that I can’t do with my music. So I love both.
What were you like as a child?
Always singing. Like, literally never shut up. Acting, I didn’t really know what it was, but I loved to play with Barbies and give them their own lives, and I loved to do different plays with my friends, and just pretend. I lived in an area where there wasn’t a whole lot around. It was like in the middle of the woods, so I had to build a world around me in my imagination, and I think that that really, really helped me now.
What was your first big break?
I think in acting it was obviously a television show that I did when I was 13 years old called “Girl Meets World.” I think that was a big moment, just because that show reached a lot of people. And I think in my music, I’d like to believe I haven’t had it yet. Because I think that I’m still at the beginning of everything, I’ve accomplished so many insane things so far in such a short period of time with music, that I didn’t think I would get to such as being able to travel to places all over the world and write three albums by the time I was 19. And that in itself, I think, is a big thing. But, I don’t think there’s one specific thing.
What about your biggest pinch-me moment?
Biggest pinch me moment? Mm, when Beyonce knew who I was!
No! What happened?
She stopped me, we happened to be at the same place at the same time, which I like to believe is just the good Lord looking out for me. She stopped me, and she was like, “I think you’re so incredible, and so talented, and me and my daughter love watching you.” And I was like, what? I knew who she was, obviously, as I passed her, but she stopped my friend, and she was like, “Is that who I think it is?” And I was like, “Come again? Is there someone else in this hallway?”
Who do you look up to in the industry?
I look up, obviously, to Beyonce. I love Rihanna. I love her sense of ‘I don’t care’ attitude, but in a great way. You know I think we need more of that. I think those are two really, really strong female musicians that have always made me feel like I can do anything on a stage, and I think that that’s a great inspiration to have in this industry. It can be scary. But I have so many. I grew up loving Christina Aguilera. She was one of my first.
What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being in the spotlight?
I think the best thing is that you have an opportunity to speak to a really large audience and hopefully contribute to some of the growth in the world in a positive way, however you choose to.
The worst thing is probably that your little mistakes are magnified so much, and especially as a teenager, I mess up every five minutes, and you know, back in the day without social media or anything like that, you didn’t know. So you just have to handle it different, and you also have to, I guess, learn how to not care, but just not take it to heart so much.
What’s your number one beauty tip?
Wash your face. It’s very simple, but it works every time. No, I constantly have to work with my skin, because I’m always on the road. I mean, it’s easy to say drink water, but at the same time, I think it really is just listening to your skin, because your skin is different from everybody else’s, so it’s just doing what works best for you.
Favourite travel destination?
Sydney, Australia. Duh.
What’s next for you?
I’m releasing the album later this year, and I’m a part of a movie coming out, I think for you guys on New Year’s Day, but it’s called “The Hate You Give.” Then I filmed another movie that will be coming out next year, and touring.
Do you like touring?
I do. I think you have to be twisted to like touring, so I think I’m really weird. It’s very challenging, and I think that I’ve probably developed most of my anxiety from being on the road, but I think that when you come out of it, you’re just a lot stronger. And it sounds like it’s not that big of a deal, but when you’re constantly waking up in a new city every day you’re not really like stationary for too long at all.
How do you get through it?
You need to sleep whenever you can. I’m always taking juice shots on the road, like, lemon and ginger and cayenne, because it’ll keep me healthy as long as I possibly can be. And then I like to explore if I have time. I like to see the cities that I’m in because I’m there, you know?
If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be?
Wow. I would love to either write a song or do a song with Paul McCartney, because he’s amazing. And I’ve also always wanted to do a musical.
Have you? That’d be great.
Yeah, because I’ve never really gotten to blend the worlds together, and I think that that would be really hard, and I want to do it.
Any particular one?
No. Actually, I’d love to do an original. I love so many different musicals. So I would, I’m sure, if one came along that had a role for me. There’s not a lot for girls my age. But, if there was like an original one, I think that would be really cool.
WE WENT TO: Hacienda Bar Sydney at the Pullman Quay
We’re all so health conscious these days that it’s often hard to differentiate what’s fact and what’s fad. Nutritionist Jessica Sepel is one person who is aiming to make being healthy easier, more sustainable and most of all, enjoyable. Jessica, through her popular blog, books and new app is trying to ensure that looking after our health becomes a lifestyle rather than a chore. We caught up recently to chat about the one question she gets asked the most, why she’s packing up and moving to LA and why she wants me to cook kalettes for dinner…
Hi lovely. Good to see you. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Thank you for having me what a gorgeous morning.
What have you been up to lately?
So I have just launched my app and vitamins so it’s been a really busy 2018 for me. A lot going on but also moving to LA next week. Very exciting.
What’s a day in the life of you?
Day in the life of me is wake up probably seven, 7.30 and I practice yoga normally, either yoga or a walk in nature and I have a JS Health [Jessica’s health program] breakfast. I actually don’t check social media or my emails or any of that until after a really beautiful morning routine, then I hit the office just like everyone else about 9 o’clock and full of meetings, recipe creation, technical meetings now because of the app and then finish work six, seven o’clock, make dinner for my husband and I, and I go into bed early.
You’ve had such an incredible journey did you always want to be a nutritionist?
I always wanted to be a nutritionist, but I absolutely didn’t have a dream bigger than that. I’ve studied health and nutrition for five years. After school, I went up to study nutrition, and then in my fourth year of study I started a blog just very casually, but I’ve always just wanted to be in private practice, that was my end goal. But then the blog took off and that’s how it kind of turn into a brand which is JS Health and JS Health turned into the books. And the books turned into a program and the program turned into an app and vitamins.
Did you have any idea that you’d be doing books, vitamins… apps?
No, no way. I always say if I can do it anyone can because I have zero business skills, zero business training…but I guess I’m really passionate about the healthy life and that as you know, when you’re passionate about something you can make it work. The best part of JS Health is that it’s this community, this really strong loyal community who have supported me and I’m supporting them on this journey to live a healthier life.
What would be some of your top tips for living a healthy lifestyle?
I actually think removing the pressure to do it all right. JS Health really is all about balance, of course making the best choices that you can most of the time, but then also allowing for flexibility, balance, moderation.
My tip is making one to two small changes a week that creates profound physical change in the body. Also, developing or fostering a wholesome relationship with your body is probably the first step when it comes to living a healthy life. Because when you love yourself and you want to take care of yourself, you automatically make healthy choices. We have to start to change our mentality around a healthy life and see it as this long term journey and make small changes week by week.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make?
Definitely the attachment to extreme and fat diets that is the biggest mistake, because unfortunately the minute we restrict and deprive our foods it always leads to overeating, binging, emotional eating and having this really complicated relationship with food. We’re not meant to be so complicated with food. Food is here to nourish us, to energise us.
Social media, especially in your world, must have such great benefits but also such negatives as well.
Yeah, definitely and I feel like I’m in the middle of both of those worlds because I’m trying to encourage people to live a healthier life, but I don’t want them to feel like that is the perfect life. I always say the healthy life does not mean the perfect life, but obviously it’s my role to inspire my community with healthy food all the time. I also always encourage people to only follow people who inspire you and unfollow the people that you are comparing yourself to. You know when you’re following an account do you feel good when you look at it? Does is it inspire you, does it excite you, does it motivate you or you’re like, “oh gosh, I wish I had that, I should be looking like that.” If you’re feeling pressure and anxiety in any small way, it’s a good idea to unfollow.
Tell me about your app. Congratulations, it’s very exciting.
Thank you, so with the app I feel like it’s been like 10 years in the making to get to this point because I had a very complicated relationship with food as a young teenage girl as a chronic fad dieter. I was like 13 when I just got into dieting, which is very weird at that time because there was no social media. So I think I was actually reading those trashy celebrity magazines and following what they were doing.
It’s amazing how young that all starts.
Really young. And then I have had this complicated relationship with food until after school and then that’s when I went to study health and nutrition and then that’s when I started documenting my transition from being this fad dieter to becoming more of a balanced eater. And then I started documenting it into a blog and then I start writing about the recipes that I was creating and developing into the blog and so the app is really just a manifestation of my philosophy, of my principles, the recipes that people have loved all these years, and really it teaches you how to give up dieting for life. It is giving you access to a nutritionist 24/7. I have a whole team someone can just ask at any time.
It’s kind of a game changer, there’re 53 health guides, so kind of a virtual online nutrition clinic. So if you suffer with your sleep you’ll go into the sleep room and you’ll capture the JS Health sleep guide, nutrition guide, lifestyle guide for sleep, and then if you need further support there’s a nutritionist there guiding you through that whole journey or whatever you might be struggling with. I guess everyone wants a nutritionist in their pocket. We’re all on our phones all the time, so the app is really just this way for people to have access to my philosophy and my recipe with absolute ease.
You gave me these amazing kalettes for my dinner tonight, what am I cooking tonight with these?
I’m inspiring you to cook tonight, well firstly because you have kids and kids love chips, and kalettes are basically a very nutritious chip. You can bake them in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt, pop them into the oven for like 20 to 30 minutes and they turn into crispy chips and then you can use Hummus or Tahini to dip them or I chop them up and I sauté them with leeks and mushrooms and then I add goat’s cheese. So it’s like a kale stir fry topped with goat’s cheese and leeks and it’s just so delicious. I bought you some mushrooms and leeks to go with the kalettes, which you can get from Coles!
So you must be a good cook?
I wouldn’t say like I’m an amazing cook, but I’m really good at discovering healthy alternatives to our favourite foods and cooking simply but tasty, like I think you can still be a foodie even if you’re health conscious. We have this perception that healthy food is bland and boring and tasteless, I’m really trying to break that conception and show people that healthy food can be really delicious and satisfying and rich and decadent.
What’s your go-to recipe?
Probably the JS Health Japanese salmon, which is basically like a healthy teriyaki sauce over salmon with probably cauliflower mash.
What’s the number one question that people ask you?
Definitely energy, how do I get more energy? I think energy is such a big issue, right now for women especially so that’s one of them. Sugar cravings, how do I combat sugar cravings and gut health? I think those three are the most commonly asked questions in the JS Health community.
What do you say when it comes to energy?
So when it comes to energy, you really want to make sure that your gut is in good shape. So with gut health I will really give them a gut treatment protocol to get their gut back in shape. Really starting with food and not being too worried about it but cutting out those foods that will probably make you feel tired, and the two most common triggers are gluten and wheat and refined sugar. So if you just take a four week break from those two and see if your energy improves, which 90 percent of the time it does, then those are the two culprits to kind of reduce. When I say give up gluten, I mean you can still go out on the weekends and have your piece of salad and have your toast it’s just I have found from clinical experience, gluten does make people feel tired. A lot more sleep and also going to bed by 10.30, 11 anything after that can, people wake up feeling really tired.
Australians drink a lot of coffee. I love coffee I’m never giving up my one a day, but I normally say one a day before 10:00 AM because having caffeine from midday onwards can really interfere with your cortisol and adrenal glands, which can really affect your sleep and can make you feel really tired the next day. So I say try and stop at 10 or maybe the latest midday and you should notice the energy started to pick up.
Is going out to restaurants ever tricky?
I mean restaurants are also catering to the health conscious so you can always find a healthy option wherever you are. I think it really is just about making sure you have the macro nutrients to keep you full and satisfied at meals. So making sure you have your protein, your veggies and making sure you have your fibre from your veggies, making sure you have a bit of a complex or releasing carb, lots of good fats.
Do you ever indulge?
What is your biggest indulgence?
I love gelato. I love going out on a Saturday night and having wine and definitely trying the dessert. I’m a foodie so I want to go to these beautiful restaurants and experience the food. So actually because my life is so healthy and every day is based around the healthy life, I actually got out of my way to break that and be flexible with food and travel and go to new restaurants and try the food because I think that is the healthy life.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working, what do you do with your husband?
That’s a good question. I definitely need to improve on getting the fun back into my life because my husband is the CEO of JS Health so we work together, it’s really challenging. For me, honestly like fun is taking Saturday off going for a massage, practicing yoga, really not checking my emails and my phone and having a really beautiful dinner somewhere. And travel is what brings me so much joy and fun. Seeing the world, seeing different cultures, seeing more different food, experiencing different food I guess that to me is what I really look forward to in life.
What is it like working with your husband?
Interesting. We work really well together because we have so much respect for each other. And when you respect someone, it’s very rare that we break each other’s boundaries or speak to each other in a negative way. But it’s challenging in the fact that our life is work now, but there’s this amazing holly bow underneath, this is like my dream. We work together, we spend every waking moment together.
Tell me about moving to LA are you excited/ nervous?
Yeah, there’s a lot of fear. It’s a big move. I guess I have such a beautiful loyal community here and I will never leave that and I’ll always continue to nourish an Australian community, but this app, the app and the vitamins really does need to be in the American market and I think, I hope to build a JS Health community over there. The JS Health message is really unique because it’s really helping women around the world give up the diets, give up the fads, give up on the extremes around food and finally find balance and peace with food and their bodies, and so I really think America needs that. Hollywood needs that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Well, my mum always has said hard work never goes unnoticed, and so every time you know, we all have those days and those moments where you’re like, is all of this work actually worth it? But then I remember she says, you’ll see, you’ll see the hard work will get acknowledged and noticed. I think people don’t have a really true perception of what it takes to build something. It’s really not easy, it’s really not glamorous, it’s gruelling and you actually have to be relentless. My dad has always said, keep going, keep going, keep pushing it’s the only way I guess to do what you want to do and create what you want to create.
Amazing. I wish you the best of luck over in LA!
Thanks Kate, thank you so much.
Try Jessica’s recipe for this one pan dukkah crusted salmon dish below.
This easy one-pan dinner shows how to make a meal that’s nutritious, quick and easy.
2 x salmon fillets
1 x packet kalettes, stem removed
½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
Himalayan salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tbsp dukkah spice
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C if fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place two salmon fillets in the middle of the baking tray, surrounded by the kalettes and cauliflower florets.
Spray olive oil over the veggies and salmon. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
Top each salmon fillet with 1 tbsp of the dukkah spice. Pat it down.
Place the prepared baking tray in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the vegetables are lovely and roasted. Serve warm and enjoy. Pro tip: make extra veggies for lunch!
Businesswoman Bethany James started her first company as child, selling stones, sticks and nuts that she’d spray painted gold to her neighbours. In her twenties she founder her own cosmetics company, Bethany Cosmetics. And now, after struggling to find the kind of furniture she wanted in her work as an interior designer, she started an import business called Regency Distribution. Since then the Perth-based entrepreneur now has three showrooms, James Said, with two in Perth and one in Sydney and now has over 3000 pieces available for purchase on its online store. Here Bethany shares the secrets to her success, learning to let go of wanting to control every aspect of her business and why the drive to work is the most important part of her day.
Where did the idea to start James Said come from?
I was working as an interior designer and I had a specific style that I loved. I couldn’t find the pieces that I wanted in Australia and had to look overseas to find them. I identified a niche in the market so I set up a distribution company and started to import.
What was the process like to start it?
It was very challenging. I had a toddler at home and started the business in my spare room with very little initial start up capital. Juggling motherhood and new business was very hard. I would work most evenings until 2am – simply because I would be child free and able to get it done. The start-up of my business was completely organic because I had no money for marketing. In fact when I started I didn’t even have a single piece of furniture! All I had was catalogues and lot of pretty images. I started off as a wholesale business exclusive to interior designers. I went through the designers in the yellow pages online and email them all, one by one, introducing myself. It took me months, but this is how I built my database and started my company. On my own, in my spare room, working to the early hours of the morning. I pre-sold my first container that I imported and the deposits I received covered most of the cost. Even with such a modest beginning I still managed to turnover over a million in sales in first year. Our growth now is snowballing every year, whilst I take it in my stride each day, it amazing to look back on each year to see how far we’ve come.
What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Growing fast without adequate systems. We were unprepared for our growth and didn’t have adequate software to assist us. The result was poor service and unreliable lead times. It feels great to have this sorted. When I look at my business now I continually think – how can I do this better? How can I exceed my customers’ expectations in all areas of my business. From the range of products, to my sales staff and the customer experience in store all the way through to our delivery service. What would exceed my customers experience—and that’s what I do.
What’s been the biggest turning point in your career? Why?
Staff. When I originally started to employ staff, they were of little help to me because I was so protective of everything. I wouldn’t delegate, I just didn’t trust anyone to do the job as well as myself. I was afraid of the commitment of full time salaries so instead kept employing casuals. The result was that my staff were of no assistance to me and I was at capacity so the business couldn’t grow. In the third year of my business was my turning point. I decided to invest all my energy into my staff and delegating everything. The more I put into them the more I freedom I had to grow the company. I now only employ full time staff, almost never casuals. My business moves so fast that I need team members that are fully absorbed in the company each day. I take the time to understand what drives each individual staff member so that I can make sure that their time with the company allows them to feel secure and fulfilled.
James Said focuses on Hollywood Regency style pieces
How do you start each day?
I try to swivel out of bed and have my feet touch the carpet as soon as my alarm goes off, otherwise I end up in the ‘hit the snooze’ cycle. Then it’s an expresso shot while google home tells me the latest news. Then I spend the next half hour with my coffee browsing social media.
Once out of bed and showered I listen to inspiration podcasts or YouTube videos whilst I do my make up and get ready. Mixed into that I get my son ready for school, fed and we’re out the door. My most valuable time is the drive between school and work. This is my time and use it to ensure that when I arrive into the office I am in the right state.
My energy affects everyone in the office so I make sure that when I walk in I bring high energy vibes with me. During that drive my car is my sanctuary, sometimes I listen to Oprah other times I just crank the music loud, but the outcome is always to leave any negativity behind me so I when I arrive at the office all my staff can feed off my energy.
What drives you?
For me my business is like a sport. Obviously its serious because I employ people and it’s my livelihood but when I dig deeper, I’m driven by pushing to see how far I can take the business. I am never satisfied with any milestone, I’m always on the next step. I never want to wonder —what if? So I just go for it, I give it everything I have, every day. I relate it sport because each day I’m faced with new issues or problems I have to solve and overcome, all whilst persevering forward all the time, always feeling challenged. I love it.
What’s your management style?
I know its probably wiser to have a barrier between yourself and your staff, however I’ve never been able to have that separation. I’ve always been the kind of person that brings my personal life to the office and so I develop friendships with my staff. We have a lot of fun, a lot of laughs but we also work very hard. I really consider my staff as my team, I value and care about them enormously. Finding staff that are the right cultural fit is an important part of our recruitment process.
What are some tools—whether it be a gadget, an app, a favourite site— that help you manage all your various businesses and projects?
Changing my inventory software was huge for my business. It streamlined everything, made us more efficient and we were able to offer better service to our customers.
As far as apps go Instagram has been a huge part of our growth. It’s how we connect with our customers and drives more customers to my stores than any other marketing source.
What do you think has been the key to your success?
Being brave and consistently persevering through challenging times. I also have unending energy for my business. I don’t know where it comes from but it’s just always there. I never run out of new ideas or passion year after year. I guess if that ever stops that will be my que to move on to something else.
What makes you so passionate about interiors?
I always want to make everything as beautiful as possible. It crosses over into all areas of my life. I need to have a creative outlet to be happy, it’s just a part of me. My interior style is always evolving, I find inspiration everywhere and it’s a great feeling when you create a space that is unique that people respond to.
Bethany says she loves interiors as she “wants to make everything as beautiful as possible.”
What’s the most satisfying thing about working on James Said?
I love sitting in the driving seat of my business because it gives me the freedom to create the next step for the business. Its enormously gratifying to have an idea and take it all the way to fruition.
Where do you hope to take your business in future?
I plan for James Said to be an international brand. I would love stores all over the world.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
To be authentic. When I launched my business I was doing my own thing. I was laughed at by many of my competitors for selling bright coloured and gold furniture. But I followed my heart and it was immediately successful. From time to time I would look to what my larger competitors were selling and copy. This was never successful.
Now I really don’t pay any attention to my competitors, I just run my own race and sell what resonates with me. I don’t visit other stores in Australia, or check their websites. I don’t want to be influenced in any way and I feel that there’s room for everyone.
Even when I opened my Sydney store, I didn’t visit any other Sydney stores. I wanted my store to be completely fresh and unique, I didn’t want to risk being influenced by what other stores are doing in any way.
What’s your working style?
I juggle my day with the school run so I’m grateful to have to have staff that can open and close the business. As my business opens at 7am to sync up with the east coast [of Australia], by the time I arrive I’m already behind so most of the day is spent catching up and I’m caught up the day to day running of the business. My true productive time is late at night after my son is asleep. This is when I have clarity to think with out interruption. Anything important is done at this time.
My best creative moments are usually when I travel. International travel always leaves me with a broader and larger view on business.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business?
I often have conversations with people who tell me they have thought about starting their own business and they ask me for advice.
Starting your own business is hard, it’s financially risky and will most likely leave you without income for quite a while. I discover most people aren’t really prepared for that kind of risk or commitment.
Starting your own business has to be something that you just have to do. It’s not a decision to do, you have to do it. It’s that kind of passion that’s needed to live and breathe the business year after year. If you have that passion then you have to just be brave!
Being an entrepreneur is just part of who I am. When I was a kid I stole my dad’s gold spray paint and sprayed stones, sticks and honkey nuts and then sold them to all my neighbours. When I was a teenager I made earrings and sold them at school. In my twenties I had my cosmetics company. It’s just part of who I am but it’s not for everyone.
You’ll be familiar with Poppy Delevingne first and foremost as a model. She was first scouted at the age of 15 by Sarah Doukas, Storm models founder and the woman who discovered a young Kate Moss. And whilst she’s modelled for the likes of Burberry and Alberta Feretti, and landed magazine covers for Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and fronted campaigns for the likes Louis Vuitton it seems she’s found her true calling: acting. She’s starred in King Arthur and Kingsman: The Golden Circle and is appearing opposite Antonio Banderas in Genius: Picasso. However we’re sitting down for a chat for another reason—her Queen of Pop collection with Jo Malone London. The fun, 60s inspired range includes everything from bubble bath to fragrances and has brought Poppy to Sydney to chat about its launch in Australia. Here we chat about working with such an iconic brand, why she loves Aussie labels and the one place in the world that gives her butterflies.
What are you up to and what are you doing in Australia?
I am in Australia for the last leg of my Jo Malone London Queen of Pop tour. We’ve done LA, London, Dublin, Paris, Milan. Now Australia. So this is my last bit, and I’m very sad that it’s ending.
Tell me all about your collection.
So Queen of Pop… we created our first standalone bubble bath. It’s Jo Malone’s first ever bubble bath. It’s about time. In a much bigger bottle, with three very luxurious fragrances. And then what is bath time without a luxury candle? Which we did in another three fragrances. And then I picked three favourite colognes, which all mean something to me in very unique and special ways. I’m a 60s girl at heart, so we went for quite a Mod aesthetic. I was very inspired by the 60s, and by pop art, and Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. So, bright polka dots, bright colours, gold stripes. We just wanted to do something that was really playful.
And so how did you go about choosing the fragrances?
So, Red Rose is … Was the first Jo Malone perfume I ever wore, and I started wearing it when I was 18 years old and I always go back to it, it’s like an old friend. Amber and Lavender is the cologne that my husband wears. It’s a unisex cologne and we did these little bottles so I can now carry him around wherever I go. And Peony Blush & Suede is my all-time favourite Jo Malone fragrance because it’s so feminine and light and floral, but has a little edge to it. If I wear it I get compliments.
The Queen of Pop collection is now available in Australia
What is a day in the life of you?
Every single day is so different…. a lot of planes, usually make up a lot of my time. I’ve actually at the moment just started [filming] a new TV show called Riviera, season two. So I’ve moved out to Nice, and I’ll be living there ’til November. Which is super exciting. Every day is a new adventure.
You’ve come from a modelling background, and now you’re focusing more on films and TV. Which genre do you prefer?
I prefer acting. I never really felt like I belonged to the modelling world. I was just always that goofy girl with lipstick on her teeth, tripping over lighting cables. I’m so grateful for the career that I had in the fashion industry, but acting really has my heart.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt while modelling?
Oh my God, to have a thick skin. To not take things personally. How to deal with jet lag.
What do you love most about acting?
For me, I like the challenge of it. I’ve always been someone who likes to push myself and challenge myself in any way that I can. So, for me it’s that terrifying feeling I get before going on set, and then being able to do it and achieve it. That sense of achievement at the end of the day is everything.
You’ve worked on some big films. What has been the biggest pinch-me moment?
I think my biggest victory moment would have to be doing the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in America. And I did that with Steve Martin and Martin Short. I’ve always been [a] huge fan [of both actors], since I was young. I grew up with [the movie] Father of the Bride. So, for me to be sitting on a sofa with those two comedic greats, and with Jimmy Fallon, who’s also a genius, he’s unbelievable, I was absolutely petrified and I opened a beer bottle with my eye sockets. I was like, “Oh my God, don’t do this, you’re gonna get a black eye!” It was so fun.
What was it like to be on such a big production like the movie King Arthur?
I mean, daunting, but quite incredible. Working with [director] Guy Ritchie is a dream come true. Getting to act with the wonderful Eric Bana and to meet all these incredible actors who I could learn so much from. It was daunting, but magical all at the same time.
What was it like to work with Antonio Banderas in the show Genius: Picasso?
Incredible. He is such a kind and generous man, and such a generous actor, and to be able to work with someone like him who I could learn so much from and … He was always so helpful and so respectful and I learnt a lot from him.
What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received would have to be from Cinderella, which is, “Be kind and have courage.” I love that.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style is very eclectic and I would say that I always dress to suit my mood. I like spontaneous dressing.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
For my daily uniform, I always have a really good pair of jeans. I’m obsessed with FRAME Denim or Citizens of Humanity. T-shirts, I love James Perse and Calvin Klein. A leather jacket. I have a gorgeous one by Anine Bing. And then I’d wear these little trainers called Feiyues, which are actually from China. I live in them. So yeah, like jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket and trainers.
What about beauty essentials?
Oh, my God, where do we begin? I wash my face with MBR (Medical Beauty Research) enzyme face wash. I love using Crème de la Mer eye cream and soft moisturizing lotion. That’s basically me done. I like to keep it very simple and quite basic.
What are you makeup daily essentials or are you one of those people that wears no makeup on a normal day?
If I’m not working, I like to do no makeup whatsoever, because whenever I’m working, it’s part of my job to wear it so I like to give my face a day off every now and again.
Are you a flats or heels girl?
Flats, because I’m so tall on my own. I don’t need any help in that department.
Do you like Australian labels? and if so, what are your favourites?
I do. Zimmermann has been one of my all time favorites and it’s come to London now, which is so exciting, because it means that I can basically wear them. I used to love sass & bide. I was so devastated when that stopped, because it was literally like my favourite store in the whole world. Who else do I really love? I’ve got really beautiful things … I can’t remember what she called it now. Her name’s Kit Willow. KITX, she’s got some gorgeous things. She’s a beautiful designer.
What are your favorite things to do when you come to Australia?
See all my Aussie fans, because they’re literally some of my favourite people in the whole entire world. To see them, to drink Aperol Spritzes, be in the sunshine, work on my freckles and shop.
Where is your favourite travel destination?
When I think about Italy, when I think about Positano and I think about having pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that gives me butterflies with excitement. And Le Sirenuse Hotel has ton loads of memories. One of my all-time favourite places in the world.
What do you carry in your travel bag?
In my travel bag I have a lovely organic lavender hand sanitizer. Yes, it’s literally the best thing ever. What else do I always carry in my bag? Jo Malone London do a gorgeous lip balm, a gorgeous vitamin E lip balm. They also do a lovely geranium and walnut hand cream that I’m obsessed with. And I’m also really obsessed with Dr. Barbara Sturm, who does these hyaluronic ampules. They’re like acid ampules and you crack them open and put all over your skin and just let it sink it. It’s heaven.
Amazing. I need to try that.
And a silk eye mask.
Really? Do they really work?
Yes. Makes the world of a difference. It’s so bad to leave … you know if you take off an eye mask and you have a mark on your face, as you get older, it’s really bad to do that. My dermatologist told me that. She’s like, “You need to get silk pillows, silk everything, because-yeah, because, it just wrinkles your face so much. I know, right?
I always saw them and thought, “Oh, it’s too high maintenance to wash silk pillows.”
I know. It’s annoying, but a silk eye mask is good enough.
What’s next in the pipeline?
I’ve been finishing off this show, Riviera. I’m filming it till November, and then I think just seeing what comes next. I’m going to be doing a third collaboration with Jo Malone London, so I’m super excited about that. I’m working on it at the moment, so it’s a work in progress, and we’ll hopefully get to tour with it next year.
If you could work on any film or with any actor, what would be your dream role?
My dream would be to work with the wondrous Meryl Streep. I think she can do no wrong. It doesn’t get much better than that.
And any particular character you could play?
I would love to play a character who’s perhaps completely out of my comfort zone. Somewhere where I’d have to really transform myself and really immerse myself and become that person. Anything that’s a real challenge.
Where you see yourself in five years time?
Five years time. Babies, babies, babies. I hope so. Fingers crossed.
We went to: Bistro Moncur Mosman
We ate: Pan fried barramundi fillet; Potato & ricotta gnocchi
Being a true girlboss often requires a little multitasking. In Hermione Underwood’s case it’s a bonafide juggling act. Being at the helm of four business endeavours, that include handbag label Espie Roche and jewellery brand Atelier Romy, Hermione manages to make it look oh-so easy. After leaving her beloved Sydney behind to relocate to London, the entrepreneur has flourished in her new home and says it has been the major turning point in her career. Here Hermione chats to me about learning to be a little fish in a big pond, ignoring the doubters and why she thinks a positive attitude is everything.
You currently juggle your brand consultancy, your style and travel blog hermioneolivia.com, Atelier Romy and Espie Roche. How do you manage all four?
I find the busier I am, the more I get done. It just requires some fairly strategic time management and planning. Despite the fact there are multiple businesses, a lot of what I do crosses over so it is manageable.
What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Pushing forth when people told me I was crazy… and then pushing forth when I momentarily thought they might be right!! More specifically, I would say raising capital investment for my fashion ventures and securing the entrepreneur visa in the UK have been recent highlights.
What’s been the biggest turning point in your career and why?
Moving to London was definitely the turning point for me. I wanted a challenge and boy-oh-boy did I get it. I went from being comfortable and supported to being a tiny fish in a big pond, having to build my network from scratch with limited resources whilst pursuing much bigger career goals. Four years later, the gamble is paying off and find it exciting to be working in a big international city on these businesses.
I’m inspired by people who execute their vision. Those that quietly chip away to see success. Two Aussie friends, Alyce Tran of The Daily Edited and Justin Hemmes of Merivale come to mind… they both have the Midas touch.
How do you start each day?
Usually checking my whatsapp and emails and racing off to a meeting…!
What drives you?
At the end of the day, I just want to do good work that I’m proud of, be challenged and always be learning. I thrive seeing vision come to fruition. I feel very fortunate that my work rarely feels like work because I’ve turned my passions for travel, brands and fashion into businesses.
What are some tools – whether it be a gadget, an app, a favourite site – that help you manage all your various businesses and projects?
I actually run my businesses on whatsapp—it’s obviously immediate and allows my business partners and I to share and easily access documents, references, passwords, designs—you name it—all in one place at any time.
I also use Planoly and UNUM which are Instagram planning and scheduling apps.
What do you think has been the key to your success?
Success is an interesting word. I don’t feel as if I’ve made a success of myself just yet but I would say that I now have the foundations I dreamt of because of hard work, not taking no for an answer and putting my fears to the side.
Where do you hope to take your businesses in future?
I’d like to see my brands Atelier Romy and Espie Roche grow internationally, continue to develop their unique aesthetics and collections and continue learning about the digital/social space to bring them to life online. Recently I’ve acquired a really wonderful group of international clients which I’m helping to infiltrate into the UK and Australian markets which is really exciting for me.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
Positive attitude is everything and as my grandfather used to say, ‘the harder I worked, the luckier I became’.
What’s your working style?
I try to have at least 1 meeting free day each week. This allows me to focus on real work. I’m also most productive in the morning so I try to ensure meetings are in the afternoon to give me that time to catch up on Australian clients who have emailed overnight, and to get the most important tasks done before the day begins.
Every day is different for me. If I’m not shooting or travelling, I’ll usually work at Chess Club in Mayfair or at one of the Soho Houses.
What’s your number one social media tip for someone starting a business?
Have a clear vision and aesthetic, know your audience and unwaveringly stick to it. I also think it’s important to not take it too seriously and to let your personality shine through.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business?
You are going to be faced with countless hurdles and have your decision tested repeatedly so make sure you are truly passionate about whatever it is you are pursuing.
New York City is about as far away as you can get from the rural town Narrandera where model Victoria Lee grew up. As a self-confessed homebody, she says even she’s surprised that she’s now based in the Big Apple and miles from home. However relocating to the other side of the world is the logical next step when you’re one of the hottest models of the moment. Along with walking in last year’s Victoria’s Secret show alongside Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell, she is also a freshly minted David Jones ambassador joining fellow Aussies Jessica Gomes and ex-AFL player Adam Goodes. I caught up with Victoria to chat about the secret to a flattering photo, the one beauty product she can’t live without and how she stays fit.
What’s a day in the life of you?
Every day is different, which took awhile to get used to, to be honest. But I’ve since learned to embrace this fact and just go with the flow—as much as I can anyway! In general though, I love to wake up early, exercise in the morning, make yummy food and then get on with my day. If I’m working the hours and location always change but if I have some time off I’ll usually take care of any chores or e-mails, catch up with friends, sort the neverending pile of mail, run errands… it’s always a little different.
What is Fashion Week like for you?
This is the first time I’ve been home for Australian Fashion Week in a long time so I’m very happy to be home, but also [being here] where I haven’t done the shows. Actually being able to sit and experience the show is fantastic. I’m really enjoying seeing the way the show comes together and to appreciate the collections and creativity of the designers and all their hard work, from the other side.
What was it like to attend Camilla and Marc’s opening show?
I am such a huge fan of Camilla and Marc and to think it was their 15 year anniversary which was amazing. The show was fantastic—you felt transported to this other world through the lighting, set, sounds and music. Not to mention the collection itself which was stunning—the models looked so beautiful, powerful and strong.
Last year you walked in the Victoria Secret show in Shanghai alongside other supermodels like Tyra Banks, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell. How did that feel?
Surreal. It was so much better than I actually expected. I thought I’d be more anxious, that I wouldn’t be fully present and just enjoy, but did. And I think that’s because of the Victoria’s Secret team and the girls I was there with. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive. They know you’re nervous! They really make an effort to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to just have fun and enjoy yourself, which is what it’s all about. It was very exciting, I really enjoyed the entire experience.
What does it mean to you to be an ambassador for David Jones?
It’s a real honour. I grew up shopping at David Jones and admiring past ambassadors Megan Gale and Miranda Kerr. To be a part of such an iconic Australian brand is incredible and I’m so happy to be a part of the David Jones family. Especially now; to be alongside Jess Gomes and Adam Goodes is amazing. And to be celebrating the 180th birthday of DJs is really special.
How did you first get into modelling?
I met with agencies after being recommended by photographers when I was in Sydney one time with my family. However I didn’t start going to castings until I finished school.
Was this always your dream?
No, not at all. Mainly because I grew up in Narrandera, rural NSW. I had no concept of the modelling industry—it was a long way away. Even after I started, I never viewed modelling as a career option. I had no idea what to expect, but I appreciated the fact that the opportunity doesn’t come by every day. I thought I would try it out in between school and university. I’m extremely lucky to have such a wonderful support network that has been by my side every step of the way.
What were you like at school?
I loved sport and athletics but was also very focused on my studies. I worked hard to get the best possible mark on my exams as I could. I ended up being Dux of my school which I was really happy about. All my friends from school try to catch up when everyone is home over Christmas which is always a lot of fun.
What’s something that people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?
Growing up I was a real homebody—I hated being away from home. Even on school excursions, I would want to go home ASAP. I couldn’t even do sleepovers. So to now live as far away from home as possible is something that still surprises me!
What was your first big break?
Very early in my career, my first Fashion Week, I walked for Camilla and Marc at Australian Fashion Week.
What has been your biggest pinch-me moment?
Can I have two?! Walking for VS [Victoria’s Secret] and being named as a David Jones ambassador were both pretty special pinch-me moments.
Who do you look up to?
I admire my parents and grandparents—I’m lucky to have such a wonderful family whom I look up to. I also admire women like Elle McPherson, Jess Gomes, Megan Gale, Doutzen Kroes, Diane Von Furstenberg, my agent, Doll, just to name a few! Intelligent, hard-working, very genuine women.
What has been the best advice you have ever received?
My mum always encouraged me to do my best in any situation and not to follow the crowd—be my unique self, always.
If you hadn’t become a model, what would you be doing?
Probably something in health or nutrition. I’ve always been fascinated by the human body.
As a model, how do you stay fit?
I love dance-based workouts—I find my body responds well and they are a great combination of strength and cardio. Along with stretching and recovery I make sure to respect my body and to prioritise sleep and recovery as much as my workouts. Along with proper nutrition. I love food and aim to nourish my body in the best way I can.How do you prep for a big show?
I have a healthy lifestyle constantly but leading up to a big show I’ll make sure to drink plenty of water and get as much sleep as possible. I have a sweet tooth so I might cut back a little on the chocolate. But it’s all about balance.
What is it like living in New York?
I love it. It took a while to get used to—it’s a far cry from Narrandera and Sydney. But it’s an amazing city with such a vibrant and eclectic energy and culture. I’m very lucky to be able to live there and call Australia home. It’s the best of both worlds which I’m very appreciative of.
What do you miss most about living in Sydney?
The wonderful beaches, weather, our laidback attitude, our sense of humour, our fresh food, being close to my friends and family of course. The list goes on… travelling and living away really emphasised to me just how lucky we are as Australians to live here. I know it’s such a cliché, but it’s true—we are the lucky country.
What is the secret to a great photo?
Oh my gosh—good question!! I guess try to relax and keep your chin down.
What is your number one beauty essential?
Oils. I’ve noticed a real improvement in my skin since using them. I love Dermalogica phyto replenishing oil at the moment but I’ll change it up depending on how my skin is feeling. They can be used to remove make up, as a treatment, to prep for makeup, during a flight—just make sure you get one that suits your skin type.
Catching up with Samantha Jade at Sydney’s China Doll
From winning The X-Factor in 2012 to a stint on Home and Away, playing Kylie Minogue in the television mini-series INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and touring with One Direction, Samantha Jade certainly knows how to excel in multiple artistic endeavours. Having already released two albums, Samantha Jade and Nine, the singer, songwriter and actress’s third record titled Best of My Love has just dropped. An album filled with disco anthems, Samantha Jade says it’s a “tribute to amazing, powerful women who in the disco era became really comfortable with their sexuality”. Here she chats to me about writing songs, dealing with crazy rumours and the strangest thing she’s ever read about herself.
What are you up to at the moment?
It’s funny with music because you make the record and you’re behind the scenes completely [in the]. studio and you’re writing. You don’t have to think about anything because you’re just in this emotional place. So now I’m in that zone of promoting and publicity and performing and actually learning the words properly, learning how to sing it, and learning choreography. So it’s really fun.
Tell me about your new album.
It’s my third album, which is pretty cool to say that I made it to three. The first one obviously was X-Factor, and it was a bit of a postcard from the show. And then the second one I wrote every song, and it was really deep and about my mum [who passed away]. And then this one now is fun. It’s all disco classics that we’ve remade. It’s a bit of a tribute to amazing, powerful women who in the disco era, became really comfortable with their sexuality and being a solo female artist.
So the album’s called Best of My Love. Where did the name come from?
So basically, Best of My Love is that song, “Got the best of my love,” which I’ve always loved. You see it in so many movies and a lot of people have remade it. There are so many disco love songs so you have to pick and choose and that one was my favourite. And to me, it’s the sentiment of the record. You know, giving you the best of my love and being happy.
What a fun album! So what’s a typical day for you?
Lately it’s been insane. We are finishing up all the things with the record, all the ads that we’ve done for TV, and we’re making music videos and obviously all the promo going along with it. A typical day is probably flying in or flying out, and then going straight to rehearsals…along with other side projects that we have going on.
What is the best part about what you do?
I think the travelling is amazing. I get to see the world, which is so great. It’s never for a long time…but I try and extend a little so I can see a bit [of the place I’m visiting]. And meeting great people. Even the ladies I’ve just been working with, Kate Ceberano and the Veronicas and Dami [Im] and Amy Shark and so many great people that I get to talk to about music.
What’s the worst part about what you have to do?
It’s very rare to have time off. I think the weird hours too. If you are writing a song you can be there for like three days and haven’t gotten it yet, so you stay there trying to get it. Especially with choreography, that is hours and hours of time. My family are in Perth, so it’s hard not seeing them.
Do you get a feeling when you know you’ve got the song right?
Yes, there’s a feeling. When we wrote “Firestarter,” which is one of my songs from ages ago, we wrote it, and we knew. And we wrote that in like an hour so it was a pretty fast one which is really rare.
Really? That is amazing. What is the process when you’re writing a song?
I always try to write from personal experience, so it depends what you are doing through at the time. If you are really in love and everything’s going great, you are going to write really happy music. If you are going through break-up, it’s going to be really sad. But, at the same time, it depends on the track, because chords make you feel different things. Minor chords make you feel sad and moody and then major chords make you feel happy, and so, it’s very dependent on the track.
If you had never gone down this career path, what would you be doing?
I love doing make up, so I have a make-up range and I would probably do something [with makeup]. But then I love children, so I would probably love to teach music or singing, maybe have my own little singing school.
Seeing as you have a love of makeup, what are your top beauty products that we need to know about?
Well, I think it’s really important to have a good moisturiser. I think that is something people forget.
Our delicious meal
What do you use?
It’s a French moisturiser [I found] when I was in Paris and I was obsessed with it. It’s Embryolisse and they’ve got a mattifying one and just a moisturising one. On the T-zone I use the mattifying one. It’s never oily and your makeup goes on beautifully over it.
And I have actually found this amazing thing by a brand called The Ordinary. It is cheap, it is easy to get, it is called Caffeine Solution and I dab it under my eyes.
What is your number one fashion tip?
My mum gave me this advice and she used to say that Coco Chanel said, “Always take one thing off before you leave the house”. And I agree…I love simplicity.
Then what would be your wardrobe essentials?
A good black blazer. That’s my uniform for myself every day, like I can wear a T-shirt, with a blazer and blue jeans. But a good blazer that fits on the arms, I think. Those big baggy ones I am not into. And a really good pair of jeans. A good pair of high waisted jeans. Never ever go with straight.
Where is your number one holiday destination?
Well it’s changed, ’cause I just did the whole Europe thing last year and I went to Santorini, and I loved it. I always suggest to stay at Sand de le Hierarch. It is known as crazy. Also I just love the Amalfi Coast. It is so beautiful.
Do you enjoy life in the spotlight?
I do and I don’t. I mean, it’s always hard to read things about yourself that aren’t true and not you have to defend yourself, but at the same time, I have learned to deal with that. If my dad is happy with me, and my brothers, and my important people then I’m doing OK.
What’s the funniest thing you have ever read about yourself?
Oh gosh, I read something about hair from a fan that I keep. That was funny, and then that I was dating Niall from One Direction, for like a year, on and off.
Always great chatting to this lovely lady
How did they get that?
Well, only ’cause I knew him, but I knew him because we did a tour together, and his cousin actually lives in Melbourne, who I know. He’s so young, he’s like my brother’s age, and I was no, god no!
You’ve been with your partner [music exec Pat Handlin] for awhile. How is it having a relationship when you’re in the spotlight?
I’m lucky, ’cause he totally gets it, and he’s totally supportive, so he’s just a dream. But it is hard, because it’s hard to see each other. I mean, he’s always working too, so we have to have date nights.
What’s the secret, do you think?
Making time, and going, “OK, we’re going to hang out now and not have our phones”. So at dinner but we put our phones away.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I hope I have a baby. I love kids. Love them. And my best friend, Julesy, she has two babies who I am obsessed with. I hope I still work in music, because these days it’s really a big accomplishment to still be in the music industry, so I hope that I’m still here.
Do you have a career highlight?
Winning an ARIA was a big one to be standing up there with a reward, that is voted by your peers. Probably that, and I think Nine coming out, ’cause I wrote that album for my mum, and I think that she would have, I never got to play it to her, but I did play her a lovely song while she was in hospital. So that coming out, knowing that she liked some of it.
We went to: China Doll
We drank: Cocktails – “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Mandarin & Kaffir Lime Spritz”
We ate: Cured Hiramasa Kingfish with Avocado & Jicama; Wontons – Pork Prawn & Shiitake with Black Vinegar & Soy; Corn & Zucchini Cakes with Coriander Chilli Sambal; Spicy Sour Assam Fish Curry with Pineapple & Tomato
SAMANTHA JADE WORE a Elliatt suit with a Tuchuzy Chosen top, Tony Bianco heels and Christie Nicolaides earrings
On the 9th of May, Head Chef Frank Shek at China Doll will head to restaurant China Lane and join Kristian Vale (Head Chef) to cook up an incredible banquet style dinner. Book here: http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/china-doll-china-lane-celebrate-20-years/103346
Lucie Ferguson, founder of jewellery brand Babyanything
Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus have been spotted wearing her pieces; her jewellery has appeared in everything from Cosmopolitan to vogue.com.au and PopSugar and it seems that’s only the beginning for jewellery designer and founder of Babyanything, Lucie Ferguson. Here Lucie chats to me about starting her own brand, what motivates her and creating what could be one of the most covetable engagement rings ever to appear on social media for her sister Elle…
Where does your inspiration for Babyanything come from?
I draw inspiration from my mother and her style in the 70s, she had amazing style. I also use characters from my favourite movies to act as muses for collections: Juliet from Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo and Juliet, Penny Lane from Almost Famous and Lux Lisbon from the Virgin Suicides are my main muses. The zodiac provides me endless inspiration; there is always a nod to astrology and destiny in my pieces.
What’s your earliest memory of wanting to create jewellery?
My grandfather was a boat builder and my mother a dressmaker so I always knew I wanted to work with my hands to bring the ideas swirling in my head to life.
What three words would you use to describe Babyanything?
Whimsical, Timeless, Sentimental.
Where did the name Babyanything come from?
An ex boyfriend of mine was a musician and a talented lyricist and one day he said, “Baby, I’ll do anything for you”. That was it for me; I knew that if I put the words together it would carry the sentiment of love for the brand. When you gift jewellery it can be as a celebration or as an apology so this covers both.
Who is the Babyanything woman?
The Babyanything woman is sincere; she has accomplished amazing things in her life through kindness and bravery. She is chic but also plays with fashion. She uses her jewellery to mark special events in her life and knows it will be there with her on her journey.
Your brand is going from strength to strength. What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment?
What’s been the most challenging thing about starting your own jewellery brand?
The isolation, it is a male dominated industry and I have had to stay strong and keep turning up in order to be embraced in my field. Also the feeling that other businesses are appropriating our ideas and products is the worst feeling.
How long does each collection take from conception to the finished product?
Sometimes it can take years from when I have an idea for a piece to when it appears for sale. I have travelled to Italy to have Turquoise and Coral carved by master craftsmen for a particular style of ring in the past as I really see my pieces as heirlooms so I need to have every detail perfect. In terms of making the pieces themselves, usually 18-20 hours to prototype the first version of the piece at the bench.
How does it feel when you see a celeb wearing one of your pieces? Who else would you love to see wearing Babyanything?
When I saw Kim K, Miley, Gigi Hadid and Hailey Baldwin in Babyanything pieces my heart ships a beat. It is so surreal to me that these pieces that I have created with my own hands make it so far.
My month was made when Alanis Morissette came into our store in Paddington and shopped for an hour and half. She was the most humble, divine human and I am so grateful she is living life in our pieces.
Your Ceremonial range is a departure from traditional wedding and engagement rings and so fitting for the bride who wants something unique. What made you decide to start designing wedding and engagement rings?
As a manufacturing jeweller I have always made custom engagement and wedding rings but I had not advertised that as a service at Babyanything as the demand was already exhausting me.I had to find a way to offer an engagement suite of styles that customers could pick from in-store and customize easily that was very true to aesthetic but didn’t have the timeline and cost associated with bespoke.
Babyanything’s Ceremonial range is a departure from traditional engagement ring designs
What do you think makes your pieces different from other jewellery?
I am a part of Babyanything, it is my spirit and hard work that has brought the brand to life and I think my customers really love to get that energy in the pieces. We are an all female team and we manufacture in Australia so that is big difference to other brands here.
You created your sister Elle [Ferguson]’s amazing engagement ring. What was that process like for you to create a piece for such an important person in your life?
It was such an amazing honor to know I could do that for Elle and Joel. Elle had always mentioned she wasn’t fussed about a big wedding (having enjoyed mine ) so she just wanted a very quaint ceremony but a huge ring. Joel was beautiful and asked me for her hand in marriage and we started designing the ring right there after the tears had dried. I give all my custom clients my heart and soul when designing and making their pieces but this went to the next level as it was for my number 1!
Even when I am not a work I am working so I try to spend time with my blue staffy puppy in the morning and evening so we walk the beach at Bondi and I’ll try and have a swim when I can. Then when I get into work it’s customer queries and quotes first then admin duties and I finish the day on the bench making pieces.
Where’s your happy place?
Anywhere with an ocean, the ocean is my home. Byron, Bondi, Terrigal and Hawaii are all very important to me,
What’s your favourite way to spoil yourself?
Right now it is grabbing a quick chocolate fix but I love massages at Venustus in Paddington to help me wind down or a Melanie Grant facial always makes me feel really confident for weeks afterwards.
What’s next for Babyanything?
I am putting the building blocks in with the team now to allow for expansion in the next few years, first to open more stores in Australia then NY and LA.
There will be more of a focus on the engagement and wedding side of the business as our customers are asking for that. I hope this year I can get my working week down to 5 days so I can work on manifesting some more beautiful designs for the collections to come!
Who else would you love to see featured in my Girlboss series?
His name is synonymous with one of the most renowned designer shoe brands in the world so it should come as no surprise that for Jimmy Choo, creating footwear runs in the blood. As the son of a shoe maker he learned the craft from his father in Malaysia, before moving to England in the 1980s to undertake formal study at the London College of Fashion. He opened his first shop in Hackney in 1986 and eventually co-founded the Jimmy Choo shoe label with British Vogue’s Tamara Mellon who had worked with Choo on the magazine.
After a successful career at the label that included being appointed official shoemaker to Princess Diana and opening stores in New York, Milan and Paris he stepped down from the brand in 2001. Today he is an Ambassador for Footwear Education at the London College of Fashion, is the recipient of an OBE for services to the British fashion industry and is preparing to launch a capsule shoe collection under his Chinese name Zhou Yang Jie. I caught up with Choo during his inaugural visit to Sydney with American Express to chat about the secret to his success, what he does for fun and if he ever finds himself visiting a Jimmy Choo store…
Where did your love of shoes come from?
I was born in Malaysia and my father is a shoe designer. So, when I was young I saw my father making shoes. After I finished school, I would finish my homework, then help my dad learning the skill.
So many celebrities have worn your shoes over the years. Is there a person who stands out in your mind?
I have to say thanks to the late Princess Diana. Because I had been working with her for seven years, and now this year is the 20th-year anniversary of her passing and all over the world people still remember her and what she did for the legacy. She did a lot of charity events. Not many people do that.
What was it like to create shoes for the late Princess Diana?
She would call me to Kensington Palace to show me all the garments and everything that she was going to wear as she traveled all over the world. So we would look at all the garments and we would match the shoes for her. She was a very nice, very kind person.
What do you believe is the secret to your success?
When people say to me, “You are [a] successful person”, to me it’s not yet. I’m not successful yet. Because growing up my father always said, “One day you still alive, you don’t know what happened yourself”. People can seem [successful] and suddenly disappear, you know… we must, continue to learn all the time. So I’m not [successful] because I’m still learning.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I think, patience is very important. If you have no patience, you’ve lost everything. Because you need to talk to people. Communication is very important.
And what advice do you give to up-and-coming designers?
They still have to have patience. Every time [you] see something new, you mustn’t lose [your] temper and keep your mind open. Also always [ask yourself] what’s the next fashion? If you don’t sell, you must find out why it isn’t selling.
Why are you so passionate about the art of making shoes?
I love designing shoes, I love shoes. Sometimes when I go to factories, or one of my students comes [to me] with some idea [for] shoes, I would start to tear. True, true. You know, some of them are very beautiful and they take a lot of time, the detail and the design.
Although you are not involved in the company anymore. You must feel very proud that the Jimmy Choo brand you created is doing so well all these years later.
Yes I feel very proud. They’re all doing very well. I congratulate them, I wish them doing better and better.
Do you ever go into the stores?
No, I don’t do that. I don’t go in the shop. I never went into the shop. Because I think soul is soul, you wish them the best; you do what you want to do.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
For the people, who surround me and take care of me [day to day], I like [to] say thanks to them, I like to organise a holiday for them. I think it’s very important, you know, they are working with me day and night, traveling with me, they haven’t got time for their children and family. So I like to organise so they can go on holiday together. Or I like to invite them to my house. We cook and I love music so I listen to music… Elvis is my favourite.
If you had never gone down this career path of making shoes, what would you be doing?
I would like to be a healer and heal people. You know in London, they have a healing school. You can learn how to heal people with your hands. If you feel pain. They lay a hand on you and you heal them with your energy.
What has been your biggest career highlight?
I would say I’m very grateful to my country. A nine-year-old student, they can see my history in the textbook. Money cannot buy [that]. [Influential] people pass away, and then they talk about them. But I’m still alive. Thanks to my country and the education minister, the leader allowed my history in a textbook for all the young children to learn as part of their education.
WE WENT TO American Express events at Café del Mar, Cockle Bay Wharf.