Meet the gorgeous Lucy Chan
From Cheeky Britches – a Melbourne based natural and organic fibre baby label with an emphasis on internationally themed collections which is the creative brain child of Lucy Chan and Giorgia Goddard.
(Responses to interview questions are those of Lucy Chan)
Can you share with us your background before children…
Before having kids I ran a remedial massage therapy clinic in Melbourne. I have a Bachelor in Health Science in Natural Medicine and was a compulsive backpacker (I still travel a lot but have upgraded to resort style travel with my little bubbas).
How did Cheeky Britches come about and why?
Giorgia and I went to High school together and found ourselves starting our families in the same year. We used to catch up on a weekly basis to go out for dinner and chill out a bit. It was on one of our dinner dates that we started complaining about the lack original design in the market place for bright, fun and fresh baby wear that didn’t irritate baby skin. Giorgia is a design major at RMIT and I have run my own business before so it just felt natural to start our own label and see if we could fill this niche market. This was back in 2011 and we’re still around so things are going well.
Where do your ideas come from for your gorgeous products? Why bamboo?
Firstly, we pick a country we want to represent for the next collection then seek inspiration for feature prints based on theme of that country. We like to use traditional prints if available but sometimes we create our own. We then try to create feature necklines and ways to incorporate the style of the culture. For example, with our Japanese collection, we used a kimono neckline which was just beautiful.
We chose to use bamboo because of its hypoallergenic properties and because it is so gentle on baby skin. It also breathes so well, keeping babies cool in Summer and warm in Winter. It’s silky smooth to touch and looks divine.
How do you juggle working and your family?
This is an ongoing struggle and one that we are still trying to get the right balance with. We each dedicate two days a week to working on the business but I find myself trying to get ahead every night when the kids are asleep by getting a few hours of work done just to stay on top of everything.
Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?
Oh definitely! For one, the cost of living is so much more expensive and the size of average mortgages is astronomical. As a result, women are forced to return to work a lot sooner than they used to. As a result, kids are spending a lot more time in childcare which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the kids.
There’s so much more pressure out there for mums to manage everything and with our parents working well into their 60’s these days, it’s not always possible to have the support we need as parents so it’s a struggle.
On the plus side, fathers now play a much more hands-on role in their babies’ lives now. My father wasn’t very involved with us when I was little so I love seeing my husband play with our girls and spend some real quality time with them. I adore the new role of dads and their kids these days.
Have your self expectations changed since having your family? For better or worse?
They have definitely changed and it’s taken a long time to accept this. I used to be able to achieve anything I set my mind to. But now, there are so many more variables to consider which make things a lot harder to achieve. I had to make a huge adjustment to no longer being able to provide financial support to my family and had to change my lifestyle significantly in order to allow myself to stay home with my kids in the early stages.
To be honest, my hygiene standards have certainly changed!! I used to be a compulsive cleaner but in the end I just had to ask myself what was more important – A clean house where I was constantly picking up after my kids and stressing out every time they opened the toy box or letting my kids be free and enjoy their childhood with a relaxed mum? I chose the relaxed mum option.
Do you have a wonderful resource that you discovered once you became a mother? A book? A blog? Person?
The best resource I have are my friends and family. They provide the most support and help me when I need it. To be honest, I wouldn’t cope without them. Raising kids is just something you can’t do on your own.
What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent – and now do!!
This is actually quite funny to me. I used to look at families in restaurants where the parents were talking and the kids each had an iphone or ipad. I always said to my husband “I will never let me kids do that”. But now I have a crazy, boisterous little girl who can’t sit still in restaurants and loves to squeal while waiting for her food to arrive so now, I hate to admit it, but I have succumbed to giving her my iphone while at restaurants.
Can you walk us through a typical day..
Sure. Work days and home days ar quite different so I’ll walk you through a work day My girls are late sleepers so they’d wake up at around 9. We’d have breakfast, get dressed, brush hair and teeth etc. Nana Di would arrive at the house and take the girls to the park or play with them while I head off to work with Giorgia. Giorgia works with our seamstress, Bex, to come up with new designs, sampling, testing colours and fabrics etc while I do the business side of the work – admin, responding to emails, packing orders, budgets, financing, sourcing and the rest. At around 5pm, we finish. I come home and prepare dinner. At 7, hubby gets home, we all eat together then it’s family time before the girls have their bath and story time before bed. Once they’re asleep, it’s time to tidy up the house, do the chores, do an aerobic session at home, then rest. At 10:30pm I usually do my Spanish class online. After that, I spend maybe 30 minutes reading or watching telly then I go to bed at around midnight. Yes, it’s a busy day!!
A tip for all of us on keeping it real….
Don’t be a hero – Ask for help when you need it. We can’t do everything on our own so it’s important to outsource or delegate jobs. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have people around you, even if it’s just for a bit of adult conversation. It’s vitally important so that you don’t lose your identity once you become a parent.
To see more and shop for some gorgeous bamboo clothing and accessories…