Tell us a little bit about your family...
I am married with 3 children - two girls (Rudy who is 5 and Deia who is 3) and a little boy Winston who is 15 months.
You are the founder of sustainable knitwear brand Blake LDN. Can you tell us a bit about how Blake came to be?
I studied textiles and knitwear at Central St Martins and moved to NYC for a time, working at Rag & Bone. My time there taught me that I enjoyed every aspect of running a business, not just the design. I loved the sales, marketing, art direction, business and production. So I moved back to London and decided to launch my own brand.
How has it been starting and running your own business at the same time as having your three children?
I was 26 when I started Blake so had a couple of years to really dedicate to it before I had my first daughter. I was able to commit a lot of time and energy to it which looking back really helped. I also made a lot of mistakes and got them out of the way!
I am not going to lie it has definitely been incredibly hard being both mother and business owner. In the space of 5 years I had 3 babies (3 under 5) and you just don’t physically have the time you want to dedicate to the business. I made peace with this after my first daughter was born as it is the most precious time (it gave me a totally different perspective which I am so grateful for) and I did not want to look back and to have missed their early years or feel any sort of regret.
I feel very fortunate now because it gives me flexibility and to love what I do is such a blessing.
What are your best hacks for handling the juggle?
Work within your capacity. Try not to compare what others are doing. Organisation is key! I also make a clear boundary between when I am at work and when I am Mum. When I am Mum they have my undivided attention and I am present. Everyone is happier for it, including me!
Also try not to beat yourself up. Realise there has to be a sacrifice somewhere.
How would you describe your style?
Clean and understated.
Has it changed since becoming a mama?
I definitely wear better things now.. I try in invest in pieces that I know will last. I also love supporting independent brands - With Nothing Underneath and The Deck suits are my guilty pleasures. I love vintage.
Above all becoming a mother has stream lined my wardrobe and I realise I can get dressed and out the door in under 10 mins!!
We love your focus on sustainability and animal welfare at Blake, two causes close to our heart! Was this always something you had in mind when starting the brand?
Yes, before I launched I travelled up and down the country visiting factories and suppliers and realised what a history we have in this country for quality knitwear.
The skill, craft and manufacturing you see (in the UK) is second to none so I really felt passionate about showcasing that in a modern contemporary way.
For our first collection they were limited editions so each sweater was 1/50 2/50 etc and it showed the provenance of each piece; where the yarn had come from to the factory and person who made it.
The industry has come a long way now and there is still lots more to do but it is great to see the progression in 10 years. It is really brilliant consumers are being educated and wanting to know where things come from, how it is made and what the material is made up from.
Blake has been around for 10 years this year! What’s the biggest challenge you have faced as a business?
I think the biggest challenge for me has been keeping it running whilst in the busiest craziest period of my life, having children! I’m hoping now we are coming out of the newborn, baby years I will have more time to dedicate to it to see it really fly.
Followed closely by cash flow (!), the ever rising costs due to Brexit and finding/ building the right team.
What is your favourite part of Motherhood?
The joy they bring to me. The overwhelming sense of love I have for them. The newborn days when you are nestled in at home. It is so precious. Seeing them grow and them making me slow down and take beauty in the smaller things in life.
...and the hardest?
The lack of sleep, the tantrum years.. does it ever end!?
What is your top tired mama tip?
Taking a long bath at the end of the day. It really is my sanctuary.
If you’ve had a bad night, get out in the fresh air, a walk really does clear the mind.
Exercise! And remember, treat yourself. Make sure you get some time off.. even just 30 mins.
Happy mum means happy children. Don’t neglect yourself!
Beauty product you swear by?
Vitamin C serum every morning, followed by factor 50 sun cream.
Has anything about motherhood surprised you?
How I can function on far less sleep than I ever thought would be possible!!
Is there anything you wish you had known before becoming a mama?
Everything is a phrase. Especially with your first baby, everything is an unknown. I remember thinking “Am I ever going to sleep again, is the baby every going to sleep..” they get ill, they have a bad run of teething etc etc - everything is thrown at you but just remember it does get easier and every moment will pass.
And finally.. please and you share with us your top Bini picks?
Dalmatian Snuggler and the Blue Rose Stripe (which I’ve had since my second baby and still love!)