Hello beautiful souls,
I have been wanting to write a blog ever since Wilde Willow was born in 2013, I feel like I have so much to share with you and now I feel is the right time to do just that.
I would love to dedicate this blog piece to you getting to know me and the journey Wilde Willow has been on so far.
It will be a two part blog as it may be a bit of novel (sorry) then my future blogs I would love to use as a tool to help/guide others with the experiences and lessons I have learnt throughout my journey, If I can help even just one other soul I would be thrilled.
My name is Stella, I’m a mother of three beautiful soulful children, with a true love for creating art through design.
I spent my early years in Byron Bay experiencing the many facets of gypsy culture, bohemian lifestyle and the rich colours of a diverse community. While living in this beautiful area, the sun and ocean were an inseparable part of my youth. Surrounded by creatives throughout my life, from my Father being a leather worker/graphic designer, my Mother expressing herself through art, my Grandfather being an award winning Danish Architect and my beloved Grandmother who crafted all their own clothes.
I believe this truly helped shape me to who I am as a designer today.
Wilde Willow launched back in April 2013, I had my first son, Coby, who was 3 1/2 and I was heavily pregnant with my second son, Phoenix, when I had began to create Wilde Willow with two friends of mine.
The inspiration behind starting my own business was to create from the heart and to give to other like-minded women, designs that not only allowed them to express their individuality but to make them feel beautiful and confident every single day.
Having my son's in my life also gave me the dream to be able to work from home so I could be right there with them on this amazing journey.
It took over a year to launch Wilde Willow, from creating the label, to designing clothes to cater for the three different styles we had at the time, finding a manufacturer, organising funds, the design/sampling process time and time again, mini photo shoots to practice for the big shoot, buying bulk, finding the right creative team for the big photoshoot, (breathe) sleepless nights, then creating the lookbook and pricing etc etc ( all this whilst heavily pregnant and running around after a toddler!) ....a lot goes on behind the scenes to create your own business and I give kudos to every single small business out there doing your thing, you're amazing!
The week our website officially launched one Director was out of the country and I gave birth to my second son!
I was in hospital as well as on my phone tending emails and organising the launch of the website. I look back now and think of the crazy things I did when I was pregnant. Straight after I had given birth, I remember (after a sleepless night) being at one of our photoshoots with my new born, breastfeeding between takes and dressing the model all on little to no sleep.
When we received our first order, the feeling was just indescribable, I remember ringing my parents almost in tears from the joy I felt, this is when I knew I was creating the life I loved.
(First ever order!!!)
Six months after the launch we decided we needed to head over to China to meet our team there, source more fabrics and to really connect with the culture that was creating our designs. Three young women going over to China was truly surreal, eye opening, exhausting and amazing all at the same time.
It was also an emotional one for me as I was breastfeeding my 6 month old son at the time and needed to abruptly stop for the trip, I went over to China with engorged breasts and no baby to help the process, it was most definitely a painful experience but I wouldn't change it, the trip was life changing!
Less than a year on, the demands of the business and life itself got bigger, this brought the decision- of one of my partners to move on from Wilde Willow so she could focus on her other business and family life.
Then there were two, at this time we needed to re-adjust the aesthetic of WW to who we were as designers, being such a new business, times were tough. This meant even more time and money, I remember thinking how on earth are we going to do this.. but we did, we kept going and our friendship flourished throughout this unknown journey together.
So lets back track for a sec.. One of the huge reasons why I started to create the life I love was watching the very beautiful and inspirational Samantha Wills do this very thing. I purchased one of her designs from a local store and fell in love with her designs, I found her on Facebook back in 2012 and have been following her ever since.
As soon as SW created her instagram, we followed her and watched in awe..
I think it was our second collection I posted a sneak peek on set of the photoshoot of these stunning gold pants.. after we wrapped up the shoot I went onto instagram and to my surprise not only did SW like the photo but she followed WW and commented on the pants of how much she loved them! In that moment my heart skipped a beat and the sparkle in my eyes burned brighter.
What happened next was what my dreams were made of, so humbled by SW's support, we sent her the pants as a gift to say "thank you", then one afternoon in one of our meetings we received an email from the amazing woman herself, saying thank you for the gift and she can't was to wear them! I let out her squeal, I was on top of the world!
Sometimes what may be something little can be the biggest heartfelt gesture to someone else, and this certainly was that to me. Some time later I went to Sydney and met Samantha, It honestly felt like we were old friends catching up.
When I receive emails from customers expressing their love for their new WW pieces, it makes my heart sing, and this is the very reason why I do this.
We went on to create another two collection's together and in one of them we included a horse in our photoshoot, ha!
To get a horse to come to the Newfarm Park in Brisbane was almost impossible but when I have a vision of something, it needs to happen no matter how impossible it may seem! In this time I also fell pregnant with my third child (crazy right?!).
September 30th 2014, my daughter, Zahlia Rose, was born and of course work didn't stop, I was replying to emails before and after giving birth and straight back into it as soon as I was home the next day.
I am not going to lie and say it has been an easy road these past couple of years, it hasn't in the slightest! I mean who starts a business with a toddler and heavily pregnant and with little knowledge how to start a business from absolutely nothing?!
Having 3 children and building Wilde Willow was truly hard at times, it was hard to give my all, it was hard to juggle family and work, it was one of the hardest times in my life to be honest with you.
Things did start to slow down after this time, there was shift in the business and I knew within my heart what was coming next. My beautiful Rach, needing to part ways with WW and focus on her new business with her hubby and her pending arrival of her first born son. My heart ached and still does with her not being apart of WW, however, we are two peas in a pod to this day and I am so thankful for the journey we have experienced together, my love for her is never ending.
So there I was, it was just me, a new business and many lessons learnt and to be learnt. I needed to redesign, reevaluate and truly express who I was as a designer. I was scared, lonely, exhausted but my soul was on fire. I was on a mission to continue to create the life I loved, for my customers, my family and myself.
To be continued ~