Former sales executive and mum-of-two, Emma McClean, designs and runs Children of the Tribe. It is now a global brand designing clothes, accessories and homewares in the magical Australian beach town of Byron Bay. We spoke with Emma from Children of the Tribe about how she moved into the world of business.
What was your inspiration to start your own business?
I worked in sales for Yahoo7 but I have always been quite creative and interested in fashion and design. I started sketching designs for children’s clothes like baby rompers and bloomers while I was on maternity leave with my first daughter Willow as I really struggled to find stylish clothes with beautiful prints for free-spirited kids. I decided to get a few of my designs made while on holidays in Bali and people loved them so it went from there.
When did you know the timing was ‘right’?
When I returned to work, I was making sales and hitting my targets for Yahoo7, and on the side, I was selling clothes through my website. The response was quite overwhelming, and I knew it was now or never.
How did you make your big break?
Taking a voluntary redundancy combined with a nudge from the bosses enabled me to pursue my passion. At the end of 2013, my hobby became a full-time job. I now employ a team of 10.
What was your training prior to starting your own business?
I actually have an education degree but I have a background in sales.
What are the biggest challenges of being a mum and a businesswoman?
Before kids, I was able to switch off once I left the office however as a working mum, it’s rare that I get that chance to switch off. I’m working on this, though!
What is your top tip for maintaining a work/life balance?
I am still learning work/life balance. I find it difficult to switch off but I’m getting better. I do believe in balance but I find it difficult to achieve. My children are my number one priority. I don’t think there is such thing as ‘having it all.” Having it all gives no room to grow.
What do you do in your spare time to keep yourself sane?
Exercise has always played a big part in my life and I love starting the day with my morning run. I try not to check emails until after I exercise. I also treat myself to regular massages and facials and a nice glass of red!
What’s one thing other mums should do who are looking to start their own business?
Create a business plan, identify your ideal customer, research your marketplace. Be clear about your brand identity/ethos or style and have a well thought out marketing strategy. We design clothing for free-spirited little people who like to get dirty, surf, swim, climb trees and explore barefoot. Kids should be kids and we always design with that in mind.