In a time when authenticity is a rare commodity, the stylish sister act behind cult lifestyle brand, The Beach People, are a welcome breath of fresh air. Despite their blooming global business, Emma Henderson and Victoria Beattie, have mastered the art of balance and lead a wholesome, mindful existence with their tribes near Australia’s Gold Coast. This grounded approach to life is encapsulated in their label, however as The Delivery discovers, it’s the pair’s gentle approach to motherhood which is most admirable.
Where did you find the inspiration to revolutionise the humble beach towel?
Emma: Sitting on the beach one afternoon, watching our husbands surf I looked at all the things I had around us and I said to Victoria “Let’s do something. I think we should make round beach towels, want to do that with me?”. It was such a simple thought that came out of our everyday life. I noticed that no one was doing luxury seaside essentials. We wanted to put our style into the beach basics and we’ve expanded The Beach People brand to include bed and bath now. So fun!
How has your vision for the business/brand evolved over the past few years?
Victoria: It’s blown us away, the public reaction to our business. In the beginning we were just happy to have some extra pocket money but we quickly learned we had to dream bigger. We are forever pushing ourselves and evolving our business to think bigger.
Would you do anything differently if you were starting over knowing what you do now?
Emma: So many things. Maybe everything. But making mistakes is how you learn.
Has being in business together changed your relationship as sisters?
Emma: Yes, early on we learnt how to put boundaries in place so that we can switch off on weekends to enjoy each other’s company as sisters and friends. For example we only talk about fun things and we don’t talk about things like “how on earth are we going to fit all our stock in the warehouse”.
Victoria: I’ve learnt so much more about Emma since working with her and it’s so fun working with my sister. It has made us closer as we are on this crazy journey together.
Greatest piece of advice for mothers keen to start their own business?
Victoria: Work will always be there but your children are only little once, take every opportunity to engage with them when you are with them and then don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re not.
What has been your proudest moment in business?
Victoria: I also love that we have made a place for people to enjoy coming to work. The flow on effect that has had on their families and the community is lovely.
Emma: Seeing people all over the world enjoy our product.
“Work will always be there but your children are only little once, take every opportunity to engage with them when you are with them and then don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re not.”
What does your average day look like?
Victoria: Up early and on the line for some time with my US based team, then breakfast with my boys, then either to the office or the beach depending on if it’s a “mummy day” or a “business day”.
Emma: Up early for morning cuddles with my three daughters, then off to work where we do anything from designing product, marketing content, social media strategy, photoshoots and general everyday business shenanigans. We end most days seaside as a family.
Can you share a little about your journey into motherhood with us?
Victoria: I wasn’t a super maternal women growing up. I always wanted kids but I kept putting it off for another year…another year. I don’t think I had even really held a baby then surprise, Theodore! I was actually concerned that I wouldn’t be very nurturing and so on but the moment he was born it all just clicked and everything came so naturally. The care, the breastfeeding. I actually loved every moment and found it quite hard to get my head back into the business game. Who would have thought? My birth was long and hard, just over three days of minute long contractions every four minutes! I managed to push him out in the end and on the last day took every drug they offered! All birth plans out the window, I’d do it all again though because that first week was just heaven.
“I think when you stop worrying about balance you start to achieve it. From 5pm-7:30pm every day I’m with my children … There are weeks when I have sick kids and balance goes out the window”
Emma: You know those people who show you pictures of their dogs and expect you to go all mushy over their fur baby? Well that’s not me, I love human babies, show me the babies! The way people feel about puppies is how I feel about babies. I have three daughters, six-year-old Lucia, four-year-old Daisy and one-year-old Fern. My husband and I had been married for five years, we travelled and loved every bit of it but we both agreed that once Lulu (Lucia) came into our world it was better than anything we had ever done before. As soon as we had her we couldn’t wait to have another, so we did. I just wanted to be barefoot and pregnant. Eight months later I was pregnant again and still breast feeding and I was in heaven. Daisy came along and she was a completely different baby. Amazing, just louder! It was hectic but I loved it. We waited another three years to have Fern as I had some minor health issues. Daisy was my best birth … four hours natural and amazing. Lucia and Fern where similar in length (eight to 12 hours) from four centimeters dilated. I’ve been blessed to have three very happy babies. Good sleepers (mostly) and feeders. Now days with three young children and the business, life is fuller but we make time every day to just be with the girls and have lots of chill time with them just doing whatever they feel like. I wouldn’t change a thing.
What is the biggest lesson pregnancy and birth has taught you?
Victoria: To be selfless
Emma: To trust your body
Describe your parenting style?
Victoria: Fun, relaxed, purposeful and strict all at once. I love to play with Ted, but I also keep him on a pretty tight leash behaviour wise as I don’t want a ratbag for a child you know?
Emma: Loving, fun and fair. I love play based learning. Lots of time outdoors. I heard a great thing the other day “boredom creates creativity” I’m teaching the girls to make their own fun. I only have a few toys out at a time. Just a box of blocks and they have to create their own games on their own. In the afternoon I send them outside and say to them “see what happens out there”.
How do you perform the great balancing act between work commitments and motherhood?
Victoria: I just do my best to try to enjoy each moment, if I am at work I am at work and if I’m with Ted I’m with Ted.
Emma: The ol’ balance game. I think when you stop worrying about balance you start to achieve it! From 5pm-7:30pm every day I’m with my children. No phones, no emails. I cook dinner, I jump on the trampoline or we all walk on the beach. Then dinner, bath, bed and I’m all theirs for that time. There are weeks when I have sick kids and balance goes out the window or I have a big campaign to shoot and I don’t have as much time for Josh and the girls but it all evens out and I know I just have to go with the flow.
“I wasn’t a super maternal women growing up … I was actually concerned that I wouldn’t be very nurturing and so on but the moment he was born it all just clicked and everything came so naturally.”
Do you have any rituals?
Victoria: Absolutely. I journal, pray/mediate in the morning before anything else. It sets my day off on a good path. No devises in the bedroom, I put my phone/laptop down around 5pm and don’t look at it again until after my morning quiet time which is usually around 6am. So I have 12 hours digital free a day. I have regular date nights with my husband and don’t work on weekends. In saying that when I am travelling on business it all goes out the window as it’s all work work work. So I just set these as more guidelines than rules and I keep them maybe 90% of the time.
Emma: Similar to Victoria’s. Vic is really passionate about limited screen time so I tend to do the same. We have really enjoyed this way of living.
Do you have any personal goals you are working towards?
Victoria: I am hoping to spear my first fish this summer and also get Teddy on his first stand up wave on his own.
Emma: I’m big on “living the life you want to live now”. I’m working on doing more of the things that make me and my family happiest. More holiday and fun this year.
Can you describe your personal style both fashion and home?
Victoria: Relaxed and carefree. I wear a lot of vintage and my home is all collected items from travels.
Emma: Relaxed and slouchy, lots of linen at the moment. My home is simple and un-complicated. Lots of the girls art on the walls and photos of the girls.
How has having children changed your relationship with your partner?
Victoria: Yes and no. We are still very much a couple and our relationship is the center of our family life. I figure if that’s strong it’s good for Ted. It has made us love each other more as we have provided each other with this wonderful little human who is so fun to be around.
Emma: We have to make plans to have dates and spend quality time with each other, otherwise it’s high fives in the hallway in between baths and bedtime. We steal moments together and they are gold in between all the fullness of life.
Who is your ultimate Mama Muse?
Victoria: It is actually my sister. She taught me how to get Ted to sleep, feed, behave… all of it really. Her gals are great so I figured she must be doing something right. She’s also a huge researcher and read a heap of journals, books pre-babies so I just coast off her knowledge!
Emma: My mother is a very wise lady so she has helped me heaps. I have a friend with four older children than mine and I love her ways so I ask her for advice all the time too. Victoria is also the most thoughtful mother, she spent the afternoon setting up dinosaurs in the back yard for her son Theodore who is two years old. He loved it. She is always doing thoughtful things for him which is so inspiring.
The mama owned business/brand that most inspires you and why?
Victoria: Definitely the Spell girls as they are sisters and mothers too. And the most beautiful humans you will ever meet. So kind and generous.
Best beauty secret for busy mums?
Victoria: Definitely the stuff that needs no daily maintenance. So keep up the beauty and hair appointments. I feel good without makeup if my brows are kept and lashes tinted, so If I keep those things up then my daily routine is fairly minimal. I’m always scrubbing sand over my body at the beach and then some coconut oil when I get home because it keeps my skin smooth and hydrated through summer.
Emma: Drink loads of water and look after your insides. Healthy on the inside, healthy on the outside.
Favourite family holiday destination?
Victoria: We love to try new places on our annual leave (two weeks twice a year) but Yamba (NSW, Australia) is a regular go to for the long weekends.
Emma: We love Noosa (Queensland, Australia) in the winter. The water is still warm and it’s not too busy.
Drink of choice?
Victoria: Champagne. Although this summer I have been enjoying a sparkling Shiraz.
Emma: I love a Pimms in the summer.
Book recommendation ?
Victoria: I just read Widow Cliquot. It’s a lovely story of the female founder of Veuve Clicquot. I am always always always reading, I have like three books on the go! One is usually health related, one business related and one just for fun. I also just finished “Stay the Path” by Bobbie Houston. It’s faith based and was really inspiring. Anyone that keeps doing what they are doing for as long as her and her husband Brian have is worth a read.
Emma: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a oldie but a goodie. Everyone receives love differently once you know your partner or child’s love language you can really show them love. Great book.
TED Talk or Podcast recommendation?
Victoria: I just listened to Tim Ferris’s interview of Ariana Huffington and it had a huge positive effect on my life. Definitely worth the 1 hour and 45 minutes that it takes to listen to it.
Emma: The one Vic mentioned just changed my life!