Inspiring us this week is Chloe Brookman. Mother of three and co-founder of dreamy lifestyle label, Olli Ella.
How was Olli Ella born?
My sister Olivia and I started Olli Ella as a creative project. We started making feeding chairs in England, which led us down the path of textiles, homewares and children’s products. When we started Olli Ella it was a bit of fun, something we felt passionate about but never imagined it growing to the size and scale that it has!
Where does the name come from?
Our two names combined; Olivia and my middle name is Ella – a celebration of sisterhood.
How has your vision for the business/brand evolved over the past few years?
Our vision has been pretty solid since the very beginning, we wanted to create a brand that was ethically focused when it comes to people and production, that is playful, and inclusive. While the business has grown drastically, our core and ethos have remained the same. We love to design products that require no explanation, that make people smile.
Would you do anything differently if you were starting over knowing what you do now?
My immediate reaction is — YES! So many things. But when I stop and actually think about it, I think no – because all paths, both good and bad, have led us here.
Greatest piece of advice for mothers keen to start their own business?
Be passionate about the business. Abandon mama guilt. Don’t look for work life balance in the beginning.
What has been your proudest moment in business?
The moment when we realised that our products have become collectable, that our customers actively wait to see what we are going to produce next – there’s a pressure that comes with that, but more than anything it’s pride and gratitude.
Motherhood is …
Sweet, sweet, chaos.
“I think we as mothers hold ourselves to unachievable high standards. I think the most important thing we can give our children besides love and support is for them to see us HAPPY.”
Can you share a little about your journey into motherhood with us?
I have three children and each birth has been so different, yet so fitting with the personality of each child.
With our first little boy, Tennyson, it was long, arduous, and had some intervention – Tenny has a huge personality, is bright, very funny, complicated and challenging. A first child.
With Arlo, our second little boy, while his birth was long, he was born in the bath, didn’t cry, just took in the world from the moment he opened his eyes. Arlo is calm, moves slowly, and doesn’t miss a thing. He’s the deep thinker. Our middle child.
Nell. With our baby girl I only had an hour labour, she was born with two pushes, was loud and came before we had the chance to re-fill the bath (she was born in an unfilled bath tup, which was actually very funny!) Nell has hit all of the milestones the quickest, is fiercely independent and absolutely hilarious. Nell, our youngest.
What is the biggest lesson pregnancy and birth has taught you?
That your body changes, to let go of so much vanity associated with the female body. To feel pride and to marvel at what women can achieve.
Describe your parenting style…
Fun, relaxed, passionate, clueless.
How do you perform the great balancing act between work commitments and motherhood?
My husband left his career in television production to support me and our young family. I go into the office from midday until after the school run and will work 50% of the evenings to catch up. It’s not a balancing act as much as it is prioritising each day or week. Something will also fall short, but as a whole I try not to beat myself up and practice self love more. It’s a challenge because I think we as mothers hold ourselves to unachievable high standards. I think the most important thing we can give our children besides love and support is them to see us HAPPY.
Do you have any rituals?
Not really! I try to see at least one sunrise a week and submerge in the ocean! That recharges me.
“The moment when we realised that our products have become collectable … there’s a pressure that comes with that, but more than anything it’s pride and gratitude.”
Do you have any personal goals you are working towards?
I’d like to drink more water and go to sleep earlier, more often.
How has having children changed your relationship with your partner?
Absolutely, but we’ve been together with children longer than without now, but I love how our relationship has evolved. I love Charlie so much and couldn’t imagine not having him at my side.
Who is your ultimate mama muse?
I think I collectively find muses in so many of my friends, because they all have something to teach me.
The mama owned business/brand that most inspires you and why?
Without question my friend Elizabeth Abegg’s label, Spell and the Gypsy. They are a fashion label that is ethically minded, are doing their own thing, have a culture of kindness and fun. Lizzy and her sister are terrific, devoted mothers and wives and it’s very inspiring to witness on every level.
Best beauty secret for busy mums?
Probably to drink more water. I’m trying to get better at this haha.
Favourite family holiday destination?
Caravanning across Australia in our 1970’s caravan, Ricky.
Drink of choice?
TED Talk or Podcast recommendation ..
UP NEXT: THE CHARMED LIFE OF VANESSA BREUER