Minimalist maternity wear
Yesterday, during our weekly team meeting I peered down at my lap to discover that the second button of my jumpsuit had popped, revealing my (newly) ample bosom plus a (very unsexy) beige and far-too-old bra. “Whatever. It’s nothing my colleagues haven’t seen before” I thought to myself as I fixed the button back up. After all, this was only the second-to-least egregious of the three wardrobe malfunctions I had perpetrated over the last two days.
At 18-weeks pregnant, my muffin top has well and truly advanced beyond the confounds of my jeans; last week I was forced to walk through Singapore airport with my fly completely undone because my trousers no longer fit and my husband has had to go shopping (the second time in his life) because I’ve laid claim to his XL pyjamas.
As for the office, I’ve been getting by with ill-fitting dresses and tights *yawn*. Gone are the days of chic tailoring and power dressing. Or so I thought. The chic new label, MADE is set to change all this.
MADE is the brainchild of Australian journalist, Emily Morgan (33). Having listened to tales of woe like mine she decided to fill the gaping hole in the maternity wear market by launching a clothing brand with a focus on designs that suit the environmentally conscious, minimalist mum. Frills, bows and florals are off the menu, and every piece is ethically manufactured.
I sat down for a chat with Emily to hear about how she juggles running MADE alongside her day job and why it’s OK to be afraid of failure.
Hey Emily! Where did you grow up?
Sunny, glorious Perth in Western Australia. The land of the black swan and quokka.
Where are you living at the moment?
I moved to Hong Kong in February 2017 so I’m almost a veteran by Hong Kong standards!
What were you doing before launching MADE?
I am a copywriter /editor by trade and still do that on the side of running MADE, actually it’s probably the other way around, MADE on the side of editing. I started out as a business journalist and now I edit copy for a media company.
Do you remember the exact moment when you decided to launch MADE?
I don’t remember the exact moment I came up with the idea, but I do remember the conversation I had with my friend Jade who helped me start the business. We were having sushi in Perth and I was telling her about this idea I had – it was January 4 2016. She was so enthusiastic about the idea and wanted to do it with me, so we met a couple of days later and started writing our business plan.
Who is the MADE woman?
She knows her own style and doesn’t waver on it, she’s about style longevity not trends, she’s relatively minimalist, she has great interests that she cultivates in her life, she wants or is having children, she is engaged in the world around her, she travels, and her clothes don’t define her. She defines them.
What will MADE look like in 10 years’ time?
Gosh I don’t know! Good question. I’m not really a 10-year-plan kinda gal.
For now the goal is to expand our brands, and have the clothes apply to more moments in women’s lives. The original idea was to offer women who were entering stages of pregnancy and Motherhood multiple brands that are ethically manufactured, all in one spot. There’s a lot of basics available to pregnant and breastfeeding women, but not a lot of great tailored work clothing or occasion wear, so if we can expand fully into those areas and offer more brands, I’ll be happy.
There’s still a certain stigma around failure, what do you think we can do to remove this stigma?
I think it’s healthy to be afraid of failure, it sucks, so you should be scared of it! That’s what eggs you on each day.
There shouldn’t be shame in it though. As long as you’re talking to one other person in your life about your failings, then you’re breaking the cycle of stigma. You don’t have to be all over the internet talking about what you’ve failed at to remove stigma, just talk to a friend or family member or partner and you’ll break it.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Do your research and find out about the day to day realities of running your own business, and then go and talk to a careers counsellor and find out if you’re well suited to that reality.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Be kind to yourself and do a vocational degree at university so you have something to fall back on.
What has been the most difficult and most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
I think it’s the small things that make me feel happy about how MADE has gone.
The fact that someone finds our site, likes the clothes, and is willing to hand over their hard earned dollars with the blind faith that some unknown entity will send their products is pretty vindicating.
The most difficult thing I have found with running an ecommerce store is, it feels a bit like you’ve built a stage (your website) and are shouting into the darkness trying to get people to come and see you, but you have no idea where they are, or what they’re doing, or if they can see or hear you. Trying to figure that stuff out is difficult, it is not a ‘build it and they will come’ situation.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Ten presses of the snooze button and my husband telling me to get up. And the fact that I have to be working by 8:30am.
What is your definition of success?
Success to me is less about the big kahuna success and more about feeling successful everyday by staying true to my beliefs and actioning them.
So, for me some of those actions are being around good people, being kind, being reliable, achieving the actionable goals I set for myself in my day job and with MADE, creating something I can be proud of (whether it’s dinner, art, writing) and nurturing important relationships.
If I can achieve those things that are important to me each day, or even just some of them, those incremental successes build into my bigger goals, and then when I achieve my bigger goals that brings a feeling of success, and that feeds back into my daily actioning of my beliefs, and around it goes.
Do you think showing vulnerability is powerful?
Yes, I think it takes a lot of courage and power to be vulnerable to one person, eyeball to eyeball. It’s also the best way to strengthen relationships.
What do you do to chill out?
My favourite thing to do to relax is totally unacceptable by modern health standards… I absolutely love lying in the sun for a long period of time, it totally revives me.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I keep a journal and have done since I was 10.
How would your best friend describe you?
I just asked her and she said “Kind, empathetic, bold, passionate about topics of interest and artistic.” What a lovely rap.
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple, mostly classic with a bit of something slightly wacky and unexpected.
What are your go-to fashion brands?
My favourite brands are all Australian and I miss them in Hong Kong!
What are you currently binge-watching on TV?
I’m waiting on the next drop of Designated Survivor.
Which podcasts are you listening to right now and what book is on your bedside table?