Talking work life balance with Emma & Victoria of The Beach People

I think almost all of us have heard of the mighty talented sisters Emma and Victoria of The Beach People. But have you ever stopped to wonder how on earth they manage to run their extraordinary successful success while also being mums, daughters, sisters, friends, wives… and finding time for themselves in that all?

Today, I’m speaking with this dynamic duo to find out how.

Emma and Victoria might be best known for their ‘Roundie’ towel: they sold more than 100,000 of these during the summer of 2016.

But where did this all begin?

The sisters live in the beachside town of Kingscliff, and after working around town in cafes, they decided they needed to come up with a business idea, so they could “make a decent living without having to move from their beloved home” (does that not sound like the dream?!!).

It was while sitting on the beach watching their husbands (who are best friends) surf, Emma had an idea. “I think round beach towels would be cool,” she mused. “No one is doing that.”

Throwing everything including “our husbands’ wages and house deposits” into the business and later expanding into other areas, including bath, homewares, linen and beach accessories, The Beach People is now stocked in more than 600 stores across over 30 countries. It’s also the first brand to have collaborated with Net-A-Porter and was one of the first Australian brands to be stocked in Bergdorf Goodman and Selfridges within their first year of trading.

Wow!

But with all these ‘wins’, where does that balance and rest come in… and does it? Take a read of my chat with Emma and Victoria to find out…

Where do you go or what do you do to feel most inspired and get your ideas and creativity flowing?

Emma: I love to travel. As we live in a small county town is always inspiring visiting cities like Paris, Tokyo or New York.

We traveled to Montauk a few years back and I’m still inspired by what I saw there… nature, architecture, a period of time are aways a winner for inspiration. 

Victoria: Nature inspires me most. We recently traveled to New Zealand with our families on a road trip and we found the scenery just breathtaking. All the textures and tones were very inspiring. 

Could you tell us about your inspiration behind creating your pieces?

Emma: Everything we design comes from our everyday life. For example the idea behind our most iconic product the original Roundie was created just sitting on the beach one afternoon. Something Victoria and I always did. Same as the beach cart.

I had two children and found it a mission to get myself, two small children, surfboards, food and beach umbrella down the beach so we created the beach cart. 

Victoria: Once we have an idea of a product that would suite our lifestyles… Emma usually comes up with a mood board or what she see’s for the next collection including products. We nut out the story together… and boom… we’re making new to market product… 

Could you explain a little about your process from idea to final product?

Emma: Something inspiring catches my eye, art, a textile, a print and it starts…. For example our latest beach collection was called “The Bedouin Journey”. I was inspired by middle eastern textiles, kilim rugs and cushions, tribal mud cloth.

I present to the team my inspirations which could be art, prints, architecture something in nature…from there as the designs and story progress we start to add shoot inspirations to our ever growing mood board. And that’s how we ended up with a camel on Hasting Beach last year haha… That was Victoria’s idea! 

Victoria: We design everything from scratch. It starts with idea from myself or Emma then we concept the ideas making sure its something we truly want to create. Then we design and send it off to be sampled. Lots and back and forth until it’s a quality product we are truly proud of and something that will  enhance our everyday life and the lives our sea loving community. We also test test test, wash wash wash, use use use to make sure the products are quality, so that our shoppers know that The Beach People means quality.

What are both of your roles at The Beach People – do you share everything or have separate areas you each focus on?

Victoria: Our wise parents raised us to always play to our strengths. Emma knows what I’m good at and we play to that. Emma is the dreamer I’m the doer. Together we are always better. If there is something I’m stuck on she has fresh ideas and vice versa. 

Emma: It’s a good thing Vic is an extreme doer otherwise there would be no Beach People. I would still be stilling on the beach saying “round towels could be cool”… The gal knows how to get stuff done! But can she style a flat lay… Not so much haha.

Running a business isn’t easy – what keeps you both going?

Emma: We started the business so we could earn an income from home. We both have young families and that’s what really drives us… I want to be present with my 3 girls while they are young.

It’s much busier than what we had first imagined but we make it work. I still manage to go for walks on the beach in the afternoon… 

Victoria: Emma and I love what we do. It our highlight watching people all over the world enjoy the products that we design. From a beauty enjoying her holidays in the South of France, to a family towing their little ones around in the beach cart or our eucalyptus bedding styled in a loft style apartment in Brooklyn… Emma and I see every post on @thebeachpeople. It’s the best thing. Pinch me!! 

What is your biggest hope and dream for the business?

Emma: Just more of this…designing and creating beautiful quality products. With the sellout success of our new linen bedding we have designed two more home capsules in some stunning colour ways and more sustainable textiles. Keep following for updates! 

Victoria: Working with our amazing team to keep growing globally. 

What does the term ‘work life balance’ mean to you and is it something we should focus on?

Everyone throws the words around ‘Work life balance’ like it’s an exotic location; some faraway land, some state of nirvana never to be reached… turns out you can have some most days.

A big thank you to Victoria and Emma for sharing their insights and stories behind building and running The Beach People – while keeping their sanity. They have been invited to talk at Retail Global on the Gold Coast, 23rd to 25th May 2018 about Work Life Balance.

Images courtesy of The Beach People.

Talk to me!