Today The Nanny Collective sits down with the passionate and vivacious Amy Goller of My Tiny Wardrobe to discuss her rapidly growing online boutique, her daily struggle with fibromyalgia and her vision of creating a community of supportive working mums.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
My family consists of my husband Sebastian and my 2 beautiful girls under two years old—Olivia and Chloe.
I married my best friend and when he gets up in the middle of the night to feed our little premie baby Olivia or hug our teething 22month old, his status rises from best friend to SAINT! But believe me, there are other times when I feel like I actually have three children, he is the third.
Please tell me how My Tiny Wardrobe came to be?
My dream for My Tiny Wardrobe was to always try and create a brand whereby I could provide a platform encouraging other mums to work from home if they wanted and to sell either their or our designs. I am currently collaborating with women designers who are raising children in Australia. I don’t only work with ladies who can sew or love children’s fashion but also work with photographers, other brands and suppliers, all woven together to empower working mums through small business.
In creating this brand, I stepped out of the corporate world to design a future for myself and my family, and other mums who would join this collection of creatives— all working from home!
Starting any small businesses is hard. Especially when it is not something you have ever done before. I think in my head, I thought I would sew a dress, pop it online and sell it. Designing a website, merchant fees, swing tags, gift wrapping, collaborating, social media, finding bloggers who were willing to contribute to the success of what I envisaged “a community more than a shop” and creating are huge tasks. Without the support of my husband who helps me with the girls at bedtime and supports me emotionally and physically, my customers, bloggers, photographers and the INSTA-COMMUNITY this little business would not be possible.
I have days where I triumph and feel as though I can conquer the world (that is not my aim by the way) and I have days where I want to throw in the towel as it SEEMS too hard.
But it always seems hard until it is done, so I keep doing. I have invested so much LOVE, ENERGY and TIME, because I love what I do and that is what drives me. My Tiny Wardrobe has only been up and running for 6 months and I am learning everyday. This is what all working mums struggle with every day.
Do you have a favourite product?
That is so hard. I think that’s like asking if I have a favourite child! So— no. I love what I do. I would say that the pieces I have hand sewn and created from scratch— felt the fabric, picked the thread, sat for hours over a sewing machine give me the greatest satisfaction. Half (50%) of my pieces are hand made by me in Australia and I’m proud of that.
What have been the highlights of My Tiny Wardrobe been so far?
There are two:
As many people may know I never opened an online store just to sell gorgeous clothes. I did it to work with mums and raise awareness of issues I thought mums and dads would engage in. So I started a BLOG page. I have worked with the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia, PANDA & many foundations who help mums with premature babies. When I published a blog called “The Day I gave Birth To An Empty Nursery”, the response behind the scenes was amazing. Mums reached out to me and shared their stories. Showed me pictures of their angels. Invited me to meet their other children as they appreciated me shining a spotlight on Stillbirth. I was so humbled. To this day, I always check in on them & we chat.
I feel like in a small way I have made a difference to these mums through the blogs that I have published and that is what fills my heart with JOY and is what I feel most proud about. I have always used the hashtag: #mumssupportingmums as that is what I want to be about. I want to teach my children, if anything in life— be kind.
Of course making sales brings me joy. Being tagged in photos brings me joy. Having repeat customers is such a highlight as it means people appreciate what I am trying to do and without those loyal customer’s— I could go on. Making clothes and re-investing in the business would not be possible without sales. I want to say THANK YOU, to everyone who has bought a piece, loved a post, shouted me out to friends and followers. THANK YOU!
Being a mother is a full time job and additionally you are working on your business, My Tiny Wardrobe. How did you make it all work?
Having launched my business while my premie baby was in the NICU, I am not sure if I always cope well. Actually I don’t. Being a mum is hard work, yet alone trying to succeed in a competitive industry. So I would say I thrive some days and fail other days but I think that is normal.
Being a stay at home working mum is a challenge. I try and do most of my work after 7pm when they are tucked in bed or when they have their sleep in the middle of the day. However, many times I find myself trying to reply to emails in the playground, take calls while also trying to play ‘tea parties’ and look at fabric combinations while also trying to feed my little one. Its a juggle. I think as long as you are not glued to your mobile or Mac, and you are present when they are awake for the majority of the time— you are doing well. Actually, you are doing great!
What were your greatest challenges as a working mum?
Time. There is never enough time! Whether you have a business or are a SAHM, there is never enough time in the day.
I want to watch my children grow and be there for them and I know somedays I have probably missed something or told my little ones to wait a little longer than they should have had to wait. For that there is some guilt but I know I am working on my business so I can remain at home and not return to the corporate world and miss their ‘EVERYTHING’S. I want to see their smiling faces. I want to dance around our living area with them like a dork and this can only happen if I am at home.
What are your most cherished memories of motherhood?
Oh! There are too many. Just the ability to have two children is amazing. Many women struggle with infertility, so I am just lucky and happy to see my two children and know I created these tiny beings with a little help from my husband (wink wink).
Every time their is a ‘First’ is cherished. When they smile. When they laugh. When my two year old runs to give me a hug. A hug filled with so much love, you feel it through your entire soul. When they fall over and I get to kiss it better. When they need me in the middle of the night & they trust I will come and help them.
Do you have any advice for new mothers/mothers to be?
The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is true. Don’t be proud or feel guilty to ask for help on the days when things are rough. So many times I have cried to my sister, a friend or my mum. It helps lift the burden on days when things are hard and you may feel overwhelmed. On those days where you feel like you are simple a human dummy. On the days where you forgot that the fridge was empty and you need formula or on those sleep deprived days where you can barely function. Don’t try and act like you can do it all. If someone is offering you help to bake you a cake, cook you a meal, bath your baby, take your babe for a stroll so you can have a shower or some “you time”, let them help. They are asking because they care. They care about YOU.
You struggle with Fibromyalgia. Please tell us about this and how it impacts your life?
Fibromyalgia. What can say about you?! Go Away! You make me sad. You give me chronic Pain. I hate you. But you will not win. I have been well before, and I will get there again.
I have suffered from this debilitating muscle disease for 15 years. It is a muscle disease driven by mixed pain signals coming from the brain. to muscles in my body There are days when it overwhelms me and I rely on family a lot. Many days I feel like I just survive the day and I don’t live the day. I hate these days, they make me sad. I long for the night to come so I CAN SLEEP TO ESCAPE THE PHYSICAL PAIN and I hope tomorrow will be better. I have two children and a life, and I plan on being a warrior and overcoming this disease with the support of my family and neurologists and inner fortitude.
Having Fibromyalgia is the most difficult thing I have ever had to go through/am going through. On the outside, I look healthy and always pretend to be happy even when I don’t feel well as no one wants to be around someone in pain and feeling ‘down’. That takes a lot of energy and wears you down.
However, by having this “invisible disease” I realise what true happiness is. It took sadness, pain, loss for me to know what true happiness is. Happiness for me is just being pain free. I need nothing else apart from my family. I realise everything is relative too, some people have greater struggles than me and some none at all, but it is all relative.
My Fibromyalgia don’t show on the outside. It’s not like a broken leg, you can’t see it. I look healthy, happy, maybe even fit. But I am not. SO: I’ve learnt that you should never judge someone until you have walked in their shoes. I realised I may not have been able to continue a high powered job, I may have spent more days in bed than out of it, in the early years when my disease was undiagnosed— but people supported me. People were there to uplift me. Neurologists didn’t give up helping me. My husband met me with my condition and wanted to get to know me. He stood by me, even though it was hard. I realised I am in competition with no one and that LOVE is all you need. And with love comes laughter in our home.
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