| Posted by My Super Nanny

Arlo and Co

Meet Gemma.

You may have come across her signature name plaques from her creative and designed based business Arlo & Co. She is Super Mum to two gorgeous little girls who are often found playing at her feet in the studio or jumping in her bed on the weekends. Life is about balance for this family, and so be it if it is a PJ’s all day kind of weekend.   


You’re Mum to?

Maeve - age 4, and Greer - aged 2 and a half. My girls are 18 months apart and inseparable. Never were two thieves quite as thick.


What has been the best part of motherhood, thus far?

Seeing the confident, free-thinking, creative people my girls are becoming, helps me remember that the daily little stumbles don’t matter. It’s a thrill to be so connected to precious little people, and waking up with two bustling bursting-with-life smiling children who one-by-one snuck into my bed overnight, is awesome. I didn’t think about motherhood much before babies, but I’m constantly amazing how much I love it.


Is motherhood what you envisioned it to be?

Oh. Man. NOTHING prepares you, does it? Parenting was so much easier when I was hypothetically raising my non-existent children. Sometimes the days can be unbearably long, while passing by in a rush of drop-offs and pick-ups and tantrums and Weetabix-caked bench tops and uneaten dinners. But the giddiness of learning to wholeheartedly love little humans who are dependent on you is unlike anything. I love getting to know my girls – and I had zero clue how much I’d love them, until they arrived.


You are the founder of Arlo & Co. which is a gorgeous online gifts and décor store. Can you tell us how it all started?

A teacher by trade, I was on maternity leave with a 19 month old, an 8 week old, and a crave for creativity. Suddenly, my career focus shifted, and the need to get back to doing something meaningful, creative and independent - but still flexible - was bubbling. I'd already been making pieces for friends and family for a while - but it was really just a hobby. A lot of encouragement from all my newly-wed / baby-making peers saw me finally take the plunge. And so, with some basic photography of my first ideas, and a 'just start somewhere' approach, I began using Instagram as my only marketing tool, and launched Arlo & Co.


In the early days I made the products in our makeshift garage studio, and ran the business from the kitchen bench, often while breastfeeding an irritable baby. Nowadays we work out of a dedicated workshop and office space, where I have a beautiful team behind me. It’s so much easier now! Even though I look back on those early days with a little bit of nostalgia.


You are locally-owned and made. Keeping small businesses in Melbourne. What is your most popular product?

Yes! From concepts, to design, to manufacture, to marketing, we’re definitely big believers in locally-owned and made. I guess at the heart of it, our personalised name plaques are timeless favs - though our range grows so frequently that the most popular pieces change all the time, depending on the time of year and where the buzz is on social media.


How do you juggle work life and mum life?

I struggle with this daily! I really do try my best to keep it balanced with the positives of working for myself with two pre-schoolers, though. I’m grateful that my work allows me some flexibility. I’m busy, but I can choose when and how to do what needs doing. I guess it isn’t really about ‘having it all’, but instead it’s about making things we love around the people we love. And, if the day calls for it, we'll down tools and get off the grid to take our girls to the park, the zoo or to visit family.

The work / life juggle is real, don’t get me wrong. But I know, too, that being able to run my own creative, design-based business makes me a better Mum. And thankfully, our girls are often able to be in the studio with us – playing and painting at our feet, chattering to the people who come through the studio each day. It’s a unique work/lifestyle set up that works for us. And we have the *most* amazing nanny who steps in for us on the days we just can’t be there, loving our girls beautifully, while we work.


Where would we most typically find you and your family on the weekend?

I’m a fan of starting our day with a long lie in – all four of us – chatting and tickling and just hanging out in the bed in the morning. Follow that up with a packed lunch beside the sea, or feeding the ducks at our local playground, and I’m sold. It’s definitely the little things. Working long hours means when we finally have spare time, we just want to chill. Be silly, play, tell stories. It doesn’t matter if we’re in pj’s all day – we’re pretty simple and love hanging nowhere we need to be.


How do you take your coffee…

Flat white with one, and a side of cake :)


You’ve got four free hours. What do you do?

Coffee with a best friend, followed up with a great book on the beach.


Your best beauty tip?

Sleep and sunscreen!


Who is your hero?

Can I choose more than one?


Go for it!

My heroes are definitely the women in my family. My late Grandma, and my mum - they are my biggest inspirations. Smart, creative, kind, compassionate. They’re my kind heroes – who keep focused on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff.


Describe yourself as a mum, three words?

Relaxed, affectionate, fun.


With love,

My Super Nanny. 


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