To listen to designing sister duo Candice Rose-O'Rourke and Karla Rose alone you might be forgiven for thinking their modern-bohemian swimwear brand, Zulu and Zephyr is a neat little business two mums created, doing pretty well. But, don't let their humble nature and cool casual aesthetic fool you, the two are sitting on serious success (120 stockists locally and internationally and worn by the likes of Margot Robbie, Nicole Trunfio and Gemma Ward). From starting out with nothing but each other, a little bit of savings, a strong work ethic and big dreams, they've grown the business to a team of 12 at their Byron HQ, and each a growing family - Candice now has a two children, Zimmy and Valla; Karla a little girl, Mila Rose. While residing at home, also in Byron, the close knit sisters spoke with us about the influence of their mother on their beauty philosophies, their go-to products and just what it takes to balance work, health and beauty with life with little ones.
For years, I had no idea what I was doing with beauty.
Early in the millennium, my brows were shaped too thin and a little off centre. I wore a lot of glitter, silver illuminator and too-sleek hair. My most embarrassing beauty moments are anywhere between 1999 and 2008.
Mum hated tattoos and piercings, but loved tanning and bleaching her hair.
So I would say her messages were mixed! However, she always looked beautiful and would light up a room with her vibrant beach beauty and style - her good looks and charisma have always wowed a crowd. It’s something I always remember.
I feel most beautiful in the middle of summer, when I have a tan and feel fit and healthy.
Also, when my husband wakes up each morning and doesn’t jump out of bed. (I still can’t believe he thinks I am beautiful in the mornings when I wake up - he must be crazy). For special treats, to feel nice, I will get a facial or a massage - rarely do I have time for a mani/pedi with two kids - but I sure do dream of it happening again one day soon!
I like and appreciate everything about the beauty process.
I work with amazing hair and makeup artists who have beautiful recipes for different looks. I loathe that I cannot commit enough time to focusing on my own beauty routine as I often have a two-year-old running around the house with an arm full of my brushes and creams.
I shower and wash my face with Go-To Properly Clean Cleanser…
… and moisturise with the Melissa Day Cream from Dr Hauschka. I also use Palmers Coconut Oil. I use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, a non fancy but faithful blush I can’t remember the name of, ModelCo Mascara and, depending on how I am feeling, a matte shade of lipstick in either red or soft pink.
I’ll have a blow-dry if I’m feeling fabulous.
For night, I do like to swap out to a darker eye shadow. A night out is typically dinner with my partner or friends - so cool/casual is usually where I’m at. For day, I prefer low maintenance. So, foundation is optional [but] mascara and blush are essential.
I have just had my second child, so I am nurturing my body…
… with fruit, veggies and salads and lots of protein to assist with breastfeeding. I eat Weetbix for breakfast everyday, I have a morning coffee, salads for lunch, fresh fish for dinner, Farmers Market salad ingredients for dinner and 50% Dark chocolate for dessert. I also take cod liver oil, iron and B2 supplements daily.
Fitness wise, I get out with my kids everyday for an adventure.
Nursing my son Valla (weights) running after my daughter Zimmy (cardio) and trying not to fall over (balance). I get depressed when it’s raining as I absolutely delight in being out in the sunshine with my babes.
I strive to go beyond short lived trends and moments...
... and keep working to achieve the vision of taking Zulu & Zephyr into the future – I want to be creating for many years to come. I'm motivated by long term success. We had a five year business plan which we recently read back over and were thrilled to see that most objectives and goals had been surpassed. Having a business plan was a great tool for setting us off on our journey and gaining some perspective into what Zulu & Zephyr was about."
"I head to the water to take some time to myself.
Diving beneath the waves and feeling the water wash over me. There is something about the silence underneath the ocean that makes all my troubles melt away, even if it's just for a moment.
My biggest beauty embarrassment was a mishap with glitter...
... when I was 13. I went to a dance party and I used a glitter stick on my cheeks and arms. It wouldn't have been so bad, except no on told me you were supposed to blend it in, so I just a stripes everywhere. The first beauty products I ever bought, though, were Nivea body moisturiser and Reef Suntan Oil.
I believe you should age gracefully but do what’s in your power to slow the process.
So, I use Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate & Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. At night I use Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. When it comes to makeup, I can't go past Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser for day and Giorgio Armani Foundation for night. I religiously use cold pressed sesame oil all over (trust me, your skin will never feel softer!).
Exercise clears my mind and kicks off my day positively.
When you own your own business, you're faced with challenges daily and it can really take its toll. We've learned to cope with challenges instead of melting down and we trouble shoot logically, working through the issue. Exercise really helps to keep me feeling good, it's my daily escape. I take my daughter for a Byron Bay lighthouse walk and a swim on the daily. In my pre-child life, I was a reformer pilates addict — I dream of the day I can get stuck back into it.
I prefer foods that are from the earth in their most natural state...
You can't beat clean food coupled with daily exercise, it leaves no room for guilt! It’s also the best beauty regime at the cost of nothing."
Story by Rikki Hodge-Smith; Interview by Sigourney Cantelo; Photography by Alice Mahran