“I grew up on a wheat and sheep farm in Katanning in Great Southern Western Australia, the second youngest of six children.
My love for fashion started at an early age; I remember getting very dressed up to go into town to do the weekly grocery shop and my sister driving me mad by always choosing mismatching outfits!
I went to boarding school in Perth when I was 12, and while I was there it never occurred to me that I could have a career in fashion. I never even considered myself particularly ‘arty’. Things were very different back then, and my school didn’t promote career pathways like that. In fact, when I left school, I wanted to be an accountant!
When I was 21, I spent a year living in Bali with my sister Melissa who had just opened her Body & Soul clothing stores. It was such an interesting time for me and an exciting turning point in my life. I ended up opening two Body & Soul stores in Perth when I was 23, and continued on as a director and buyer with the label until 2011. I then worked as a buyer and manager for the MyCatwalk store in Cottesloe, before taking over the store and rebranding as ACO a year later. So all in all I have spent the last 23 years working across all aspects of the fashion industry, including buying, manufacturing, design and sales.
One of the most challenging periods from my life was when I was simultaneously separating from my husband and launching a new business, all while my daughters, Lulu and Scarlett, were under three.
My youngest, Lulu, who was 18 months at the time, didn’t sleep through the night until she was 3, which made for some very interesting workdays after long sleepless nights! I reflect back now and wonder how on earth I managed to get through it, honestly.
COVID was definitely a huge business curve ball, but one that gave me a chance to pause and reassess my goals and overall direction. It was an opportunity for me to make a lot of positive changes, which may not have otherwise happened. I’m a big believer in making the best of an otherwise flawed situation when you can.
I couldn’t have navigated my way through these challenging times without my family and friends, who are incredibly supportive. I’ve also learnt the value of following my own intuition instead of the advice of others – our gut instincts are always right!
I am also a person very much determined to succeed, so when hard times do crop up, I really put my head down and work my butt off! Behind the scenes, I am working extremely hard. There is so much involved that people don’t see.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging running my business and being a mum!
Remaining super organised and being able to multitask is my secret to success and my days are planned down to the very last minute. I wouldn’t have it any other way though! I am a motivated person and have never really been one to sit back and relax. Staying motivated and passionate about what I do gives me such a boost and I am always striving to lead by example for my girls. They are my whole world and I hope I can impart some good life lessons by the way I run my life and business. As they get older, they are getting more and more interested in the shop and my label and are growing to appreciate the workload that I have!
I never set out to create the label that Amāre has become.
In 2013, I started it as a collection of effortless and timeless essentials. I wanted to create the perfect t-shirt; stylish and structured enough to wear with a cocktail skirt, yet also casual enough to throw on with your favourite jeans. Slogan tees were really having a moment then, and I created a collection of fun printed tees. Its development has all happened quite organically, and each year I have tended to add a new category or fabrication to the mix.
Getting to do what I love everyday is without a doubt the best part of my work. I feel very fortunate that I am living my dream job! Every day for me is completely different and ranges from styling clients in my store, ACO, to buying, designing, working on our photo shoots, running social media, and of course doing bookwork and the dreaded admin!
I am a bit of a one-woman band and have to wear many hats, but I feel truly blessed and fortunate (without sounding cliché!) to spend my days doing what I love most. I often say that ACO is my happy place, and I look forward to every moment that I spend in the store. I love the like-minded people that I cross paths with, from our clients and my staff to designers, agents and manufacturers. The (pre-COVID) travel required for ACO and Amāre is also definitely a perk, and would see me regularly in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.
My personal style tends to be quite bold with strong colours, prints and statement pieces. I’ve never been a slave to fashion trends but of course I gravitate to ones that excite me!
Being an active, busy mother to two girls I appreciate comfort but also want to look polished and well put together. Currently my favourite designers are Anine Bing, IRO and Gucci, and my last splurge was on a pair of Proenza Schouler boots.
Though I like to be super organised, I am also very low maintenance and down to earth, as well as a bit quirky, which people don’t often expect of me when they meet me.
A regular day for me starts at about 6.30 or 7am, when I wake up and lie in bed checking emails and social media messages that need responding to. While I’m getting the girls ready for school and making lunches, I brew a soy sticky chai latte using Prana Chai (I’m obsessed!).
After school drop off, I will go to either a Bike Bar class or a HIIT class with my trainer Lisa Clayton, then it’s home to shower and get ready for the day – I’ve got my makeup routine down to a fine art, and it takes five minutes! I aim to be in the office or at the shop by 10am.
Kevyn Aucoin’s The Volume Mascara is the best mascara EVER! I never get panda eyes from it and can remove it effortlessly.
Other staples in my makeup bag are Mecca’s Enlightened Lit From Within Powder for an instant healthy glow and Hourglass’ Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, for a strong, flawless brow in seconds. I’ve been using Ellis Faas Skin Veil Foundation for about six years and it is still the best out there for medium coverage with a dewy finish. I also can’t live without Lucas Pawpaw Ointment, I keep one next to my bed, in my car and at work! I have quite red lips naturally so don’t feel the need for much added colour, and I find that all lipsticks and glosses dry out my lips – I’ve tried everything, to no avail.
My skin care regime is fairly simple and low maintenance, although I do like to regularly chop and change the products I use to keep my skin on its toes!
I cleanse in the shower with Go-To Properly Clean Foaming Facial Cleanser which I think smells divine, and I’ve always liked the way a foaming cleanser makes my skin feel. After cleansing I apply Heartwood’s Royal Oil and Elemis Peptide4 Adaptive Day Cream. I also pop on The Secret Skincare Eye Serum, which they make as a custom formulation for each client. For a pre-event boost of hydration or for calming the skin, I love Societe Rejuvenating Peptide Gel Masks.
The Secret Skincare Stress Repair Night Cream is my lifesaving product if my skin breaks out due to hormones or stress. It calms my skin right down and any breakouts disappear within 24 hours. Heartwood’s Royal Oil is another favourite of mine; it is so nourishing and hydrating and the heavenly sandalwood oil smells divine. Even my partner is addicted! Goldfaden MD’s Doctor Scrub leaves my skin looking and feeling really clean and refreshed, I love that it is such a fine and gentle exfoliator and it’s great for prepping the skin before applying Royal Oil.
My hair is dead straight and so very low maintenance, though that’s also quite limiting when it comes to styling, as it can’t hold a curl!
Michael at O’Dowd Christie is my hair guru. I tend to keep it very simple and sleek with a middle part and either worn out and straight or in a low ponytail. Having this type of hair does come in handy when its humid or raining, I guess!
Laser hair removal has been a game changer for me! I cannot recommend it high enough for keeping my beauty routine low maintenance.
Dr Clara Hurst at Blanc in Cottesloe is my go-to for IPL and cosmetic injectable treatments and I love Heartwood (just down the road) for their range of natural skincare and relaxing spa treatments. I have my eyebrows tattooed every 18 months by Katie Cotton at Katie Cotton Brows – another game changer for keeping my mornings quick and easy!
Exercise is very important for both my mental clarity and physical wellbeing, I love the rush of endorphins after finishing a class or going for a run. It makes feel ready to take on the world! Exercise is an important part of my life and the ultimate stress reliever.
I love Cardio Tennis at Peppermint Grove Tennis Club, spin classes with JD at Bike Bar, HIIT and strength and conditioning classes with Lisa Clayton, floor Pilates at MVMT with either Chloe or Courtney, yin yoga with Wendy or Anna at YOGAWORX and runs or walks with my partner. I am finding as I get older that I am more injury prone, which has taken a bit of getting used to. I try now to adjust to activities that have less impact on my joints.
I’ve always been quite health conscious and eating well makes me feel good and gives me the energy I need to lead my very busy life!
I have a very healthy diet Monday to Friday, but on weekends I like to indulge in eating out at cafes and restaurants around Perth. I am addicted to Teriyaki Tofu Rice Paper Rolls from Peko Peko and açai bowls from Açai Corner.
I love to start the day with a bowl of gluten-free granola with macadamia milk, blueberries, goji berries and fresh mango. My go-to weekday business meeting lunch is the Superfood Salad with haloumi from Vans. Dinner is usually at home and will be fish or chicken with a salad or roasted vegetables.
I have been seeing naturopaths since I was 21 and I currently see the lovely Jan Purser at Remede Wellness Medicine. I lead such a busy lifestyle, so like to support my immune system with herbal remedies. The regular supplements I take are BioCeuticals Ultrabiotic 45 for gut health, as well as Ethical Nutrients Zinc and Metagenics Andro NK. If I’m particularly run down, then I get a specially prescribed herbal tonic from Remede Wellness.
My mother dresses immaculately and updates her wardrobe every season according to the latest trends. My interest in fashion definitely started with mum!
Despite living on a farm, mum was always beautifully put together with flawless skin, hair and perfect nails. She encouraged my sisters and I to look after our bodies and skin and to protect our skin from the sun.
I believe in a healthy balance between allowing yourself to age gracefully but also allowing yourself to feel confident and happy about the way you look. I definitely subscribe to the ‘less is more’ philosophy, as I think there is something very beautiful about an understated woman!”