You don’t have to meet Bohemian Traders founder Emily Berlach in person to want to be her friend. Her sense of honesty, curiosity, gratitude, and sheer appreciation for fun is so palpable it bounces right off the screen. Sharing her story with us, it’s clear these elements were imbued by a close-knit family and honed by difficult health experiences both in childhood and adulthood. Now, she has a deep understanding of all the varied things that matter to her – from the quality of the people she surrounds herself with, to beautiful design, to doing as little as possible with excellent beauty products. Suffice to say, a woman who merrily shares that she eats pizza for breakfast is one we all need to get to know.

“I had the most idyllic ‘80s childhood, growing up on the windswept cliffs of Kiama Heights on the NSW South Coast.

The ocean was visible from every window of our house, and the afternoon southerlies were so strong, I used to wonder if I’d be blown away. Our days were spent on the beach, with salt-encrusted skin and sun-bleached hair. ‘Firecracker night’ was still a thing, and I had a much-loved pastel pink cassette player that was constantly playing John Farnham. Honestly, being a kid in my family was magical and I am so grateful for it. It set us up well for adulthood – we were instilled with the knowledge that anything worth doing takes time, and that hard work is always worth it.

Emily with her family – husband Dave and children Joseph (15), Olive (13) and Elke (10)

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, though.

As a child, I had a very rare cancer called retinoblastoma. While I wouldn’t say this tarnished my childhood overall, it did mean I had a very medicated and sometimes distressing early life. Undergoing constant tests and operations and always being poked and prodded shaped me in a way I think I am still coming to understand.

As an adult, I would say that my experience with Post Natal Depression after the birth of my first child was a gargantuan struggle, and one that continued for much longer than I would have liked.

Time is the greatest healer, isn’t it? Our struggles help to build resilience within us, and that allows us to strive and thrive.

My early experience with cancer filled me with a sense of independence, grit and determination. It’s never been a conscious thing, but more some deeply ingrained refusal to fail. Or perhaps more to the point, it gave me an appetite to try anything, regardless of the possibility of failure. Then, when my children were young and I was wrapped up inside depression, that softened my ‘just get on with it’ resolve. It opened my eyes to the very real struggle that is having poor mental health. whether you’re in a tough period or things are wonderful, I do think it’s the people around you who can make all the difference. Honestly, the most important thing to me is my family and friends and I want them to feel seen and loved by me.

My background is in Fine Arts, and while I’ve always had a keen interest in fashion, it was certainly never the plan to start my own label.

Bohemian Traders was founded off the back of a personal blog, The Beetle Shack, that I wrote when I was at home with young children. Publishing it was a way for me to process my experience as a mum. Through blogging, I found the most supportive, amazing community (many of whom I’m still connected with today), and its members became the very first customers of BT. It’s been a wonderful journey and I still pinch myself that I’m living such a fulfilling, creative life.

I’m so privileged to work with brilliant, creative women each and every day. It’s a  genuine pleasure to come into the office. While we each have our own departments that we handle, we get to flex our creative muscles together. Personally, I feel most fulfilled when I am in the design room with my team. They are experts with impressive global industry experience and I learn from them daily.

As much as I’d love to say that I rise before the sun and drink a glass of warm lemon water, I’m more of a read-on-my-phone-in-bed-while-eating-last-night’s-pizza-for-breakfast kind of girl.

Once those essentials have been ticked off (!), I generally shower, moisturise my body with any one of my vast collection of Sol de Janeiro creams, then move on to the face.  I need to keep my routine simple and pared back, and generally just do three or four steps.

At the moment I’m using bespoke lotions and potions created by Vita Catanzariti from Dolce Vita Skin. Otherwise, I love a good sheet mask from Medik8 or Tatcha. I also use Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster and an Ultra Violette SPF 50+ each day. If I’m shopping for additional treats, I’m drawn to Kat Burki and Tatcha for skincare and Charlotte Tilbury, Dior and YSL for makeup.

I like to mix a little liquid bronzer into my foundation each morning to achieve a really natural finish.

I know it’s a bit unconventional, but I use a splash of Sol de Janeiro GlowMotions Glow Body Oil with foundation and it gives me light coverage and a subtle glow. For a while it was really hard to find the product in Australia, but I fortunately found it in Beverly Hills earlier this year and stocked up!

My hair is very straight, so I take a really low-maintenance approach to caring for it.

I often just let it drip dry before twisting it up into a messy bun. I visit my friend and hairdresser Renee Marshall of Allure the Salon every six weeks, and she keeps me fresh. At home, I shampoo with Kérastase Blond Absolu Ultra-Violet Shampoo which prevents me from going brassy. Recently I’ve been using K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Mask, and it’s completely changed the quality of my hair.

My mum is the most low-key natural beauty I know.

She seldom wears a stitch of makeup, other than slapping on a little lippy for special occasions. She lives a life that demonstrates that beauty is from within. It’s the heart and the deeds of a person that makes them stunning.

I love getting older! I recently turned 40, and can feel the fears of my twenties and thirties just slipping away.

I do enjoy the odd squirt of Botox (shhh, don’t tell my mum!) now and again, though, and routinely have my greys covered. Having said that, when my hair is fully grey, I’m absolutely going to embrace being salt and pepper. In terms of other beauty maintenance, what I did to my brows in the ‘90s are a lasting cringe, so I have to have them tattooed annually. Fortunately, my friend Nina Coombs from Nina Coombs Skin & Brows is an absolute pro and my brows and I feel very safe in her capable hands.

Emily and Dave with the family’s stars – boxers Rosemary and Gilbert

As with my approach to pretty much everything in life, I am very laidback in my style and really enjoy a one-and-done dress.

This summer I’ll be living in my Bohemian Traders Halter Tie Midi Dress for all occasions. Otherwise, it’ll be BT double denim for me!”

Story by Zoe Briggs. Photography by Bianchi Photography.

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