Getting to interview my favourite brands was always something I had wanted to do on here on the Wholehearted Studio blog, but just never had the time to do. In my bid to help more people, it has been a task that I have had to make a priority. But what I didn’t factor in, was the payback of the wonderful insight I would gain from reading everyones answers. And today’s interview is no exception.

I have been a fan of this brand since they started in 2011. I love their photographic style and how they visually portray themselves on line. They are known for their signature, clean and minimalist style and are instantly recognisable to those that follow them. Today we interview none other than Mr and Mrs White, about how they found their calling to the furniture and homewares industry, how they juggle everything and what they believe being wholehearted is all about.

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Who are you and what do you do?

We are Nathan and Sasha White – husband and wife team who run a furniture and home accessories business in Sydney Australia called Mr and Mrs White. We have two beautiful girls, Selah (5) and Oak (2) as well as one on the way (due the end of June).

When did you start doing your business- and what made you follow your dream?

The business started around the same time as the birth of our first daughter, Selah, in 2011. The dream, however, was ignited a few years before that. We were married fairly young (21 and 23) and we were both still studying and figuring out what the future held for us. Nathan’s (Mr White) eye for detail and his love for timber led him to the study of boat building where he completed a four year shipwright apprenticeship. Meanwhile, I (Mrs White) studied at uni and completed a degree in design majoring in Graphic design. Life was busy yet something was missing. After uni I found myself meddling with a sewing machine and Nathan gave up boats for furniture and suddenly, everything seemed a little clearer. The smell of timber, the touch of linen, that giddy feeling from seeing a concept sketch become something tangible – something we can sit on, eat on, organise and store things and most importantly – something that gathers people – yes – this is what we were meant to do… together.

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What do you love most about what you do and why?

We simply love creating. We feel very blessed to be able to run a business together as well as having our kids be involved in the journey. We have a big vision for the future and we love working towards those goals together with the amazing staff (who are like family to us) alongside us, believing in our vision as much as we do.

What is a typical day for you? Run us through morning, middle and afternoons of your day!

Nath is normally out the door and on his way to a morning training session before I am even conscious. After his training he heads straight into the office/factory/showroom. Mornings for me are busy getting kids dressed, fed and ready for school. I drop my daughter Selah off to school and then I generally head into the office with our youngest daughter (Oak). A day in the office varies for both us from week to week. Sometimes we are meeting with clients, shooting new products, designing new products or simply doing admin and emails. Oak keeps herself busy playing shop in our showroom and entertaining our staff with her funny, quirky personality. I race off around 2:30ish to do school pick ups and then afternoons are spent doing home stuff and hanging with our girls.

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What has been your proudest career achievement to date?

Getting this far! Ha! There have been a few career highlights but to be honest, we are proudest of how far we have come and simply being able to do what we love full time is such an honour.

What does being wholehearted mean to you?

Being wholehearted means giving it our all, always being true to who we are, honest and sincere in all that we do – working hard and staying humble!

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So confession time. I used to hate having my photo taken! I would have put it up there with my hate of putting out the garbage bin, listening to fingernails getting dragged down a backboard and having to watch the 7.30 Report, as a 13 year old, with Dad instead of Friends.

But recently I started to work on this and get over my hate of being in photos once and for all. Which is pretty important considering the work I do here with Wholehearted Studio. The thing is when we let someone take a photo of us we feel vulnerable.

We wonder, will we look as cool as the person that we are in our own mind? Will we dislike how old we look, or our skinny arms, or our frizzy hair… [ insert your body phobia here]. And in today’s day and age of the internet we wonder who will see the photos.

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When I am working on shoots with clients I am always blown away by the things they might be insecure about. And guaranteed before they mentioned it I hadn’t even noticed the thing that they are insecure about. This is because the whole time I had been talking to them, I had been too busy looking at their beautiful hair wishing mine was that long, or admiring their thick eyebrows, or their blue eyes.

With others we look at their positive features, but with ourselves we tend to look at our negatives. Then one day I had an epiphany… why is it ok for us to think these negative things about ourselves when we don’t about others? 

So I challenge you whether you have a brand or not, let someone take your photo! Learn to celebrate your strengths and try not to worry about the features you are self conscious about. It is a good habit of self love and will have you on your way to more positive thinking. Push in past your insecurities and celebrate the parts of you that are beautiful.

The thing is though, that if you are a brand or have one, you actually NEED to be in your photos. At least some of the time anyways. With the myriad of Instagram accounts and brands out there, more then ever we need to be unique. And the easiest way to do that is put a face to your brand.

No one else can be you and it will help your audience connect with you and your brand, hopefully becoming a fan and customer. My most liked photos on Instagram are often the ones that we post that have me in it which says a lot!

Life is way too short to spend it hiding from a camera. Be wholehearted and put yourself out there!

x Hayley

P.S. Want to recruit my team and I for a shoot? Contact us to find out more.

Rachel Castle has been one of my favourite designers and artists for as long as I can remember. I have a collection of her penny round cushions that I use in many of my projects. Whenever I go through a phase of wanting to surround myself with colour, I pull out my Rachel Castle posters and cushions and instantly those bright and happy vibes are happening!

I think the thing I love about her the most is she seems to be so authentically herself across all her social media and website channels. Her funny photo captions often have me smiling as I read them. She is the perfect example of someone who has been herself and her audience has loved her for it. Aside from that her photos are full of colour and always leave me inspired.

So today I am super-duper excited to share our interview of her with you! Grab a cup of tea and feast your eyes on these beautiful photos and words.

Who are you and what do you do? Tell us what makes your product unique!

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When did you start doing your business- and what made you follow your dream?

I started the business very organically back in 2007. I’ve always made little things, for birthdays and christmases, and at home with two small children the need to ‘create’ rather than wipe up after everyone was overwhelming! I made a small website, nothing fancy, and didn’t sell anything for 6 months.  I still remember my first sale, that was the lightbulb moment. There has never been a plan, there still isn’t, I’m just making what I feel compelled to make, and hoping for the best!

What do you love most about what you do and why?

The freedom to make whatever products and artworks I feel like making. Or not making. Our ranges develop with no specific times in mind, we don’t follow the seasons or the markets, we simply make a range if we feel we have some ideas strong enough to translate. I also like the switch between mediums, the printing, sewing and painting that I work with, if I get bored or stuck with one within minutes I can move to another, it definitely keeps the creative flow, well flowing!

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What is a typical day for you? Run us through morning, middle and afternoons of your day!

Mornings are all about emails… and running the business, making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to, this includes despatch and production which are continuous and unrelenting. As quickly as I can I get back into my office and back to the artwork. Of course no one day is the same as the last, meetings with our graphic designers, web developers, collaboration partners, could be anything, thrown into this mix mean it is often hectic, but the one peaceful calm is me in my studio listening to music and working away at the artworks.

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What has been your proudest career achievement to date?

Probably the success of my paintings. I am self taught, and so a lot of doubt creeps into your thought processes. Is it good enough, is it nice enough, is it interesting enough, all the head noise when you embark on a new medium I think only pushes you your progression, your learning, your application to the medium. So when they started selling in earnest I was really VERY thrilled, it felt good.

What does being wholehearted mean to you?

Applying gusto to the things you care about! I apply EVERYTHING I have to my family, my work, my friends. I just don’t apply any gusto to tidying up, because its SERIOUSLY SNORESVILLE BORING.

I love styling houses for photo shoots. There’s something so exciting about that moment when the house is perfect and the photographer captures it in a pristine state. Especially when the day before there were kids toys everywhere, finger prints all over the fridge and ‘stuff’ falling out of cupboards and baskets.

The best part though, is when the owners facial expression of shock that their place could look that good, turns into pride and they look at me beaming with big smiles! I could stare at those proud-as-punch faces all day.

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The thing is, to get it to that point, there is a lot of work that goes into it getting it sparkling like that. So today I am sharing a few tips to help you get your home photo shoot ready! If you are headed for putting your house on the market, or even taking photos for your own enjoyment, these pointers will help you on your way. 

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  1. First step is to clean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Do the most thorough clean you’ve ever done in your life, one that would make your Mum and Grandmother proud.
  2. Cull the personal items that don’t add to the space. Bills, rotten fruit, your kids loose tooth that fell out last night and anything else that falls into that category. Make sure you clean your fridge off too. Pack away the Big Banana magnet that your Mum sent you on her Grey Nomads trip to Coffs. You know the stuff I mean right? Things like this distract the viewers eyes in the shots.
  3. Replace any blown light bulbs and make sure they match the existing ones [ie: if you have warm coloured light bulbs through your house, make sure the new replacement ones are warm light ones too].
  4. Hide away any electrical cords out of sight as best you can. Pack away the kids toys in another room where they won’t be seen. If you have kids rooms, only keep out the best of the toys for display. Keep it minimal. 
  5. Mow the lawn the day before, pack up hoses and clean up any landscape outdoor areas. 

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If you apply these pointers you will be on your way to a much calmer photography team as they will be able to focus on the styling, composition and photography of your home. If you want your interior styled and photographed, email us to find out how we can help you!

x Hayley

If you have been on my blog or Instagram before, you will know that I am a big fan of The Beach People. It is founded by sister duo, Victoria and Emma. Their round beach towel design hit the market in 2013 and they have never looked back.

Last year I got to meet Victoria at a women’s conference we spoke at together, and my admiration for them went up a level! She was so down to earth [and funny!] you wouldn’t suspect she was owner of such a successful brand. Today we interview Victoria and find out about who she is and what she is all about.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Victoria Beattie and along with my sister Emma we are The Beach People.

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When did you start doing your business- and what made you follow your dream?

We launched our business in the Summer of 2013 and it seemed like a natural progression for us, we have family in business and growing up by the ocean The Beach People is just a part of who we are!

What do you love most about what you do and why?

I love what I get to do everyday and who I get to do it with. I think my favourite part is working with  my sister and team and seeing what we are capable of together. They are amazing. I also love designing new products, testing and perfecting… and then seeing them go live is the best, especially when they sell out! I know then that our community of sea lovers enjoy them as much as we do.

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What is a typical day for you? Run us through morning, middle and afternoons of your day!

It’s always different! Somedays I am in the office and that usually starts in the morning with the US team on Skype as it’s their afternoon, then I will have meetings with my AU team and the afternoon is usually my creative time. I work on design and content etc, if I am at home with my little man it’s completely different! Up early to empty the inbox before he wakes up and then if I have to work I go to the park/beach with him or set up a bunch of activities to keep him happy while I work (without using the TV or iPad – which is no easy venture). I then work work work while he naps until the afternoon where we play and go on adventures to our local creek to swim. Evenings no mater what day it is I switch right off and spend time with my big man, cooking yummy dinners and spending time together… it’s the simple things.

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What has been your proudest career achievement to date?

Seeing people love and enjoy our products all around the world and join our community of sea lovers, that’s heaven to me.

What does being wholehearted mean to you?

Mmmh good question – doing things on purpose and with a holistic approach. Thinking how will this effect my family, my business, the community and not just how can I make a few dollars… that’s what being wholehearted means to me.

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