We had baby doctors come and talk to us regularly about the process of how she would be taken away immediately and what kind of condition she might be in when she arrived, it was terrifying and there were many tears which actually leads me to the best part. Having been set on hypnobirthing throughout our pregnancy a natural birth, immediate skin to skin and a delay in cutting the cord were so important to me. All of the nurses, doctors and midwifes had told us this would be very unlikely but by some miracle we managed all three of them!
Name: Georgia Holmes
Kids (name + ages): Ivy Holmes (9 months)
Tell me about you! What’s your background? My degree is in design and I have a background in mens tailoring. My first job out of university was based in Melbourne with an Australian menswear brand but it killed my creative spirit in less than two weeks so I halved my salary and started working for a small children’s fashion house as a design assistant! I ‘moonlighted’ as a nanny to make ends meet before I started G.NANCY.
Where in the word do you call home? I still call New Zealand home. It’s where my family lives, it’s where I met the love of my life and I hope Ivy can call it home one day too.
Tell us about your business journey over the last 2 years – fresh out of design school you started G.Nancy and it’s now stocked all over the world. What made you want to design kids PJ’s? I spent so much of my childhood in my PJs, having grown up in the country where baths were taken at four in the afternoon we were rarely out of out them. I felt sleepwear deserved more attention, care and love than the market was offering. And that’s how G.NANCY was born!
I had a huge hunger for owning my own business and having full control of the details and quality from the ground up. I started small… so small. We produced around 200 sets a season and I used to walk around stores begging them to put my product in their stores on SOR. Things grew slowly and organically and now we are stocked in more than 50 stores worldwide – but there is such a long way to go before our PJs are under every pillowcase around the world.
Your partner Oli is an illustrator and his drawings are always featured in each new season – working and living together adds a very different dynamic to a relationship – can you tell us a bit about how you manage this? How do you make it work? Oli would probably have a very different answer for this. I have a huge amount of respect for Oli’s work and over the years we have reached a happy middle ground with working together. I now book oli in for a print job just like any other client the only difference is that I’m hanging over his shoulder commenting every hour – he loves that, obviously. We try to be patient and kind with each other, we love each other and we love our work.
Last year, you welcomed your gorgeous daughter Ivy to the world, but you all had a rocky start. Arriving at 33 weeks, she spent a few weeks in the NICU. This must have been an extremely emotional and scary time for you. Can you tell us a bit about this experience, what was the worst part, the best part and how did you get through it?
Ivy, she is such a delight.
The NICU was somewhere I had never anticipated we would end up. People have healthy babies every second of every day, all my friends were over due with their first so it threw me at the time. We were in pre-term labour from 28 weeks and complete bed rest from 30 weeks so I guess you can say we were ‘prepared’ for it, although mentally I have to admit I thought I would still hold onto her until term. We had baby doctors come and talk to us regularly about the process of how she would be taken away immediately and what kind of condition she might be in when she arrived, it was terrifying and there were many tears which actually leads me to the best part. Having been set on hypnobirthing throughout our pregnancy a natural birth, immediate skin to skin and a delay in cutting the cord were so important to me. All of the nurses, doctors and midwifes had told us this would be very unlikely but by some miracle we managed all three of them! Ivy was a hefty 33 weeker at 2.75 kg and we had a few moments together before she was taken away. As any mother will know after giving birth, those moments are unlike any other and I feel beyond blessed that we had them together.
I guess the worst part was that I had to leave our baby girl every night and go back to an empty house with an empty tummy and an empty bassinet. We took one day at a time, I sat tears streaming down my face at the McCafe next to the hospital almost every morning after driving in for her 3am feed. Oli was there every step of the way, I was never alone or wanting for anything.
When Emily was born, she was huge and so weight wasn’t an issue until a few weeks later when she didn’t gain anything for 2 consecutive weeks. It was a really stressful time. I was worried for my baby and angry at myself for not being able to provide what she needed. I felt so much pressure. I know you had a similar experience with Ivy. What made you stick with breastfeeding and what would you say to other Mums who are going through something similar?
Ivy was so big at birth that we never worried about her weight – which is so fortunate for a parent with a prem baby! Due to her prem birth we had nurses eyes on her every two days after being discharged from the hospital so when she stopped gaining it was documented pretty quickly. Everyone had a different opinion some more drastic some less but by that time I finally felt like I knew my girl better than anyone else. There were moments when I kicked myself for my milk not doing it’s job or wondering if I didn’t have enough and was leaving my baby hungry, but she was feeding well and was so content that I decided to stick with it and stop seeing the nurses. It’s definitely not something I would advise for everyone but after having spent so many weeks ‘under probation as a mother’ in hospital I wanted to take control and do what felt right for me and Ivy. She started gaining slowly but surely over the next few weeks and it has never been an issue since (thank goodness).
We connected on Instagram and I know this platform is extremely important to you, not just personally but for your business as well. Tell me a bit about why you think Instagram is so important for connection?
I love the instagram community! It was solely a business platform in the beginning but its like a world of it’s own. On a personal note I have found support from women all over the world and it has made the journey of motherhood just that much sweeter for me. But hands down my favourite thing about instagram is that so many beautiful artisans are accessible. We have custom art from Beci Orpin, a signed copy of Birdland from Leila Jeffreys, cupboards full of beautiful linen produced by women I have met and talked to. I can’t wait to share with Ivy that Emma (Fictional Objects) made her sheets from when she was a little girl.
Describe a typical week at your place. What care arrangements do you have and what tricks make things run smoothly for you?
A typical week… It’s chaotic. Oli contracts three days a week so Ivy and I spend those full three days together. I work when she sleeps, we visit the factory or the park when she’s awake. One day a week I am solely in the Studio and pop up for feeds, the other Oli and I juggle together. We try not to work on weekends, sometimes we succeed and other times we don’t. Balance is not the key, flexibility is!
There are lots of Mamas out there who have a desire to start a business, but aren’t sure where to begin. What advice do you have for others who are letting self-doubt hold them back and what are the biggest challenges you face running a business and being a Mama?
My one piece of advice would be to start small but think big. When you start a business try and think of where you may eventually end up and five or ten years down the road, it makes growth and development much less of a headache.
What piece of advice do you wish you had been told before you had kids? I wish someone had told me how hard pregnancy is!!! I was not even a little bit prepared for my 33 weeks of pregnancy!
If you could fly anywhere and do anything in the world for 24 hours, where would you go and who would you take with you? We would fly to New Zealand and spend time in the garden eating fejoas with my mum. I would take Oli and Ivy every time.
What are a couple of your favourite brands and shopping websites? We love Millesime for their Pom knits, Brother Fox and Little Scout Co for their smocks and tights, Mabo Kids for their basics, Fiction Objects for their bedding… the list goes on.
And finally, who should we follow on Instagram – tell us what accounts inspire you and why? I love the feeds of @dearestdaughters and @theindigocrew – they have such beautiful vision and are the kinds of mums I hope to be one day.