In honour of International Women’s Day this year, we deemed it fitting to sit down and have a chat with the women at the helm, Rose Madden & Vanessa Cave. Work wives by trade, and best friends by choice, Rose & Ness have had an inspiring journey creating a career that empowers and fulfils them as busy working mum's, whilst empowering women to be bold, make a statement and be confident in showcasing who it is to be uniquely them in shapes, sizes and life stages.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from & what sets your soul on fire?
Rose: Hi i'm Rose, one half of Nine Lives Bazaar. I live in Tweed Heads, a beautiful region of Northern NSW - surrounded by glorious beaches, rivers, freshwater creeks and stunning hinterlands. I love getting outdoors with my family and family of friends and exploring new places. We actually just purchased a new caravan and I’m so excited to try and spend as much time as we can getting away for long weekends - camping, surfing, and just being in nature. The kids love it as much as we do, and it doesn’t matter if we go half an hour down the road (which is exactly what we did for our recent maiden voyage), or all the way down south to Crescent Head or Seal Rocks (our fave spot!). It’s always the best time making memories!
Ness: I’m Ness, the other half of Nine Lives Bazaar. I’m a mumma of two to my 3 year-old son Oscar, and nearly 11 month old daughter, Lily. They keep me very busy! We live high up the hill in Tweed Heads South, amongst the gumtrees with full view of the river and glimpses of the ocean in the distance. It’s a pretty light, bright and special place where we wake up to the sound of birds everyday. It’s pretty magic! It would be no surprise to anyone that Rose & I spend much of our time together outside of work as we do at work (haha!) so getting away for a weekend exploring a new camping spot or a beach day with our family of friends definitely fills my cup.
What inspired you to create Nine Lives Bazaar and how did you take the leap into this business journey together?
We’ve always been inspired by the colourful lives of generations before us. What started as a labour of love and avenue to share our amassing vintage collections at the markets back in 2012, quickly became an urge to bring something of our own to life. We wanted to reinvigorate some of that nostalgic love and boldness, namely in the form of freedom, expression, good times and fabulous clothes that make you feel good and empower you to be who you are. We still can’t believe we get to do this for our job everyday - it's so much fun!
What are some of the challenges you have faced juggling motherhood and owning a business?
Rose: It’s beautiful chaos. Some days it feels like there is absolutely no “balance”. Business ownership and being a mum at times can make me feel stretched in all directions - who needs me most. But, I also just love my job and getting lost in the creativity of it all. It's surprising to me that sometimes I don't entirely love being a mum - sometimes I prefer to go to work. But I guess that's because being a "mum" doesn't completely define me, even though it does now make up a lot of who I am. Trying to do it all some days can be totally exhausting and it's okay to surrender to trying to "do it all".
I know I'm not alone when I say, we love your style. Tell us your secrets!
Rose: Secrets are with age! Our style has evolved to be more practical – because that’s what we need in our wardrobes in our current stage of life. That means; sleeves that are a bit more dishwashing friendly (although I'm never opposed to a statement sleeve haha!), pregnancy and breastfeeding friendly styles, dressing for comfort always but also being able to wear our style on our sleeves with bold colour palettes and statement prints that make us feel alive! I just love getting changed into an outfit and having my girls say “wow mummy, you look amazing, can I dress like you!?”
Ness: I love to have a bit of fun with styling, especially on the weekends! I seem to gravitate towards our mini styles and more embellished, sparkly numbers lately for a night out with the girls. I ditch the mum bag for my fun Poppy Lissiman bag, gold jewels, special vintage treasures and a statement shoe. I can’t wait for some of our upcoming collections to launch – I feel like there are so many fun pieces I can dress up or dress down to suit the vibe of the occasion. The best part about our job is not only creating for others to feel good, but also to fill the spaces in our wardrobes of what we need!
What are your top tips to creating a healthy work & life balance?
Rose: I love getting lost in a good audiobook and doing this whilst cleaning or driving to work is my ultimate mum hack haha! I also adore book club evenings with my girlfriends - it’s a chance to unwind, and connect with my mumma community without our kids climbing all over us! A glass of wine at the end of the day helps me really unwind and settle into the afternoon chaos that is bound to unfold.
Ness: I think for us, work is just so fun and such an intrinsic part of who we are. We just love doing what we do, sometimes it doesn’t actually feel like work and we're so fortunate that we've created that for ourselves! That's not to say that it doesn’t get hectic at times - so taking time to do things that I love outside of that is really important. With both my kids in daycare this year, I can focus on work when I'm here, and when I'm at home I can give my full attention to my babies. I always make sure I connect back to nature on the weekends to feel relaxed and of course have plans with my favourite people. They are my sounding board and the best psychologists money can’t buy! I love locking in camping trips with our families and girls getaways - these moments are what counts amongst the craziness that can come with working mum life and business ownership.
What are you most excited for at Nine Lives Bazaar this year?
Rose: We have SO much goodness coming! We’re really mixing up our offerings this year – think all kinds of prints in all kinds of shapes! I’m also excited to work with some new textures, we're introducing some new fabrications that we haven't used before and exploring new categories. All the clothes I’m adding to my wardrobe this year feels like a wonderland!
Ness: The events! Any excuse to let my hair down haha. We’re bringing The Hoedown back for the Splendour In The Grass weekend and it’s going to be bigger and better! We’ve also got a couple of exciting collaborations in the works that we’ve been dreaming up for years - so I can’t wait to share more on that. Stay tuned!
The 2023 theme for International Women's Day is 'Embrace Equity'. How will you embrace equity in 2023?
Ness: Our vision is to empower women to embrace who they are and celebrate what makes them unique. We want to inspire them to let their personalities shine through bold & beautiful clothes. Our carefully considered collections mean we're aiming to create special pieces that are inclusive for everyone. Every shape, size, form and all stages of life. We want our collections to encourage women to make a statement with their style – choosing clothes that make their personality shine through. To feel comfortable and confident in their style and make them feel empowered enough to share that with other women.
What's next for you both?
Rose: It’s a year of huge change for my little family and I – we recently just sold our house, and we’re looking to make the move to a smaller seaside community. We’ve also got a big family trip planned to Italy and I'm so looking forward to immersing myself in all things Italian - bring on all the wine and all the pasta please!
Ness: It's already been such a busy year, so I'm really looking forward to the Easter long weekend with my little family. We’re going 4WD driving so we're excited to explore some secluded beaches away from the masses!