OUR CHAT WITH NAT

Natalie Bassingthwaighte. What hasn't this super sweet super talented lady done? She has graced our screens many times over the years, a total singing-music sensation, wrote a book and is the beauty and the brains behind the successful kids clothing brand, Chi Khi. She is a household name. A totally super star. We adore her. And she humbly refers to herself as 'just a mum'.

We were lucky enough to have a chat with the beauty behind the brand. Nat talks about motherhood and business. And how she juggles it all. Plus she is an One Fine Baby ambassador and will be appearing on our screens again in the upcoming series Brock.

YOU ARE SUCH AN INSPIRATION TO SO MANY. WHAT MADE YOU JUMP INTO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHILDRENS CLOTHING.
I felt like I was at a point in my life where I had been in the entertainment industry for a number of years and was always waiting for the phone to ring for the next job, and partly because I wanted to see what I was capable of. I wanted to see whether I could create something on my own without the help of an agent, network, producers or anything like that. I just wanted to see if I could do it.

And of course us crazy Mums always decide that when you have newborns or pregnant. Exactly like building a house and getting married doing all those things at once. We feel like we can multi task. So I just had the idea that I wanted to do something that was mine. That I could claim. That I could create. And I knew that it had to be something that I really enjoyed.

‘I WANTED TO SEE WHETHER I COULD CREATE SOMETHING ON MY OWN’

For me having two small children, it felt like the right move to be something in that area.  I love fashion. I love design. I love architecture. I love interior design. In a way it was organic. 

Both my children have sensitive skin so I would get them the bamboo sheets. It breathes, it is cool in summer, warm in winter and has anti bacterial properties. My daughter always used to say her clothes were too itchy or too uncomfortable. So crazy me thought… maybe I would do clothes.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US HOW YOU STARTED TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS.
I started thinking about a name. What I would like to call the brand. Then a logo then trademarked the logo and the branding. I bought books. I asked questions like ‘How do you start your own business?’ ‘What are the things you need to do?’.

At the time I thought it would be a good idea to launch into stores, but then I later realised that I wanted to start online. It was a process that started from there. I ended up getting bamboo fabric and I feel in love with it. The feeling. Like a cashmere texture. And all the benefits. And that is where I started.

WE LOVE THAT YOU ARE A BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR ONE FINE BABY! WE CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE YOU THERE LATER THIS YEAR. WHAT ELSE IS PLANNED FOR CHI KHI.
I love One Fine Baby. We have had such a great response. Last year was out first year and although online is great for a new brand, we found that people loved to feel the clothes. That hands on experience took the brand to a whole new level.

We have also started wholesaling this year. We are stocked in many stores around Australia and also globally. Holland, Canada, North Carolina, New Zealand, China. You name it! It’s very exciting.

WOW! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK. WE KNOW YOU HAVE TWO BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. HARPER, ALMOST 6 AND HENDRIX 3... HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO JUGGLE MUM LIFE AND WORK LIFE.
First of all I have an amazing Hubby. Who puts in as well. It’s not like I am the sole parent, and I’m trying to juggle a job. We both work. We both parent. We have also changed the structure in our household a little bit.

I found like I was really anxious, I’d roll over in the morning and look at my phone, look at emails and just get all worked up. It was causing anxiety and something had to change. We decided to not have phones in the morning until after school drop off. And no TV. Most mornings we put music on … and its still not the perfect scenario. There are still the times where the kids wont get dressed, or its all a bit crazy, but it has definitely helped put some guidelines to our morning and get us all motivated and in the right direction. My husband and I try to take the kids to school together and we start the working day at 9am. So we are not distracted about ten million other things that we need done. Because that’s how I was. The poor kids 'yeah yeah I’ll be with you in a minute’.

‘MY HUSBAND AND I TRY TO TAKE THE KIDS TO SCHOOL TOGETHER AND WE START THE WORKING DAY AT 9AM’

It has helped start the day a lot better. It has helped me. And made me feel more positive.
And we try and do the same thing at night. Around dinner time. It doesn’t always work, but we try. No phones. Just togetherness.

I think in the beginning a lot of mums start their businesses to be able to spend more time with their kids. I know I did. And now I have less time. It is your own business so you have to put in 24 hours a day at times.  You can’t just say ‘I’m not going to work today’. There are benefits as well. You can have your kids and home and do some, then not do some, then go back to it. As long as you set guidelines, I think.

IN BUSINESS, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT IS SO FAR.
To be honest, it is probably about trust. I feel like I am a very trusting person, so you meet people in business that is in business. It is full on. And you trust them and possible tell them too much.  Which I feel like I have.  And you feel like you are part of one big happy family and at the end of the day, they are about the business or about business and it can be very disappointing.

I feel like you need to decide who you are going to tell everything too, who you are sharing things with, who you are going to trust and it doesn’t have to be everyone.

FOR ALL THE MUMS OUT THERE WANTING TO START A BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD YOUR TOP TIP BE. 
Don’t try to do it all on your own. My husband and I have recently taken on a couple of business partners. It has changed the ball game completely.

‘DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL ON YOUR OWN’

We aren’t doing everything. I am fulfilling the things that are my strengths. The things I really love and they are coming on board using their strengths to grow the business. That’s helped a lot. I’m more of the creative. Knowing your strength and weaknesses. And not feeling like you have to do all of it and being so precious about it.

OUR FAVOURITES FROM THE LOVE2LAYER COLLECTION
Aviator Hat
Boxer Knit
Tails Tee
Millie Belle Skirt

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION.
My kids.

WHAT WORD MAKES YOU LAUGH.
Bum. All my kids talk about are bums. Bums this. Bums that. Its' like butt age! Butt jokes all day.

WHAT IS YOUR PET PEEVE.
Disloyal People.

TOP PERSON TO FOLLOW.
Lisa Messenger.

FOLLOW. @iamchikhi and @natbassingthwaighte
SHOP. chikhi.co
SEE. One Fine Baby
WATCH. Brock. Coming soon

The annual One Fine Baby event returns to Sydney at The Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh, 12 – 14 August 2016. Recognised as Australia’s premier retail destination for design-led baby, family and lifestyle products, the exhibition welcomes an outstanding, curated line-up of over 100 carefully-selected brands in baby and child-related industries under the one roof.

One Fine Baby’s Main Stage offers ticket holders exclusive access to an esteemed suite of influential speakers including: Carrie Bickmore, Michelle Bridges, Tizzie Hall and guest panel: Kate Ritchie, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jules Sebastian, Kyly Clarke and Business Chick’s Emma Isaacs. Each will tell their personal tales and triumphs in an intimate setting designed to inspire us in the areas of: style, health, beauty, interiors, sleep, juggling work and children and having one amazing crack at life. For details and to purchase your tickets visit onefinebaby.com.au