Stephanie & Lauren, Perth, WA
Meet STEPHANIE & LAUREN.
What is the date today?
Today is Friday, November 5th, 2021. It is sunny and warm and I am sitting on the deck of my apartment about 10 minutes from the centre of Perth.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves!
We are Stephanie - Mama, Lauren - Mummy & H, our little human who has been on the earth for almost 6 years. Lauren and I were together for almost 10 years and started our business Little Big Learning when H was about 3 years old. We couldn’t find a kitchen Learning Tower that fitted our fussy specs so decided we would design our own! It turned out pretty great (if we do say so ourselves!) and 3 years on we have locally made over 8000 of them for other families across Australia. We also designed and manufacture a range of Pikler Triangle Climbing Frames and toddler sized furniture as well as added a range of eco friendly, ethically made toys and resources that has turned our little business into a not so little, family adventure.
About 2 years ago Lauren and I decided to uncouple and live in two houses. Since then we have navigated a new family structure whilst continuing to run the business together. Most of the time it works out pretty well and we are pretty proud to have kept our family together in a non-traditional yet meaningful way. Family burger nights and sleepovers are our favourite way to spend time together and we prioritize a lot of time for the 3 of us to just hang out and do regular family things. Besides two addresses for H, not too much else has changed.
What do you love about where you call home?
We live in Perth, our two houses are about 7 minutes from each other and close to both the city and the beach. Perth is an amazing city. Lauren and I have travelled a lot of the world together, we even conceived H overseas and she travelled with us in utero and then earthside until Covid put a pause on those adventures. Yet, across the 100’s of cities we have visited we never quite found a place that has so much going for it as Perth. We have some of the best beaches in the world, forests and mountains not too far, friendly vibes and just generally a bit of a slower pace of life that suits us all perfectly.
What has been the most surprising part about being a parent?
Before becoming a parent I had no idea about the self-work that goes into raising a kind, emotionally intelligent, balanced little being. Having my own child really shined a spotlight on all the areas that I needed to grow and heal from. Like any relationship that you have, the one you have with your child will trigger all of your unresolved stuff and insecurities. I had no idea that so much consciousness about my own thoughts, behaviours and habits
would be required if I wanted to give her an environment and a childhood that facilitates her growing into the human she is supposed to be, not the one I thought she should be. It can be exhausting sometimes, going against the traditional parenting script that most of us were taught. Trying to nurture the new generation of humans, leaders and thinkers is quite the task. But, it is also a gift. We all grow together and through parenting her, we re-parent ourselves
How do you manage the juggle of family life and business?
It is a juggle, especially in the first few years of starting and establishing a business. We believe in the whole working smart, not hard philosophy. Having systems, processes and automations in place that free up human hour time is the easiest way to make sure you are spending your time working well. We automate and outsource the boring stuff so we can spend time doing the things we enjoy and are naturally good at in the business.This allows us both to work part-time and we have deliberately designed the business to allow for a heap of lifestyle and family flexibility. Being an online business means that most of the time both Lauren and I can wag work to both attend things like school assembly or stay home with a sick kid. As most small business owners know though, the flexibility also means that you are kind of ‘always working’ - your emails are on your phone, you are chatting to customers on social media and there is always a mental to-do list of all the things you should be doing instead of taking the morning off to have a surf after school drop off.