Home Life Series

Inside inner-city oasis of frank body co-founder, Bree Johnson

This week on the Home Life Series we welcome you through the warm, family oasis of Bree Johnson, the visionary co-founder behind the cult skincare brand frank body. 

Having made her mark on the beauty world in 2013 with the oh-so-addictive coffee scrubs, Bree has gone from strength to strength, not only co-founding and scaling frank body to a multi million dollar business, but also launching the content branding agency Willow & Blake. 

Discreetly nestled behind the bustling streets of Richmond, Bree’s home embodies the timeless charm of a Victorian-style residence, proudly preserving its original 1888 facade. Yet wander beyond the threshold, and you’ll uncover an airy, open plan living and dining area made for Bree and husband Steve’s love of entertaining. 

Read more to find out more about Bree’s journey to establishing one of the world’s most successful beauty brands and get to know her night-time routine with two under the age of 5. And of course, with a home built for entertaining, it would be rude not to get her entertaining must-haves as we prepare for a week of family, friends and feasting!

Hi Bree, thank you for welcoming us into your family home, we're thrilled to be here! Tell us a little bit about property and how you stumbled across this incredible gem? 

I used to park outside the house before we owned it and fell in love with the vine covered facade. When I saw it come up for sale I jumped at the chance to own it. We were overseas during the open for inspection period so the first day we walked through was the day we bought it.

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As the co-founder of Frank Body and branding agency Willow & Blake, you're really killing the boss-mum game! Can you share with us your career journey thus far, and how you helped transform the once small business into the global beauty empire it is today? 

Of course. We started our branding agency Willow & Blake 13 years ago and skincare brand frank body 10 years ago. Both have grown a lot over the years; as have I- from an ambitious, albeit naive 23 year old with very little experience to a 36 year old mum and business owner who is finally feeling like she knows her stuff. 

I think what’s helped both businesses grow is a focus on the customer and doing things differently. My life motto is risk it for the biscuit and this means we don’t follow trends or copy what’s being done but listen to our customers and challenge why things are done in ways that don’t make sense.

You’ve smashed some pretty serious business goals over the years! What have been some of the biggest challenges and biggest highlights in running your own businesses? 

Biggest challenge; the mental tole of running a business. Like motherhood it’s relentless. You don’t get to a certain stage and switch off. It’s your responsibility to constantly think about the future of the business and ensure you stay relevant. 

Biggest highlights: Having the freedom to create the life I want to lead and seeing the direct result of your hard work. The other highlight is people I’ve met along the way. From my co-founders and team members to other female entrepreneurs I’ve always admired and young entrepreneurs just starting their own businesses. I love having these conversations.

You’re a mum to two under 5! Talk us through your night time routine for yourself and the little ones. 

One of the biggest adjustments for me after becoming a mum was the change to my evenings. Before kids I would work late very often. But now I don’t have that choice. Which is a good thing. 

Current routine; the boys tear through the house playing monsters while I make them dinner and hope they don’t break anything or themselves. My oldest eats all his vegetables and carbs but doesn’t touch the meat. My youngest is basically a carnivore and it takes ten minutes of fierce negotiation to get him to eat one thing green. My husband and I tag team on jobs. So we take it in turns for bath and wrangling the boys into pjs. Then books and bed. 

We have dinner after and sometimes jump online for an hour or so to catch up on work but we try to relax and watch a show or read to make sure we unwind. Otherwise I don’t sleep well. We have date night once a week.

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We’re obsessed with the amount of timber featured in your home - from the incredible open plan kitchen/living area all the way to your master bedroom. What do you love most about this feature and why was it essential in the design of your home? 

We wanted to use natural materials concrete, steel and timber. We love the hard wood floors, the warmth they give and the feel underfoot.

As we head into the season for entertaining, we bet that vine-filled courtyard is going to get some serious dinner party action! What are your entertaining must-haves when having friends and family over for a summer get-together? 

We love hosting at our house. The BBQ and parilla get a work out. Must haves- linen table cloth and napkins. Great for hiding the trestle tables we use when numbers get over 6. Good wine, good food, relaxed attitude. We always eat family style so big platters and bowls for everything. And we always use the nice cutlery and glassware. Our house is always a mess after an event but it’s my favourite thing. I believe your house is made to be used so you can’t be too precious with it.