This week on the Kip&Co Home Life Series we visit beauty guru and boss mum, Phoebe Simmonds.
Founder of The BLOW, and co-founder of parenting destination The Memo, Phoebe’s passion for business lies in creating brands that mean something to women. After working for many years as a marketing executive in luxury beauty, Phoebe identified an opportunity to empower women and start their day with confidence, through a morning blow wave.
Phoebe’s now making waves in the parenting world, not just in business but also as a mum of two! We take a tour through her beautiful family home and get the low down on all things nursery styling, toy organisation and of course her top picks for Mother’s Day.
1. Hi Phoebe, thank you for welcoming us into your family home we're thrilled to be here. As the co-founder of The Memo, a top parenting and baby destination, and the founder of The BLOW, a popular blow dry bar, you're the ultimate mum boss! Can you share with us how you went from beauty enthusiast to a successful entrepreneur in the parenting world?
It's true my background is in beauty, but really, my passion and experience is driven from brands that mean something to women. Before starting my own businesses, I spent time working as a marketing exec in luxury beauty for LVMH in cities like London, Singapore and Sydney. It was there that I learned that if brands don't stand for something they won't stand out at all, and the importance of creating a strong tone of voice and brand personality, and connecting with the customer on a deep, emotional level.
I started The BLOW in September 2018 with a mission to lift women up and help them conquer their day with confidence, starting with a Blow Dry, but it is always so much more than the hair. Then Kate came to me with the idea for The Memo in 2019, we saw a huge opportunity to disrupt and simplify what had traditionally been an uninspiring, overwhelming industry and bring the quality curation, sophistication and customer first mentality we knew women expect in beauty, fashion and lifestyle.
Photography by Damien Kook
2. You've had an incredible career in the beauty industry, but now you're making waves in the parenting world with your co-founder Kate Casey. What inspired you to create an all-in-one online destination for parents, and how did you come up with the name?
Kate had the idea for The Memo when she was on maternity leave with her first child. When she became pregnant, she was so excited! Her experience at big box baby retail left her with a lot of questions, but not a lot of answers. Like many other parents, she turned to a friend who’d done it before, who she knew would have recommendations. More than that, she had a list. Everything you need, and nothing you don’t. She’d outlined line by line the products that worked, that you’d need, use and want daily. The ones that were worth the hype, the ones that weren’t, and the ones that you should borrow from a friend. It was incredibly helpful and made her feel so much more confident and prepared in the leadup to her child’s birth.
The only problem? They weren’t all in one place. So it sparked an idea, what if a place existed that sold only the best and brightest brands for pregnancy, postpartum and parenting. A curated edit of only the essentials but with options to cater to price, lifestyle and taste. A feel good experience that would remove the clutter, judgement, the soap boxing, the assumed knowledge that she felt was way too prevalent in the baby industry. Kate’s background was in beauty buying for luxury retailers in Australia, and with this context, she knew that expecting and new parents deserved better from their retail experience.
She pitched me the idea and it was an easy yes! It was interesting because I was single and didn’t have kids of my own at this stage, and so I’d never had much involvement with the baby industry and when I started looking into it I was shocked! It felt like a really outdated space, heaving with heavy discounting, juvenile language, too much choice, and not a lot of catering to the actual customer, considering who they are, what they need. I thought there was a huge opportunity to create a brand that would be a destination for parents, a place for inspiration, connection and education, that would help them feel good about this time in their lives, rather than overwhelmed and confused.
The name was inspired by Kate’s list. It was a list, a memo, a bible, that new mums around Australia were referring to to feel confident, prepared and in-the-know. So many mum friends would circulate the list. And now, they can get The Memo!
Photography by Damien Kook
3. Your home, including the nursery, is impeccably designed. It's evident that you've put a lot of thought and care into creating a playful yet functional space. Could you share some of your storage and organisation secrets that help keep everything tidy and clutter-free?
I am very fortunate that my fiance is the co-founder of The Melbourne Builder, and he heads up their joinery arm, The Melbourne Joiner. So he was the brains (and the brawn) behind our new home and all more significant storage solutions! It’s helpful to have big draws to keep everything contained, but I’m not a minimalist, I’m a realist, and so much of the kids stuff is out, all the time.
One great piece of advice from a friend who has impeccable taste is to get toys out of a kid’s room, as you want them to play in living spaces to stay close to you. I love the Liewood Storage Boxes for Tyler’s stuff, which he can pull out and then fit back neatly inside his Mustard Made Locker, and I keep Remy’s toys in the Mustard Made baskets. I also really love Remy’s Ferm Living Apple Washing Basket, which as well as being practical, adds a nice decorative element to his room.
4. The colour palette in your home exudes a sense of serenity and ties everything together so beautifully. We know how challenging it can be to choose the right colours for your space. Can you tell us about your process, and do you have any tips for someone who's struggling to make a decision?
I love texture and colour. When choosing a marble, my feeling was go big or go home! The pinks and unique pattern made it a feature, and one that I think centres the room in homeliness. It links back to the warm pinks in the guest bathroom and art I’ve chosen throughout the house. We deliberately chose green for the master and the kitchen because it’s a soothing, anchoring colour. My advice, trust your gut and don’t worry too much about things matching, if you have a strong reaction of love for something, listen to that gut and go for it. Everything will fit in around it.
5. Mother's Day is just around the corner, and we're sure you've got some fantastic gift ideas up your sleeve! As a mother and entrepreneur, what are the top three gifts that people can find at The Memo to make their loved ones feel extra special this Mother's Day?
Firstly, comfort. I live in my Kip&Co robe, which works for all seasons!
Secondly, energy. The impact The Tenth Flow State Vitamins have had on my ability to operate and function with any form of coherence and energy as a working mum is profound. With up to 50% of mums suffering from postpartum depletion, gifting them a supplement like this can make a big difference to a strong recovery from birth.
Finally, a beautiful book that brings connection and understanding. I was gifted A Mother Is A House from a friend and it is just so soulful and grounding, and an incredibly thoughtful way to tell a new mum that you hear them.