In conversation with Free Bennett
[ Where ] Home Studio – Bonny Hills
[ Chatted about ] Free as a bird the label
[ Learnt ] There are such foods as ‘quiet foods’
I was very excited to scroll through Instagram to see that Free Bennett has returned to share with the public her creative talents. Frees ‘Boho’ style has extended into a beautiful kids label ‘Free as a bird’ with gorgeous ethnic prints, simplistic style lines and hand crochet signature finishes.
Looking back I can say that Free was my first introduction into the designer world, long before social media gave us unlimited access to curated images and on-trend individuality. Free and her work were my first exposure to a true independent label, which influenced me to study further and pursue a career in the fashion industry. I still have my first purchase; a delicate crochet top and still have on my resume, Free and Bonnies design next to Lisa Ho as my work placement that lead to my post graduate job in fashion of 6 years before moving back to Port Macquarie.
Free formally studied fashion design when she left school and has always pursued the creative side of life since she could remember; doing hair wraps at 13, wholesaling tie dyed singlets at 15 and having her own shop front and label with her sister Bonnie took some time out to focus and start her own family but is now two months back into it.
Free welcomed me in to her beautiful family home where the ceilings are tall, the light is bright and beautiful energy flows through out all the rooms all the way into her studio that opens out to their veggie patch where we had our chat. Curious to know for myself… I asked Free about entering back into the world of creativity and how she balances being the mother she wants to be to her four yes (four) beautiful girls, adulting and still finding the time to fulfil her own artistic needs because really… I think that is the ultimate lifestyle.
How did you start back up?
In essence it was the adjustment of spinning a negative into a positive as her youngest turned 3 and more time became available to reconnected with her passion not only sparking a personal fulfilment but filling a demand for affordable girls wear. Having four girls of her own and a mix of 10 girls in her immediate family, Free identified a gap in the market and is using her expertise and extra time to create affordable, stylish yet functional pieces she would like to see her kids in, which is proving to be very popular.
For so long I haven’t done anything with my hands so now to do something from start to finish and complete a task is so satisfying, I didn’t realise until I started again how much making things makes me happy” You know there are things you need to do in life, doesn’t matter if it makes you money you just need to do it for yourself
How do you manage your time?
one step at a time
Having a large young family and a house hold to run as her priority, Free has adapted a mindful approach to make sure the business aligns with her lifestyle ensuring longevity and success. By implementing structure and having the self-control to execute it, allows to maximise daily productivity. Making weekday’s ‘work ready’ and keeping the weekends as downtime and family focused sets the limits for the healthy balance. By having these limits, Free is then able to identify her capacity and able to create a workflow she can control which is rewarding and keeps the momentum flowing. Free also has a great attitude as like most creatives, the expectations we put on ourselves is usually a lot harder then we put on anybody else so being mindful of that, is aware of being kind to herself.
I often have to remind myself, It’s ok, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you are only disappointing yourself not anybody else, if something is not achieved that you were wanting too, no one else know it’s only your own expectation on things, its ok, let go, it’s alright
Where can we find you?
Back to Bonny’s day where she will share a stall with her dad Ross Bennett of Rossi Bennetti and Nephew Indie of Skitz Marfia
I appreciate Frees values both in her family and creative life and grateful for the chat, I love learning and understanding how people who I admire create their days and like to pass on insights for true living.
[ Top 4 takeaways ]
Know the person you want to be
Set and keep to your boundaries
Don’t be afraid to learn
Be kind and realistic to yourself
[ Quick Questions ]
One thing people may not know about you?
I am pretty much an open book but I do love that 30 minutes of calmness with a good cup of tea and something sweet after the kids go down.
Favourite book / podcast / or inspiration you recommend?
I am currently reading Dear World by Bana Alabed