We chat to Yarraville mum Alison Long, the owner/founder of Melbourne’s fastest growing fashion label, Feather & Noise. Ali was once asked what colour she would be if she were a new addition in a crayon box. Her answer – ‘BLUSH without a doubt’! It’s soft and feminine without being lost in a crowd and blondes always look great in blush! Plus, a good half of Feather & Noise’s business is built on this colour palette!

Why did you start Feather & Noise?

Because a majority of my friends would always borrow my wardrobe! I dressed my girlfriends for every event they ever went to and was always that bestie that turned up with seven outfits for everyone to choose from! So apart from all of that it was really because I was a new mum and my maternity leave was coming to an end (the thought of so much travel as a previous sales rep and missing out on all the important milestones with my one year old at the time made me panic with fear). I lived and breathed fashion and had spent 13 years as a buyer, a merchandiser and a senior sales rep. 
I knew the industry well and had a genuine love for making women feel amazing in the clothes they wore.

What do you love about working mothers?

I’ve always found the term ‘working mamas’ an interesting one! Many of us Mamas would agree we are always ‘working’ right?! It’s just that keeping our babies fed, toddlers entertained, staying on top of the washing and maybe even getting some meal prep accomplished, doesn’t exactly pay us weekly, or fortnightly, or contribute to our super funds! However,
I have always strongly felt that being a mum and caring for our little people is classified as ‘work’!…. So throw that other type of ‘paid work’ in the mix and WOW that’s a whole other ball game! You know the type of work where you ‘work’ for 3 hours from 6am-9am wrangling small people to get them ready, multiple drop offs, an outfit change because someone’s little vegemite fingers touched your work shirt all before you arrive to your ‘real’ work! … So, to answer to your question “What do you love about working mama’s?”… Well I love the passion, the determination, the drive, the multiple cups of coffee we survive on to make it all work!

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my little girls Indi and Maya. I’m proud of my husband. I’m proud of my beautiful F+N team, which are like family to us. But most of all I’m proud of being a brave soul. I’ve taken risks, I’ve signed commercial leases, I’ve grown out of spaces and signed much larger commercial spaces.  2016 saw us expand our three levels of our F+N HQ’s into five levels, and as I type this and we race towards the end of 2018, we have since outgrown that space and are smack bang in full swing of yet another expanding business move! We’ve grown our team from just myself to a team of eight full time staff members, multiple casuals and contractors. I’ve designed endless exclusive lines and developed many incredible pieces for our collections. I’ve braved the camera to be the face of recent campaigns. We’ve managed to stay consistent with our regular new edits, collections, and special guest features with some of Australia’s leading influencers.

How hard is managing a career and being a mum on a scale of 1 to 10?

Um, let me think… TEN! Ha! I honestly believe the number begins at 10 when your children are at their youngest. When they are most dependent on you. When you are still feeding them around the clock and settling them for what feels like 3+ hours every.single.night! However ironically it was during these early baby days, up late feeding my daughters, when I felt most driven to start something that I could call my own.

Tell us 5 fun facts about yourself

1. I don’t exercise, but my god I wish I did. I’ve heard ‘great’ things about it! Ha! I just have never found my ‘thing’! I’m actually really hoping I find this ‘thing’ in 2019!

2. I’m always making up lyrics to songs because I never know the words to them. I once said ‘jacketttttt’ instead of ‘jackie’ in the Commodores song ‘The Night Shift’!

3. Feather & Noise is actually SIX YEARS OLD this year! I can’t believe it, well I can, but I kind of can’t, if you know what I mean!

4. I’ve spent over 3.5 years now designing and developing close to 80% of our exclusive pieces into our collections. It’s ALWAYS these styles which I’m so passionate about, they are the first to sell out and I’m just so proud my business is at this point that I have the time now to work on this next chapter.

5. I LOVE a good live cross on Insta! In 2017 I started rolling out LIVE crosses for our new collections! Literally always 45 minutes before having to run out of our HQ to do the school run and usually very much on a wing! I would make the announcement at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon’s before a new edit would be going live that evening and then the entire team would run around crazy getting everything ready for us to pull it off!

I’m happiest when… my kitchen is tidy at the end of the day, I’ve lit a candle and made a herbal cup of tea.

I’m addicted to… Instagram, Real Living magazines, Mecca Maxima, almond milk, fresh sheets and sleeping in our Walker tee’s! #SoComfy

Favourite wardrobe staple for work… My exclusively designed Zephier Jumpsuit!

Favourite wardrobe staple for weekend… Peta Jumpsuits (in all the colours!). Are you sensing a jumpsuit pattern here?

Heels or flats? Flats, and always leather! Unless we score a date night, then it’s our Silence heels from F+N!

You can shop Feather & Noise at featherandnoise.com and on Insta at @featherandnoise

Find more amazing mama interviews here!