We’re thrilled to introduce you to this creative Eastside mama, Renee Whyte. Renee is the creator and designer of the beautiful, playful, and whimsical brand, Gold Frankincense + Myrrh. The inspiration for the children’s accessories company came to her when she handmade a crown for her daughter’s first birthday. Each piece of her handmade range is unique and 100% handmade in Melbourne. Renee is one of those lucky business owners who not only loves what she does, but gets to spend time with her daughter while she works.
Please tell us a little about your children, and what you love doing as a family?
I have a beautiful little daughter named Florence Queenie. She’s my other half, we do everything together, she is a bit of an old soul, and is happy doing what ever I am. We spend a lot of time in our backyard; it’s a bit of an oasis for our family, with the studio right in the middle. She helps me create quite a bit, and makes lots of necklaces. She loves the creativity of the space and is happy to sit in there for hours, painting and making.
What were you doing prior to launching your children’s label, Gold Frankincense + Myrrh, and what was the turning point for you to start the business?
I was a Visual Merchandiser for over 10 years; I’ve worked for some amazing companies like Seed, Parenthood and Bed Bath n’ Table. I’ve always been a creator studying fine Arts Sculpture with a keep interest in Gold and Silver smithing. I created my own women’s accessory label in 2010, named Wizzer and Whyte, in which I hand made every piece in Melbourne. Wizzer took a break when I had Florence, as I wanted to enjoy her a little more than I was.
The GFM child brand only organically sprouted after I made Florence a crown to wear for her first birthday. A few friends showed interest in what I was creating and convinced me to take my wares to the Kids in Style fair. Within two months I had over 50 stockists. I’m very lucky to be doing something I love, I never feel like I’m working. GFM has grown and is always changing. I get bored easily so I make it a point to have my business move with me personally, ever changing, I hope to keep it exciting.
How would you describe Gold Frankincense + Myrrh, and how do you differentiate your products from others on the market?
GFM is a whimsical children’s range that creates and designs the things you dream of. I gain a lot of inspiration from childhood memories. I don’t like following trends, I create what I love. I use colours that inspire me and any collaboration comes from artists I admire. Most of my crowns are like artworks – they change every time I create them, so I hope that my brand can be associated with originality. I’m also very proud that I still hand make every crown in my studio. The children’s market has changed so dramatically in the last few years, its now very lux and on trend. I like to bring back in a little of the old-fashioned memories.
How do you juggle running your own business with motherhood? What is your favourite part of what you do?
Up until this year I’ve been running a fine line, I haven’t taken much time for myself. If I’m not being a mother I’m working and that’s it! This year I am starting to create some pockets of me time. I have been lucky with the studio in the back yard that I could spend as much time with Florence as possible; I didn’t have to run to a time frame. I could be with her but also be creative. When you run your own business, fitness makes way for functionality. Let’s hope making a better me makes a better business.
What other advice would you give mums who are considering starting a business?
Just start! You have nothing to lose, you never know where it could take you…
If you ask friends and other small business owners for advice, it can usually open a bank of information. That is invaluable. I was lucky I have gained my information from incredible friends in all avenues of business. They have given me the confidence, knowledge, and structure to grow GFM Child to what it is today.
What inspires you and what has motherhood taught you?
Motherhood has taught me patience, laughter, spontaneity and love. Nothing’s ever that bad when your child tells you they adore you.
I’m inspired to be a better maker, friend, and role model because of it. I hope one day Florence might grow to design or take over Gold Frankincense + Myrrh – that’s my dream.