Introducing our last and truly incredible guest of our "Mother 2 Mother" series Jessica Bragdon, the co-founder of Koala Eco
I was inspired by and started using Koala Eco prior to starting MOTHER SPF. The brand has such a strong mission of creating powerful plant based products whilst reminding us about the importance of connecting with nature daily. They do it all so well!
In this generation, we’re surrounded by incredibly challenging circumstances. As someone who has just started their business, what top tips would you give as a female in business?
Don’t try to take it all on. Get a team of really good people around you: people who bring their personalities, expertise and ideas to their individual roles in the company, and also contribute to the company culture as a whole. Investment is not just about financial remuneration; it's also about making somewhere a good place to work, putting time and effort into considering how it feels to be involved.
I tend to find my energy from my surroundings, the ocean, my family, my mum, where do you find your energy for life from?
Some fundamentals for me are my family, regular exercise outdoors, especially with Matilda, our Aussie Shepherd, getting to the beach to run and look at the ocean, talking to my beloved twin sister (and managing director of Koala Eco in the States) Dee as often as possible, and just curling up in peace and quiet at the end of the day with a good book.
I also feel incredibly energised when planning for Koala Eco’s nature and mental health campaigns and meeting like-minded organisations we can partner with.
What are your tips for staying calm and collected when things go wrong?
If I get time to myself, it’s an early morning pilates class or beach workout. If that’s not possible, a few minutes to centre myself each day with a bit of deep breathing and meditation, and better still, if I can find the nearest park and sit under a beautiful tree. Really good coffee and a glass of wine is important too!
There are some rituals I like to make time for, whatever happens: like reading the New York Times every day. I like the New Yorker and The Economist too.
What values do you hope to instil in your children?
Well, I guess it’s relevant to mention here that I grew up on the east coast of the United States, and my husband Paul in rural Western Australia. We met in New York City. Since starting our family, we’ve lived in cities on both sides of Australia: on Whadjuk Noongar land in Boorloo/Perth and on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation (Sydney). Emerson and Arthur have been raised in a multicultural setting, and have established really good relationships with their cousins in Perth and in the States. The kids are growing up so fast as part of a family spanning two different continents, and I feel this can only be a beneficial thing in encouraging them to expand their horizons.
Koala Eco has been a part of their young lives for a significant amount of time as well, so I hope that’s helped Paul and I, as parents, instil in our sons our love and respect for the environment, so that they can experience it too, and pass it on to any families they may have. Our priority is to guide Emerson and Arthur through boyhood into being young men who are confident, curious, honourable and generous, and we know that the best chance of achieving that is to be fully present in their lives.
Family is of course everything - how have you found this balance between work and family?
Work-life balance is so incredibly important, and yet it’s also so challenging to establish and maintain. When your work is a passion project that aligns very closely to your personal values, it is impossible to separate the two completely. Fortunately, looking after Emerson and Arthur is a welcome antidote to obsessing over spreadsheets and marketing plans! We try to get out into nature as much as possible because that time together is irreplaceable. With regard to balance, if there’s one thing I could say, it’s that I believe we’re all doing the best we can. I don’t believe a perfect balance exists, and I think women, in particular can be very hard on themselves. When situations get challenging, I try to look at them as an opportunity for personal growth and try not to think about the world and my place in it in terms of success and failure. That’s a very binary way of thinking, and ultimately self-limiting.
Do you and your family have any Mother’s Day traditions?
We try and go out for a walk or to a park and spend some time in nature as a family; that’s really all that matters.
Finally, is there anything you and your family cook for Mother’s Day?
While I am an OK cook, the natural culinary talent in our household is Paul. Even better, our boys love cooking with him, so on Mother’s Day (and on many other days, for that matter) they are completely in charge of the kitchen! All I am in charge of is keeping out from under their feet and pouring the occasional glass of wine.
Whatever emerges as a Mother’s Day meal is usually delicious, and it tastes all the better because I didn’t have to make it.
You can read more about this purpose-led brand here. I adore everything from the range and if I HAD to pick a favourite it would be either the floor cleaner because who knew a floor cleaner could smell this incredible! or the kitchen bench cleaner because it's nice knowing no chemicals are making their way into my food!