Laura is the beautiful mama and owner of the stunning local business LINK and Luna. She's a mum to one precious boy, with a second bub on the way and is based in Newcastle. Her business, which has become widely popular, sells absolutely gorgeous hand woven baskets, ranging from Moses baskets, market baskets, planter baskets and mini baskets for kids. Her story is a special one and Laura has been so kind to share it with us in our Meet The Mama series.
Laura from LINK & Luna
Your business, LINK & Luna has become so popular- life must be busy! What's a typical week look like in your house? How do you find time to balance everything?
A typical week in my house fluctuates between full blown chaos and some resemblance of order. I guess like everyone, life for us is a juggling act. My hubby works shift work so some days, I'll have to leave the house and fill my days with meetings and appointments and work from cafes whilst he sleeps off night shift and other days he'll be at work so I use those times to do the noisy stuff like reshape my baskets, pack my orders, take all of my product photos, make all of my phone calls etc and then on the days that he's home we'll make time to head out for breaky or a walk and then spend a couple of hours at the beach before heading home to answer some emails or spend some time with the doggos in the garden. Chuck in a few random photoshoots, business seminars, social events, family time and some PT sessions and there you have my crazy lil life in a nutshell.
Every single day and week is completely different and I do try to plan it as much as I can but I also make sure not to plan too much, otherwise I just get so overwhelmed and feel too much pressure to be everything to everyone. The balance is hard, especially with the amount of time I have to spend on my phone. I really find that to be a challenge and something that can cause me anxiety if I let it. But I turned off all of my social media notifications so that I only check when I commit to spending time on the apps and that really helps to manage those little time suckers and my productivity has been better as a result. I'm banging on now but I think it's important to note that the pressure we feel to find this elusive 'balance' just gets added to the pile of stuff we feel like we're not achieving. I say, let life be chaotic when it needs to be (when i'm inundated with stock, orders, meetings, appointments, commitments, events etc) and on those days or weeks where your calendar isn't so full, give yourself permission to take it easy, to slow down. Go to the beach or read your book and don't feel guilty for taking the afternoon off or doing something for yourself. I think the more we surrender to the yin and yang, the ebb and flow of life, the more seamless it will be.
What was your inspiration behind LINK & Luna?
LINK & Luna was born not long after my first son was. His name is Link and he was born on the full moon in Nov 2016, which is obviously where the name came from. Link, like 5 other babies each day in Australia was born still. It was completely sudden and unexpected. Until he died, the pregnancy was text book. There were absolutely no signs of anything bad to come. But then one day, everything changed in an instant. I mean, words can't really describe the devastation in that moment. My husband James and I were just completely destroyed. My whole life flashed before my eyes and in that moment I just wanted the world to swallow me whole. I wanted James to run in the opposite direction (convinced that I was cursed and that someone else could give him a better life) and I just wished with all my heart that I didn't exist. It was just too much to bare. After Link's birth, I spent the next 3 months trying to figure out who the f$#k I was, without my baby. What was my purpose in life? Would I ever be "normal" again.. I somehow plucked up the courage to start my business and open my online store. I felt a little bit insane, like perhaps I'd really lost the plot. But I literally had nothing left to lose. Almost a year on and the business is growing each month and we're now pregnant with our rainbow baby, another boy! And as much emptiness as I have felt and as much grief as I carry, I still feel extremely lucky for everything that Link gave me. All the lessons and all the strength and all the love. I feel very grateful.
You're incredibly passionate about raising awareness for stillbirth and infant loss, in the hope of helping other parents not to feel so alone. Would you mind sharing some of the ways you do this?
Absolutely! When I'm not posting photos of babies or baskets, I use my social media to (probably over) share my journey, my struggles and my inner thoughts on pregnancy, losing Link, my marriage and just life in general. I love writing so I put everything into words and do a lot of over sharing on that platform as well. I feel like by doing this, I not only put it out there in the universe for the people who need it but it just starts a conversation. For every 6 babies who die of SIDS there are 35 stillbirths. That's too many and no one really knows about it. I don't share my story to get in peoples faces. It's for people to take or leave. I just want the conversation to become more comfortable for us angel mum's and dad's. I want it to be ok to talk about. I don't want to feel ashamed or embarrassed and I don't want others to either. I also held a fundraiser on Red Nose Day this year, where I raised money for the production of these boxes. In total we raised over $13,000 which went straight to the production of these boxes and they were then directly donated to my local Red Nose in Hamilton. The amount of boxes that we were able to make will service Red Nose Hamilton for the next 5 years, which is absolutely incredible. I hope to one day start a charity so that this can continue and so that other Red Nose offices and families Australia wide, can benefit too.
Laura and her husband, James, with their beautiful son, Link
Who is in your village to help support you as a working mum?
Apart from my incredibly loyal and supportive customers, who follow and support me so much on social media (some who I have become great friends with), first and foremost there's my hubby, James. He creates so much space for me and works so flexibly within our schedule to make sure that I get done what needs to get done. There is never any pressure to be the perfect housewife (or a housewife in general) and he never bats an eyelid if he gets home and my mental state is bordering on looney bin and the house looks like a bomb. He helps me pack my orders on Sunday nights and regardless of how tired he is from working long hours, he always helps me set up my market on market days. The way he supports me the most though is keeping me grounded when I need it. So, every day.
My mum is also and always a HUGE help. Without her van and herself, I couldn't do my markets. Without her teaching me how to sew (and sometimes just doing it for me) my Moses Baskets wouldn't have mattress covers. My in laws are also a huge support, they live just around the corner from us and I could not be any more grateful... I came home from hospital recently and the entire house and garden was spotless and there was a pot of chicken soup simmering away in the slow cooker. I heart my in laws so much! My big sis also lives around the corner and she, along with my Dad and my best girlfriends are all such massive parts of my life. I couldn't have gotten through the last 12 months without any of these people and I feel very VERY spoilt to have such beautiful people in my life.
Your business has such a beautiful range of baskets. Do you have any future projects or ideas lined up for LINK & Luna?
Thank you! It's so exciting adding to the product list! In the coming weeks I have some brand new Mini Moses Baskets being added to the online store. I expect these to be a big hit on the xmas wish list for little girls. I recently created and launched my own Pregnancy Milestone Cards which I just absolutely love. Without them, I wouldn't be taking as many bump pics or stopping to take in special moments throughout the pregnancy so I just love how special they have become. As I mentioned above, I really want to start my own charity because I believe there is a real need for those special boxes. Annnnd I also have a couple of other secret things in the works for LINK & Luna, but that may have to wait until the New Year. Other than that, I am looking forward to spending some more time developing my blog and in the not too distant future, birthing my healthy baby boy.
Laura is now expecting baby number two, her second son.
You're expecting baby number two- huge congrats! What are your go to maternity necessities and must haves?
Thank you! Yeah we're so excited (nervous, emotional, impatient, etc)! Necessity number one, potatoes. Followed closely by my husband...? Lol. No, I think last time (when I was pregnant with Link) I really avoided buying maternity specific things and this time I've definitely embraced it. I absolutely LIVE in my Bonds Denim Jeans (trackies) and I love my staple LBD from cotton on or asos with any one of my kimonos. I have a few items that I recently picked up from SHE Maternity which I love. I have to say also, that although it's not maternity specific and I'm a little late to the party, I just fell IN LOVE with essential oils.. I can't believe how much of an impact they've had on me since I started using them and I'm really looking forward to seeing how I go using them during labour.
You live near Newcastle. How do you like to spend your weekends as a family?
Cafe for breaky and then straight to the beach. On repeat. That's us in a nutshell. We love to get outdoors and we love to mix things up a bit. We might do a coffee and a walk in town or we might head up to Nelson Bay and head up Tomaree Mountain (if I'm feeling energetic enough haha).
What are your favourite local places:
Talulah, Little Nel Cafe, Surfhouse Cafe, Blue Door, Moor, The Edwards and anywhere on Darby St (this list could go on).
Bar Beach, Dixon, Merewether, Shoal Bay
Restaurant for a date night:
Once a year (ok maybe a few times) we stay up past 8pm and head into Newcastle. Subo is absolutely amazing but otherwise Bocados, The Burwood, Antojitos (I live for Mexican food), or Delucas would be my top picks.
We love heading to King Edward Park. We walk the stairs there and spend time in the flower garden.
Any other local businesses you love and would recommend to our mums?
Too many! My fav local business for Mums (and anyone who needs it) is EM. Em, run by Emma Thomson, is a physical and emotional coaching and support service for women and mums who need to reconnect with their feminine and rediscover the power of self love. Emma is an absolute wizard with her wisdom and her knowledge on womens health, both physical, sexual and mental is amazing. If you're feeing disconnected emotionally, if you're healing from a trauma, if you're healing from birth or you just feel like you're ready to peel back the layers and rediscover who you are, EM is definitely for you. I swear I was not paid to say that, I just love this woman and her message so much and I'm truly passionate about helping people that need this kind of service.
Another fellow local biz mum is Gemma from Yum Mum Tum. She offers maternity wear, and pregnancy support as well as a host of other things for mums.
If you're after the most divine cot sheets the world has ever seen, check out Dazed But Amazed, by Jes from Merewether. If you need the most adorable babe clothes, see Mel from Little Eskimo and if you need an incredible maternity photographer, see Curly Tree Photography. Her name is Caitlin and she has done all of my website images thus far.
Finally, if you're having a baby shower and need something extra special for the event, Click Tag Print is another local business who offers Instagram printers for hire. You just post to insta on your phone as normal and hashtag your event name and it gets printed out straight away, right then and there at your event. SO cool!
Some of the gorgeous products from LINK & Luna
Thank you so much to Laura for sharing so beautifully her story. To find out more about Laura's story and her business, please find her website here.