Oh hi! So this month you get to learn all about me! Yes, it is slightly awkward interviewing myself, but as part of our 1st birthday celebrations I thought it was a great time to share more about my family, our namesake and really what drives me to make Love Aunty Amy the true family it really is.
Love Gwen xx
Thank you so much for being part of our #thebabebehindthebusiness blog series! Can you tell us a little about you and your family?
My name is Gwen (but you know that!) and I am mum to two mischievous boys, Austin who is almost four and two-year-old Jarvis and I am married to my amazing husband Evan. Our family wouldn’t be complete without our puppy Stella and these days we live in Melbourne. My family is my world and I really would be lost without them.
Evan grew up in the U.S. and I grew up on a sheep farm is the south of Western Australia so we have both come a long way to be living in Melbourne! This does mean all our family is interstate or international so we spend a lot of time visiting family or having house guests.
Photo: Austin’s Birth 2014 – The Moment I Became A Mum
How did you come up with your business and it’s name?
Love Aunty Amy was launched in March 2017 to provide amazing gift ideas to inexperienced aunties and of course Mums, that need a little extra support and guidance when buying gifts for their loved ones. After having my second child and receiving lots of gifts, both good and bad along the way, I realised that so many people just don’t know what to buy! I bought some terrible gifts for my nephews before I had kids (like shoes to fit a newborn) and realised that with a little bit of insight it really is easy to find the perfect gift!
Our name comes from my sister Amy. Amy is the first Favourite Aunty and was an amazing aunty to our nephew Jett. Amy passed away in 2010 after a stroke when she was only 25. There have been 3 more nephews born since she died, including my two boys, and I have, and probably always will, struggle that my boys will never meet their Aunty Amy. When I decided to start a business about aunties, I just knew I had to include Amy somehow. I love that through Love Aunty Amy I still get to make memories with her, even without her.
What did you do before starting Love Aunty Amy?
I have done a lot in what is a relatively short career (well 14 years since I left school!) and actually feel each role has been really beneficial to my overall knowledge as a small business owner. I have done general admin, IT based roles supporting and training staff and then managing business integration for international acquisitions before moving into roles as an Executive Assistant. I was lucky enough to work with some great managers as an EA and had scheduling 20 – 30 meetings into a week or finding the quickest and cheapest way to fly from Mongolia to Munich down to a fine art.
Just before we got married I was made redundant and decided it was time to work for myself, with the long-term goal that it would be a much better fit once we had kids. I spent 2 years working as a Virtual Assistant, mainly as a Business Manager and contract EA and when I had some time off when Jarvis was born I realised that I was lonely and my heart wasn’t in it. I had great clients to work with, but I missed having a “team”.
Love Aunty Amy then came about and I found my “team”. Although I haven’t met 99% of the people I speak to daily on a work basis and we all work in our own businesses, we really do work together. The latest product launch you just saw on Instagram was probably so successful because so many accounts happily shared on their feed, all without any expectation or payment, except for the favour to be returned in future. Social media often gets a bad rap, but some social media, particularly Instagram, really does build a community when used in the right way.
What do you hope to achieve with Love Aunty Amy?
My goal is to make everyone happy! To take the stress out of finding a gift, particularly for aunties that may not have kids themselves so don’t know what to buy, and to make sure your favourite little people are receiving something they love!
A big part of what I do is also about supporting small business. We have so many amazing small businesses in Australia, and as a little fish in a big pond it can be so hard to get your products in front of the right customers. I love the part of my job that is working with small business on different strategies and collaborations so we become a group working together for everyone’s benefit. There really is space for everyone in the online world and I really love the concept behind #communityovercompetition. Together, we can move mountains!
Photo: L-R Claire, me and Amy in 1988
What (or who) are your biggest influences in life?
I feel like it is stating the obvious but Amy quite truly has had the biggest impact on my life. There is two very clear chapters in life, the one with her, and the one without her.
Life with her taught me to how important friendship and sisterhood is. Both Amy and Claire, my sister and Amy’s identical twin, were there for me whenever I needed it, and I even spent a month literally sleeping in Amy’s bed after splitting up with a boyfriend while I found a new place to live. I like to think I was there for her too (like the time she called me pre-smart phones when I was in London and she was lost driving in Perth and she knew I would be working close to a computer!) and although we fought like most siblings do, we knew we always had each other. Knowing what I had with Amy and have with Claire makes the hard times with 2 small children worth it. They will always have each other for life, and the tough time for a few years, while they are so small, won’t matter.
And life without Amy has shown me how strong I am, and that I can choose happiness. What could have broken me and so very nearly did, made me see that the glass really is half full. I lost my sister and my best friend in one go, and after the initial daze, anger and a sadness no words can describe, I realised I could spend the rest of my life hating things because she was gone, or accept she was gone, and live the best life I can. To me, the best way to honour her is to live my life in a way that makes ME proud, and I know she would be proud too.
If your children learn one thing from you, what do you want that to be?
It took a lot of soul searching to answer this one, but I want my boys to know that it really is important to live life with no regrets, and if you do have regrets, regret something you did rather than something you didn’t. After watching my sister die when she was only 25 you realise that life is short and you really have to make the most of it. I hope my boys appreciate that I do mean this in moderation, but I hope they see that I would love them to take the risk for that career or potential soul mate, and maybe it won’t work out like they planned, but they tried and hopefully a learnt a lot about themselves along the way.
Photo: My 3 Men – Jarvis At One Day Old
Marking major milestones shouldn’t just be for parents! Download our set of 10 Ultimate Aunty Milestone Cards and be ready for all the amazing moments coming your way. From finding out you are going to be an aunty, to meeting your favourite little person, to being pooed on (trust us, it WILL happen) we have a card to mark the occasion!