UNIK SPACE co-founder, Camilla La Fleur was recently featured in The Grace Tales Mother’s Day special: The Tale of Camilla La Fleur. The Grace Tales did a superb job of captivating the beautiful, kind, talented, stylish woman and mother that Camilla is.
Camilla La Fleur grew up skiing her way to school in Norway, which is a far cry from the oceanside lifestyle she's currently embracing on Sydney's Northern Beaches...
The mother-of-two and founder of the fabulous new clothing range, UNIK SPACE, radiates light and ease in a way that feels both distinctly European and uniquely Australian. But to judge Camilla on her happy-go-lucky persona would be to underestimate this impressive businesswoman, who starts her days at 5am and often works well into the night so she can carve her working hours out around the lives of her children. Camilla’s approach to parenthood is also appropriately well-balanced. She is the first to admit that the constant worry that comes along with motherhood is a struggle, saying, “Having something so precious in life and knowing you will forever worry about them is a challenge.” But she is also equal parts optimistic and encouraging. “I hope that whatever they end up doing, that it will make them happy. I don’t think there is anything more important than that, and I will do anything I possibly can to guide them in the right direction.” We spoke to the beautiful Camilla about motherhood, Mother’s Day, and couldn’t resist asking for her styling tips across fashion and jewellery. Here’s what she had to say.
Can you tell us how UNIK SPACE came to be? You started the fashion label with two friends who share similar ideals and style to you?
It all started with a conversation. As we’ve worked together for five years, we knew each other’s strengths and work ethics. It was a natural progression to start a project together. We each have our own unique style, and when we worked together, we would often choose the same pieces, but style them differently. We wanted to create a label that most women would be able to wear and style as they liked, with pieces that were timeless, non-fussy and unique. We wanted to provide to a specific niche, offering mindful luxury and an easy alternative to dress for the multi-tasking modern woman.
What's it like producing a fashion label as a joint effort? Do you all have clearly defined roles or work on everything collaboratively?
It works really well because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. When we started the label it was a joint effort on most levels – now our roles are becoming more defined, but we always design together.
What does a typical working week look like for you?
A typical working week involves a 5am or 6am start. This is so I can get an hour of catching up on emails. The girls and I at UNIK SPACE usually start our meetings at 9:30am, as we all have children and work around caring for them. We start our meetings with a quick catch up and then we go through our agendas for the day – this all depends on where we’re at with production, marketing, customer care, musings and newsletters, social media, quality control, creating spec sheets and all our designs. On Thursdays and Fridays, we also do our try-on sessions for customers, so they can come and try their favourite pieces from our collection. On long workdays, we usually finish up by 5:30pm. Often I find myself catching up on work late at night, just to tick one more thing off the list.
Would you say your Scandinavian heritage influences your design or aesthetic in any way?
Absolutely. Being Norwegian myself and with one of my business partners being Swedish, our line is definitely influenced by our Scandinavian heritage. Our label is the under the title of, “A minimalistic aesthetic with a romantic twist,” and I think it’s a perfect combination of luxury fashion for all the modern women out there.
The UNIK SPACE pieces are fairly minimal and relaxed - how do you style jewellery into this aesthetic?
Jewellery is such an important accessory and because our pieces are quite minimalistic, we do love to add jewellery. We like to use fine and delicate jewellery pieces for this, that way it can be layered and never look too over the top.
What's your approach to accessorising day-to-day?
I always wear jewellery, and I never take it off unless I change it. Jewellery is a very personal statement and I like to wear mine layered. It can truly make an outfit stand out!
What do you love about raising kids in Sydney?
First of all, I always tell them how lucky they are to grow up here. They’ve got so many opportunities: the beach at our doorstep and the city just a little ferry ride away. I also think they have a lot of freedom, as Sydney is a city with so much diversity. The nature is absolutely breathtaking – we are so grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
How do you tackle the more difficult parts of parenting?
There certainly isn’t any step-by-step parenting book, but I always try to remind myself that whatever they are going through is just a stage. I try to provide a rationale that makes sense to my children, while being open to polite negotiation and working genuinely to see things from my children’s perspective. Whenever possible, I say “yes” or offer a compromise.
Do you rely on any mum-hacks to make getting out the door a little easier each day?
Yes and it’s very simple: prepare what you can the night before and set up a good morning routine. It really does save you a lot of time in the morning. Whenever I haven’t prepped anything, every task takes twice as long to complete.
How would you describe parenting at this point in your lives - harder than the early days, easier or just different?
I would definitely say that even though it isn’t always easier to parent older children, at least you don’t have them waking up every night. I think losing sleep when they were younger was the hardest part – and I do often feel the more independent they are, the easier the parenting is.
What is your ideal way to spend Mother's Day?
We don’t very often make time for it but I love slow mornings. So a perfect Mother’s Day would include a long breakfast at home, wearing our PJs until midday and then heading to the beach. Simple but so lovely.