I met Jeanie Hunter in 2019 through her beautiful designs. After seeing her work I knew I wanted to work with her, and so we met and she came up with a unique Experience for Indigo Bay.
From there I have watched Lipstick Lane grow and become the beautiful supportive community it is today all through Jeanie's hard work and amazing personality bringing people together.
You run 2 businesses – Lipstick Lane Atelier and Jean’e Mae Designer Fashion. How did these businesses come about?
Both my business are intertwined - I created Lipstick Lane as a sacred space to create & connect with other women in business. As a new fashion designer starting out I knew I had a lonely time ahead while I started sewing & building a fashion label; it would be at least a few years before I would be ready to employ staff + I had also moved to Noosa and had absolutely no contacts or networks in business.
I also needed sacred creative space that wasn't the kitchen table or a squishy uninspiring spare bedroom to work - I believed I needed professional sacred space away from the Home if I was going to give my new venture a chance to really take off & grow.
But nothing like what I needed existed. Sure I could have leased a professional space by myself, but then like all other new start up businesses - I was on my own with little to no working community networks. Hence I created Lipstick Lane which I now share with over 20 other women in business who use the space for co-working, creating or coaching - it is an amazing society of business women and a collective working community.
What did you do prior to starting your businesses?
Well for the 12 years prior to settling in Noosa I feel like I packed & unpacked boxes!!! By the time we arrived here I had moved about 14 times or something crazy like that - up & down the east coast of Queensland, following commercial construction work for my husband. I was also a full-time mum to my then young lads who are now 14 & 16 years old.
What is a typical day for you?
Lipstick Lane quickly turned into a 7 day a week business - opening M - F 9 - 5 for co-working and for craft workshops on the weekend. It is really quite hectic, but I am in love with my business and actually going to Lipstick Lane everyday; it is so beautiful and creative and such a nurturing environment.
So most days I am up with the 3 kids and have brekky with them, guiding the lads for their school lunches - they make their own - & wrangling our littlest munchkin who came along right as I started Lipstick Lane. The lads head off to school & AJ and I head into Lipstick Lane - some days are productive, some days are not - but I just keep going - step by step, creating my vision.
Which part of your brand do you enjoy working on the most?
So for Jean'e Mae, I love the design process - sourcing & curating fabric to create a cohesive design story & then I also love the construction. I could get lost in sewing beautiful seams & trims & finishes - it takes me to another place where time doesn't exist, it is magic. The drafting & cutting out is pretty boring for me & I will outsource that first.
Now Lipstick Lane - that has so many components. I enjoy the 'show & tell' component of the business the most, introducing new women to the space & connecting with them.
You have 3 children – how do you balance motherhood with running a business?
I have a fairly unique age combo with my 3 kids and I also look at my journey through motherhood as 2 chapters.
Chapter 1 I was a full-time mum with 2 under 2. So very close in age, lots of moving, lots of time on my own with the lads as their dad worked away and all the moving meant I had little support. I just focused on having fun with my lads most days. I had them pretty young too - my first at 25 - so that first 10 years I was just a big kid myself and had a really great time playing, learning & growing with them. I did study around health & fitness & finance to keep my mind stimulated and that helped me get in great shape & also build some fantastic healthy lifestyle habits for my family and implement some great structure around our finances too.
Now chapter 2 ----- out little lady came along when I was 40, her brothers were 12 & 14 and I had just launched Lipstick Lane.
Chapter 2, I have 2 amazing helpers everyday with her big brothers and I work full-time. I don't like the work balance as to me it represents a scale that is either UP or DOWN, HIGH or LOW. I have blended my worlds of being a mum & also being a business woman. AJ was with me everyday for the first 18 months until it became impossible to get anything done, but during that time I just went slow. I got done what I could, I let her play independently and I was kind to myself when I didn't hit goals or targets as most times they were unrealistic. But more importantly I was blending being a full-time mum with a full-time business. I could have turned my head & my health upside down to ACHIEVE, but I chose to take it steady.
Can you tell us what you have in mind for Lipstick Lane and Jean’e Mae over the next 12 months?
Well as before I have always got goals & targets but I definitely don't beat myself up if I don't reach them. I am totally doing my BEST everyday & as long as I keep going I will reach those goals / targets - some just might take longer than expected.
I have a divine new collection of fabric that I am putting together for the next launch which will have a lot more back end structure - website, costing, sizing ready before launch this time. Plus a really fancy schmancy inspirational woman everyday piece that I am getting ready for launch soon.
Lipstick Lane is opening up online with a virtual HUB to expand our community, to provide support, accountability and community to women in their homes everyday, connecting them to an amazing IRL society of women in business. It is super exciting!
Your Everyday life
What do you enjoy doing (outside of your brands!)?
I love getting out into nature, long walks or bike rides, a day out on the Noosa river in the boat, and I love my SUP.
What are you reading at the moment?
Oh dear, I haven't read for a long time! I have an amazing resource library at Lipstick Lane though. I sometimes choose a random book & a random few pages and have a read .......
What are you watching at the moment?
I really detest TV and so the last thing I ever want to do is catch up on watching anything. However when my little lady was born and I was BF so much I did get sucked into watching Arrow - gosh he was such a HOTTIE! LOL.
You live in Noosa and have a day with no responsibilities to do anything you like. What do you do?
I take the SUP out for a paddle, drink green smoothies and eat jam doughnuts from Ricks Artisan Bakery!!
Which do you prefer?
Dogs/cats - Dogs
Camping/staying in a hotel - Camping
Home cooking/eating out - Home cooking, just not me doing the cooking anymore. Since working full-time my culinary skills have taken a serious nosedive!!!
Watching a movie/reading a book - Reading a book
Summer/winter - Summer
Waking up early/staying up late - Waking up early
Tea/Coffee - Coffee, um did I say COFFEE?!?
Sweet/savoury - Savoury
Breakfast/no breakfast - Breakfast < lunch and dinner and snacks - I love eating!
Online shopping/in store shopping - Neither. I am such an 'as needed' shopper - I do enjoy it more now that I am connected to so many amazing women who make such beautiful products. When I really feel the need to buy something I love supporting the local creatives.
What is your happiest memory?
Oh this is a tricky one! I cannot pinpoint one - I have so so soo many happiest memories!
And finally, what is the best gift you have ever received?
Ohhh another tricky one! I ran through quite a few 'things' that I have received and I have been very fortunate - but my answer is corny! The best gift I have ever received is the gift of knowledge. I am not sure who inspired me or gave me this gift in the first place, but the gift of knowledge has enabled me to live a life I never thought existed as a child and to continue to expand my potential to experience life in a new and abundant way all the time.
Jeanie is also a part of the Indigo Bay family offering a Couture Millinery Experience.
All photos by Melanie McNiven Portraits