Sophie, can you please introduce yourself shortly?
I am a mother of an almost two year old little girl (and pregnant with a second). I have a full time office job as a Marketing Advisor, am helping my husband renovate our family home and run my business (Alf) at night and on the weekends.
What is the story behind “ALF”?
When I was pregnant with my Daughter Ari I couldn’t find a baby bag which suited my taste or style… so, having had many clothes and bags tailored for me over the years I decided to design one and have it made. I had many compliments and questions from other mums and friends asking if they could order one… so Alf was born! It took around one year of research and preparation to get the business running – and I haven’t looked back.
How did your husband and family react on your idea of building up your own label and go into business for yourself while having a baby?
My whole family have been incredibly supportive. My husband is the Logistics Manager for the business and my Step-Father the Accountant. Fortunately I have the most supportive husband in the world. I really wouldn’t be able to manage to run things as smoothly as I do without his help. He does the packing and logistics of the business and has been known to be working late into the night to restock the warehouse and help me get large orders of bags out the door.
Finding a stylish and functional diaper bag, that does not look babby-bagish, can be really a long-term project, if you don’t know where to search for 😉. Do you have any tips what woman should take care of when buying a diaper bag?
A baby bag is an investment, so find something that suits your style! There are lots of traditional ‘ugly’ baby bags out there…. But there are also some gorgeous ones, so keep looking until you find something you would be proud to own.
What is your current ALF favourite?
I use each and every one of the bags – I rotate through them based on my daily style. But my favourite is the Black Spot Ari. I love the spotted cow hide and the tassels on the front of the bag. We have recently launched a backpack version of this style which has already been very popular.
Can we have a look into your personal one right now?
At the moment I am having the new Stella with me – so Stella bag packed to the brim – not as organised as it should be haha!
The design of the entire ALF collection meets the taste of cool and modern styled woman not only in Australia. But as far as I know we must be fast and better have to pre-order bags because they are so highly demanded. What is the normal order process and what waiting times do customers should calculate (especially from Germany) to hold one of your bags in hands?
Our bags are very popular, so if you see one you like don’t think about it too long unless you are happy to wait a few months for the next shipment. If the bags are in stock, they are sent internationally via DHL, so will arrive at their destination between 7-10 days. The cost for shipments to Europe is approx. 25 euro. We are trying to find a cheaper way to get them to European customers – so watch this space.
Are you working on something new and what can potential German customers await from ALF in the future?
We are just about to release a range of matching wallets and clutch bags to match the leather and cow hide on our baby bags – these will be instock in November… perfect timing to have them shipped before Christmas!
Being a Monstermom means to me, …
I am trying to be the best mum I can be while I am so busy – hopefully one day the Alf business will be large enough for me to not need to work full time and I will be able to spend more time with Ari and her siblings.
How does a typical day for a Monstermom/mom-preneur between Ari and ALF looks like?
When I am at work my daughter Ari stays with my parents or goes to a lovely daycare centre near to my work. When I am at home with her on the weekend we have breakfast as a family and take the dog for a walk. Ari has a sleep at lunchtime, so I usually get some Alf work done, then in the afternoon we catch up with friends, go to the park or do some work at our house (we are renovating) Ari loves to help her Daddy in the garden or doing some building work (she is going to be a handy girl).
Everyone knows these days when everything is annoying! The work, the own demands, little things or even the own husband and – yes, also the own children! What are you doing on such days? Do you have a good recipe to cool down?
Every day is a challenge in some way… being pregnant, working full time, having a business and being a mum to a toddler is a massive challenge. I try to go to a local floatation tank when I am feeling stressed… or have a sleep in if I am tired. It would be nice to have something else to help me relax, like Yoga or meditation. But I need to find the time!
The creativity of an artists (creative person) does not end in front of his own home, but rather starts behind it! Therefore, it’s always exciting & amusing for me, to guess their interior styles based on their products! I could imagine, you and your family are living in a flat with huge windows, white ceilings and floors. Simple interior style but not too puristic due to a light feminine decoration with colors like copper and rose-gold. No private pictures on the walls more posters and modern art.
So how does the home of family Doyle really looks like?
We are renovating our family home at the moment… but it is a mid-century, flat roofed style home with lots of teak wood panelling. We are renovating in the same 60s style, but with a modern twist. Our bathroom for instance will be small mosaic tiles up the walls, gold tapware and lilac sinks. It sounds ugly in words, but will look quite amazing when it’s finished.
OMG, that sounds so cool and OMG, I failed completely! I am very curious and hope we will see some pictures of your successfull renovation on your instagram account soon 😉
How does Ari´s room look like?
Ari will be getting her first big girl room when we move back into the house. The walls will be painted teacup peach/pink and there will be lots of teak and cane furniture. It will be our midcentury interpretation of a little girls room.
What are your favourite pieces in your kids zone at the moment?
A vintage cane egg chair which I used as a feeding chair – original from the 70s
A teak wardrobe which was left in our house by the original owner – original 60s piece
A 1980s vintage swan print I found at a garage sale for $3.