Emily Beetleshack for Thebeetleshack.com and BohemianTraders.com

River Bennett (Photographer River Bennett)

I came across Thebeetleshack.com as a young mother of two children. I hadn't owned a computer since having kids and after saving all our money we had finally splurged on a laptop and home WiFi. To be honest I didn't know Facebook existed, let alone the blogging world. All my world consisted of was working out how to get my child to sleep and co-exist (in the best way possible when on survival mode) with a toddler. Life had been a whirlwind of emotions and dark times. 
I had been told about The Beetle Shack by my sister-in-law who encouraged me to check it out. I logged onto my new laptop and the world of blogging stared me hard in the face. 

The Beetle Shack, or Emily Beetleshack, as I read on, was a woman who shared her life in photos and, at times, hilarious stories. Her writings were real. She said it how it was in a matter-of-fact fashion, and combined the stories with stunning images of her adventures and journeys she has had with her family. Her home, just North of Sydney, had been opened up to the world. It felt personal, like I could walk in and simply be. I found myself saying over and over again "me too" to her daily takes on life. I understood what she was saying, I knew how she felt. 

Little did she know the impact her blog had on me. Me, a complete stranger, who lived in a city apartment and who was almost falling apart. 

I followed her work and saw her branch out to start the clothing label Bohemian Traders. It was apparel every mother could live in. It had an obvious bohemian style. There were linens of soft colour, and long flowing skirts which evoked that dreamy feeling of summer with its late, balmy nights, lounging around a table with friends. More than anything, the clothing looked and felt comfortable - it flowed and perfectly hid the ever-present baby belly. 

It wasn't until years later that I finally met up with Emily. I was introduced to her beautiful family - husband, Dave, and children Zeph, Elke and Olive, and  welcomed into her home. I smiled from ear to ear. Little did she know how her home and life had impacted me. 

The house was just how I imagined it. It felt familiar. Elegant, with wild Retro pieces adorning the walls and positioned cosily in tie-dyed cushions on the couch. Fun coffee table books and large vases of flowers were scattered throughout the living room. There were unwashed dishes from the previous night's entertaining in the sink, and muslin-wrapped ham hanging from the kitchen window. I gazed out to a backyard full of chickens and vegetable gardens. It was so peaceful, I swear I could hear the bees humming. 

Zeph, their 5 year old son ran up to me and passionately told me about a Star Wars Lego ship he had made. He told me all about it. I laughed and thought how universal Lego was. 

Olive said a shy hello, and Elke who had been sleeping, wandered into the kitchen rubbing her eyes. Gosh she was cute! 

Emily and I talked about life as she washed up some dishes, while Dave pottered around with the kids. 

This family definitely had something about them. I loved how they did life together.

1. How did your blog The Beetle Shack start?

The Beetle Shack began one bleary-eyed, coffee-high morning. At the time I was a sleep-deprived, stay-at-home mother of two kids under 2 years of age, and looking for a creative outlet. 
As a Visual Arts Teacher I was used to being surrounded by creativity and fascinatingly angsty adolescence. It was a job I deeply adored and to say the transition from the classroom to the kitchen was tricky would be an understatement. I felt underwhelmed by the mundane tasks motherhood demanded and was looking for just about any excuse to not unpack the dishwasher. BINGO. The Beetle Shack.
This little blog quickly became my creative outlet, my community and a sweet little source of pocket money. It documents my trials and triumphs (sorry for the cliche) as a mother, and shares a small part of my journey to understand myself more fully. 

2. Where did the name The Beetle Shack come from?
One of my darling friends from Uni used to call me Emily Beetleshack or Emily Beersmack or just about anything else that rhymed with my surname. At school my husband got David Ballsack, Fursacks or Bumcrack. Clearly we have a high calibre of friends.

3. As The Beetle Shack site grew you branched off into a clothing line. Tell us about the Bohemian Traders and how that came about.

Bohemian Traders began one bleary-eyed, wine-fuelled evening. At the time I was a sleep-deprived mother of three kids under five and looking for a creative outlet… oh wait… do I sound repetitive?
Clearly there is a theme emerging. Sleep deprivation is a dangerous thing and when paired with coffee and wine, a woman can do almost anything (except empty the dishwasher).
Bohemian Traders started as an online boutique selling treasures I had imported from across the globe, and quickly evolved into a fashion label focused on providing on-trend, quality clothing for the post baby body. 
After having 3 children I found it tricky to find clothing to suit my new shape. I needed serious 'wash and wear' quality, a little more swing in my tops, a few buttons down the front for feeding and stripes … because… you know, stripes.
The brand has experienced rapid growth and we're just about to celebrate our first full year of business! Craziness.

4. Three children at home, a blog that has a huge following, an online clothing store how do you keep up?

You know, the usual - coffee and wine.

5. What do days off look like?

We'll take the kids to the park or the beach or just potter about the house. We've got a big yard and spend lots of time raising vegetables and meat for our table. It's my husband's passion and we're all tagging along for the ride. 
Right now it's Saturday morning and I'm sitting at the computer while my eldest (5.5) plays LEGO (a true obsession), the youngest (1.5) sleeps and Dave is down the back of the block with Olive (middle child 3.5) chopping some wood.

6. You obviously love self-sufficient farming and have a stunning garden to prove it. Where did this passion come from?

This is truly my husband Dave's passion. Not a day goes by without him tending to his garden and animals. His dream it to be as self-sufficient as possible. At the moment we have a kitchen garden in the front yard and animals down the back. There's chickens, rabbits and we've just recently dispatched a couple of pigs that we'd raised. It's amazing how much food can be produced on a 1/2 acre blog of rambling scrub!
 
7. So what's next? Any more babies? Any more business ventures? 

Maybe a holiday? Just one? Okay, so maybe even a few days up the coast- that would be enough!! Please??

8. Any advice you could share with TheWolfpackMrs mothers who dream of starting their own blog or even fashion label? 

Hmmm.... I'm not really an advice-giver and I'm certainly no expert on either topic. With regards to blogging - just make like Nike and 'Do It'. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else. Write about your passions, your life and yourself. Be honest, and be true and have beautiful imagery!
As for the fashion label, gosh, I don't know! I truly fell into that one!!
 

 

 

 

For more on Emily and her amazing blog head to:

thebeetleshack.com

also check out her womens clothing line at:

bohemiantraders.com