Growing up for me was all about climbing trees and playing with my stuntman play-set, and it was all good until I reached my early teens and I began to struggle with the fact that girls were encouraged to be hairdressers and boys were lead more towards manual jobs.
Becoming a mother made me even more determined to make sure both our sons and daughters knew that they were not bound by their gender to like or play with dolls, trucks or motorbikes.
In the past month our youngest child has been having so much fun wearing and choosing her fantastic t-shirts gifted to her from Girlmpower. You can take a peek at the fun Miss Moo (2) had sitting in a plane, dressing up as a pirate and at the park over on our Instagram account.
I had the privilege to interview the lovely owner & designer of GirlMPower Narelle to get to know more about the GirlMpower label and Narelle herself.
What inspired you to design the GirlMpower T-Shirts, and where did your idea come from?
As a Mum and Teacher, it’s always concerned me how girls around age 8-9 can become insecure, self-conscious and withdraw from so called ‘Non Girly’ (action, adventure) type activities. Society, media, family, friends, and teachers often place (intentional and unintentional) gender based restrictions on these amazing girls.
Girls as young as 4 are aware of gender roles and gender differences. They often begin to lean towards more nurturing, caring interests. I wanted to do more to help support girls than just within the classroom and that’s why GirlMpower was created.
Girls’ clothing sections are stocked with pink, frilly, sparkly clothes adorned with fairies, flowers, puppies, unicorns and all things sweet and pretty. I am all for such clothing for girls but there is a very large gap within the girls’ clothing industry with little or no choice for clothes that support more diverse interests.
If a little girl likes cars, pirates and dinosaurs she should be offered clothing that supports her interests. Girls shouldn’t have to shop in the boys section to find what they want. I hope to close this gap and be the missing link for girls, as I believe they deserve options in all aspects of their lives, including clothing choice.
I am passionate about the Empowerment of Girls and I hope that I am able to contribute to boosting their confidence, and enthusiasm for learning and exploring and help them to feel proud to be 100% themselves.
Has there been much demand internationally & how have other countries embraced your designs?
I had become quite aware that ‘Girl Empowerment’ was starting to have a long overdue global focus with projects like #iammalala, #withstronggirls and G(irls)20 being just an example of what empowered, brave women can achieve, in their support for the rights and equality of girls internationally.
The support and positive feedback I have received for GirlMpower in Australia and internationally have been fantastic. Online, through my site, social media and sites such as Zazzle and Etsy (which I have stores), I am able to make my T Shirts (and the message behind them), available to girls worldwide in support of this amazing and powerful Global Girl Empowerment.
How do you make it work and do you have any helpful tips for busy parents?
I do ask myself this question often! My life is more Organic than Organised – I do what I can, when I can and don’t beat myself up if my day doesn’t quite go as planned. I am quite goal oriented though and do write realistic daily ‘to do lists’.
I try to follow my 4 ‘P’s” whenever possible:
1. Plan – I plan family and household tasks such as meals and children’s activities as much
as is possible and also do the same within my business. If I create a ‘doable’ list, I
feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
2. Prioritise – If I can’t complete all jobs on my lists, I make sure the most important and
pressing are achieved.
3. Pace – I do try to pace myself, be kind to myself, remember to breathe deeply, take
moments to reflect, regroup and remind myself I’m doing a great job.
4. Pamper – Manicures and retail therapy are a treat when time and finances allow. Healthy
food choices, walking down the beach, sitting at your favourite café, sneaking in a
movie, bubble baths, power naps, reading and appreciating the simple things are great
ways to feed the soul.
Parenting advice I was given long ago and always remembered “If you have time to make one sandwich, make an extra one for later”. If I’m cooking, I cook double and freeze the extra. If I have time to email one person I will email 2. If I post one social media post, I will create a second to post later. This method improves my productivity and those emergency sandwiches have saved many a crazy morning or spontaneous outing!
Advice to people interested in starting their own business:
1. Go with your instincts and follow your passion.
2. Do your research. Is there a real need for your business or a niche market that is yet to
be filled? Plan your business accordingly.
3. Know your target audience and what problems they need solved in their lives. Your
business needs to provide the solution to their problem.
4. Branding. Be consistent with colours, fonts and use of logo of your brand. This creates a
professional look and allows your audience to easily recognise your business over others.
5. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed. Don’t doubt yourself and please ignore
6. Listen to your customer’s. They know what they need and want.
7. Connect with your customers through the social networking channel that they would most
likely use. Depending on your target audiences demographics (age, gender, location,
interests) will depend on their preferred social network site.
8. Don’t waste time on tasks that won’t add value to your life, business or customers.
9. Be flexible in the way your business develops. Be open and not set with rigid ideas.
10. Be you! Think outside of the box, take risks and stand out. Be bold, transparent and do
what feels right for you.
11. Just start. Start now, get your product known and fine tune as you go.
When you aren’t busy designing the GirlMpower T-Shirts, what do you like to do?
I always seem to have creative projects planned like home decorating, sewing, drawing and graphic design projects. I love the beach and being near the water. I have a passion for travel and have a long list of places still to visit. I hope to develop the business so I can work from part of the world and I keep this idea always at the back of my mind when planning ideas for the business.
I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and have taken flying lessons and scuba diving in the past. Raising my 3 boys keeps me extremely busy and I also teach casually. My days are very full and I happily spend my time juggling my many roles.
Future Visions for GirlMpower?
A baby range is in my future plans for GirlMpower, as well as more choice within the current sizes and ranges, including dresses, long tees and more variety in colour and design. Science, Maths, Careers and Sporting themes are also planned, in addition to themed and girl empowering birthday T Shirts.
I do plan to introduce T Shirts for older girls – tweens and teens and also women (especially Mum’s) with inspiring quotes and designs. I am very keen also to design home décor items, school and stationary items that are based on my current designs and future, designs.
My site also offers girl empowering books and toys (from my partner sites) such as the Book Depository. Each book I have listed has a central female character which I feel is very important in sending the message that Girls are brave, strong and amazing.
Currently I am researching Girl Empowerment projects that I would like to support both locally and overseas in the future. The future of GirlMpower excites me and I am really enjoying the journey so far!
Narelle has very generously given our Toddlers plus teens readers a 20% off discount on all orders and a donated a T-shirt to give away! Please apply this discount code when placing your order- TPT20.
To enter the giveaway to win your choice of a girls t-shirt from either line all you need to do is (in the comment section below) finish the sentence below, state your choice of t- shirt & size and your email address and name. The winner will be chosen on the 19th of December.
“Girls like planes, motorbikes, dinosaurs, trucks, pirates and ___________________.”