Question: What is Frankie T?
Bianca Harrison: Frankie T is the name of my daughter and seemed like a natural choice to name my brand after; she was the inspiration for it all and to this day!
Question: What originally inspired the creation of Frankie T?
Bianca Harrison: Inspiration is derived from necessity in the case, bleary eyed after cluster feeding all night with my newborn I was expecting visitors every hour on the hour and as I lay down looking at my sore nipples, vomit stained pajamas I just thought to myself "What can I wear that is going to make me feel good, look good and give baby access to feed without undressing in front of everyone?" I went to market to find something but felt like I was swimming in monochrome and fluffy bath towels, I started up dreaming of light washable fabrics with bright bold prints that would lift my mood.
The matching robe just came naturally because I was obsessed with matching anything with my baby and how cute is a baby robe?!
Question: Why are a matching baby and mother robes the perfect gift for a new mum?
Bianca Harrison: If you are like me and every single one of your friends are in the ages of baby making which let's face it is a vast age range, I had trouble buying another nappy cake, dummy or fluffy toy that I now know as a mum just ends up in a basket on the floor. Customers send me photos of their friends opening our robes and it brings surprise and joy because you know they won't receive anything like this on the day and it gets you right in the feels when you pull out that junior robe.
Question: Where are the Frankie T robes made?
Bianca Harrison: Our robes are made by a family tailor in Kerokoban, Indonesia.
Question: Why did you choose an Indonesian small tailor family business?
Bianca Harrison: It came at a time when I couldn't find any supplier that would take me on in Australia, no one took me seriously with no previous experience and I was ready to throw it all in. I travel to Bali every year with family and I've always had a strong connection to Bali in my heart since my first trip at 11 years old. I was talking to some of the staff at my villa and wanted to get some made for me and they introduced me to some family of theirs that had a tailor business. As soon as I met them we just hit it off and they understood what I was saying straight away, within three days I had a sample made and it just felt right to me.
I flew back for a trip to look into the right fabrics and work on some alterations and had a full shipment within two months.
Question: What has been your biggest business challenge, so far?
Bianca Harrison: Not giving up! Sometimes I've been tempted to just go be an employee who doesn't need to worry about BAS, tax, failing and all other stresses that come with throwing your time, money and heart into something you love but just constantly reminding myself why I started it all in the first place. I think I also made a lot of mistakes early on having no background in fashion or production that I would definitely change if I had my time again but these are the things that push growth.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Bianca Harrison: Well, I actually own a restaurant brand called Chur Burger with my husband and when I started Frankie T we had two restaurants we ran ourselves and eight sites across Australia with a newborn so a "typical day" from then is very different to now. I do all the mum things in the morning which usually starts 5-6 am then I head to our restaurants for a full day's work whilst answering enquiries for Frankie T during the day. I pick my daughter up from daycare and we go into full bedtime, bath, and dinner routine nothing exciting and Frankie T usually opens from 9pm through to the early morning depending on emails and orders that need going through.
Basically I just do whatever needs doing for the family and the business's just like any other working or stay at home mum, I do have a pretty cute warehouse manager who's two and demands snacks and playtime but I think I will keep her around.
Question: What's next for Frankie T?
Bianca Harrison: We are looking to finally bring in some new designs that will only be very exclusive and small run, it will be very different to the prints we have at the moment and we will be adding larger sizes to the brand just by public demand.
We will be heading back to sunny QLD and we will continue production in Indonesia where we will be giving back to in the new year locally.
Question: Can you share your socials, with us?
Bianca Harrison: Absolutely!
Interview by Brooke Hunter