We once read "if you don't work then your dreams won't either" and in small business a statement has never been closer to the truth. A lot goes into building a brand, staying true to your core and remaining inspired on what can often be a difficult journey. We chat to Jane, founder of ethical label My Tribe of Three about how she got started, why being 100% Australian made is so important and the fashion industry here.

Thank you so much for sitting down with us Jane! We would like to start right at the beginning. What first inspired your label My Tribe of Three and how did you initially get it off the ground?

I’ve always loved fashion and creating. 5 years ago actually nearly to the day funnily enough. I had a medical issue which put me into a 6 week lockdown (for want of a better word), I couldn't leave the house and I wasn’t able to see anyone including my boys. I got sick of feeling sorry for myself so I started to paint again. That then turned into drawing and then designing a few clothes. When I went back to work (my other job is in dental) I met a Mel, who had been in the rag trade for many, many years and she helped me get my first collection off the ground. Meeting her was the push I needed. It felt like it was all meant to be.

What are your non negotiable's in business and how do you stay true to yourself?

I don’t barter. I know this sounds funny or for business brains it sounds silly, like I’m shooting myself in the foot but I believe if someone wants to charge me x amount then I either want it or look else where or for a

different option if I can’t afford it. I think everyone should be fairly compensated for their craft and haggling for me is disrespectful. I follow my heart and trust my gut. If I get a bad vibe about someone or something I trust my instincts and back away quietly.

What has been most difficult about creating a business that is 100% Australian made?

Transparency with other companies and their supply chain. You think you are purchasing Australian made or supporting an Australian company and then it turns out they get their stock or supply overseas. Also the cost of making everything here is so expensive but I do believe it’s worth it.

What do you love most about business and what frustrates you the most?

Mmm great question! What I love most about my business is meeting so many inspirational people, but women in particular. I’m in awe on a daily basis. It also inspires me to do better and strive for more. The most frustrating part of my business is social media. I never know what to write, when to post or sometimes I’m so busy I forget about posting all together. I can say with my hand on my heart it is not my forte!

The fashion industry these days can feel overly saturated and there is a massive issue with green washing, is there anything in the industry that you would love to change?

To be honest I don’t even know where to start and certainly do not have the answers. Fast fashion is a huge problem for the environment. So much has to change. I think we need to educate and talk about it from a non judgmental point of view, not on our high horses. Learning from others and educating ourselves. Think through the processes that each piece of clothing goes through. Water used, dying processes, making the garment, off cuts, fibres and where they go etc etc. Some great resources are the Fashion Revolution and Ethical Clothing Australia. I also need to do better and am still learning every day. I think if I can strive to do better then I hope that encourages others to as well.

Running a business can often get draining, how do you stay inspired and motivated to keep going?

Oh this is a tough one especially after the last couple of years. If I’m honest I have really struggled this last 12 months. Especially after my dads passing last year. He was my number one fan and so proud of me and what I’ve created. That always gives me strength and courage but the one thing that does keep me going (other than my 2 beautiful boys) is nature, particularly the beach. I find it grounding and settling. Its beauty and ever changing environment is also inspiring and always takes my breath away. No matter the weather if I put my feet in the sand, smell and listen to the sea all the weight of the world is taken off my shoulders. It’s the same for my children we feel lighter and happier when we are at the beach.

We know you have two lovely little boys, how do you juggle being a mum and business?

Ha many many late nights! It’s a little easier now they are getting older but it’s all about time management, which is my forte. They are my number one priority so I try and focus on being a mum after school till their bed time and work before and after that. They also love to help me which is amazing.

You mentioned your boys love helping! Are they involved in My Tribe of Three and the creative process?

They do love to help by filling wheat bags and eye pillows but as for designing clothing and playing with fabrics they have absolutely no interest in it at all. My youngest has a wild imagination and creates all sorts of amazing structures from boxes and also colour experiments. I’m always finding food dye experiments in my freezer or a colour volcano outside! My eldest loves to get on the sewing machine to make his own wheat pack and has also taught himself how to knit, but mostly he is really into sea life and the environment. They love to help me create plant base dyes which is fun and we all went through a Pom Pom phase in lockdown. It passed the time and we all found it relaxing. Everyone got Pom Poms for 2020 Christmas!

What is currently exciting you and where do you draw inspiration from for collections?

Oooh I’ve been working on a collection that actually started in our first lockdown in 2020. It is travel inspired, specifically Havana inspired. I want to create pieces that are easy to travel with. So you can go away with 4 or 5 pieces that give you a full wardrobe. Pieces that end up creating 10 outfits or more, to take you from the beach or sight seeing to a night out or to a nice restaurant. So you have more options but have less! I often get inspiration from the strangest places and I’m always taking photos of shells or patterns in the sand or a leaf for fabric patterns.

We understand that with business we are often taken on a journey as life changes. Did you always envisage your brand being what it is today or has it developed in a completely different direction?

Definitely not. My vision has changed so much over the last 4 years. My eyes were opened to the environmental impact fashion has on the world around a year or 2 into My Tribe of Three and I’m forever changing and learning. Particularly in the field of Australian made, a journey I started long before covid, but found that covid highlighted again why it is so important. Change in a business I feel is super important. We learn and grow as humans and so do we in business. I also have an open mind so moving and changing goes hand in hand with that, even if I fight the change sometimes!


"We learn and grow as humans and so do we in business. I also have an open mind so moving and changing goes hand in hand with that, even if I fight the change sometimes!"

My Tribe of Three

For those in sustainable business what is your biggest piece of advice? And for those just starting out where would you recommend they focus their energy?

Start small and don’t be afraid to go slow. I feel it’s better to get it right than rush anything. My slow fashion is slow in every way and I’m not afraid of that.

We have had the privilege of knowing you since our early days of living on the road in a van, thank you for being one of the first people to believe in our creativity! It's been wonderful seeing you evolve as a person and business and we can't wait to see what the remainder of the year has in store for you!

I’ve loved watching you both as well. We are drawn to others for a reason and for me it was your fun, bubbly personality and creative eye. You guys have so much talent and I want the world to see it. You also both have a heart of gold. I feel privileged to call you my friends.

A big thank you to Mich Woods for allowing us to shoot this campaign in her beautiful home. Hair and make up by the wonderfully talented Coastal Hair and Makeup and Gemma. To our beautiful models, Nina and Telisha thank you for the love and joy you brought to each scene, was such a pleasure capturing you in Jane's gorgeous clothing. Last but not least Two girls and a Cocktail who created the most incredible platter and provided drinks to compliment our picnic scene. If you are on the Mornington Peninsular we could not recommend these wonderful ladies more, their attention to detail and delicious platter went above and beyond expectation.