IN CONVERSATION WITH: GEORGIE ABAY, FROM THE GRACE TALES
A site for and about mothers with inspiring style and inspiring stories, The Grace Tales was founded by former fashion magazine editor Georgie Abay.
Created for the stylish mother, The Grace Tales is the ultimate online destination for multi-tasking mothers of babies, toddlers and tweens, covering everything from motherhood to fashion to beauty to interiors to travel to food.
We spoke with Georgie in 2017, with the story published in our 2017 ANNUAL print publication.
[TLSE] In just over a period of 4 years, The Grace Tales has grown to become one of Australia's most influential publications for style-conscious mothers. How has this all come to be?
[TGT] Honestly, just a lot of hard work. I inherited my hard-working, determined nature from my mother – she always taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. The Grace Tales is now four years old and for the first two years, I was still working at VOGUE magazine and juggling two babies (my girls were born 17 months apart). At first, it was just a passion project and something I did when my first born was asleep. I would upload 1-2 stories a week as that was all I could manage. I never started The Grace Tales with the idea of it becoming a business. I created it because there was nothing else like it on the market and it was the kind of content I wanted to read. Slowly, month by month, our audience grew and grew. Let’s just say there have been a lot of late nights but the flexibility I have running my own business is worth it. It’s very rewarding building something yourself from scratch.
How has both your fashion and parenting style grown in the process of developing The Grace Tales?
My parenting style changes as each phase/life stage passes. I didn’t enjoy the newborn stage at all. My girls were both premature and didn’t sleep for about a year each. They also had terrible reflux and I spent about two years covered in baby vomit. My brother used to joke that the site should we called ‘The Grace Nightmares’ as he’d often pop into our house and find my on the floor wiping up baby vomit or puree or just looking like a general mess. I’ve just learnt that everything is better after a good night’s sleep. I am constantly working on trying to be a good mother – not a perfect one as perfection doesn’t exist – just a good, well-rounded mum. As for fashion, my style is still the same but I have to admit I did feel a little out of touch after I had kids. I was breastfeeding and suddenly found myself in cardigans and singlets that clipped down for easy access. I’m glad to see that period of my life over! I like to keep my style simple: lots of jeans, shirts, great statement skirts and t-shirts. I don’t like anything too fussy.
The Grace Tales has profiled very well-known, stylish mothers from all over the world, including our own, Miranda Kerr and Kate Ritchie. How do you choose the women that will feature in your stories? What are some of your must-reads?
Where do I begin? I honestly get so much joy out of every story we publish. Of course, stories on celebrities such as Kate Ritchie (one of the most divine women we’ve ever photographed – funny, smart, down-to-earth, beautiful – talk about the full package!) and Miranda Kerr are a lot of fun, but I also love profiling women who are just doing cool things. Finding women to profile is the easy part – the list is never ending. I’m in awe of mothers – we’re the ultimate multi-taskers. What I love most are honest women who aren’t afraid of showing their weaknesses. This motherhood gig isn’t easy and the more open you are about it, the easier it is.
The Grace Tales covers a range of topics on all walks of motherhood: the joys, the challenges and the lessons to be learnt. What does it mean to be a mother in 2017?
I often think about when I was a child – life seemed so much slower. Mum certainly wasn’t glued to her iPhone or laptop! These days, women are juggling so much. How can we possibly get any busier? I make a real effort to slow down and not overschedule. I’m a big homebody and love spending the weekends at home with my family. I don’t make lots of social plans and prioritise spending time with those I really value. I also think it’s important as a mother to detox from social media. Too much time on Facebook or Instagram can make you feel depressed and it’s certainly not a real representation of life.
What's next for Georgie and The Grace Tales in 2018?
We held our first GRACE TALKS event back in July in Sydney and our next one is on November 17. It’s a really fantastic way to connect with our readers and also very inspiring to hear from such amazing women who talk about navigating career and motherhood. We have plans to hold our events around Australia (and abroad) next year. Our bumper issue of GRACE magazine is out this month – so much work and love has gone into this issue and I’m really proud of it. We’re also working on some exciting product collaborations. And honestly, I’d like to slow down a little as my four-year-old will start school and it’s important to me that I’m there at the school gate to pick her up. My own mum was at the school gate every day - I'll always remember that.
Bottom: Julie Adams