Brisbane mum Melanie Taylor believes “life’s too short for boring”.
A mother first and a fashion designer as a close second, Taylor lacks no creativity or inspiration when it comes to creating designs for her children’s clothing label Peach & Aubrey, one of a select few labels lucky enough to work out of the Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) fashion incubator based on Queensland University of Technology’s Kelvin Grove campus.
“I always knew fashion was my destiny. I fell in love with sequins, lace and feathers in my 20s,” she said.
“I remember wandering the lace markets of Spain and shopping in Paris, London and Milan, gathering treasures and developing an appreciation for well-graded patterns and luxury clothing.”
When she found out she was going to have a baby girl, the stars aligned.
“I realised it would be really cost effective for me to learn to sew. So I started gathering patterns and fabrics, and before long I was whipping up my own designs,” Taylor said.
What started out as a hobby to keep her daughter in cute, costume-like attire turned into a semi-serious business when a frenzy of fanatic mums started requesting the designs.
“People were stopping me in the streets asking where to get my daughter’s clothes. Facebook enquiries started coming through and I would be up until 3am trying to keep up with orders,” she said.
“I felt a window in my heart well and truly open and knew I had found my real passion in life.”
Being based out of CEA has been a huge privilege to her business Melanie said.
“The mentoring I have received and the continuing support of other members on the fashion floor has been so valuable to me – I love how the accelerator looks at every single aspect of a business and applies it to fashion.”
Earlier this year, her collection The Perfect Day (pictured) featured on the runway at CEA’s Fashion Accelerator Showcase.
“I was able to present my work to fashion royalty at this event – Paul Zahra, Edwina McCall and Lydia Pearson just to name a few,” Taylor said.
“Presenting a collection was a dream come true for me. And as I held my daughter Savannah’s hand and led my little Peachy models down the runway that day, I was overwhelmed with pride to see this dream come together.
“This event alone gave me a huge confidence boost.”
Being in children’s fashion, Taylor has found it difficult to resist going with trends and falling into a high-turnover, large-production model.
“My biggest challenge has been keeping up with the demand as a handmade label, and a production model that supports my lifestyle with two young children,” she said.
“But I am proud to keep production here in Australia – as close to my heart as possible.”
Taylor has big goals of making it on to the shelves of the major department stores, but her own concept store is front of mind for now.
“I am really happy developing my label slowly and I feel that taking small steps and laying foundations now will provide a strong base for future growth,” she said.
“So far I have been blessed with customers who believe in me and have supported my crazy business idea right from the beginning.
“I owe my success to my Peachies.”