This International Women's Day, we wanted to celebrate the hardworking and inspiring women making moves in our AY community.
What better way to start things off than an interview with our very own lady boss, Alix Yang!
When you were little, what did you dream of doing or being when you grew up and why?
I’ve always wanted to be a painter. When I was little, I never wanted to go outside or go to play dates. All I wanted to do was draw and paint non-stop the whole day. My mum said that I used to throw a tantrum every night at bed time because I hadn't finished my masterpiece of the day.
At the current stage of my life, I don’t see myself having the time to become a professional painter, but I still really want to pursue that when I retire.
Did you study design? How did you become a jewellery designer?
I get asked this question all the time, but actually, I didn’t study any sort of design at all!
I did my double majors at the University of Toronto - Art History and Economics. But jewellery has always been something I have had a passion for. My friends would always gift me jewellery because they knew how much I loved it. Ever since uni, I’ve been collecting handmade jewellery pieces from local artisans as well as some vintage pieces. I feel like every jewellery piece has a life and they all carry the story of the designer.
After moving to Melbourne from Canada, I started working for a tech company but I somehow had a strong desire to have something of my own, something that can carry part of my life story. Hence, I turned myself into a jewellery designer and I’ve been enjoying it every day since!
Be real with us: What is it like to run a business whilst being a new mum?
I have to be honest - it's not easy, especially at the beginning.
I remember breastfeeding while typing on my laptop. And rocking the pram with one foot while packing orders. My son was home with me the whole time because of COVID, so I could never take a nap during the day (even after sleepless nights) because I needed to jump back to work as soon as he napped! For me, the key is to learn to prioritise and have a routine that works the best for you.
Now that my son is a 2-year-old toddler, I look back at all the hurdles that I’ve had. They are all so insignificant compared to my beautiful and healthy kid. I feel very blessed that I have a very hardworking team and a super loving family to help me through the ups and downs so that I can still chase after my passion while being a mum.
What do you love the most about being a woman?
I love how we are the backbone of our family and our community. People often overlook how powerful we are, but we have so much potential and we can be so strong and so gentle at the same time.
I also love how we can dress ourselves in SO MANY different styles. Compared to guy's clothes, we really have too many options!
Would you call yourself a workaholic or a guru of work-life balance?
I have to say that when you are working for your passion, it doesn’t feel like working at all. But according to the definition, I was indeed a workaholic before - both me and my husband were.
Now that we have something more important in our life, I try not to work during the weekend and just fully immerse myself in family and giving 100% of my attention to my son and my husband. It’s been really beneficial too because I feel like I’m properly rested both physically and mentally when I’m back online on Monday.
What do you like the most about working alongside other women?
Women are inherently very caring people. I like how we are always trying to build meaningful relationships. I always feel so motivated when I work among women, some women are so organised, some always eat healthy and exercise, some are just so kind and inspirational. I also love how women always provide each other with advice, from career tips to shopping recommendations!
What advice would you give to other women who want to start their own fashion labels?
1. Consistency and prioritising. You need to keep pushing forward regardless, especially at the beginning when things are quiet and slow. If you keep trying and improving, things will work out eventually.
2. Another very important lesson I’ve learnt over the years is that you need to learn to let go. It can be extremely hard sometimes because you'll always want to be on top of everything. It happens to me all the time. I spend days trying to perfect the little details when I should be looking at the bigger picture.
3. If you're not trying out things that can move the needle, you are not growing the business, just maintaining it.
Tell us three things that you couldn’t live without?
I’m a minimalist when it comes to "what’s in my bag". Very often, I don’t even bring a bag! These three items are literally all I bring around most of time (when I’m not with my kid, of course).
1. My phone (obviously, my whole personal life and business are relying on her).
2. Earrings. I feel naked if I don’t wear earrings. During busy working days I normally wear either the Macy Hoops or the Arlo Hoops.
3. Lip balm. I will literally go buy one when I’m outside if I can’t find it in the car.
What are your currently favourite AY pieces?
My current favourite is the Matilda Necklace. I’ve always loved necklaces with a big pendant because I feel like they are the easiest thing to pick if you want to elevate an outfit. Although it’s quite a statement piece, it actually goes so well with everything no matter if you want to dress up or dress down.
I've also been wearing the Sloane Ring and Ezra Ring all the time lately (Ezra is going to be launching very soon!).