We sat down and had a little chat to the beautiful Tara Swanson who is the brains behind the ultimate online party supply store; Parties Made Pretty, and Instagram lifestyle account @ourswanlife. She has answered our questions to give you guys a little insight into her life and how she juggles running a successful business and all that comes with #mumlife !
1. Aside from Our Swan Life, you run Parties Made Pretty, what was the inspiration behind the business?
Yes, I do! Parties Made Pretty came about when I was starting to plan my daughters first birthday.. I couldn’t find what I was after and I already had experience in the industry in NZ so I thought let's bring something super fun and pretty to Australia. As corny as it sounds I dreamt of the name Parties Made Pretty and from there, it became real. I was like right that’s it I’m doing it!! I spent the next week, day and night building a business plan and researching and here I am nearly two years later!
2. You are also a mother to beautiful little Harper, how do you juggle being a working mum?
It’s certainly a juggling act, I normally make the morning about us - spend time out and about with friends or doing activities for Harper, and then I work while she is napping or having quiet time in the afternoon.. but to be honest, I am so blessed with Harper! She is such a little gem, she’s so helpful .. has all the balloon colours down now!! We don’t have any family in Perth, it’s just my husband, Harper and I. We travel home to see family in NZ as much as we can, but it’s just us for the day to day, so it’s a team effort when it gets really busy. I couldn’t do it without Hayden, he is the calm to my storm. There are lots of late nights, and too much confetti around, but with PMP continuing to grow Harper will be in daycare soon. I think when it’s your own business you want so badly for it to be successful, and then when it is, like any busy working Mama, you wonder “is it taking to much time away from Harper, am I missing something, is she missing out?’’ At the end of the day, I want her to be proud of me both as a Mother and a Businesswoman, and not look back and think Mum was always so busy working.
3. What are your top tips for creating an Instagram feed and online presence that flows well and looks aesthetically beautiful?
Find what works for you, I don’t plan either of my feeds but with PMP I like to keep more of a flow going with colours or party themes we stock. I like to keep PMP a balance of stock images and party snaps. With OurSwanLife that’s just normally what we are doing that day, I love capturing a moment in time, have done forever! I just play around with filters, sometimes it’s bright and white, sometimes a little more moody. Vsco, Lightroom, and A Colour Story are favourites of mine!
4. How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style, I’ve always been a jeans girl but living in Perth for 9 years has changed me.. I’m more feminine, a little boho and loving pretty floral prints. My go to right now is a floaty dress probably Spell or Kivari and hat. I’m most comfortable in my birks or ankle boots - even though I own so many pairs of heels #mumlife comfort is key. Our home is very light & white and I’m always looking for different pieces to add .. I find it a very calming space and love that I’m surrounded by photos of my loved ones everywhere!
5. Who are your favourite local businesses, brands and mentors, for both your personal and business life and why?
Within my industry I love to follow Party With Lenzo... so much inspo right there and they truly are all the sweetest women!! And personally my favourite brand to follow is Spell and The Gypsy.. I’m always lusting after their pieces and dreamy spaces. I have built some great friendships and sources of support with the other women in this biz, I honestly believe in community over competition, there is more than enough room for everyone, it’s a big wide world out there!!! There is literally so much talent in Australia and NZ. I began to list all my favourites but with the list sitting at 20+ it got a little much!
6.What are your hopes and dreams for Parties Made Pretty in the future?
Probably just to keep growing and evolving.. we have our warehouse in NZ and that’s really picking up, I have our admin assistant starting next week in Australia so I can focus on more of the creative side! My background is in Visual Merchandising and I feel most like myself when creating something pretty! I would also LOVE, love to be able to say yes to more styling jobs, hopefully, there will be more time in the day soon??? Haha
7. Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Ummm there is so many amazing brands out there I would love to work with but at the moment, Spell and the Gypsy - I love their vibe and brand they have created, it's so inspiring! It's truly like a sisterhood.. or cult haha, not sure but either way I'm into it!
8. What would you say to someone thinking about starting their own business?
Be prepared for lots of late nights, more than meets the eye, there is so much admin and behind the scenes, if you can find what you good at, outsource what you can when you’re able to. My most important is to always be clear about your expectations first. I always want to be everyone's friend and I at times am far too generous, (I get it from my Mama!) and sometimes people just want to see what they can get, you know? So I’ve learnt it’s ok to say no, and its ok to say yes but be clear on what you want.
9. What is your favourite trend currently and what do you predict for future trends in party accessories and decor?
Rose gold and blush is my absolute favourite, paired with our liberty print floral partyware as you could probably already tell. Balloon garlands are huge right now, probably moving more into elaborate designs... See Poppies For Grace, their installs always absolutely wow me!! Holographic and iridescent is so pretty and I think will keep getting more and more popular.
10. If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be an why?
Stevie Nicks, because well Stevie!! I have always been drawn to her music. I listen to Fleetwood Mac or Stevie almost daily and after seeing her live twice last year I know she would be such a fun dinner guest... the stories she would have!!
You can follow along with Tara via her links below!
PMP on Instagram:
PMP on Facebook:
Our Swan Life on Instagram: