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The Rule-Breaking Kind of Mums: How Lucy Fenton Breaks the Mould - Fenton & Fenton

The Rule-Breaking Kind of Mums: How Lucy Fenton Breaks the Mould

For Lucy Fenton, being brave means “being true to yourself and your own individual style” no matter what. For Mother’s Day, we interviewed the Fenton & Fenton founder about what it means to live a life less ordinary, collaborating with Saheli Women, and how she expresses her individuality when styling her home.

Fenton & Fenton is all about living a life less ordinary. What does this mean to you?

Lucy: It’s about living life to the fullest and surrounding yourself with things and people you love. It’s about being brave and letting your decision-making be led by what makes you happy.

Rather than chasing trends, why is it important to you to express your individuality when styling your home?

L: Your home should be a reflection of who you are, your story and the things you love. Your home will give you great joy and be a place you love spending time in if you stay true to your own style.

Mother's Day - Fenton & Fenton

What room in your home brings you the most joy?

L: I recently wallpapered our powder room with some wild wallpaper, so right now, that room is giving me a surprising amount of happiness.

You have so many talented artists showing at the Fenton & Fenton gallery. What’s your advice for investing in a piece of artwork?

L: Buy what you love! Always invest in pieces that catch your eye and make you feel good. Don’t worry about size or colour, or other people's opinions. If you love it, you will always find a space for it and it will bring you happiness for years to come.

Please tell us, how did the collaboration between Saheli Women and Fenton & Fenton first come about?

L: I first heard about Saheli Women and the incredible work Madhu was doing in India about a year ago. I was really drawn to the non-profit social enterprise and wanted to learn more about the work they were doing to empower women.

When I was in India last year, I met with Madhu and visited the community centre in Bhikamkor. I was instantly inspired to collaborate with them on a collection. Not only are the products beautiful, but the women were all so warm and inviting, I could tell Madhu had created a really special place for the women to work, but also to learn.

What was it about Saheli Women that drew you to their organisation and mission?

L: Empowering women has always been something close to my heart, so when I learnt more about Saheli Women and their mission I knew I wanted to collaborate with them.

“Our mission is to create employment for women in ethical fashion manufacturing to derive a sustainable livelihood that benefits themselves, their families and their communities.” – Saheli Women’s Mission Statement.

Fenton & Fenton is a female-led business and a large portion of our workforce is female - from senior leadership to sales to operations. I have always supported and been an advocate for women in the workforce, so Saheli Women really resonated with me.

What was your first impression of Madhu?

L: Usually, when I visit factories in India, they tend to be quite male dominated. Being in an all-women centre was refreshing and made me feel inspired and really at ease.

I immediately warmed to Madhu, and found her such an inspiration. I was blown away by what she has created with Saheli Women in a very short time. I could see the beautiful connection she had with the women and how passionate she is about the work they are doing.

How did the collection come about? Take us through the process.

L: During my visit, I’d spent time looking at fabrics with Madhu. Saheli Women make their fabric by hand, with the freedom to create beautiful prints using lovely colour palettes. Together we worked on the designs and created our first capsule collection of cushions. While we are working on new designs and ideas, the process takes some time as each piece is handmade, individually.

Madhu started Saheli Women, to help provide fellow mothers, single women and families with a livelihood. How do you balance running a business and being a mum?

L: Like everyone, having kids and working is a real juggling-act. Ultimately, you can’t do everything. It’s a matter of divide-and-conquer with my husband, he really does all the day-to-day kid’s stuff. But I do make time to do little things that really matter to them, like taking them to school, watching their sport, reading a book and doing fun things on the weekend. I try not to beat myself up if the balance isn’t always right.

Now, how do you keep your home beautifully styled while being a mum to two kids?

L: Oh, now that’s a tough juggle. My husband and I are both pretty tidy. Our kids are definitely not, so there is always plenty of cleaning up to do. However, we want our house to feel relaxed, so it doesn’t look perfectly styled all the time. In a lot of ways, creativity is mess! I want the kids to play with their toys, get creative, and do their drawings, so you have to let things go to a certain extent.

Mother's Day - Fenton & Fenton

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

L: For me, it’s about honouring the women in your life, in whatever way you feel best, and that varies so much for everyone.

What is the most important lesson your mother taught you?

L: Life is too short to be unhappy. My mum is the most inspirational person in my life. She has always encouraged me to chase my dreams and if you want something, go and get it!

She has supported me through every crazy idea I have ever had, and is tirelessly loving and supportive of her four kids and now her 8 grandchildren.

My mum always said that all she wanted for Mother’s Day was for us (her four kids) to not fight and she’d be happy. Not sure if we ever actually achieved it. I say the same thing to my kids now and it usually backfires and ends in chaos!

I am extremely grateful for our relationship and hope I have the same with my kids when they are older. I feel so lucky to have her guiding me through life. Even now, when I am almost 40, I am still calling her 10 times a day.

Finally, What’s on your gift wishlist this Mother’s Day?

I’m coveting a piece from Michele Luminato’s solo exhibition ‘Shared Wavelengths’. However, I also absolutely love the cute little handmade cards and gifts my kids bring home from school.

Discover pieces from Lucy Fenton’s wishlist or browse our collection of cushions expertly woven by the artisans of Saheli Women.

An interview with Madhu Vaishnav, Founder of Saheli Women

Learn more about how Saheli Women empowers women through ethical and sustainable manufacturing.