WODONGA mumpreneur Katharine Rattray had to get out of her comfort zone to find her happy place.
Flat out for months on picture book illustrations and a range of children’s bed linen, the design educator and mother-of-three hit a low point in September.
She wound up in hospital with pneumonia.
“I was in the darkest place but the mumpreneur groups helped me through it,” she said.
“I thought I’d made the biggest mistake in my life.”
Since exhibiting homeware samples at exclusive Melbourne trade show, Life In Style, in August, Kat had committed to her first full collection inspired by her own picture book characters Bird Boy and Wren.
Her product range included baby and children’s bed linen and room decor.
“My display got nominated for an award but it cost $10,000 to be there,” she said.
“I should have started with the finances but instead I jumped into the creative cloud.”
Having gained some financial and morale support from family and friends, Kat got her vision back on track.
“I have all of these women helping me, which is very empowering,” she said.
“Through networks of women I learnt about logistics and joined the mumpreneur movement.”
Branding the business, Kat & Fox, pays homage to Kat’s father, George Patrick Fox, who encouraged her to follow her passion for art and drawing.
Together with husband Matt, Kat’s children, Will, 15, Joe, 11, and Emily, 4, have each inspired their mum’s creative journey.
“When my son Joe was seven, he used to do these funny, little impressions of birds,” she said.
“The character in the book is based on Joe.
“The idea for the bedding came when I walked into Emi’s room and she was on her bed nestled among the cushions and soft bed covers, lost in the pages of her favourite picture book.”
Inspired by English writer and illustrator Lauren Child and Australian illustrator and artist Kate Knapp, Kat wanted to translate pattern repeats from her self-published book into a range of bed linen, wallpaper and lamp shades.
Albury teacher Lynda Joyce wrote the words for Bird Boy & Wren.
Kat said her British life coach had helped her find balance in her daily life.
“You can’t work 24/7 and be an effective person or boss,” she said.
“I’m loving the business gently now rather than loving it madly.”
Kat & Fox will launch its first homewares collection A Little Birdie Told Me at Pour Mes Amis in Volt Lane, Albury, on Wednesday from 6pm.