Jess Dempsey is the founder of successful Australian blog, What Would Karl Do. Over the past 8 years, her blog has grown to become a recognisable brand. Jess prides herself on uplifting and inspiring her loyal audience, who eagerly await each personal blog post she writes, like a journal. Her readers trust in her and rely on her to keep them up to date with the latest trends, honest motherhood experiences and products she recommends. Now a mother of three boys, we spoke to Jess about her life as a fashionable, busy mother and flourishing business owner!
- The juggle is real! Tell us a bit about yourself, your family, your brand and how you found yourself in the juggle.
I am the luckiest mama on earth to be blessed with three gorgeous little boys (Aston 7, Will 5, Freddie 17 months). Never did I ever think I would be a boy mum and now, I know it was my absolute purpose in life to be. I have been married for 11 years to my husband Josh, we met in 2004 at a dodgy night club in the western suburbs of Melbourne, where I grew up. I have always loved fashion, from a very young age and after I finished high school, I went straight into studying Visual Merchandising. My first full time fashion job was at Hugo Boss as VM and from VM I went into styling. I was a celebrity stylist from 2009-2012 and then my blog (that I started in 2010) became my full time job (as well as motherhood, of course).
- Your blog ‘What would Karl Do’ was one of the OG Melbourne fashion blogs. Was the decision to transition into more of a ‘lifestyle’ focus an easy one?
Absolutely not. As I was one of the first fashion bloggers in Australia and it was at a time when you really had to work hard to get your name out there, this was before Instagram. I was purely blogging fashion for so many years and even when I had my first son, one year into the blog, my readers weren’t ready for me to talk about motherhood, so I continued only focusing on me and my fashion. I slowly started to see that my readers were interested in my personal life and because I didn’t want to be a ‘mummy blogger’ I would talk about motherhood in the copy (words) of the blog but the images would be of something completely irrelevant to the words (me in fashionable outfits!).
As time went on, I would see my stats on my blog spike up when I spoke about my motherhood journey and so I made the decision to do a balance of both, my life as a mum, and fashion. Today, and almost ten years on from being one of the first Aussie fashion bloggers, I let my readers in and offer them not only my motherhood journey but also week by week updates - from when I had my youngest son and his milestones and routines, recipe’s, where to buy the latest fashion finds and soon, my renovation.
- Mum motto you like to live by?
These are the hard years, the days are long but the years fly by.
- What does success mean to you? What does it look like?
To be honest, it is to be happy. Success isn’t about money or having a social status or having a certain amount of Insta followers. It is about ensuring that where you are in life is where you want to be. It is being content in what you have and being proud of it too.
- Has your idea of success changed since having kids?
Yes! I used to want so much, so much of this and that from every aspect of life. Now, I want less, I want happiness, health and to have healthier mind set in my industry. I used to want more followers, however, now I want to engage, nurture and deliver to the followers that I have.
- Are you working full time on your blog/business? If not, how many hours per week are you working?
Yes, I work full time on the blog. I am very lucky.
- What are your secrets for keeping your head above water?
I am not sure I am above water, I get stressed and anxious easily. I wear a lot of hats in my life and try and nail those roles the best I can. I had to get help in when I had Freddie. I now have a nanny three days a week, I have a cleaner and a girl who occasionally comes to do my washing. I always make sure that I do the school drop offs and pick ups etc, so on these three days I use to work, my work hours are between school hours. If you have family or friends or a nanny or child care or whatever it is, take it!
- Do you think it is possible to achieve balance in work/mum life?
Yes and no. It is very hard to achieve this and I still haveent worked it out. Because I don’t have a 9-5 Mon-Fri job, I am working all different hours and squeezing an email in here and there throughout my day. One thing I do try and do is give each child one on one at any time of the day.
- What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time – pre-baby?
Sleeeeeep in, travel, shower daily and get into a hydrating routine. Slow down and enjoy life the best you can.
- What is your best parenting purchase (2nd to Silky Tots, obviously)?
I have too many favourites! My bugaboo, my yoyo zen, my baby bjorn bouncer,Baby Brezza, Love to Dream swaddles, Ollie the Owl by Gro! So much!
- What’s your fave Disney or kids movie?
Cars, I am such a boy mum
- How do you best recharge from work and mum life?
I don’t really, but whenever we go away to Noosa, I feel a zillion bucks!
- Being a busy working mum, it is easy to reach for the Lululemon uniform of leggings and sweatshirts every day. Do you have any tips to make casual dressing that bit more stylish and fun?
Yes! You need three things - a bottom, a top and shoes! Seriously, whilst you are in the shower, think of those three things and where they are located in your wardrobe so you can simply grab them, put them on and go. I also love to play around with my hair and if you haven’t seen the ‘jess bun’ its my half out half bun look I have put on my IG STORIES and blog. I first did it to tie me over between hair washes, but now I do it to jazz up my look.
- What’s next for you? Do you have goals and dreams for your business?
I am focusing on more tutorials and video content at the moment but for me, I would love to evolve into owning a product, something I can invest my time in so I stop thinking about having a fourth child! haha
- Tell us something that no one else knows about you?
The only music I listen to is Christian gospel (Hillsong) and… heavy metal circa yr 2000. I was a big band groupie back in the day and fainted when I saw Korn at BIG DAY OUT when I was 17!