Peta Heinsen is a mum of three and the Co-Founder and Director of resort and swimwear brand Matteau. Run alongside her sister Ilona Hamer, Matteau creates simple and considered products with an undeniably Australian aesthetic. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we took the opportunity to chat with Peta about how she manages her work-life balance, what it’s like working in a family run business and how being a mum influences Matteau’s designs.
Hi Peta, thanks for taking the time to chat with us and Happy Mother’s Day! How do you balance motherhood with running a business?
I’ve come to accept over the years that balance is actually unachievable. You can’t have it all at the same time – there’s periods of time that allow me to step way more into my parenting role and be much more present, and times that I have to focus in on work and know that they are all going to be okay while I do that. I feel lucky that having my own business means that I control the narrative way more now. I have given up on feeling guilty, it’s a completely unproductive emotion that doesn’t do anyone any good. Since starting Matteau we’ve made huge lifestyle changes in our family and more than ever my husband is around and there for the kids. I couldn’t do what I am now without him; he’s even learning to cook!
Does being a mum influence Matteau’s designs in any way?
I always make sure we have that sensibility and ease of wear in a good portion of our collection each season. Where Ilona doesn’t yet have kids, she can wear things I definitely don’t feel comfortable in these days. I always pressure test a collection with the questions “Can I wear that? Will I feel comfortable in that?”.
She [Peta's mum] didn’t just pass on the creative genes to us, she taught us the value of family and love, education, hard work and dedication…pretty much everything you need in life and business.
What’s it like working in a family run business? How do you and Ilona compliment one another?
I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love working with my sister and we have amazing support from our husbands and our family. When we are really busy our mum and other sister come and help out where they can. Ilona and I have really clear lines of responsibility in the business, and we complement each other perfectly in terms of our skill sets and our personalities.
How did your mum inspire your life and business pursuits?
Our mum is such a creative person – anything she puts her hand to, she is amazing at. She’s the most capable person I know and the Queen of DIY. She can build furniture and even weave cane, she’s a qualified florist, upholsterer and machinist. She didn’t just pass on the creative genes to us, she taught us the value of family and love, education, hard work and dedication…pretty much everything you need in life and business.
Are there any other mums out there that inspire you?
Mums these days are under incredible pressure to do it all – to mother like they don’t work, to work like they aren’t a mother. With the strain of social media and the perfect lifestyle that is most often portrayed is just not realistic. Simply getting through every day and having an ounce of energy left for yourself at the end of each week is a feat…before you have to do it all again. All mums are amazing and inspiring.
Sustainability is at the core of Matteau – how does this impact your business?
Sustainability is hugely importantly to us. It’s not something we talk about much, and we certainly don’t promote it as a means to sell product – in our view, it’s our corporate responsibility and what we should all be doing. We are by no means perfect, but we are doing our best to make the most sustainable decisions we can in every aspect of our business and are striving for continuous improvement in every area we can.