All the moments: Emily Berlach, NSW Central Coast
Text KATE PASCOE SQUIRES
Photography KATE PASCOE SQUIRES
Directing a family of five, along with running cult fashion brand Bohemian Traders, is a big job. Seriously big. Many people would attack this with a head down, bum up approach. But Emily Berlach is different. Sure, she works hard. But she also knows when it’s time to bring in the slow. A moment of quiet in the family’s beautiful Central Coast home, relishing in the different personalities of her two daughters (Elke and Olive) and son (Zeph) or a whiskey with her husband Dave (also co-owner and director at Bohemian Traders). Emily has an innate understanding that it’s the moments that count – and together, my gosh, they make a very pretty picture.
The Slowdown. How does that resonate with you?
Ohhh slowing down, both a luxury and an essential, isn’t it? If I had to unpack the notion in one word, it would be ‘gratitude’. Nothing pulls life and all of its chaos into perspective like being grateful for all of the good around me. Kids giggling, wine with friends, morning mist, immersion in the ocean, holding my husband’s hand, calling my mum at 5:32 every single day when I leave the office, new born babies, Netflix, peanut m&m’s…. you know, there so much excellence in this existence!
What triggers your need for slow? Is it work, family, kids, friends? How do you know when it’s time?
It’s the juggle!! Living a dynamic life filled with kids, work, extended family and friends is so thoroughly rewarding, but finding a place or a way to retreat is vital. I’m privileged to be able to throw myself into a job that I love, but I really do struggle with finding balance. When I feel my anxiety rise and sleep elusive, I know it’s time to slow down in a more intentional way.
How and when do you put your Slowdown into practice? Give us all the juicy details.
I’ve just returned from a month in Italy with my family and, for me, those extended breaks are a slow down of the highest order. It gives me a chance to escape the Aussie winter and indulge in a healthy dose of bonus seaside joy. Being in a different time zone is really helpful with disconnecting from work and focusing solely on the family. While it only happens once a year, I really do find a good long break re-energises and re-focusses me for healthy length of time.
Having said all of that, taking a month long break isn’t really practical regularly, is it? So I escape with prayer – but NOT in a Donald Trump supporting way, okay?! Ha! For me, being intentionally grateful for just a few moments, especially with my kids, is so nourishing for the soul. A release of tension and renewal of perspective. So prayer is important for me. Prayer… and an ice cold beer in a 48 degree steam room once the kids are asleep!
You run the very successful Bohemian Traders fashion brand and have husband (who is also your business partner) and three young children. On paper, your life should be incredibly busy, but you never seem to glorify this on social media. In fact, just the opposite. You manage to show us some beautifully slow and joyful moments on your feed. Is this intentional?
Life IS incredibly busy! I think all people, women especially, are juggling so many expectations – it’s just a given that we are all busy. To be honest, I don’t really have the time to consider my personal social media presence. I do aim to keep it aesthetically pleasing, but I don’t really attempt to put any key messages out there about how I live or what I value. I suppose in the crazy busy periods, I’m too flat out to use social media at all – so perhaps that explains the absence of my nutty reality? Plus it’s not pretty!
How do you balance your social media presence with living a real, connected life?
I only have a real connected life – social media isn’t real.
Where you do find moments of pure joy?
With my children – reading stories, playing Monopoly, talking about their days, saying their prayers. That’s the purest of joys… so the kids and the 48 degree steam room with a cold beer. Oh and Netflix!!
Have you ever experienced an event or turning point in your life that has made you stop and re-evaluate how you run things?
Yes absolutely, quite a few times actually. Each time, the single thing I’m reminded of is that only love matters. Literally NOTHING else. Not fancy clothes or a nice house. Just togetherness and the people I love. It’s so easy to get swept up in ‘stuff’ and exaggerate its importance in life, but when it comes to crunch time, I could lose all the material possessions I’ve ever had and be completely content with loving my family.
You live on the NSW Central Coast – have you always lived there? Was it a conscious decision to reside outside of a major city?
I grew up on the South Coast of NSW and still consider it to be the land flowing with milk and honey. Rolling hills and a salt-filled, blustering southerly will always feel like heaven to me. I do love the good ol’ Cenny Coast though. While it wasn’t ever a conscious decision, I’m glad we live outside of Sydney. I’m an introvert and really rely on my solitude to stay sane – I think that would be much harder to find in a major city.
Do you agree that we all need to slow down at times?
I TOTALLLLY agree with you. It’s just so important to be able to switch off for at least a moment each day.
For those of us who are walking our own slow down path and searching for the joy, do you have any ideas to share that might assist us in our journey?
I’m not really an advice giver, I’m afraid! It’s hard enough to find my own way, let alone advise others on how they might find theirs – I’m far too inadequate for that! But I will open a bottle wine with anyone who needs a listening ear, I’ve got two of those.