Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style
img-1

PROFILE

Francesca Webster: “Motherhood Is My Most Important And Fulfilling Role Yet.”

We chatted to Francesca about business, motherhood, and the “fear-based rhetoric” around birth.

Francesca Webster was born to be in the hotel business. Growing up, she lived in and out of the world’s most luxurious hotels, watching her godparents masterfully co-manage the internationally renowned Aman Resorts. So, it’s no wonder their fierce love of the industry rubbed off onto her young shoulders. 

Aged 19, Francesca learned the ropes at Sydney’s Park Hyatt before working as a Relationships and Lifestyle Manager at Halcyon House. In 2017, she made her most career-defining move and joined Raes On Wategos as General Manager. Francesca breathed new energy into the stylish Byron Bay bolthole, now one of Australia’s most reputable hotels.

 With over 15 years of experience firmly under her belt, Francesca set her sights on an even bigger venture in 2022. Three months pregnant, the mother-to-be launched the luxury experiences and hotel solutions agency Rocco House. “The hotel world has a magic to it. Who doesn’t get excited about going to a hotel? On the flip side, inviting guests into your space is a huge responsibility – and one that I am deeply obsessed with,” she tells The Inarra.

 “They are entrusting you with their time, money, safety, and, more often than not, also entrusting you with the expectation to help them celebrate a special time with a loved one or family,” she continues. “It’s an industry that is real, dynamic, and all about beautifully considered spaces and human connection. I’m completely hooked and love making this possible for guests and property owners.” 

It doesn’t take long to feel Francesca’s unwavering love for the hotel business. Her company’s name, Rocco House, has family ties. Francesca tells us that Rocco means ‘rest and repose’ and is a gorgeous tribute to her Nonno, Rocco Antico. It is also her son Apollo’s middle name. But did she ever envision having a family one day? 

“When previously asked when we’d want to have a baby, I always had the narrative that, ‘we have lots we want to do first’ or ‘the hotels are enough of a baby to look after’,” Francesca says. “But one day, there is this line in the sand where it all changes and every part of you is aligned with wanting, pursuing, and desiring a baby in your world. It’s hard to describe, but you just know.”

“Birth is wild, immense, and beautiful. I wish it could be a sacred experience for all women. Apollo’s birth was the most empowering moment of my life so far.”
img-2
img-3

Francesca and her partner Vaughan welcomed their first child, Apollo, at their Palm Beach home in June 2023. The pre-labour lasted two days, and the couple spent those last few hours before their worlds changed with their phones switched off: watching movies, home cooking, and walking their golden retriever Bosco along the beach. 

Francesca had originally planned to give birth at The Mater Hospital but changed her mind at 31 weeks, enlisting the help of doula, Anna-Maria Boelskov, to have a home birth.

“Not only is Anna-Maria my doula, but a lactation counsellor, yoga teacher, naturopath, and nutritionist – everything a mum-to-be needs wrapped up in one glorious human,” Francesca explains. “For mums reading this who aren’t completely aligned with their care team, we’re an example that it’s never too late to change your care provider and birth team.” 

“Sadly, I do believe there is a fear-based rhetoric surrounding childbirth that is demoting the confidence many women have in themselves and their body to birth their baby that I wish didn’t exist,” Francesca says. “Birth is wild, immense, and beautiful. I wish it could be a sacred experience for all women. Apollo’s birth was the most empowering moment of my life so far.”

As Francesca navigated the early days of pregnancy, she felt “blessed” to be surrounded by a number of close friends who were also expecting, with her sister even giving birth on the same weekend. In the workplace, she has also leaned on others for support since welcoming her first child. 

“I have very encouraging and supportive clients who allowed me to have the time and space I needed from the tail end of my pregnancy until Apollo was six months old,” she says. “I have also engaged additional help within the business to ensure we can continue to cater to client needs with the same detail and gusto.”

img-4
img-5

Her meticulous attention to detail doesn’t end there. Francesca is also renowned for her excellent sense of style on Instagram, her maternity outfits offering endless inspiration for mums-to-be. She tells THE INARRA that she didn’t want to overhaul her wardrobe for maternity and postpartum. Instead, the expectant mother stuck to her favourite fashion brands, Commas, Bassike, and Toteme, and sought out pieces with a trusty elasticated waistband.

“The silhouettes I tend to favour naturally, oversized shirts and nothing too figure-hugging, lend themselves to a budding bump and recovering body,” she says. Her favourite investment? A pair of Issey Miyake Pleats Please Black Pants. “They have been a real godsend,” Francesca says. “They form a base for formal and casual moments, paired with a big shirt or singlet and jacket, and have allowed me to be proud of the bump but not stuck in leggings.”

So, what does the new mother have in her shopping cart right now? “The Prada Nylon Backpack, so mum can have two hands and still feel a little chic.”

Since our interview, Francesca and Vaughan have settled into their new lives as parents and look forward to getting married in Panarea, Sicily in July, a chance to introduce their family and friends to one of their favourite places in the world. 

When asked if Francesca could choose one of her favourite moments of motherhood so far, she replied: “There is no greater joy than being Apollo’s mum, it’s my most important and fulfilling role yet. Hearing his giggle for the first time, and every time since, is the purest form of happiness.”

 

Words by Danielle Fowler | Photography by Kaitlyn Bosnjak

RECOMMENDED READS