Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style
Rachel

Rachel Donath On Business, Motherhood, And Building A Legacy

Since launching her eponymous business during lockdown, Rachel Donath has risen to meteoric heights as Australia’s most renowned furniture designer and collector. We sat down with Rachel at her Melbourne home to talk motherhood, style, and all things interiors.

Rachel Donath lives down the street from the childhood home she grew up in. She lives there with her husband Michael and their four children: Toby (13), Luca (10), Hamish (7), and Gracie (4).

 “All I ever wanted to be was a mother first and anything else second,” Rachel tells The Inarra. “I hope my children see my relationship with my siblings as aspirational, I’m so conscious of teaching them to be grateful for one another.”

The second eldest of seven children, Rachel is used to a busy household and takes raising four children in her stride. “Motherhood has taught me that we are inherently as flawed and vulnerable as everyone else,” she says. “I have nothing but compassion and the hugest heart towards other mothers. We’re sharing this epic experience, and at its simplest level, it’s a very vulnerable and weighty place to be.”

With every interview, there’s always the question of how the mother-of-four juggles parenthood with running her own business. But Rachel loves her work so much, she even describes it as a form of “self-care”.  “I love what I do and when I’ve had some time to work, I’m refreshed and ready to handle the kids!” Rachel says. I’ve never taken time off work, even after having my babies, so my children are used to seeing me with a laptop in hand.”

“I love getting things done and the excitement of building something and seeing it grow. I’ve never found it challenging to grow my business while being a mum, it’s been a fabulous creative outlet and I work within the hours that they are in care or school.”

Rachnew
Rache-Donath

After 15 years working in PR and marketing, Rachel pivoted to all things furniture in the depths of Victoria’s Covid-19 lockdown. What began as a hobby, the mother-of-four started selling vintage pieces on Instagram. In a matter of days word got out, and some of the biggest names in the creative industry asked Rachel to source furniture on their behalf.  

Now, Rachel Donath is home to antique heirlooms and her own furniture designs, proudly created using sustainably-sourced materials and ethical practices.

“I started off selling the vintage and antique pieces I had sourced,” she recalls. “There was never a plan to design furniture, the opportunity just presented itself and I had some ideas around pieces that I felt would sell well. I started very slowly and now focus on my own designs, really furrowing deep into the world of creative expression – and I’m loving it!” 

For Rachel, the business is also an opportunity to set an example for her four children. “I want to show my kids that women can do whatever they damn well please,” she says. “They can excel in their fields; being a mum and having a fabulous career are not mutually exclusive. I want to pursue what I’m good at and build a legacy my children will be proud of.”

Rache Donath
Rache Donath

Of course, we couldn’t miss the golden opportunity to ask the design aficionado for tips on how busy parents can keep the home tidy – even if it doesn’t last for long. 

“I would say buy as little as possible, children don’t need a million toys. They are just as happy playing with pots and pans, soup ladles or a box from a parcel – and this kind of play is so beneficial to their creativity and learning,” Rachel says. 

“So my first tip is cut the junk and stop buying your kids more toys, they don’t need it. My other piece of advice is to buy a lovely basket that you would happily have in your living space regardless of kids and use this to store toys and games.” 

Not only does becoming a parent leave little room in the home, it also has a profound influence on our wardrobes – something Rachel identifies with. “Becoming a mother has been challenging for my personal style. While I had every intention to be a fabulously dressed mum, real life gets in the way and there is simply just no time in the morning to give more than a second’s thought to what I’m wearing that day,” she laughs. 

“Saying that, now my youngest is at kinder and I have more space to breathe, I’m starting fresh and really enjoying curating a new wardrobe that is functional, stylish, and aligns with how I want to present to the world.”

With more time to focus on growing her business, what can we expect from Rachel Donath next? “So much!” she teases. “We’re working on some new categories that are mind-blowingly beautiful. I can’t wait to share everything soon…”

Rache-Donath
Rache-Donath

Your Interior Design Questions Answered With Rachel Donath

 

What’s your favourite room in your home and why? 

It constantly changes. Right now I’m loving my study as I’m in the process of decorating it and I’m feeling very energised by the possibilities! 

 

What should we splurge on and scrimp on when it comes to decorating our home?

Buy the best you can afford across all categories. Real wool carpets, timber flooring and quality installation may be expensive, but re-doing a shoddy job or replacing cheap flooring down the track will cost more overall. Go slow and buy well. It’s better to live in a half-empty home full of forever pieces than fill your home quickly with junk you’ll need to replace in 3 years.

 

What tips do you have for readers looking to elevate their interior space? 

Remove clutter. Rather than buying something new, perhaps remove something that you don’t love. Space is such a luxury and to have a room with open space elevates it immediately. 

 

Visit the Rachel Donath website here.

Words by Danielle Fowler | Photography by Kaitlyn Bosnjak

Shop the Story

Shop Rachel's Edit

RECOMMENDED READS