Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style
Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs

Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs On Founding Example Agency And Preparing For Motherhood

Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs is the co-founder and Managing Director of Example, an earned-creative agency based in Sydney, and a mother-to-be. We chatted with Rebecca about building her business, what it takes to be a good leader, and the expertise she sought before embarking on the journey to motherhood.

At school, Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs was a self-professed “teacher’s pet”. She inherited a love of learning from her parents (her father was an academic) and understood early on that education is a privilege and should be valued. “I was never confident in my natural abilities, so from a young age I would combat that insecurity by working hard,” Rebecca tells THE INARRA.

As a child, Rebecca created weekend timetables and gave herself assignments to complete during school holidays. “I always enjoyed having projects to work on, and that’s a trait that has stuck with me,” she says.

Rebecca’s drive and determination led her to study Media and Communications at Sydney University while working for a lifestyle PR agency. It was during this time, in her early twenties, that Rebecca crossed paths with Andy, her future business partner.

“Andy was my client at the time, serving as the marketing manager of a prominent hospitality group, and we immediately bonded over the hustle of the industry,” says Rebecca. “Our partnership solidified a few years later when I joined him at the renowned hospitality giant, Merivale.”

Rebecca and Andy worked side-by-side successfully for four years before taking a leap of faith to launch Example – a full-service earned-led creative agency. Their mission: “To create a unique agency that would authentically immerse brands in culture.”

Since its inception in 2017, Rebecca and Andy have expanded Example, taking on new team members and ambitious projects. Whilst rewarding, it hasn’t been without its challenges.

“Owning a business is a continuous journey, one that involves navigating through challenges while staying firmly grounded in your vision,” says Rebecca. “I’ve come to embrace the lessons hidden within setbacks and appreciate the resilience they build. Even when I find myself deep in the thick of it, I continually ask, ‘What can I learn from this experience?’”

Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs
Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs

Working in earned media for 17 years and owning an agency, Rebecca has learned what it takes to be a good leader. “It’s crucial to instil confidence and demonstrate conviction in your decisions,” she says. “However, it’s equally valuable to hold yourself accountable when you make mistakes and to be vulnerable with your team. This is what fosters trust and creates an environment where others feel safe to do the same. 

“I used to struggle with imposter syndrome, especially when launching my own business. I doubted my leadership abilities and constantly second-guessed my decisions. These self-limiting beliefs began to manifest as defensiveness, martyrdom and resentment, which are toxic qualities in leadership.

“I also used to be driven by perfectionism, which I ultimately used as a safety blanket. However, you can’t take risks when you’re petrified of putting a foot wrong. I’ve had to learn to let go of my ego and accept that I won’t always get everything right. And that’s okay, as long as I always, pardon my French, own my shit and learn from it”.

One of Rebecca’s biggest career highlights is opening the stunning co-working space Example House. “We were only a couple of years into operation and looking for a new office to accommodate our growing team,” says Rebecca. “We found a beautiful site in Rushcutters Bay (a historic smash repair that had been completely gutted), took a giant leap of faith and transformed the ageing relic into a vibrant co-working office space.”

Having successfully built Example to where it is today, Rebecca was ready to embark on her next adventure: motherhood. But, in true form, she wanted to make sure she and her husband Gary were fully prepared for the road ahead. 

“As we geared up to start trying to conceive, we sought the expertise of Elizabeth Mucci at Life on the Inside, a science-driven integrative health clinic,” says Rebecca. “Elizabeth’s background in science, nutrition, herbal medicine and reproductive medicine provided a unique and invaluable perspective on fertility. She pinpointed and addressed an issue I didn’t even realise I had before we embarked on this journey, and she’s been a steadfast source of support throughout my pregnancy. 

“It’s disheartening to consider that women are denied basic knowledge about their bodies, especially given how much we are expected to put them through. I firmly believe that all women, regardless of whether they’re on the path to motherhood or not, should be encouraged to undergo tests that empower them with a deeper understanding of their cycles and ovulation patterns. Even at the age of 35, there was so much basic information I didn’t know.”

Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs
Rebecca Jarvie-Gibbs

Now pregnant with her first child, a baby boy, Rebecca has been contemplating how her identity and approach to work might change when she becomes a mother.

“Work has been a defining part of my identity, and I’m proud of the tenacity and passion I’ve always had for my career,” she says. “I don’t want that to change, nor do I think it should simply because I’m becoming a mother.”

Rebecca’s advice to mothers is that they can and should do anything they want to when they have children – including starting a business. “My advice would be not to romanticise the journey, be led by purpose, not ego, and make sure you have a good accountant. The pressure can be intense as the final responsibility rests with you, but the independence and flexibility it offers can be incredibly empowering.”

Rebecca also knows what kind of mother she wants to be. “I hope to be a non-judgmental mother who nurtures resilience, independence and gratitude in my children. This little person will come out of my womb as their own person, so I see my role as helping them develop a strong moral compass, a set of guiding values, and the necessary tools to thrive in life.”

Non-judgment is something Rebecca also values in her friendships – many of which are scattered across the globe, in particular London, where she worked as a young professional.

 “[The strongest friendships] are grounded in a no-nonsense attitude, an understanding that time is a precious commodity,” she says. “You want to direct your energy toward those who genuinely uplift and enrich you. It’s about knowing that the people in your life truly comprehend and embrace you. These connections should be viewed as investments too; you need to nurture them to reap the most benefits.”

Although fiercely independent, Rebecca identifies as an extrovert who thrives on social interaction, especially in large groups. “I often take on the role of the self-appointed social organiser, and there’s nothing more satisfying to me than planning a long lunch with friends. Luckily I have a group of willing participants! In fact, I’ve already booked my first post-baby long lunch because I understand just how crucial it is for maintaining my sense of self.”

Throughout her pregnancy, Rebecca has gained clarity on her personal style. “Over the years, I’ve learned what clothing makes me happy and boosts my confidence – colourful prints, 70s silhouettes and bold boots. 

“I’ve moved away from trying to emulate others’ styles and instead focus on what I instinctively love. During my pregnancy, I’ve just leaned into that and continued to have fun dressing up. 

“I think there can be an expectation for a pregnant woman to downplay or hide the bump, which is a shame as it’s such a beautiful thing. I actually haven’t purchased any maternity clothes; my trick has been opting for a lot of bias-cut dresses that drape over the bump as it grows.”

Rebecca’s biggest challenge when it comes to pregnancy dressing has been her “new” boobs. “I’ve always had a flat chest and rarely wore a bra, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment to navigate this newfound bust. Not that I’m complaining about the cleavage, though!”

When it comes to clothing brands Rebecca loves, London-born brand RIXO has been her go-to, before and during pregnancy. “RIXO truly understands the female form and designs silhouettes that drape beautifully over the body, no matter your shape. I’ve been able to wear their pieces all the way through my pregnancy, simply sizing up and making minor adjustments as needed.”

In her shopping cart is a leopard print slip dress from RIXO, a Fella swimsuit and Karen Mabon pyjamas. She also loves silk bias-cut dresses from SIR, Dannijo, and Maison Essentiele. 

Looking ahead, Rebecca is excited to meet her baby boy and to watch him grow up with his cousins (her sister Amy’s two girls).

“There’s a line in John Lennon’s ‘Beautiful Boy’ that always brings a lump to my throat: ‘I can hardly wait to see you come of age. But I guess we’ll both just have to be patient’. 

I think it beautifully captures the joy and excitement of watching your baby grow while not wanting to rush the time.”

“I’m also excited to enter a new phase in my relationship with my husband, Gary. He has a magical way with kids, and I can’t wait to see how parenthood will allow us to grow, both individually and together. 

And, of course, finally enjoying a big bottle of Chablis over a very long lunch.”

Since the time of this interview, Rebecca and her husband Gary, have welcomed their beautiful baby boy, Otis. 

 

Words by Ellie Wiseman | Photography by Kaitlyn Bosnjak

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