Fran Woods December 16 2016

The life of contemporary women is complex, multifaceted, sometimes challenging, sometimes overwhelming yet also brimming with opportunity. We ask some of our most treasured Chorus clients to share insights into how they juggle professional and personal life. 

For our Holiday Edition Lou speaks to Fran Woods, co-director of Franjo’s Kitchen, Lawyer, mother of two beautiful daughters and genuinely one of the most multi talented and hard working women we know.

Fran, we met whilst working in the corporate fashion world, myself as a visual merchandiser and you as a lawyer, in the last few years we’ve both seen some significant career and life changes can you tell us about your career path?
I guess if you look at it from the beginning to end, it seems quite surprising that I’ve gone from lawyer to business owner, but to me, it feels like I’ve been heading here the whole time. I started my legal career in a boutique CBD law firm doing retail leasing and M&A work. I then went in house with the Witchery Holdings Group in 2010 (who were acquired by Country Road in 2012). I spent 6 years in house and absolutely loved being inside a business. I also absolutely love Retail. It’s a fascinating industry to be part of. On the side I was always taking part in projects. I owned a magazine for a while, was a regular food writer for a few publications and also ran a number of events and pop up restaurants. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and am absolutely passionate about retail, brands and business so I feel like I’m exactly where I should be!

What inspired the starting of Franjo’s and how has the business grown?
When I was breastfeeding my first baby Phoebe, I had supply issues. I introduced formula at around 4 months on advice from the maternal health nurse and became obsessed with increasing my supply naturally. I googled “increase breast milk supply” and found hundreds of biscuit recipes online plus realised that I was not unique in having this problem. Around the same time I met my business partner Jo, a naturopath. Jo was developing her own healthy biscuit company at the time and I just had a brainwave moment where I saw the gap in the market matched with Jo’s skills and Franjo’s was born!

What is the biggest challenge and biggest joy of being your own boss?
Putting aside the financial stuff (i.e working for years without being paid!) I think the biggest challenge is really the self-belief stuff. Starting a business, especially when you are trying to do something new or innovative takes so much hard work and time. We have been going for 2 and a half years and are only just starting to see the true potential of the business. Keeping motivated and believing in what you are trying to achieve is fine on the good days but the real challenge is pushing through during the hard times. Jo and I both had babies last year (Jo had twins) and we had to keep going. That was tough. The joys on the other hand are infinite. I love that I have the freedom to choose my own work schedule. That I can put my kids first if I need to. That I am the master of my own destiny, it comes down to how hard we work. We are working for ourselves, and our families. It feels like a real privilege.

Where do you find yourself working on a daily basis?
On my phone! I work from home and do have a home office set up but I also spend a lot of time working off my phone (yes I’m that mum at the park). We also have lots of meetings, with our creative and branding team, with mentors and recently we have been trying to do a lot more networking and meeting like minded people. Everyday is different.

Do you have a favourite ritual to facilitate rest?
I’ve been on a bit of an exercise buzz lately and that has really helped me sleep and switch off. I’m hooked! Otherwise I love getting stuck into a good tv series with my husband and trying to disconnect my brain from the ever present mental to do list!

What part of your day/ week do you most cherish and why?
I actually love Mondays. The house is clean and quiet, the week is ahead of me and I can get my head sorted for what I need to achieve. I find myself becoming more stressed as the week goes on (when I realise I haven’t achieved anything on my list!). Of course I also love the weekends with my family and Fridays when I try not to work at all and just be present with my girls.

How does the way you dress factor into your daily work routine? 
It really depends whether I am meeting with anyone or not. I try to dress up a little for meetings but when I’m just working from home I pretty much throw on jeans and a t-shirt or my active wear!

What are you wearing when you feel most comfortable?
A beautiful dress. I do love wearing beautiful clothes and making an effort. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to!

Fran wears the Hex Wrap Dress in Black and Navy and the Hex Tee in Black and Navy with the Hex Pants in Bronze. Orders on our Holiday Edition close on Sunday 29th January.   

Images by Sarah Pannell.