Air kisses and blingy outfits are just one side to Lorinska Merrington from Yummy Mummies, who also covets business smarts, which have been key to her success story.
By Rebecca Hooton
“We went to go and get some Bubble O’Bills from the 7-Eleven and Penelope was like, ‘Mum, we need to twin!” says Lorinska Merrington, telling me about her daughter’s obsession with wearing matching outfits.
Grabbing snacks at the servo isn’t where you’d expect to find one of the mansion-dwelling ladies from Yummy Mummies.
But rather than spending her days sitting around sipping Champagne with an entourage of help around her, the reality is much more ‘normal’.
“Some days it’s so hard and so exhausting and it really can rattle you to your damn core. Some days you think, ‘I just physically don’t want to be a mum today.’ Then they do something and you think, ‘Okay, snap out of it’.”
As we chat, her two daughters interject for everything from a lollipop to an iPad, and it’s just like chatting to any other mum.
“Some days it’s so hard and so exhausting and it really can rattle you to your damn core. Some days you think, ‘I just physically don’t want to be a mum today.’ Then they do something and you think, ‘Okay, snap out of it.’” says Lorinska.
“I always tell myself, no matter how busy it gets, it’s just a stage … they won’t need you to put their clothes on or help them get out of the bath. Even if you’re feeding, or whatever it is, there’s always a last time.
“If I think about that too much it makes me feel sick to my stomach. So I try to stay present with the girls and put my phone away even for just five or 10 minutes. I often find after that they’re over me anyway and want to go and do their own thing.”
The making of Lorinska
Before becoming a mum, Lorinska was a primary-school teacher and did traffic reports on TV on the weekends. She was expecting her first child when she was asked by a producer if she wanted to film a pilot for a reality show about a group of mums-to-be. “I said, ‘Yeah, there are a few girls I know who are pregnant.’”
Next minute, the show was picked up by Channel 7. But it was when a deal was struck with Netflix and it aired internationally that their followings really blew up.
Lorinska’s Instagram account @lorinska now has around 702k people waiting for updates on her glossy life with her husband Andrew, who’s a partner in a finance company and former professional footballer, and their two daughters Penelope and Florence [and soon-to-be third baby].
Instagram versus reality
Nothing is ever as glossy as it seems, though. “I put up a photo on Instagram saying our family’s going on a holiday. I had a few people saying, ‘Your life is so perfect, everything looks so glossy.’ And I’m like, ‘If only you knew,’” says Lorisnka.
At the time, she was sadly losing a pregnancy she’d had before having her second child, Florence.
“Never judge anyone, because everyone’s fighting a battle in secret. I was fine to fly, I had clearance from my obstetrician, but I was on a plane having a miscarriage.”
In the months after losing her baby, Lorinska found she was still getting updates from an app she’d signed up to, telling her how big the baby should be.
“That was the worst possible thing. I remember it saying, ‘You should be full-term now,’ and that was just awful, and I thought, ‘I have to fix this.’”
Badass boss mama
After chatting with a friend who had also been through miscarriages and experienced similar things, they created the Bub app, which allows women to get advice from experts such as an obstetrician and midwife between appointments – without the potentially painful updates.
Lorinska then delved into business again, with a clothing line which fulfilled her daughter’s dreams of ‘twinning’ with her mama. “I was forever trying to find outfits to twin with Penelope and I could never find anything. So I thought, ‘Stuff this, I’m going to create my own.’” Over a wine with another mum friend, they hatched a plan for mama-and-mini outfits, and launched Royale by Lorinska.
And now, Lorinska is heading clothing brand Bub Hood, which makes gorge soft robes for mama and and matching baby wraps.
With so many successful ventures to her name, one might presume she outsources, but it’s clear that wasn’t the case. “I had so many sleepless nights trying to work out terms and words. You stay up when the kids go to bed and you start to put one foot in front of the other,” she says.
Her advice to others who have a business idea is to just do it. “Failure is a good thing because you learn. You’ve got to flip that failure. You learn so much more from failing than from succeeding. Give it a go, you’ve just got to start it. And if it doesn’t work, then that’s fine, dust yourself off and give it another go. It just might take some pivoting.”
3 TIPS TO BUILD A STRONG BRAND
Lorinska Merrington shares what she’s learnt along the way.
- Keep things lean early on
“If you can do it, do it yourself, don’t outsource it. As soon as you start relying on other people, you lose that control. It could be as simple as giving someone the control for Instagram. You might not word something that way. Once you start outsourcing, start getting more people involved, everyone has an idea and personalities clash. You end up dealing with the staff more than the product itself, making sure everyone’s happy and we’re all on the same page. So keep it really tight. Also never overextend yourself financially.”
- Always stay on-brand
“Don’t move away from what your plan is. Like, if you’re known for your casual-wear, don’t go and do a fancy dress. Don’t throw a spanner in the works. It can confuse consumers. Keep to your core. Make sure everyone knows what your goals are, where you want to go and stay focused.”
- Listen to your gut with social media
“I used to think, ‘Should I put this post up now?’ And now I think, ‘Just do it.’ You’ve got to be true to yourself. There was recently a girl and she was like, ‘If I put up a photo of me in a bikini I get a lot of likes, but if I put up plant-based food I get nothing.’ You’ve got to do what fits in with your life. Whatever you want to put out there, stick with that. Keep doing it and you’ll build that profile and people will know you for that.”