" She is charming, elegant and feminine. A classic beauty that moves with grace and style."
Welcome to Libra season. We chat with the lovely Libran Lady herself Jaala Mills, one half of the stunning creators of Bower Botanicals. Libran energy in its highest form embraces beauty, art and sees the value in equal relationships. Jaala encompasses all of these elements. We gain insight into how she balances working in a partnership, motherhood and what beauty means to her.
You are the definition of a Libran Lady. Effortlessly glamorous, you embody the very essence of this zodiac sign. Embracing the art of beauty and the beauty of art. Essentially bringing beauty into the world and appreciating art for aesthetic pleasure rather than materialistic reasons. What does beauty mean to you and how would you describe the style behind Bower Botanicals?
Well, if only you could see me right now 'penning' this! In bed, in a glamorous socks/ knickers /t-shirrt combo with a cup of tea...
Beauty to me (and yes, I do - probably ridiculously so - appreciate beautiful 'things', aesthetically) is objects, people, art, animals, nature, places that speak not only to the eyes but to the feels. I suppose I see real beauty in the left-of-centre, the quirks; a beautiful crooked tooth, a runt kitten, gorgeous messy hair, a frayed & worn t-shirt, nose freckles, squashed banana on sourdough, an odd-looking bloom, smudged eye-liner, a haunting music track... imperfect, wild gardens. It's the non-perfect perfection that makes me feel something... so I think beauty is a feeling as well as an aesthetic. But donnn'ttt get me wrong - I am a sucker for all of those shiny, sparkly objects, too (& nice neat nails, which now I hardly EVER have).
The Bower Botanicals style in a nutshell I would say (& I'm speaking on behalf of a lot of Kelley/Mum, Bower Creative Director's work) is an extremely considered, romantic, rambling, wild, textural style, highly inspired by our surrounding environment. Structurally modern, with shades of light and dark and usually always displaying the juxtaposition of soft & solid.
Connection, collaboration and conversation. Not only are you enchanting us with your magic you also work alongside your Mum Kelley, in true Libran style. Libra initiates the value of partnership, indicating fairness to all. How did Bower Botanicals start? And what are some of the greatest lessons you have learnt along the way in regards to creating harmony and flow within the partnership?
Yes, how lucky are we to have had this opportunity?! Mum was born with flowers in her head I am certain of that! Not long after she had them in her hands & never put them down. She is a true artist & honesty the most influential inspiration in my life... she brings so much beauty (great for me, ha!) & I truly appreciate & fall in love with everything she creates (as does everyone).
So yeah, she is the Yoda florist working always in floral design & she founded Bower as a sole trader & had for two years whilst still working for other florists. I was working in PR & Events in a Sydney agency (working under one of my very best friends, Nikki - another strong, close personal/working relationship!). I aways did love flowers and grew up around them, + also a love for styling. So shortly after I had Archie, my son, we moved up to thew Byron area & decided to go into partnership & really give it a massive push - we felt we had all of the pieces to make it work. And it has been for 3.5 years now.
Ultimately, respect & fairness (with hard work & some talent!) make most small businesses work on a basic level. Those two things are deal-breakers to me in all aspects of life and values I aim to instil in my children. Unfairness & disrespect have no place in my world & seeing it in this world - on a grass roots & global level - breaks my heart & gives me the shits.
So, I think Mum and I do have that mutual respect for one another obviously, but also for the skills & dedication each brings to our personal and professional relationship - and to our baby Bower. We are at a point now where we have developed systems that have helped in defining roles within the business but I think ultimately, it's important that our personal relationship is in a good place so that everything else just flows.
Throughout your life do you feel like you have always thrived within relationships? Do you feel like you have greater insight and understanding of the needs of others? And how have these partnerships carved your relationship with yourself and your needs?
Um, I can honestly say that I have tried my hardest in the relationships (of all kinds) I've had to make them 'work', even the ones that should have been let go... or the ones that I found myself wondering why I was actually trying that hard. There's been a big lesson in that for me, as I have had toxic relationships which I've tried to 'save', where in hindsight I really should have just let go. I think really, it came down to making things right, balanced... harmonious. The fear of failing. But I do realise now that not every relationship can be saved or fixed nor does it need to be. Some aren't meant to be, and you certainly can't change other people, they're on their own path.
I've learnt to go with my gut feelings a lot more now & recognise when to give more and when to let go. That comes with age I spose, and experiencing both ends of the spectrum.
I'll still give everything I have to those close relationships, and to be honest, am often inside my head questioning things like: Am I giving enough? Did so-and-so get offended by something I said? It that thing I said going to effect my child for the rest of his life?? Ridiculous maybe, I do tend to overthink, but I just want those special people to know I'm there & I care a million percent... and I hope that all of my amazing friends who I don't see enough or talk to NEARLY enough, know this, too.
What I've mainly realised from past relationships is that I just want to be cared for and loved back. You hope that people reciprocate the respect, the nurturing, the love that you give... without ultimatums, without being asked. It just flows... that's a successful relationship to me and this, specifically, is the relationship I have with my partner, Jason. He has taught me a lot about relationships & really made me realise the kind of people I want to be around.
Being a Mumma of your little man Archie and soon to be Mumma of a little girl, do you find yourself playing the role of peacekeeper in times of stress? How do you remain resilient and create space for everyone to be heard, validated and understood?
To be honest, I can get a little stressed myself! Again, the overthinking thing. It's a case of wanting everything to be as smooth and balanced as possible, that I do tend to get a little overwhelmed when it isn't. I feel most relaxed when things are smooth sailing and can get a little thrown in times of severe stress.
I'm (always have been, even as a child) a bit of a worrier, but really underneath it's concern for the well-being of my family and making sure everyone is feeling good. I appear calm and balanced but underneath sometimes there's a fair bit going on haha.
I've always been a good listener and advice-giver (& love nothing more than being able to help those close to me going through hard times), so really I think I need to recognise when to stop and breathe myself.
I will ALWAYS allow for everyone to be heard in times of stress and disagreement. Always. Everyone has a voice & deserves their say. This is definitely something I feel is very important to teach my children for their early & future relationships.
Libra season is a reminder of the interrelatedness and connections among us all. As a woman and as a mother do you feel the more connected you are with your own self-worth, the more it allows you to have greater self-acceptance of others?
I think it's about trusting yourself, the decisions you make for yourself and your family & knowing that it comes from a place of love & what you've learned is best for you all. I suppose that's respect for yourself... not getting caught up too much in shiny social media, the latest opinion on what to feed your child, the next parenting fad etc. It's about really knowing your family and knowing yourself.
Knowing, and trusting yourself to me is self-worth. And if you have that, you can accept others, as they to have their own brand of self-worth. Not saying that we don't doubt ourselves at times, I definitely do, but that's growing as a person - coming out the other side, with some new insight or clarity from a moment (or week!) of doubt.
What is self-love to you? And how do you keep those Libra scales even most of the time?
A good bed! No but really, I love bed. Probably more that usual at the moment haha. But getting rest, definitely. It's quite simple to me really, just actually doing things that make you feel good and happy & not feeling guilty about it.
Listening to yourself when your body is saying 'lay down' at 8pm, your buzzing head is saying 'meditate' at 8pm. And without getting too deep, it's going to the beach coz it feels great, doing a self tan because you're pretty white right now and you want to be more tanned, it's getting a massage because you have tight shoulders, it's cooking that yummy meal because you're preggers and you really want it even though it's not everyone's fave, it's buying that dress because you just really want it and you work for it.
Man, I really don't know if I do, 'most of the time'! I mean, I don't really compare myself to others so I don't notice how 'balanced' I am compared to other people - I have no gauge! But MAYYTTEEE do I try! I really do strive for balance in all aspects of my life; family, business, friends, myself etc... and I am happiest when I have a good balance. The truth is though, trying to can sometimes bring a little stress for me, and so maybe after all I feel most balanced when I'm not trying TOO hard. Hmm, might have just taught myself something there.
Lastly, what do you hope to instil into your children about learning to love themselves from the inside out?
First up, back to self-worth. Knowing you are making decisions and taking action based on what you think is right, what feels good... coming from a place of love. Helping them to realise that this self respect is an important confidence to achieve whatever they choose to in life. Too in turn, treat others with the same respect that you have for yourself. Accept that people have different views, but to always stand up for what they feel is right. To allow others to speak their mind and to be fair, but to not be scared to let their voice be heard & to stand their ground on THEIR truth.
Also, to always be honest with theirselves & to trust in what they know and feel. There's a lot to be said about a gut instinct & learning how to recognise and act on that.
Being at peace with your actions, words and decisions makes for a the basis of a happy human. I would always encourage them to do the things they enjoy, see the people they love & who love them back, to eat the delicious food & indulge occasionally, or a lot... whatever ;)
You can follow the exquisite creations of Bower Botanicals @bowerbotanicals