“You do realise this is 2017, don’t you?” That’s Briar Stanley’s rapid-fire response to those who say that women can’t – or worse, shouldn’t – do it all. The Interior decorator, prop stylist, lifestyle blogger and mother of two is living proof that you can balance your career with motherhood and an actual life of your own – and better still, succeed at all three.
It’s no wonder, then, that Stanley is considered one of Sally Hansen’s Self-Made Super Women. As the founder of beloved blog (and corresponding Instagram account) The Sunday Collector, Stanley’s work and life is regularly broadcast to a following that just can’t get enough of her fresh coastal style and gorgeous little family.
“I started the blog to document my travels around Sydney as a props buyer,” Stanley says of her blog’s beginning. Her work as a props stylist took her from the sets of TV shows like ABC’s Paper Giants to the decorating department of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and Australia, before she traded it in to fly solo as an interior decorator and freelance props buyer in order to spend more time with her growing family.
Establishing her own online platform gave Stanley the chance to showcase her style to the world, allowing her to switch effortlessly from working for other people to working for herself – a Sally Hansen self-made woman signature. “I already had an audience, so I simply announced it on Instagram one day, and by the next week I had my first two clients,” she recalls.
But don’t be fooled: behind those sun-soaked posts and dreamy interiors is an incredibly strong work ethic and one busy, self-made lady. “Because I work for myself I don't have to stick to business hours, so I'll often work at night after the kids have gone to bed and over the weekend when my husband can look after the kids,” Stanley explains. “Since I've had my second baby, I've also employed a nanny two days a week, which has obviously been amazing help too.”
Stanley has always had the drive to succeed – she got her first taste of independence when she nabbed herself a part-time job at the age of 13, and in her twenties, waitressed at night while gaining all the work experience she could by day in order to secure herself a coveted position in the film industry. “Breaking into the industry was definitely my biggest hurdle,” she reflects. “I was so determined to crack it.”
Now, Stanley is keen to model what it means to be a self-made woman to her two children, Sunday and Rafferty. She hopes her vision of Sally Hansen’s Shetopia – an ideal world made by and for women – will be a reality by the time they’ve grown up: “In my Shetopia, there would be equal pay for both men and women,” she says. “And I’d like to think a question like this wouldn’t even get air time – because everyone would already be equal.”
Stanley is conscious of fostering a healthy approach to beauty in her daughter. “I keep conversations about my own self-image really positive around her, so she has no idea about my own insecurities and just thinks I absolutely love everything about myself,” she explains. “She tells me, 'Mummy I love you so much, but I also love myself just as much', which I think is great. I'll be in no rush to buy her things like make-up but she does love to get her nails painted - pink, every time!”