Folks We Love with Emma McClean, Founder and Creative Director of Children of the Tribe

Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.

Prior to Children of the Tribe, I worked in a corporate scene for Yahoo7. I loved the challenge associated however my creative passions were put on hold while I strived to make the big bucks. Steve worked for 10 years on the oil rigs and spent long stints away so when I fell pregnant with Willow and was on maternity leave, my ideas were flowing and it gave me the chance to focus on Children of the Tribe. At the beginning, it was just babywear and we now go up to up to 8 years.


Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?

Emma – 34

Steve – 36

Willow – 5

Coco – 2

How did you choose your kids names?

I have always loved the names Willow and Coco and both of our girls were named prior to birth.



The magical beach town of Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales, Australia.


Founder and creative director of children’s clothing label, Children of the Tribe. We design clothes for free-spirited kids who love to swim, surf, explore, climb trees, roam free and daydream in the sand dunes as well as accessories and homewares for the whole family.


What’s on your manifest board?

Its overflowing at the moment with images of beaches in Australia’s Far North Queensland for the shoot to launch of our first swim collection, a forest at night as inspiration for our sleepwear shoot and the vibrant colours of Marrakech for our Summer 17/18 collection.


Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?

We tend to rise early with the kids and are out the door for coffee/walk/surf check and then hit the beach or morning activities. I find the kids are happiest at the beach, exploring and being outdoors before midday rest time.


What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?

At the moment, Willow is waking at really early hours of the morning and asking, ‘Mum and Dad, what do you think my friends are doing right now?’ This is at 2am and is occurring every second night! Coco is currently going through the MINE stage and claiming everything including little dogs that are tied up out the front of cafes and little old ladies pretty shoes!


When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?

Like most teenagers, I think my dreams changed daily – from joining the police force to being a presenter on a travel show to travelling the world in a Kombi or owning a shop – and I’m sure this was influenced by friends, what was happening around me or a holiday I’d been on. Yes, things are very different now. I studied primary education and now own a children’s clothing label.

What are some things you really believe in?

Letting kids be kids! Allowing and encouraging them to get away from a computer screen and play outside barefoot, climb trees, enjoy the outdoors, get messy, laugh, explore and use their imaginations. We really design our collections with that in mind. It’s so important to me.


Where do your passions lie?

In communicating with our children. In my household, there is no such thing as a silly question. It’s important that kids can feel comfortable and confident to communicate in front of anyone.

Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?

YES! We can no longer be spontaneous and make last-minute decisions like jumping on a plane the following day because flights are cheap! We tend to talk in code as our conversations are ALWAYS interrupted. It’s rare that we ever sleep in the same bed and if we do, both kids are in there too. We wouldn’t change it, though! We actually can’t remember what life was like without them.

What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?

I never took life too seriously however I was heavily involved in sport and trained in the hope that I would one day make the Olympics. I realise now that winning is not everything so I would have told myself to just have fun! I am so thankful that social media did not dictate my teens and that there was no Facebook and Instagram back then. The damage that social media does to our teens today really worries me.


What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?

It’s definitely one of the hardest jobs but by far the best job. It’s rare that I ever have a moment of just ‘me’ time because if I don’t have the girls, I’m usually working. For me no two days are the same so usually a tough day is followed with a day that is a piece of cake. I have learnt to take it for what it is and remember to breathe!


What do you want your kids to learn about the world?

To always travel with kindness. Accept a place for what it is and understand that there is a big wide world that is ready to be explored. This is a topic of conversation in our house currently with Willow as we are teaching her that we are all equal.


What are four things you can’t live without as a parent?

· Wipes – They are always in my bag

· An evening red wine

· Family and friends – I call my parents daily and my sister owns the house next door.

· My girls both have a soft rabbit that they sleep with. If we ever misplaced these, it would be tragic for all of us!


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