INTERVIEW

EMMA LANE, CO-FOUNDER, THE FARM BYRON BAY

Co-Founder and Director of The Farm Collective, Byron Bay, Emma Lane is a bright smiled businesswoman, mother and multi-disciplinary master of the arts. Having recently had the pleasure of shooting at her family hinterland home, The Range, we sat with the entrepreneur and sustainable sultan to chat the power of instinct, the sanctuary of home and a little help from your friends.

Chances are you’ve visited, or at the very least heard of The Farm, Byron Bay. A now icon of NSW, Australia’s northern destination and the reality of one family’s dream to embrace the heart and health of farm life. What started as a simple move from city to country has now bloomed into an edible curriculum on humanity’s dependence on nature: The catalyst for farm to fork thinking that has swept a generation. It’s a legacy project and something Emma Lane classifies her greatest (professional) achievement to date. After all there are four other, personal accomplishments to speak of first – her children together the inspiration for this one of a kind journey.

“Working in advertising in England, I travelled to Australia for a year off and absolutely fell in love. I moved here, met my now life and business partner Tom (Lane) and a few years on married and started a family. Having kids really makes you assess everything you do, and with advertising quite a demanding industry, I turned my interest to nutrition.”

“I truly felt responsible for setting my babies up for the best possible start, and so went about learning and excelling in this new field … always keeping the creative juices flowing,” shares Emma.

It was at this time Emma also took up yoga teaching and photography studies. Admitting to a fire for excellence in all she does, Emma soon opened a photographic business with a focus on kids’ portraiture.

“I act as the creative director of my life and businesses … it’s all about how you can jump to the left or right, harnessing your skillset in different ways to suit that particular stage,” believes Emma.

THE FARM, BYRON BAY

“Sometimes when we pause, this allows space for new ideas to arise and the room for your gut to speak and be heard...”

For Emma it’s also about being true to your passions in the moment and attuning to instinct for insight on what’s next.

“For women considering a career change, or who are simply at a crossroad, my advice is to always trust your gut. We were born with instincts, and if you connect to this, body and mind, you will know when something isn’t working. You must believe in this process,” says Emma.

Emma continues with the story of a friend’s recent decision to take up professional cleaning. A successful architect, it was decided he needed the time to stop and reset, some breathing room minus heavy responsibility and with the luxury of 9AM – 5PM. No late-night emails calls and concerns. For this individual, cleaning has become a time for mindfulness, simply in the act of sweeping.

“Sometimes when we pause, this allows space for new ideas to arise and the room for your gut to speak and be heard …  because you’re not pushing it down with the doing. Women are doers, we’re always outward. So, what are your tolls to reset – to have the space to think ‘where am I going?’ You can paddle downstream with the current – or take a left.”

Mindfulness is an important daily ritual for Emma, allowing some alone time with just herself, her instincts (and perhaps the family dog).

“I might take the dog for a walk and simply practice listening to the sounds under my feet and the surrounding breeze. This is my time to check-in with myself.”

Something we’ve all found ourselves doing a little more of in 2020. Checking-in with ourselves, loved ones and our professional place – our stability and sustainability.

This year has of course challenged The Farm Collective but encouraged that trusty flexibility and fiery desire to succeed with new, online offerings to sustain jobs and keep the brand’s beloved community connected and inspired.

“This year has taught us how important it is not to have all our eggs in one basket. How nimble is your business? Look at the print industry, the magazines that have survived are those with a strong online presence. It’s important to ask, ‘how am I going to work with my business to make it function better in this time?’” says Emma.

THE RANGE INTERIORS
LUNAR CARDIGAN SHOT AT THE RANGE
THE RANGE ENTRANCE

On a personal note, this year has reaffirmed Emma’s belief that ‘home is your sanctuary.’

“We’re always focused on travelling away from home and creating these amazing holidays. COVID has inspired people to manifest this in their homes – creating a doorstep destination to arrive and feel instantly relaxed – and this is how it should be.”

A guaranteed sensation upon stepping inside Emma and Tom’s family home, otherwise known as The Range. A Spanish-inspired exterior, blushed pink and encasing a tonal interior journey bringing the outdoors-in. The Range rests entirely off grid and has reimagined almost every material from its former 80s self.

So, what’s the secret to this effortless juggle of family, love and business, each ball gliding artfully alongside the next, falling into place at just the right time in one super successful show of life.

“A good decision on your life partner is a great start! Tom is an amazing husband, father and businessman … and he’s not chauvinist as in ‘you do this, and I’ll do that.’ It’s whoever is in the best position to complete the task at the time.”

“And don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’ve had a lot of help along the way. For example, when we moved to our first hinterland property, we arranged a contra deal whereby we were given some helpful hours around the home in return for land to grow vegetables. Don’t be a martyr, and don’t over commit to things! It’s very easy to say ‘yes’ to someone or something and then compromise yourself. Give yourself a day to think about it and then commit to things you can really enjoy.”

And that seems to be the Emma Lane mantra. Move and manage life to suit your people, passions and processes. Those around you can only benefit with the beautiful stories you create. More of which we can expect from Emma and Tom.

“I do love the whole process of creating a sustainable home and would love to build something on a smaller scale (to The Range) – something more available than our home, and that really immerses people into the farm experience with subtle education cues along the way. Anything we do will align with that strong, regenerative value on which we began.”

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