Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Part 3 of "Where I've been since 2013"

Continuing on from Part Two

After I'd been on maternity leave for around 6 months, I realised the thought of going back to work at Lush, made me anxious. Having had distance from the job, I realised in many ways it was entirely unsuitable for me and my skills and opinions would never be valued there. I wasn't one of the cool kids and therefore missed out on every opportunity for travel and further developing my skills with the international teams. I constantly had demeaning tasks allocated to me and was subject to bullying on more occasions than I can count. I have to be careful about the level of detail I go into here because honestly, it's so upsetting to even think about it, so instead I'll focus on what didn't make me feel at all welcome to come back. 

For starters, my bosses didn't call or message me or send flowers when I had the baby which struck me as very odd because we did flowers, card and cake for every birthday and when someone left the business. I wasn't kept up to date with changes within the business or included in company-wide surveys. No one in HR helped with Centrelink payments (no paid Maternity Leave you see) so I went without income for months until I figured out what to do. I wasn't sent big meeting minutes to ensure I knew what had been happening within the business while I was away (this is basic Maternity Leave 101 and there are numerous government websites that literally walk you through what to do and when) and I truly believe they had no intention of me coming back once they found out I'd moved. Hell, even my exit interview was cancelled. Thank you very much. 

I'd worked there for 6 years. All the way up from Christmas Casual to a very senior position. I'd worked the hardest I'd ever worked in any job. I truly believed in the vision and I let a lot of things go and sacrificed so much of myself personally in terms of health, relationships and energy for the good of the business. And the business lets me down, like, woah.

After agonising and mourning through the decision to not return, I took what I thought was the easy way out and resigned, claiming that I wanted to spend more time with my daughter and I wasn't returning to work. There didn't seem to be much surprise on their end and my final pay (consisting of accrued annual leave I'd tried to have paid out before I left but Payroll didn't process my request properly so I missed out) was paid promptly and I was sent on my way without a goodbye, thank you or even good luck. Seriously.

I'll be totally honest with you. It broke me. It broke my heart. Leaving Lush without so much as a kind word from my bosses that I routinely bent over backwards for, broke me. 

So, in my Tower Card moment (yeah, I'll get to that) I turned to what I'd always used in times of massive change and stress - Tarot and Crystals. Yeah. I'm woo-woo. And I turned it into a business! I took that trauma and anger and channelled it into something healing. No just for me but for others. My most popular Tarot reading is the Career Reading. So many people are disenfranchised with their jobs. Especially when they give 110% for so long they get to a burn out stage and realise they're unhappy and have no idea what steps to take next. They're my people. I get those people. I can climb down into the mud with them and bring a ladder because I've been there. Some days I feel like I'm still down in that hole. I help them see what's amazing about themselves, what fuels their passion - what they can do differently or what they can do next. It's healing for us all. That is my way to make something beautiful out of something so ugly. 

That business is called The Song of the Winds. Named after a Project Pitchfork song and yes, I'm unashamedly a big industrial goth at heart, haha. Check out my website if you'd like. Right now I have a small but beautiful section of crystals and of course, Tarot and Oracle readings available. 

But, I'm feeling a bit too raw to go on right now. So, in the next blog post, I'll explain how The Song of the Winds leads me back to Sailor Mouth Soaps and where we are today.

x Aliya

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Part 2 of Where I've been since 2013

Continued on from And she's back!

Getting that job at Lush was exciting but problematic because you see, my fiancĂ© and I had just bought a house that year, which we loved dearly, and his job was firmly Brisbane based. So, the plan was, I’d move down there, find somewhere super cheap (haha, it was Sydney, as if that was ever going to happen) give it six months and if I wasn’t into it, I’d quit and come back.

Unsurprisingly, considering my career path so far, I actually enjoyed it for the most part (although it was stressful in a way that I hadn’t predicted) and when that six-month mark came around, another promotion had come up and I began to co-manage the entire Brand Communication team. I was so fortunate that my partner in crime turned out to be one of the best people on the planet, so I was loath to leave because even when the work wasn’t fun at least I got to work with a dear friend. And plus, it was really exciting work at the time. Building it from the ground up, expanding, evolving. I did learn a lot from those experiences.

Eventually, Brad made the difficult decision to quit his job (which he loved, so that was tough) and move down to Sydney with me. At this point, we’d been doing the long distance thing for about 18 months and it was wearing thin. I’d always have to fly up and visit (although it was hard to do that more than once a month because, airtravel ain’t cheap) because we had two dogs and a bird with him so it wasn’t really feasible for him to come down because someone had to care for them. In that 18 months, we managed one visit of him to Sydney and that was only because my parents volunteered to housesit.

The poor guy had to pack up most of the house on his own, including my soap room, which was no mean feat because I had close to 150 molds and a tonne of materials until I had annual leave and could fly up to help. I’d found us somewhere else to live that would allow pets (usually impossible in Sydney) and with the interstate movers ready to go, it was just a matter of us getting all of the pets into the car and starting that 12 hour drive.

Sadly, Brad really didn’t like his new job and mine had morphed into something I didn’t recognise. Both of us were unhappy, stressed and felt trapped. Then, I fell pregnant. It was a surreal time for us because honestly, for many years, we were intentionally child-free, so it was an incredible shock to our family and friends when we announced I was pregnant.

For the most part, it was a hassle free pregnancy but I was extremely tired and had PGP that was made worse by my existing scoliosis. Work was constantly stressful and I found myself angry all of the time. When pregnancy forced me to mostly stick to 9-5 hours and take a lunch break, I realised how insanely overworked I had been. What I used to achieve, there was no way I could pump out that level of work anymore. Pregnancy highlighted that I had been heading towards burnout for a long time.

I had the baby in Sydney (which was a drama, but again, this isn’t the place for it) and Brad was lucky enough to be offered a job with his old work in Brisbane. It also coincided with the lease being up for the tenants renting our house in Brisbane, so everything feel into place once again and the yellow brick road led us back to Brisbane. This time, with a 5 week old baby and a very sore, unable to legally drive yet, mumma bear.

I still had close to 10 months on my maternity leave, wasn't in a rush to make any big decisions so we just enjoyed life, in our old house and had enough family nearby that looking after a newborn wasn’t quite as overwhelming as it might be been in Sydney. It  was also was more affordable to be back in Brisbane because Lush don't offer paid maternity leave and Sydney rent is crippling. We couldn't have afforded to stay anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

And she's back! Where have you been? Part 1 of probably a dozen posts

Why, hello! It’s with such pleasure that I can officially announce that Sailor Mouth Soaps is returning in 2018!

I’m sure many of you are like…”wuuuurt, you disappeared in 2013 and we’ve not heard a thing from you since!”.

Yes, that is true. Some of you may know but I began working for Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics in 2010, around a year after I had started Sailor Mouth Soaps. It was just a retail job I told myself, not actually intending to get involved for too long because I hadn’t actually settled on a career path yet. Prior to that I’d been a Hairdresser but after breaking my ankle pretty badly playing Roller Derby (Brisbane City Rollers forever!) I just couldn’t do the 12 hour days on my feet and playing with bath bombs all day and pampering people on short shifts during the Christmas rush seemed like a good temporary option and I needed a job so…that’s how it happened.

But, different opportunities kept coming up and I kept applying for them and getting them. Eventually, I was promoted to Head Office to start their Customer Care Department. With Lush being based in Sydney and me living in Brisbane, I had no choice but to move because I had to be there physically to work with the Mail Order team and rest of the Head Office people while this new department was set up.

I was given two weeks to pack up my life and move states. In hindsight, it was an absurd expectation of me and I should have negotiated something more manageable, especially since I was already Managing the Indooroopilly Lush store and it was Christmas. I was trying to finish training my replacements, get the team ready for me going and also had to make the incredibly hard decision to wind up my beloved Sailor Mouth Soaps. With only two weeks, I knew that I could only reasonably make and ship the orders I already had, notify my (crushed) wholesale clients and sell off as much holding stock as I could.

It was SUCH a stressful time. I’d be up at 5am or earlier, making soap, racing off to open the shop, working a full day, shipping orders at lunch or after work, coming home to wrap what I’d made that day and doing it all again. For two weeks, I worked from 5am to 10pm (at least) to meet demand. And that hadn’t even begun to include what I needed to do to pack! I was only allowed to take three suitcases with me (that was all they’d pay for my relocation costs…I’ll just let that sink in for a moment) so I guess I couldn’t spend much time packaing anyway.

That was Part 1 with another instalment coming soon. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

So long, farewell

Hello friends,

I have some unexpected news, Sailor Mouth Soaps has now closed on a semi-permanent hiatus while I re-locate interstate for work.

Everything has happened very quickly and I understand it's not the ideal time of year for my lovely customers (who are starting to place their Christmas orders) for me to close up and for that I am very sorry for the inconvenience.

All pending orders will be processed as per normal lead times and you will receive them shortly.

Another special apology is due for my wholesale customers wanting to place Christmas orders, I wish I could assist but am on a very tight time frame right now and cannot give your orders the time and care they deserve.

For Brisbane locals, until the end of November you can find a selection of products at Collective Avenue ( and anything unsold will then be auctioned off on Facebook if I have time before I leave.

My Etsy & Big Cartel stores have been shut but you can still leave feedback on Etsy for past orders, for now I’ve just deactivated all listings. Big Cartel was a difficult thing to do as I had to drop back to a free account while meant permanently deleting 84 items (ouch!) and losing all of that content. Sad face. Oh well, onwards and upwards.

Thank you so much for your past support, I’ve met some amazing people and I value each and every person that has placed an order over the last 3 ½ years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Flavours, GF, Q&A's, new locations & packaging upgrades

So yesterday, in frantic last minute preparation for the opening of Collective Avenue (a little shop of happiness) I was making a tonne of new lip balms and decided to take this quick picture before they were put into cute little trio gift boxes. I'll have a picture of them soon!

I can't decide which I like more, they are all smell so wonderfully yummy . I was hungry just making them.

The hygiene sleeves have been updated too, they now have a perforated top so you can leave the rest of the sleeve on the balm so as not to mess up the labels in your bag, yay! This little change makes me very happy, it's far more user friendly now.

Also I have mentioned before but it's worth saying again, the formula is now gluten free (GF) as I switched the Vit E (from wheatgerm) to Jojoba Oil. It feels more silky to wear and won't upset gluten intolerant tummy's.

I had an interesting question emailed to me today and I thought it was worth sharing here:-

I got a couple of lip balms from you a short while back. The Strawberry and the Apple. Just wondering...are they supposed to be kinda grainy? You have to press quite hard onto your lips to get them to transfer. Not sure if they are supposed to be like this, being all natural ingredients?

Hi Kat!

Mango butter is a bit sensitive to extremes of heat and cold, it can make it go a little grainy but it won't affect the nourishing properties of the butter. The balm I keep in my car has gone a bit grainy too 

They do take a little moment to begin melting so I hold mine to my lips for about 2 seconds then apply as normal.

I made them to be a little harder so as not to melt the second we get a day about 33*.

Thank you for asking! It is a very good question. 



If you have any questions about anything to do with my products, please don't hesitate to contact me. I promise to reply quickly :D

Have a great day and for Brisbane locals, remember Sailor Mouth Soaps will be available at the Mount Ommaney Centre at the Collective Avenue Boutique this Oct/Nov (hopefully longer).


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