If you’re a mommy that loves style and all things baby, you most definitely are familiar with the Instagram sensation, “Following the Bean”. Who is behind one of SA’s most stylish toddlers? Meet our next Mumu on the move, Catherine Basson. Apart from displaying her pristine fashion sense which she has passed down to her daughter, she shares with her followers a little bit of her life story in an honest and no-nonsense way. Mothers and fashion lovers love Following the Bean! I was particularly fascinated by getting to know the brains and creative mind behind this innovative brand and her great relationship with her daughter.
Hi Cath, Tell us a little about your background and what lead you to start “Following The Bean?”
Oh golly! My life has been a whirlwind of unbelievable events.
Whilst studying marketing I had the opportunity to intern at Hautemuse magazine. Through this I had the opportunity to help co-ordinate a cover shoot in Dubai of Kim Kardashian, I still have the magazine that has my credit next to the editors letter. After Hautemuse magazine, I was snapped up by a high-end boutique who hired me as an assistant buyer / social media manager. During this time we travelled to Paris and Milan fashion weeks to scout and buy the latest high-end fashion.
These events along with my short-lived modelling career essentially shaped and solidified my love for the fashion industry. To cut the next part short, met Rob (my hubba hubba), quit my job, left the Middle East, moved back to South Africa to get married. Got married, needed more, started a photography business, had Bean, started FollowingTheBean.
How has your life changed over the past year or so as a result of FTB?
Life after FTB hasn’t changed, I’ve always been a hard worker so no matter what Im doing I’m always giving 110%. But if you had asked me how life has changed being a mom, that would be a frightening 20 page essay!
Why do you think people are so captivated by you and Bean?
Authenticity. I don’t bullsh#t, I say it as it is.
It looks like you and Bean share a very special bond. What do you love most about being a mom?
Definitely special! The only person in the world who can deprive me of sleep and still receive a somewhat friendly interaction the following morning. My husband however…
I share life lessons on the blog, (life according to mommy), to someday show my son and keep a journal of my thoughts and experiences. What is the biggest life lesson you would love to someday teach your daughter?
Peeing in peace is a privilege, something mothers no nothing about.
Just kidding, I really hope that I can teach Bean to be strong and confident. To live a life knowing and believing that there are no bad experiences, only experiences and that she determines her own happiness not something or somebody else.
What lessons have you learnt from Bean?
Babies with FOMO is a legitimate thing!
Babies are durable!
One does not fully experience ‘unconditional’ love until you have a child.
What’s your greatest fear as a mother?
Humour aside, but falling and drowning in the pool.
What does a typical day look like for you and little Bean?
School, eat, play, try to sleep, don’t sleep, play, destroy, play, bath, play, play, play, pass out.
Well, that’s Bean anyway, I pretty much facilitate most of this and try to work and have a life somewhere in-between.
You have a beautiful Instagram feed and I just love the look and feel of your brand. Who takes all of your stunning photographs?
Myself mostly, my husband is pretty talented too with a camera so he helps out with most the pictures of Bean and myself.
How do you balance being a wife, mom, “momtrepreneur” and blogger?
I don’t. How can anyone achieve balance being a mom? I mean really? ‘Balance’ requires 8 hours of sleep… need I say more?
I’m on a personal mission and trying to help other moms to live a more simple life and focus on the things that really matter. Do you have any tips for mommies, struggling to manage all their day to day responsibilities?
When you crawl into bed at night and you can honestly say to yourself that you gave the day 110% of your time and effort, you did everything in your power to be the best ‘you’ that you can be than you have nothing more to worry about! Find peace in that.
You share honest and real moments of being a mother and have a very humorous way. Do you think we as moms take life too serious?
I think a lot of people mistake my humour for the rawness of my honesty, it’s like sooo true you can’t help but laugh?
In what way do you think you can help other moms and inspire them with your posts?
I feel like my audience inspires me more than I inspire them. I have the most incredible humans that make up the FTB community, as FTB grows my followers confidence grows too, they open up and share their stories. It’s their experiences and personal needs that fuel the content for FTB.
What’s the biggest misconception about mini fashion- and mom bloggers?
The fact that I’m not either, FTB is a community not an online catalogue. It’s taken a long time to get here but the party has just begun!
How/ where do you find inspiration and tell us the importance of being authentic in what we do?
My audience. I adore them and love receiving their emails and feedback.
When your personal life becomes your business, does it get difficult to separate the two?
No because I am extremely transparent, if I was faking it than yes, it would be near impossible. But I am me, Bean is bean, house is house, work is work, what you see is what you get.
Something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
I’m 20 something... That answer is always a showstopper.
How do you define your style?
Elegance that bites!
Is Bean a fan of fashion like her mummy?
Funnily enough I actually think so! She always brings me stuff out from her cupboard to show off and decorate the house with.
What are some must have items in any moms wardrobe?
Anything black. It hides sticky finger marks.
Must have items for new moms?
Baby carrier! Ubuntu baba is a great option, new brand for me, but I wish I had one when Bean was teeny!
A good Wi-Fi connection and Netflix.
How has your fashion changed since becoming a mom?
More practical. I’m not entirely sure why I still own heels?
What do you feel is most important to consider when defining a brand’s voice?
If you can truly understand the why behind your business, the mission statement will be clear, your target market will be clear and it’ll be easier to pick yourself up when you’re feeling unmotivated because you’ll refer back to your why.
The Internet is a noisy place and to make your blog stand out from the crowd, there are lots of things to consider. What are your top strategies/ tools to stand out in a sea of interesting content and thousands of blogs?
Be you. I don’t think I can say it better than Seuss “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Ant tips to other moms out there who want to start a blog?
Join my live chats! WE often talk a lot about these kids of things! You will also get to hear other peoples input!
What do you think most people do not know about blogging?
It’s a full time job, if you’re doing it properly. It’s ok to have blogging as a hobby but if you’re wanting to monazite on it you need to act as though it is a business which takes A LOT of research and preparation.
What social media platform has been the most beneficial for you?
FB and Instagram. I don’t even know why I bothered opening up twitter account.
What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?
The ability to say no.
Hmmmm, I’m working on a few things but I’ll chat to you closer to their release dates.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS WITH Cath & Bean!
Cath: Flats/ heels? Flats
Bean: Barefoot/ shoes? #Shoos
Cath? Bold Lip or Neutral Lip? Bold
Bean? Ice cream or Ice Lollies? Neither my mother deprives me of sugar
Cath: Handbag or Clutch? Handbag
Bean: Dory or Trolls? ”Nnnn…NO”
Cath: Bold jewelry or delicate? OOOO… tough one! I like both!
Bean: Milk/juice? ”Tee.. Tee, Tee”.
Cath: Five Fav Fashion items? My Louboutins, bright red lipstick, anything by @DollSA, all my handbags.
Bean: Three fav Toys? I’ll answer for her… Mom’s makeup, Moms handbag, Moms toothbrush, Dads shoes.
Cath: Day/Night? I feel like I don’t really count hours, there is no routine since baby Bean, we just do whatever we need to do when we can? Whether that be 5am or 5pm. Soooo neither?
Bean: Day?Night? “Nnnn…No”
Cath: Favourite colour? Grey
Bean:Favourite colour? ”No”
Cath: Vintage/modern? Hmm.. Both
Bean: Dolls/softies? ”Nnnnn… No”
Follow Catherine and Bean:
Interviewed by Elizabeth
(photos property of Following the Bean)