Celebrating International Women’s Day with founder of The Grace Tales, Georgie Abay

Saturday 23rd February, 2019

There’s nothing more beautiful or inspiring than the power of female leadership. Taking the time to step back and appreciate the strong, confident women that make up today’s modern society, well, there’s no day more suitable than International Women’s Day. This year – in celebration – we’re shining a spotlight on mum, former Deputy Editor of Vogue Australia and founder of The Grace Tales, Georgie Abay. Here, we discuss budding beginnings, career highs and style that empowers.

Tell us a bit about how The Grace Tales began?

I launched The Grace Tales back in 2013. I was working at Australian Vogue as the Deputy Editor, pregnant with my first child, and looking for great online publications for mothers. There were plenty of websites that covered the basics, but nothing particularly aspirational. The fashion magazines I used to love no longer felt relevant to me. I wanted to hear how other women managed the struggle, the juggle and the joy of motherhood. How do they create ‘work that works,’ as Christine Armstrong so perfectly summed it up in her recent book. After all, sharing our vulnerabilities is how we connect.
Content creation is in my blood – it’s what comes most naturally me and it’s what I’m most passionate about. I started shooting for the site with photographer, Julie Adams, when my daughter was about five months old. We launched shortly after, and the site organically grew.

After 18 months, I resigned from my position at Vogue. I left my dream job, and I didn’t look back once. That was five years ago – we’re now the go-to, premium parenting platform for mothers around the world and have editors in Sydney, London and LA. We’ve expanded into an events arm, a digital magazine and, last year, launched a membership platform: GRACE Collective.

What are some of your proudest career moments thus far?

1. Becoming the Deputy Editor of Australian VOGUE.
2. Getting the kidswear brand I co-founded into the world-famous fashion store, Colette, in Paris.
3. Hosting a GRACE Talks event with Dame Quentin Bryce as our guest speaker.
4. Getting our book, Grace Mothers Letters To Our Children, stocked in Liberty London; and actually, the book itself I am so proud of – I can’t wait for it to launch.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

In her foreword in our book, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce writes: “I have a strong commitment to the continuing struggle for gender equality. Yes, our proud Australian women’s movement has notched up many powerful reforms – measures that I never could have imagined when I was a girl – but we have a lot more to do to reach our goals of equality, of opportunity and equal status for women. This includes the support needed to fulfil potential, hopes and aspirations.”
International Women's Day is about celebrating the vast achievements of women, but it’s also a reminder of how much work there is left to do.

Who inspires you and why?

The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce and her words: “You can have it all, but not all at the same time.” Don’t be in too much of a rush – and speaking of rushing – I love nutritional biochemist, Dr Libby Weaver. She was a guest at a recent GRACE Talks event and is the author of Rushing Woman's Syndrome, the modern malaise of always being ‘busy, busy, busy.’ Dr Libby explains the true cost of constantly rushing and the impact this can have on our health. The more awareness we have of the habits we create and the more mindful we are about trying to slow down – this can be as simple as 20 minutes of meditation a day – the more we will actually achieve.

What is the one item in your wardrobe that always makes you feel powerful?

A great skirt. I will build a look around my skirts – they’re always the starting point. Also, a bit of a heel always makes me feel a lot more polished and confident.

If you had one important piece of advice for the next generation of young women, what would it be?

Don’t take no for an answer. Be determined. Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with women who believe in you and inspire you (because a lot of them will not want you to succeed). We get told ‘no’ over and over throughout our lives. When I was trying to get a job at Australian Vogue, I would email the editor for years expressing my interest in working for the publication. I never once got a reply. During this time, I moved overseas to London to study at the London College of Fashion, then moved to Dubai and worked on the launch of Harper’s BAZAAR Dubai. One day, I got an email back and the rest is history. Don’t give up. If we got a ‘yes’ all the time, they wouldn’t be as significant as they are.