If you’ve read our home page you’ll know that Aaron and I started this business almost 14 years ago. It’s not hard for me to recall how many years ago we started MullArch, because it coincides with the birth of our first child Daniel – almost to the day!
We both worked together at another firm (yes he was my boss and yes EVERYONE advised us not to mix business with pleasure, yet we did and here we are). After 5 or so years of dating, we got hitched and decided to start a family. A decision that lead to my leaving the firm and starting my own thing from home in anticipation of being a part time stay at home Mum. I didn’t set the world on fire, but I made enough money to contribute to the household.
I distinctly remember the day it all began. I was in the carpark of the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital on my way to see our midwife for Daniel’s day six check-up, when I got the call from Aaron to say that after much nagging from me, he had finally taken the leap of faith and parted ways with the firm he was a partner/director of. I was like all new mums – frantic (I was still at that stage when the thought of leaving the house with a newborn made me break out in a cold sweat), sleep-deprived and a red hot mess….what better time to launch ourselves into the ruthless world of self-employment!
It’s fair to say that things got pretty hectic for us pretty quickly. We were lucky enough to hit the ground running in terms of work, but we were also still trying to navigate our way through keeping a small human being alive, which added a level of complexity to just about everything. Somehow (I actually don’t know exactly how) we got through that intense time and came out the other side with a thriving architecture business and a beautiful little boy that we manage to keep alive!
There’s a part of me that thinks we may have become addicted to the intensity that came with our somewhat unorthodox entry into the world of small business, because three years later we decided to expand our family…not with one more baby, but two – at the same time. The universe decided that we needed (perhaps deserved) more of a challenge that one more baby and gifted us with twins.
For anyone that has owned and/or operated a small business, it’s a fine line between having too much work and not enough. We have never aspired to creating an empire – we’ve always just wanted to get that perfect mix of good service, ample work and great working relationships. As a result, we have never over-employed. We got lucky when we employed our long-term architect (who wishes to remain anonymous and still with us today) way back at the beginning. Ever since, we have fluctuated between employing a few extra staff over and above the core members of our team, and trying to plough our way through the work ourselves. As you can imagine, we can go from being flat out to twiddling our thumbs (and back again) in a number of weeks.
Anyway, when the twins arrived we had plenty of work so, in true Aaron and Jodie fashion, maternity leave for us was a little unconventional. We had a spare corner of our office that wasn’t being used so we turned it into a mini crèche. We employed a wonderful woman (who remains a friend to this day) to care for the twins while we continued working. I was able to breastfeed the baby’s in between running projects…which, as you can imagine, was a blessing and a burden at the same time.
Fast forward a decade and here we are. Last year was one of the slowest years we’ve experienced since the start, so we decided to do some rebranding and reinvesting into the business. Our logo has been revamped, we have a new website and I am delving into the social media side of things to see what our industry (and indeed Aaron and I) can offer the virtual world. We have never been the ‘wine and dine’ type of professionals. We want our clients to choose us because of our service and our reputation as good architects, not because we know a good wine when we taste it.
Part of this virtual endeavour is to drop our guard. We are proud of the business we have created and the architectural service that we provide. We want you to get to know us and what we stand for. One of the best tools at our disposal to do this, is blogging. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally managed to get on board. I must admit though I thought it would be easy…the idea of writing a blog every day or even every week seemed like a walk in the park…until I tried to write one!
Ironically, after working and living together for over 20 years, Aaron and I are very different individuals.
If Aaron ever decides to write one of our blogs you will see just how different we are – as people and as architects. One would argue that it’s our differences that have allowed our business to continue for so long…our weaknesses are covered by each other’s strengths. My blogs will be thoughts, feelings, emotions…Aaron’s will be probably be facts and figures (if he writes any). All we ask is that you take each of them with a grain of salt and remember that we are here to create relationships and buildings…our blogs reflect our experience and our personalities – nothing more, nothing less.