In Conversation with Fabienne Costa of YCL Jewels
A season of growth, expansion and discovering deep love. We sat down with the Founder and Creative Director of YCL Jewels Fabienne Costa
Thank you for taking the time to share a little of your life and journey with us. We would love to learn more about your childhood and what makes up your world today.
Something many may not know about me is that I spent my early years living in Italy, in a small town 1 hour north of Rome. Italian was my first language & when I moved to Australia I refused to speak English in primary school for a while. My Mum was a single mamma & raised my older sister & I by herself. Working & yet still showing up as such a caring & loving Mother day in & day out. This has definitely shaped not only the woman I am, but also the Mother I now have become.
You have built an incredible business that is widely celebrated. We would love to learn more about what drives you to pour into YCL year on year?
Oh, thank you. To be honest I struggle a lot with imposter syndrome, & can often find myself being distracted by everything I THINK I should be doing as a founder. It takes discipline to separate myself from this & stay focused. The drive comes from immensely loving my job, what I get to do daily & who I get to do it with. I try not to sit in states of 'dwelling' or procrastination, as I cannot create magic from that place & I am all about this magic.
Congratulations on recently becoming a mother. How has your relationship with work changed and what does balance look like to you in this season?
I am in the season of Season (which happens to be my daughter's name). I went back to work 3 weeks after giving birth, & I look back now just wanting to hug the fresh & deeply vulnerable version of me as a new mamma; still feeling I needed to grasp to the maiden & CEO-version of myself rather than focusing on just surrendering to the precious time with my daughter. Season is now 10 months old & I really have a gentle flow with work which sees me going into the studio 2 days per week while our beautiful Nanny cares for Season. We have quite a lot in the pipeline with YCL, which will see my contact hours at work increase however I trust all will flow when & how it is meant to.
What are your key principles for balancing business, motherhood and your own rituals?
Prioritising time for myself & letting go of any guilt that is attached to that. My partner & I have very open & honest communication that creates space for this.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I wake up around 5:30 am, & have been enjoying a cold plunge in our pool, which is completely chemical-free. This is such an invigorating way to start my day! Or I will exercise, I have been loving strength classes & pilates at FreeLiving Studio. Then I prepare a high-fat breakfast, usually eggs, salmon & sauerkraut, for both Season & I. I then wake baby girl for a breastfeed (this time I am just treasuring) & breakfast together. On days I am not working, I love just getting outside with Season. We live in Currumbin on the Gold Coast so we're often down by the alley walking, at the farmer's markets or grabbing some Italian at Tommy's for an early dinner.
On work days I will play with Season before our Nanny comes to our home, & then with an iced long black in hand, I am off to the studio. I only have two days in the studio so I need to make sure I am highly efficient on these days. We limit meetings drastically in YCL as they can be a lot of time-wasting for the sake of it. I focus on reviewing CADS for new designs, finance & forecasting, e-commerce proofing & designing. We're currently in the process of designing our new YCL Showroom, so a lot of my time has been spent working alongside our interior architect & General Manager on this exciting project
What have you found to be the most challenging area of your business to date and how do you overcome this?
Every year I feel like we face a new challenge, which after a decade of running a business, I try to welcome with open arms & love in my heart. Rapid growth during covid was definitely very challenging to manage, as every department of the company had new & expanding requirements that were not being filled. And post-pandemic has seen us navigate a softened market & changes in spending behaviour. Every moment of adversity brings opportunities for learning & growth, so I take this time to assess what is not working, build solid foundations for the brand, & strengthen what we are already doing well.
Where can we find your MARLOE MARLOE pieces in your home?
I see my MM pieces as works of art, so usually front & centre in our main living space on my dining table. However, as I have built quite the collection over the years, you will also find my MM piece on my desk at work holding my pens & tools, bathroom vanity for our toothbrushes & on my bedside table housing my fave jewellery.
What is creativity consuming you at the moment and what is next for you?
I am heavy into design currently, I have designed over 100 pieces so far this year & it feels good. So I am definitely inspiring myself in the creativity department! And what's next? A new YCL Showroom on the Gold Coast, a new service in that showroom, some overseas travel, which feels like a lifetime coming, our debut Bridal Collection & co-founding a new brand!