Chances are you’ve seen them around. The cult-loved velvet and satin slippers with conspicuous X-ray-style skeleton and zodiac appliquès stitched to their top. Mara & Mine is the name, and Jasmine Yarbrough is the co-founder. In partnership with Tamie Ingham, Yarbrough is one half of the brains and style behind this increasingly sought-after Australian footwear label. A former model, Yarbrough’s star is on the rise. From work–life in the burgeoning world of boutique fashion, to home-life with partner Karl Stefanovic, GRAZIA goes 24-hours behind the scenes with the inspired designer.
What was the catalyst for starting a shoe brand? We started Mara & Mine in Spring/Summer 2013. Tamie and I were working together in the fashion world; Tamie is a stylist and I was an international model for 10 years. We saw a gap in the market for high-end, fashionable, flat shoes that were wearable both day and night. We traveled the world together as friends and were in awe of the stylish women of Capri who wore beautiful flat sandals to night soirées. If you don’t know Capri, it’s nearly impossible to wear high heels on the cobblestone streets.
How did Mara & Mine come about? Tamie and I started the shoe brand together, while still working in our fields. Once Mara & Mine took off we were able to work on it full-time. We moved to Portugal for a short time to be close to our factory, where we learnt the ins and outs of making footwear. This gave us so much knowledge around what goes into actually creating a shoe. We learned all the elements involved in not only crafting them but creating a successful business selling them.
What is the inspiration behind the label’s distinct aesthetic? Mara & Mine’s initial skeleton theme came during our travels through Mexico. We drew from El Día de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, a cultural tradition celebrating life and death. The inspired colour and craftsmanship was then integrated into the designs for our first ever season and eventually formed the overall aesthetic for Mara & Mine. Our latest collection, Fall 2018, is reflective of the architecture, design and heritage of our favourite hotels around the world. The intricate floor inlays, the furniture, the wallpapers, everything. These hotels attract a well-traveled, cultured woman that the Mara & Mine aesthetic encapsulates. The result is stylishly wearable flat shoe that transports you comfortably and fashionably no matter where you are in the world.
Dusk Till Dawn
7am: I wake around 7 o’clock on weekdays. I make myself hot water with lemon and put on the Today Show to get my fix of news. Then I have a coffee and a slice of toast with avocado. My one indulgence is a long shower every morning. I use Rose Body Wash by Byredo and Tatcha face cleanser. I love giving back to my body and love the smell of these products on my skin. It’s truly the only part of the day when I get to be by myself away from phones and emails. It’s valuable thinking time before I get going and I absolutely love it. As soon as the shower’s finished I’m focused on what needs to be done for the day.
8am: At this time of the day I exercise. I love walking around the harbour in Sydney. In Mosman, the walking tracks are phenomenal. It’s a solid 45-minute walk to Balmoral, which is one of Sydney’s most picturesque beaches. I love the quietness and laid-back nature of the north shore. Every other day I play tennis for an hour or do an F45 class. Whatever I can pack into the hour before work clears my mind for the day.
9am: Work. By 9 o’clock, the time difference works for Los Angeles so I have a conference call with my business partner Tamie. She’s working in Los Angeles and across the US for Mara & Mine, so there’s always a lot to talk about. Our calls range in subject matter from designs for the coming seasons to distribution and sales to production and upcoming strategies. There are only two of us so there’s a lot to pack in. We also have a store, in William Street, Paddington which we were very proud to open last year. So, after the call to Tamie, I check in with the store staff to make sure everything is running smoothly. Every couple of days I visit the store to make sure the stock and fit out is looking good. Anyone who runs a small business knows the small details can make or sink you.
12pm: For lunch its generally something light. Either sushi or a salad does the trick with plenty of water. I love Japanese food. Then it’s back to work. It’s a rush during the week, so on the weekend my partner (Today Show host Karl Stefanovic) and I love to head further north to Whale Beach and stay with friends.
3pm: On any given day there’s plenty of administrative work to do and this is my time to complete it. It can be laborious but it’s necessary. I used to really hate it, the stocktaking, reporting, liaising with accountants, organizing couriers and handling production issues but now I feel empowered in knowing the business side of things so well. By 5pm Los Angeles is heading to bed so I use this time to talk with Asian distributors, manufacturers and the Australian sales and PR team.
6pm: After six it varies. Generally I love a home cooked meal. Olives are my favourite food in the world so I will open a jar and have some as a pre-dinner snack. I love staying home from Sunday through to Wednesday. I get to go to bed reasonably early and it keeps me fresh for the next day. I know it’s boring but I’m better for it. My dad always said the number of hours before midnight in bed count for more than the hours after. For many, many years I ignored that but like lots of things your dad tells you they end up being right.
9pm: Thursday nights I like to have date night with my partner. It could be dinner at a restaurant in town but we mainly stay local. We love supporting local businesses and restaurants. I guess I know how hard they work so I like to give back in that way. Plus, our locals are the best. The time together in our busy worlds is so important and lovely. It’s vital to reconnect and communicate and most importantly laugh. And we laugh, all the time. There’s always a lot going on so finding the humor in life keeps you sane. We are truly blessed to have found each other. Friday and Saturday night we like to visit friends or have friends over. For me, the time spent with those nearest and dearest is precious. I love my friends and I love giving them my time. I genuinely miss them and try and reconnect as much as I can. Then I sleep. I love to sleep. And know that a shower is not far away.
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