We have always felt strongly connected to other Australian brands with a similar ethos to ours, which is why we are thrilled to welcome the next feature of our Father’s Day Series, owner of Australian menswear brand Oli Clothing, Oliver McDonald. What started as a hobby out of his bedroom at age 17, using a printing press he built with his dad, has grown into an established brand with an incredibly loyal following. As the brand has expanded over the years, Oli refuses to compromise on his brand values, creating limited collections that are still screenprinted in house on high quality, ethical materials, designed for longevity.
Oli co-owns the brand with his wife Phoebie, and the pair are also parents to 4 year old son Percy and newborn twins, Mabel and Harriet. With the exciting arrival of the twins in July 2023 taking his family from 3 to 5, Oli shared with us his experiences being both a young parent and business owner.
What does your family unit look like?
I’m very lucky to have a family of 5. Myself, my wife Phoebie, our 4 year old boy Percy and our newborn twin girls Harriet and Mabel.
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself as a parent, and are these the same three words your partner would use?
Tricky one. There’s a lot of words I hope I am - but these are the main 3. Fun, loving, present. These are words I’d use for when I feel like I’m parenting at my best. For sure there are days for example I’m not present, busy with work or generally occupied, but you try your best. I think Phoebie would agree… hopefully!
What surprised you the most about becoming a parent?
Parenthood is full of surprises! One thing that I’ve been really surprised by is how kids are born their own person. It’s something that amazes me everyday, obviously the way we parent and the way we are as humans around our kids helps to mould them, but they seriously are just born with their own personality & quirks. It’s beautiful, funny, sometimes frustrating but so joyful to watch as they figure the world out for themselves.
Which of your own characteristics do you most want to pass on to your kids?
Creativity is a big one for me. I hope I can pass that onto my kids and encourage them to embrace it. Sensitivity is another one, I’m a sensitive person but that's a trait I value and hope they will too.
Can you run us through a standard day juggling work and being a Dad?
As it is currently with a 4 year old and newborn twins my days are a little different to usual. Morning routine is to make coffee and breaky for the fam. Perc gets ready for school and I do the drop off. At the moment I go into the office 2-3 days a week and spend the other days at home with Phoebs and the girls. We live out in the Perth Hills so spend plenty of time outside. Both Phoebs and myself really enjoy gardening and exercising, so taking time to do that is really important. Getting out into nature is key and that’s something we will always do with our kids. Work is taking a bit of a back seat currently, but in the next few months it gets really busy so we’ll be juggling life and work. Few late nights, but we make it work!
How has having kids changed your outlook on work and life?
Gee it's changed my outlook on so many things. Pre kids I definitely obsessed about work. A lot happened around the time Percy was born, that first 6 months I was lucky enough to work a little bit from home and really soak up newborn life. When Percy was around 8 months old, Covid hit and that was seriously such a blessing work wise and for my personal life. We reshaped our business in this period and went through some massive growth but personally being forced to stay home was such a good thing for me. It meant I got to spend time with Phoebie and Percy and when I reflect on it I’m really grateful that happened. Now with the twins it’s made me conscious of making the effort to spend as much time with them as I can whilst they’re so little.
Oli's Father's Day select is our Impression Signet Ring in Sterling Silver.