For the next instalment of our Father’s Day Series, we are thrilled to welcome Athan Didaskalou, owner of cult-favourite Australian luggage brand July and father to Asha and Leo.
After taking a 95% revenue cut due to COVID19, the July team utilised the abundance of time to refine and redevelop their range, coming back even stronger. July have since opened 5 stores across Australia to complement their booming online presence. Having both established incredibly successful careers, Athan and his wife Shamini, CEO of Australian skincare brand Rationale, have built an incredible support network of family and friends to help with the juggle between work and parenting.
Athan seems to have mastered the delicate balance we all strive for and our chat with him highlighted the value of slowing down and appreciating the little moments.
What does your family unit look like?
Our day to day family unit is my wife Shamini, my two children Asha and Leo, and my parents, Angelo and Adrianna. That whole “village to raise a family” thing, that’s us. On top of that is our nanny, friends, and Shamini’s parents when they’re here from Singapore. Collectively working all together to get it all done.
What advice would you give people about to embark on a similar journey to yours?
Don’t be afraid or hesitant to lean in and enjoy it all. Don’t get caught up in what you’re supposed to be doing; all you’re supposed to be doing is spending time together. If they ask you to play, play. If they want to be carried, carry them. If they want sweets, every now and then do it. The first 6 years are the absolute best years, enjoy them and they’ll forever remember it and be shaped by it.
Which of your own characteristics do you most want to pass on to your kids?
The same characteristics that were passed onto me; every hurdle is an opportunity, understand that it’s never the end of the world, and that you are loved and supported no matter the choices. I feel extremely lucky to be brought up in a family that wasn’t afraid of me taking risks or doing things that didn’t result in me being a doctor, and I am forever grateful. I wish to be able to pass this feeling onto my kids too.
Can you run us through a standard day juggling work and being a Dad?
I'll give you last week's. My wife is in Los Angeles for work, so I get to do the cheeky thing of bringing both kids into bed with me at night and all three of us sleep together. Wake up, make them some breakfast. My daughter will eat porridge. My son wants porridge, grilled halloumi pieces, custard, and a slice of bread (he's 2, by the way). With dad they dress themselves; Asha in rainbow dresses or witch outfit, Leo in Spiderman gear. Sam, our nanny, works part time with us and she'll take one of them while I take the other to school. I let them drive the car out the driveway on my lap. After the drop I head to work. My mum will pick them up from kinder, and I'll then swing past and grab them on the way home. Mum cooked extra food for the kids which means I get dinner too. Win win. Head home where I'll wash the kids in the bath and try to do some basic cleaning. We then head to bed to read some books all together, where I fall asleep before they do.
Which accessory or piece of jewellery would you never leave the house without?
I went to Greece recently and was given complimentary necklaces for the kids and myself. It has three charms on it, a moon and stars for my daughter, a lion's head for my son, and a symbol of health for the third on the way. The kids always ask me if I'm wearing mine, as they're wearing theirs, so we have this morning ritual of pulling the necklace out from under our tops and showing each other that we're wearing them. So cute.