Queen of the Quips, Aunt of the Agony, Bobby Green is one of those people you want to spend a lot of time with - even if it’s from the comfort of your sofa as you watch her hilarious instagram stories. She’ll welcome you in with good humour, deep compassion and the safest of spaces. Read on as we spend 5 minutes with Bobby of Charm Offensive Tees.
Tell us about young Bobby. What did she want to be when she grew up?
8-year-old Bobby decided to become a Paediatric Neurosurgeon after reading miracle stories in the Reader’s Digest magazines stashed in her grandparents’ caravan on summer holidays. She took all the necessary steps to get there, then decided to have a break and head to Melbourne just before finishing her undergrad degree in Biomedicine. She owned a few businesses, had a few kids, and never quite made it back!
Did Bobby get her wish?
Never say never!
Professionally you’ve done a lot of seemingly different things - running some of Melbourne’s best cafes, working at one of Australia’s most loved digital agencies, building a T-shirt business. What’s the common thread? How did/do each of these roles play to Bobby’s zone of genius?
‘Zone of genius’ is probably a bit generous - I think you’ll find the common thread in being able to do each of those jobs effectively is an ability to relate to people and to create communities where people feel valued and cared for - and I want to continue with that as Charm Offensive grows so I’m taking steps to outsource some of the more logistical stuff so that my community can remain my focus.
A great example of this is how the Friday confessionals have taken off- people followed them initially because they were funny, but I think it’s evolved into something a bit more universal where people see other people confessing the exact thing they themselves are experiencing, and feeling their own burdens or shame lifted by the power of shared experience. It’s turned into what I hope is a safe people to really support each other [as well as the lols and the customary filth, of course.]
I'm also really impulsive by nature, but after lots of therapy I’ve learned to check in and see if a new idea or project fits my skills and aligns with my values before making a big leap.
Some say work-life balance is a myth. What do you think?
If it exists, I haven't found it yet - I always have a lot of balls in the air because I think I flourish that way, [I have ADHD and get bored easily] but I’m getting better at noticing when a ball needs to be dropped or handballed and leaning into that a bit more this year.
Your T-shirt business, Charm Offensive, is loved for it’s no nonsense commentary and bold statement Tees. How did it come about?
I designed a couple of tees for myself to wear and they always got comments when I wore them out and about, then one day I was home sick from work and had a very vivid fever dream that I launched a very successful T-shirt business. And I woke up and sort of thought…. ‘Cool.’
Then I made a quick running inventory of the skills I had in order to service that and went yeah ok let’s do it. Not a lot of thought, no systems, no structure, no experience, but I backed myself to learn those things on the fly - and now I’m at a point where I can hire people to help me implement really watertight structures to help me juggle more effectively in the absence of balance, [and rest when I need to!]
One of the things I most admire about the way you speak to your community at Charm Offensive is that you’re not afraid to call out bad behaviour while speaking up for what you believe in. While some people would be afraid of this approach, for you it has magnetised a strong following of fans quite quickly. What advice would you give a small business owner who think they always have to take the safe road in their marketing?
Work out what your values are, and what you’re not prepared to compromise on. People are drawn to businesses that stand up for what they believe in, and all the data points to greater brand loyalty where brands are prepared to challenge poor behavior and assert their values. I’m passionate about making sure my social presence feels safe for groups of people who have historically been marginalised, and I will absolutely call out poor behavior that harms those people in particular.
My personal values are generosity and freedom, and while I want these for myself, I want to create them for other people too - the goal is for Charm Offensive to be my conduit to do more good in the world.
How do you come home to yourself when you have:
2 minutes: a stretch
5 minutes: a little bit of plant care
1 hour: a wank and a nap
Reading: The Dry [book before film, radical I know]
Watching: Wakefield on ABC Iview
Listening: Josh by Peach PRC on repeat
Eating: Brisket sandwiches on fresh-baked sourdough
Smelling: Your heavenly Home incense