The Days of Our Lives: Kiralee McNamara, MURKANI Jewellery

In the officemurkani-jewellery murkani-jewellery_RFT0349With Lulu

In The Days of Our Lives we meet some fascinating and creative folk and take a look at what their typical day holds. Far from being about the mundane, it is a celebration of what it takes to juggle the day-to-day with big ideas, a successful business and a full home life. It’s about keeping all the balls in the air – what is important and what isn’t. It’s about (extra)ordinary moments that fill our every day.  

This week I’d like to introduce you to Kiralee McNamara, a Melbourne gal who is living in Vietnam and creating beautiful jewellery under her MURKANI label.

Launched just six months ago, MURKANI is already getting noticed for its bohemian-chic style. Each of the sterling silver and semi-precious stone pieces is designed by Kiralee who then works with artisan silversmiths in the hills of Ubud, Bali and the Karen Hill tribes in the northern hills of Thailand to hand make the jewellery.

From starting the day with a run along the banks of the Saigon River and being a hands-on mum to three rugrats, to creating her signature sterling silver jewellery and running a burgeoning business across many time zones, this is a day in Kiralee’s life.

A Day in the Life of Kiralee McNamara, MURKANI Jewellery

6.00 am

Saigon River

I try to start the day with a run. Living in Saigon means that it’s hot most of the year, so I head out as early as possible. I run through the compound in which we live. It’s relatively flat and has beautiful views of the Saigon River. Once home I quickly shower so that I can get the girls off to school.

7.00 am

My husband, Andrew, who is the better cook in the family, makes eggs for everyone – ours with tomatoes… the kids with toast…I love this family time before the rush of the day.


7.30 am

Mekong Merchant Cafe

Andrew takes our youngest, Lulu, to her playgroup on the way to his office. It’s like a kinder program for toddlers and she absolutely loves it and goes a couple of mornings a week. Holly (8), Chloe (6) and I jump on our bikes and head off to their school for their daily drop off. I then head to my local cafe to grab a latte. Funnily enough, I never drank coffee in Melbourne and have only picked up the habit in Saigon!

8.00 am

Working on product

Having a home office means I am at my desk around 8 am. My office overlooks our beautiful tropical garden. I love it. I like to think its like India Hicks’ garden in the Bahamas… but I’m sure it’s nothing like it!

I check my emails and overnight orders and spend some time trawling through social media. Andrew thinks I am a little obsessed with FB but I love the immediacy of the feedback I get on my designs. I then check in with Wendy who is in Australia and handles our customer service. Wendy is a great friend so it’s a pleasure to be able to work together.

I have just got back from a trip to Bali where I met with our silversmiths and worked on the new ranges. So today I am reviewing the samples that have arrived and making some changes. As we are about to shoot for our latest lookbook I’ve got to finalise all the samples from the collection. A few more phone calls with sales agents and stockists and its already time to collect Lulu from playgroup.


12.00 pm

After putting Lulu down for her nap, it’s time for lunch. I either grab a quick lunch at home or head out to local café to meet with a friend. Our lovely nanny, Nga, helps me out with the girls so I can get out. I find inspiration for my designs everywhere so I love getting out during the day. Saigon is full of inspiring people and places.


1.30 pm

Our lounge room

I am back at work for a couple more hours of work before picking up Holly and Chloe from school. Today after lunch, I am going out to look at locations on the river for the new photo shoot. The photographer and I have discussed a park he thinks will work… so I need to check it out. I am wanting to do some tropical, bohemian styled boat and water scenes which I think will work well with the new collection.

I’m also planning a trip to Melbourne and Sydney in 2 weeks to meet with agents and PR people. I love eating in Melbourne and catching up with friends and family so I do a little bit of research on the latest places to eat.


3.00 pm 

Halloween biscuits

From 3 pm onwards, I’m with my girls being mum. Whether it is taking them to tennis, ballet, swim squad, play dates or supervising homework. Today we are making decorations for Halloween celebrations on Thursday which are huge here due to the number of Northern American families who live in our compound.


7.30 pm

All three kids are usually fed, read to and asleep by 7.30 pm. My gorgeous husband cooks dinner while I clean up kids’ activities around the house. We vary between what I would call simple, hopefully healthy meals like steak or fish and salad to full on Vietnamese style pork clay pots…with a cheeky glass of wine. We often eat out as there are so many great restaurants here, but generally mid-week we try to keep it a little quieter.

I’ll generally catch up on work reading, magazines from home and abroad or watching the latest TV mini-series to hit the market. We are quite big fans of Game of Thrones…addicted I’d say! And we are always so far behind everyone in the world. It was a disaster for me when all my Australian friends started posting about Patrick from Offspring on FB. I still haven’t even got to that episode!

11.00 pm

Final check of my emails before bed. Ready to start it all again tomorrow!

You can stay in touch with MURKANI by following them on Facebook.

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