Describe the BEST experience of your life?
It’s impossible for me to narrow it down to just one! I’ve lived such an amazing 27 years on this earth so far and can honestly say that each day brings with it a new and amazing experience. I feel super lucky for all the adventures I had as a child, a crazy teenager, a young woman and now a business owner, girlfriend, sister, daughter.
What do you typically tell people when they ask you what you do?
I own a graphic design studio and feel like I have the best job in the world. I love my life and I love what I do.
What’s your most quirky personal trait?
I have to watch movies with subtitles on because I am way too visual and can understand so much more when I see the words. (I promise I’m not deaf, it’s just my visual input outweighs my audio!)
How did SMACK BANG DESIGNS come about?
Ever since I was young I’ve been crazy obsessed with making things and expressing my creativity. I’ve also had a serious problem with not doing as I was told and being a little too headstrong/independent for my own good. Directing a design agency was the most obvious answer and I couldn’t be happier. I started this baby about 5 years ago and it has unfolded and grown in a very organic way, each year we have doubled in size.
I have a team of 14 talented humans by my side and we can be working on over 80 projects at any given time.
What was a defining moment in your business?
About 12 months ago we were approached by Westfield to do some branding for a new space they were developing. During a meeting we had they told me, that they had ended their relationship with a particular design agency in order to work with us as they believed Smack Bang was producing a better calibre of work. Much to my surprise, the agency they were talking about was my all time favourite studio whom I’d idolised since my uni days. Their work is amazing so to be mentioned in the same sentence as them let alone picking up on a project they had originally consulted on was a huge achievement for Smack Bang and a total pinch me moment for me!
What do you love most about your business?
A number of things. The liberation that comes with doing what you want, when you want to do it. I’ve always loved the thrill of being in the driver’s seat – the risk and responsibility is all yours, but you get to drive as fast as you like, take the bends how you want and create your own destination. I am fortunate to work with the most wonderful, inspiring people – my hard-working team and also our incredibly dynamic, forward-thinking clients. Both make the tough days all the more worthwhile and give the work we do a whole lot of extra purpose and integrity. Additionally, I love working in such a beautiful, visual space. The Smack Bang Studio resembles more of a zenned out inner city sanctuary these days with a jungle of plants (my number one for any creative space!) and modern eclectic styling. It’s truly a pleasure to walk through those doors every single day.
What do you do to PLAY/ unwind?
I do my best to find balance through living life with a spirit of adventure – treating every moment as a discovery and making sure to constantly enjoy the journey with myself and with my loved ones. I unwind by regular hangs with my love and my beautiful girlfriends, beach walks with my 10 month old (naughty) Kelpie, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, downward dogging my way through a yoga class, drinking copious amounts of chai, regularly going plant shopping and styling then restyling my home. My man and I try as much as we can to get out on the open road and explore. I find little camping adventures are the perfect way to unwind and reconnect with everything – also an ace way to escape that daily city grind! It’s the simple things!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
As a business we are more focused, inspired and busier than ever and slowly but surely we are becoming a more well-oiled machine. This means that I am freed up to dream new ideas and have the freedom to do fresh and exciting things. I’m inches away from launching a brand new business (watch this space) and to be honest, being able to do that and look to new horizons is pretty darn satisfying!
How do you go about building a loyal client base?
I believe that doing great work will always be the best form of marketing. We only take on projects that we know we are going to love working on, this means that we’re all feeling super passionate about the project. That way, I know our team is going to do a mighty fine job and producing bangin’ work. I trust that if we do a great job, our clients will become our own little marketing army.
What has been an inspiration in business to you personally?
There list of things that provide with inspiration to continue building this business is long enough to wrap around our earth multiple times. There are the finer details in life that inspire me each and everyday, like the colour of the ocean, the way the sun creeps in my window, the smell of my chai, the curve of the road and the laugh of my neighbour. And then there are the big ticket items, like my insanely creative and passionate team, my ever-supportive and hard-working family, my incredibly talented and downright handsome man, my wonderfully crazy and charismatic friends, my psychotic and ridiculously loyal pup. The list goes on.
What continue to be some of the greatest challenges you face in your business?
There has been and there will always be scary moments. The life of the entrepreneur is fraught with risk. You sign your life over to jumps, leaps and bounds into unexplored territory that is often full of danger and mistakes. The biggest fear factor for me is knowing that what I’m doing means the world to me, it fills me up and it is my purpose – to think that I could lose all of that is a scary thought. I am an all-or-nothing kinda girl and with that comes long hours, hard yards and so much commitment. There have been numerous moments of severe burnout where I’ve had to call on my nearest and dearest to pull me back up. But I’ve learnt a lot from those times and I do my best to make sure I put my health first and don’t let the business run me.
What are some of the benefits of building relationships with other female business owners?
There are so many! I have an epic gang of business chicks who I love hanging out with. Together we support, encourage, inspire and scream one another names’ from the rooftops, but most importantly, I have an epic girl gang who are business owners, but mainly friends – the best part is we can simultaneously whinge about cash flow and our latest relationship problems.
What advice would you give to other business owners trying to grow their business?
Don’t forget to make time for yourself. Every force under the sun will try to stop you from making that time for yourself, but you have to push back with all your might and be diligent to schedule it in.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Just do what feels right for you, listen to your gut, surround yourself with amazing people and make sure you know WHY you’re doing this. Your ‘why’ will fill you up and drag you out of bed on the toughest of days.
That none of it really matters – the emails, the meetings, the day-to-day tasks, the little things that stress you out. You’re not going to care about your inbox when you’re dead. We all worry and stress so much about the little things, and forget about the big things – things like family, like health, like love. These are the things that actually matter – the rest of it, it doesn’t mean a thing.
Design needs? You can connect with Drummer Tess at smackbangdesigns.com