Later this week, Australia’s premium boutique trade event, Life Instyle, rolls into town and brings with it the cream of the creative crop. Shining the spotlight on groundbreaking design, innovative ideas and incredible talent, this event features super stylish homewares, accessories, gifts and children’s products.
Ahead of Life InStyle opening its doors on Friday, I caught up with some of the clever cookies who will be exhibiting there to find out their top lesson in creativity and how it’s possible to turn a passion into a successful business.
Emma Kate, Director of stationary and lifestyle brand, Emma Kate Co
“I’ve learned that creativity needs rest. An empty well of creativity will refill itself a number of times from sheer passion, drive and love for a craft – but the supply isn’t infinite. I’m still learning that while I can do anything, I cannot do everything. I want to do so much, but the hours in a day are finite and it’s pivotal to prioritise. Also, the value of energy and how it’s really my greatest currency. Protecting my energy is KEY.”
Sarah Kirk, Manager at organic skincare range, Olieve & Olie
“My Mum always says ‘nothing you do is ever wasted’, and she’s right. At the time it may seem like a big fat mistake, disaster or failure, but in time you will see that you have learned or gained something out of it – even if it’s knowing not to do it again! Surround yourself with people who believe in you and whom you admire. Life is too short to be around those who don’t inspire you to follow your passions.”
Lauren Finks, Founder of artful homewares label, Sly Australia
“I think one of the most important lessons I have learnt is to stand in front of your brand – not behind it. In a world full of competition, ideas and of course the Digital Age where everything is accessible, putting yourself on the front line, being authentic and showing everyone who you are and what you do is powerful. It gives your brand personality and strength. It also adds the important human element back into the mix. Another piece of advice – don’t give up. There are always moments of self doubt and things will always go wrong on occasion but taking a moment to remind yourself why you started and where your passion lies, always helps to give perspective. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
Zoe Larkin, Founder of children’s accessory label, Love From Bug
“Really try and focus on the creativity and the things that you enjoy in the business. For me this is designing our fabric from scratch and designing all our activity-based packaging. Don’t try to do it all and be clever with your time – learn when to get help and outsource and areas that need attention. For an example I use a VA to help with expanding my databases in a number of areas in the business. This lets me free up what would be hours of time and allows me to get back to the creative, inspiring parts of Love From Bug.”
Marc Abrahams, Director of resin jewellery label Erstwilder
“Having a passion is great, truly great. Our passions drive us and inspire us. But a passion does not a business make. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t take that idea you wholeheartedly believe in and build your empire around it. I’m just saying that in today’s competitive business landscape you’ll need more than passion. You’ll also need to develop and finely tune those business skills. Luckily there are a wealth of resources all around us. Surround yourself with smart, business savvy people. Entrepreneurs, analytical thinkers and creatives alike. Explore the seemingly infinite world of blogs and find (and subscribe!) to the ones that resonate with you. From brand identity to web development to social media strategy and email marketing, it’s all there waiting for you. Don’t make the mistake of focusing solely on developing your product – which is an easy trap to fall into when it’s something you really love. Spend an equal amount of time researching asking questions and learning about your industry. That way, when you’re ready to take your passion to that next level you’re also armed with the knowledge you need to succeed.”
Life InStyle // 4 – 7 August 2016 // Royal Melbourne Exhibition Building, Melbourne // Free to attend. Register here.