Hannah Wandel from Country to Canberra is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Daniella Frayman from Threads for Boys is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Claire O'Shea from Dance Energy Studios is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
What drove you to start your own business?
Arlia (my fiance) and I first spoke about eloping on a romantic holiday on Rottnest Island. Hours later she fell off a bicycle, hit her head and was having brain surgery. She can't remember that conversation on the beach.
During Arlia's surgery, I was denied information from doctors as I was not 'family'. It broke my heart. We were family, we just didn't have the opportunity to make it legally recognised through marriage.
A year-and-a-half later we had our 'real engagement' (one that Arlia remembers) and when we went searching for wedding inspiration we were faced with a heteronormative wedding industry and were left feeling uninspired. I started an Instagram page on one of my overnight nursing shifts and uploaded a few photographs. It became very clear, very quickly, that there was a whole lot of people, across the world, searching for exactly what we had just begun.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Starting from scratch. Literally, I went to university to study social science. Twelve months ago I knew nothing about running my own business. But, I'm resourceful and I'm driven and have the support of Arlia who happens to have a couple of her own businesses. Sometimes finding the time to do everything is a challenge, it can easily become overwhelming. I overcome this by taking the time out to do things I enjoy, like eating a good burger, and come back to it all with a clear head.
What has been one of your best highlights?
The very first Instagram message I received. I'd only posted about 10 photos, had no real direction about what I wanted to achieve. It read "My partner and I are so excited for what you are creating, we would love to share our story with you". That was the catalyst to it all. I'm generally called a dreamer and I felt a fire inside my belly and I couldn't stop thinking about what Dancing With Her could become.
Second to that would have been the launch of dancingwithher.com - I was incredibly taken aback to see numbers going into the thousands in the week that followed launch day. It really concreted that a business like us needed to exist in the world.
How do you keep motivated being a boss lady?
Sometimes it's really challenging. There are ups and down and you really can't be prepared for anything.
I am motivated by knowing that Dancing With Her has so much potential. Regardless of the legalities surrounding marriage equality in Australia, women are choosing to celebrate their love, marry and start families, and so they should! We are here to celebrate that. Also, it's really lovely to open up emails that are full of the most beautiful love stories.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
If I could be half the person my Dad is, I'd be a proud woman. He is the most generous and honest man I've ever met. He has the time to listen to everyone which is such an admirable quality. He would probably consider himself a shy person, but his love for people is always really evident. I certainly get my curiosity and my 'get on with it' attitude from him.
My fiance, Arlia, inspires me to be strong and reminds me that anything can be overcome, even if the journey is sometimes rocky. She supports me in a way that I couldn't be more thankful for and encourages me to always see a few steps ahead without loosing focus on the things right in front of me.
What blogs/mags or insta feeds do you follow for your business?
I've been a Collective Hub reader for a long while. I love reading about startups paving their own way. We are really at an exciting time to be starting our own business. And, as cliche as it might sound, I am incredibly inspired by Sophia Amoruso. I admire that she is 'self-made' - you don't need to have extensive experience and the very best education to get somewhere. You need passion, commitment and you probably need to have a little crazy in you.
What is the best quote, book or piece of advice that has been given to you on this journey?
'Think bigger, don't let your imagination be your boundary.' - forgive me, I have no idea where it came from! I can't do all this on my own, and if I tried, you wouldn't get the multidimensional business Dancing With Her deserves to be. I am a control freak, so letting others in and sharing ideas can be challenging, but I know that it is best for the longevity of the business.
Also, I'd recommend that everyone read 'Thankyou - Chapter One'. It was the first 'business' book that I added to my collection and it has inspired me to always ask. Arlia and I haven't got money to loose (has anyone?!), and I was inspired to know that you could create something from not much more than a whole lot of confidence to ask, the worst response you can get is no.
What would winning the #BOSSLADYDREAM competition mean to your business? How will it change things for you in particular?
If Dancing With Her won the #bossladydream title, it has the potential to really bring to life all the things that are in my head, but the bank account isn't okay with actioning just yet. It means a clear direction for Dancing With Her and its future - which means more representation for a community that has been left under-represented for far too long.
Personally, it would give me the opportunity to immerse myself in learning and focus more on working in my business, rather than on it. That means more content, more collaborations and more education for wedding vendors to become 100% same-sex friendly.
Being recognised as a finalist has been humbling, and has validated that Dancing With Her doesn't just deserve to exist, it deserves to thrive. It's also amplified that fire in my belly and I'm ready for it all!
Clare Sanders from Run & Rule is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Sina Klug from Nutie Donuts is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Blaise McCann from Hear Us Roar is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Helen Collins from The Fox Box is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Stacey Copas from Academy of Resilience is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Amy Johnson Designs is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Julia Ciavaglia from Art Around Photography is one of our #BOSSLADYDREAM competition finalists!
Entitled? Or too audacious to settle.
Unfocused? Or too enticed by your imagination.
Competitive? Or an impossible standard you believe possible.
Impatient? Or a vision so clear you don't want to wait.
Reckless? Or bored by the path travelled by most.
Frustrated? Or you just know there is a better way.
Lonely? No. Lonely in crowds who don't care to challenge or create.
Selfish? Yes. This life is my life not yours.
Overachiever? Imagine a world built by low standards.
Dreamer? Or brave enough to imagine what doesn't exist.
Don't tell me to lower my expectations.
To create more balance.
To accept what is.
To be grateful and accepting.
Don't build walls or ceilings.
Don't make me fit in, be safe or secure in what you believe.
I'm a dreamer. I'm a Doer. And I'm in a life long love affair with what doesn't exist.
I'll always be chasing her, so let me run free.
You can doubt me.
But I can only drown from that poison when it's my own.
So please, leave me here.
Slow dancing with my dreams.
Sitting down to write a blog post is near impossible with an almost six week old baby, which is why I recorded this one during a recent walk with Estelle and had a writer transcribe it. Resourceful, huh? My baby is now 18 weeks and I am only JUST publishing this blog now. My to-do list gets ticked in slow motion these days but it feels nice finally cross this one off, releasing my thoughts into the world!
This blog is one I’ve been wanting to write for a long time and is a collection of thoughts that have been seeding in my mind, about my business (Dream & Do) and motherhood. Here goes...
At first I thought motherhood would completely distract me from my business but it has actually brought the business to my attention and caused me to see Dream & Do in a whole new light.
I keep preaching the importance of changing your environment constantly and having new experiences in order to stay creative and that’s exactly what has happened to me as a result of motherhood (I say motherhood like I’ve been doing it for a long time but like I said, it’s only been six weeks!).
You wouldn’t think that motherhood and business really go together but they actually share a lot of similar qualities, so I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learnt so far...
You’re not as important as you think you are
While I’ve quickly learnt that I’m the most important person in my daughter Estelle’s life - she quite literally needs me to survive - I’m also learning that I’m not the most important person when it comes to the life of my business.
I thought I was that person to my business and when I got pregnant I never wanted to have to choose between the two. I’ve always wanted a family and I’ve always wanted a business so I knew I had to make the two work.
When I got pregnant, naturally I freaked out:
“How the hell am I gonna run a business without being there?
“I’m the most creative.”
“I know all the clients.”
“I know how to run things.”
“Everyone asks me for help.”
“What is going to happen when I’m not available?!”
I went into planning mode and hired what I had essentially become - an account manager. I found a great account manager in Laura, but I only had 3-4 months with her and I knew that if she wasn’t to work out, I wouldn’t have time to hire anyone else. Thankfully she did work out.
Laura is doing a fantastic job. Our clients love her, perhaps more than they love me and I’m ok with that. I always thought that when I did leave, things wouldn’t go as well as they are going right now and I had hoped I’d have the time to check my emails, steer the team, approve all of the creative and respond to texts at the very least. I thought that was what the business needed but how wrong I was! I don’t even have time to shower some days (today being one of them).
Despite my absence, the work they are producing is phenomenal. There are some projects that I haven’t even seen the concepts for but I’ve got client emailing me saying how amazed they are.
Part of me wonders if the business even needs me, but the proud founder in me is like WOW!
Within 18 months - 2 years I’ve created a business and a culture that is able to run without me and that is so empowering!
I’ve learnt that I’m not the most important person in the business and I don’t need to be. By stepping back and not being able to micromanage (not that I’ve ever been a micromanager), I’ve seen the power of trust. If you give people the problem and let them find the solution, you’ll really be surprised. Trust makes people great.
Giving up is not an option
I’ve always wanted a baby but I think in my case at least, I was very focused on the baby itself. I was so excited about the cuddles and that beautiful time when, almost like a puppy, you don’t want them to grow up, but I’d only ever imagined that time. I naively didn’t realise the permanence of having a child.
As a mother, you’re bringing a life into this world, one that will always be here. My baby is here now. Estelle, a human being, is here now and there’s no further choice in the matter. When she cries and doesn’t stop crying it hurts and there’s times you just want to walk away, but you can’t. You think about your old life and see it for what it was and how amazing it was, but you know there’s no going back. You’re here now and you can’t give up.
In business however, giving up is always an option. You can give birth to a business and bring it into the world but at anytime, when it gets too hard, you can give up.
People say that 50% of all startups fail within the first two years and I wonder how many of these fail because the person gave up? We hear the stories about rewards coming to those who don’t give up in the face of obstacles. These people have such a strong vision and even though it falters at times, they don’t give up. They stay flexible, they innovate and they grow and I think that’s something having a bub has taught me about business.
With business, you’ve brought something into the world so perhaps giving up shouldn’t be an option. It was your dream at some point and by remembering that it was your dream, you will remember why you started.
The importance of purpose
I started my business with an unknowing desire to find something that I wanted to do everyday. I wanted to use my skills in a way that excites me and I was self aware enough to know what made me tick. I love design but what really makes my heart beat faster is business.
To me, business is creative. It’s an extreme type of creativity, where you’re bringing something into the world that people want. Firstly, I wanted to find a way to use design, branding and creativity within business. Secondly, I love helping people with a dream and giving them confidence. I also love that business can create your life. I’ve seen it happen for me - it’s still happening for me - and I want to see it happen for everyone who wants it. It can bring a lot of happiness to the world, not only through what you can offer, but because you can get out of bed every day and do something you love.
It’s recently become a bit of a flavour, to find purpose in your life and entrepreneurs with a purpose are often the most successful. In the last six weeks I’ve found that the same can be said for motherhood.
Bringing a human life into the world, and the heavy responsibility that follows gives your life a huge amount of purpose. Obviously it’s up to you to keep this human alive and because it’s a human that you care so deeply for, you work harder to give them the best - to give them the home, the pet, the school, the activities - everything you think will give them a happy life.
You’ve also gotta work hard at creating morals and values so they become good people, no matter what they have. All of a sudden you’re a teacher too.
When you have a child, the purpose of your business becomes so much more important because the outcome of achieving that purpose directly affects your child. It’s the story of your life and you want to be the best you can be, so you can proudly say to your child, in this case, my daughter,
“This is what I love, this is what I stand for, this is what I work hard for and you should do the same.”
I find myself getting emotional just thinking about this.
I’m always preaching the importance of dreams - to the world, to my partner and to everyone I meet. Just the other day I caught myself in the living room one morning, dancing around with Estelle to the Spice Girls (which of course made think of my childhood with my sisters.)
I was dancing around, feeling on top of the world and later I found myself explaining it to my husband..
“It reminded me of the little girl I once was, with all of these dreams. Now I’ve grown up, I’m holding my daughter and I’m a girl whose dreams have come true.”
I’ve always been a dreamer and I loved encouraging my sisters and visualising what my life would be. All that I could want in life, I actually have right now. I don’t want to sound boastful but I really believe that what you focus on and imagine, you really can have. Yes I’m an optimist and perhaps I’m luckier than some, but I feel so grateful. One day, I want my daughter to feel the same, which is why I am so passionate about dreams and having a sense of purpose.
You are more capable and resourceful than you think you are
Since becoming a mother I’ve learnt that time is a limited resource. I had originally planned to write this blog myself and I even took my laptop to the park with the intention of typing it up once Estelle had settled, but in reality, I didn’t even get a chance to open the Word doc.
Motherhood limits the amount of time you can dedicate to creative pursuits, which is a shame because I’ve never felt as creative as I feel right now (probably thanks to all of the these new experiences and emotions I’m having!). I’d love to be able to capture them all but I just don’t have the time which is super frustrating.
It’s difficult to even keep up with the ideas and emotions. I don’t have an answer, but I think having a team around you, a dream team, is so important because it allows you to have these fleeting moments of brilliance and then your team have the time to care and listen and bring that brilliance into the world, even if you don’t.
There’s no denying that becoming a mother changes your life and your business but that’s not to say it hinders it. Experiencing motherhood has given me a new perspective on business and despite the stress and amplified emotions (as if I wasn’t enough of a crier already!) it has all added more shades of colour to my life in unexpected ways.
If you want an unpredictable life, start a business. Then if you’re STILL bored...have a baby!
INSPO #1 - The Care Factor
In moments of need it’s amazing how feeling cared about can make you feel both vulnerable and give you strength at the same time. Having spent a few days in hospital last week with the threat of surgery looming, having the support from my loved ones welled up a lot of emotions for me. It also highlighted the fact that if I didn’t have the support system of my family and friends, how little support one could feel. Having my branding hat on I thought what an opportunity this is for businesses to connect with people on such a deep level, when they need it the most.
For example, if I didn’t have someone to be there for me to drive me to the hospital, bring me some comforts from home and hold my hand, potentially brands could step in an offer their complements. If Uber would offer a free ride to the hospital, if your health insurance could send you a “thinking of you” pack with simply some shampoo, or deliveroo to send your favourite meal for free to lift your spirits. The ideas and relationship benefits are endless.
Brands should consider the “Care Factor” when analysing different customer journeys and when to reach their customers. I feel this is really important for brand placement to be relevant and at the right place at the right time rather than unwanted in your face promotion. By identifying and staying true to your brand vision, mission and values, there are many ways your brand can approach customers when they would really appreciate your support.
Here is one example where a brand understood the struggles of their customers was Mini Fashion Bar. Not as needing as a hospital patient, yet a hotel guest has their own issues of crinkled shirts and limited options. The Pimkie brand identified a niche customer journey and saw an opportunity to offer ready-to-wear fashion in hotel rooms around Antwerp, Paris, Brussels and Milan. That feeling of ease and being cared for cannot be measured in dollars but will earn you brownie points.
Ashley - designer
(ANTI)INSPO #2 - The Breakup Shop
My "inspiration" this week was more of an "anti-inspo" as when I saw it, it was a giant neon sign example of what NOT to do.
The Breakup Shop was started by two brothers in the US, and it offers just what the name suggests, to break-up with your partner on your behalf. This can be done through messages, letters, emails, phone calls, or even a whole "Breakup Kit" which involves wine and DVDs.
What "anti-inspires" me about this is it's a great reminder that just because you have an idea, it doesn't mean you have to act on it. For me, these boys are being incredibly careless with peoples feelings and potentially lives, and are cashing in on human emotion. Also, presumably this idea came about because one of these guys was too afraid to breakup with his partner himself - little cowardly in my eyes.
I could rant for awhile about the ways in which I think it's detrimental and in poor taste, however I'll just end with this. The world is already struggling to encourage love, compassion and support amongst so many different groups within society. Instead of trying to cash-in on an easy sell, let's always try and innovate and grow areas that encourage positivity and beneficial social change, commoditising human interactions will never be the answer.
Laura - Creative Project Manager
Do you get a case of the entrepreneurial guilts when you even think of attending an event? We know how you feel… when you’re running your own business, it may seem stressful to take a day out and go to an event. You’re probably thinking that time is money, and you’d be better off spending the day on your emails.
Well we’ve got a different perspective for you: what if you realised that the time invested in attending an event is a piece of time invested into your business success and your future? Those in the entrepreneurial community like to say that your network is your net worth, and we couldn't agree more. People you meet at events may not feel relevant at the time, but they come back ten-fold. In fact, Tara has met some of her best staff members and loyal clients at networking events in the past few years! It’s a great opportunity to hand out your business cards, practise your elevator pitch and watch people’s reactions as you talk about your business.
If your idea of networking is standing in a stuffy room trying to make conversation with strangers without sounding like a sleazy salesperson… we get it. We’ve been there. And that’s exactly why we wanted to share a list of our favourite, unique, tried-and-tested events to add to your calendar.
This is your chance to practise pitching to an investor for your business! Investible will be hosting a full-day masterclass for entrepreneurs, giving you the opportunity to build and validate your idea, learn how to pitch your business to investors and have the opportunity to pitch face-to-face with an experienced angel investor for individual feedback. Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime… one step closer to bringing your dream to life.
Calendar date: 9 June 2017
Click here and enter code DREAMDO25 for 25% off your ticket to AngelPitch!
Little bit of shameless self-promotion here! We’ve run five Cereal events in the past year and we’ve got another really exciting speaker to be announced soon… watch this space! Cereal Entrepreneurs is a fun breakfast event series, bringing together business, creativity and big ideas. We do a live interview and then Tara runs a creative workshop.
Calendar date: TBA
FODI runs every year at the Opera House and it will seriously open your mind. The curated timetable of speakers is always about pushing the boundaries, disrupting collective patterns of thought and inspiring challenging ideas and conversations. Last year, we saw author Lionel Shriver talk about breaking one rule a day and Andrew Bolt discussing the mess of politics, just to name a few.
Calendar date: TBA, usually September
Startcon is known as the best start-up and growth conference in Australia, bringing together some incredible international speakers, investors and start-ups to a sell-out event, six years in a row!
Calendar date: December 1-2, 2017
Culture, technology, entrepreneurship - Remix has it all. The likes of Google, Bloomberg and UTS have teamed up to create this event of world-class speakers, panels, masterclasses and debates.
Calendar date: 7-8 December, 2017
Hosted by Rakuten Marketing, Symposium Sydney is a more boutique half-day event where you can experience inspirational content from industry leaders about business planning, networking and performance marketing.
Calendar date: TBA
We’ve teamed up with Investible to get you 25% off tickets to the AngelPitch: Investible Masterclass for Entrepreneurs. Enter code DREAMDO25 at checkout - early bird tickets end today so get in quick!
Linda Ellis, aka Lunch Lady Lou, was one of our first clients, back when Dream & Do was just Tara and a junior designer, holed up on the couch in Tara’s apartment. We had the best time re-branding the Lunch Lady Lou website and comms, including a beautiful photoshoot of Lou in the kitchen working her magic. Lou has been a loyal sponsor for every Cereal Entrepreneurs event we’ve hosted (six in the past 18 months!) and so we thought we’d catch up with her to hear how the business is going since its humble beginnings in 2014.
1. We’ve been lucky to have worked alongside/partnered with you for a number of years now. Take us back to pre-Dream & Do time and how the business has progressed over the years...
In the beginning, it was me feeding my work colleagues with a dream to exit the corporate world. I eventually quit my corporate job at the start of 2014 and delivered lunches around the city, on foot, with a blue and white polka-dot trolley. I was recently approached by Volkswagen to test drive their new Caddy and ended up with my branding on a van! This totally changed my business. Now I work on corporate catering and event specific jobs, I tailor menus for my clients’ needs, and I get to drive the coolest yellow van around town.
2. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your own business?
Just one?! Every day there’s a lesson... or a lot of them.
1. Self-care is non-negotiable and if you’re not practising this, nothing else works.
2. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
3. You’ve been a huge partner and advocate for Cereal Entrepreneurs; tell me why you enjoy partnering and collaborating with others?
Lunch Lady Lou has a fairly small delivery area, which means some people miss out on our delicious food each day. The biggest benefit of collaborating on events is reaching new people but also giving event attendees a Lunch Lady Lou experience, when they may not be able to order from us due to their work location.
And, of course, to have the opportunity to open people’s minds that healthy food tastes delicious.
4. Where do you hope to take the business in the next three, five or ten years?
Oh, so many plans! Even after being in business for four years, I really feel like I’m just getting started. In the short term, there are some new care packages being released. Watch this space...
My husband Pete and I are building a farm - Loop Farm. We created this dream over five years ago while we were sitting on a beach in Vietnam eating pineapples. Pete has over ten years experience in Horticulture and Bushland Management, and with my holistic nutrition skills, it’s perfect. It will be kind of like a Lunch Lady Lou retreat, so we’ll host groups to stay and chill out and I’ll feed them.
Many more cooking classes are on the cards too. I had to give these a break for a while, but the fire in my belly is telling me they’re needed again.
5. What’s everyone's favourite lunch option?
Tough question… Seeing as we do a range of breakfast, lunch and raw treats, I’ll just give you some food envy right now.
Brekky - Bacon and rosemary frittata or the super delicious Berry Bircher
Lunch - Almond-Crusted Schnitzel with nutty ‘mayo’
Raw treats - Fully loaded raw Snickers bar or the Bounty bar
6. What’s your favourite lunch option?
Too hard to answer. Everything that is made, I eat too. If I’m not loving it, it’s not on the menu.
Because I’m currently cold, I’m going to say the slow baked maple tamari chicken, with house-made goat cheese ricotta and sweet potato mash.
7. What’s your advice for anyone starting their own business?
Self-care is non-negotiable. Actually, that’s probably just my lesson for life. If you’re not taking care of yourself emotionally, physically and mentally, then what have you got? Oh, and it must be fun, you must love it, because when it gets tough - and it will - you need to have a dream and a vision that you love as an anchor.
8. You have a few great ordering options available (i.e. all delivered Monday, group orders or collect); is this something you’ve always done or integrated recently? Has it made a huge impact on your orders and clients?
Yes, it’s made a huge impact and I enjoy creating these menus so much more. The model changed last year to focus on corporate catering and group lunches. This is the offering I’ve been building up over the last four years. I worked in a job that fed us the worst food in meetings, and they expected so much from us. Your employee’s health and wellbeing is a company's biggest asset. My food connects groups around the boardroom table and provides a talking point - they discuss the colours, or the ingredients, or how they’re going to re-invent what I’ve made for their family. I love that my work has this kind of impact on my clients and their guests.
9. You currently deliver to North Sydney and the CBD... do you have any plans to expand?
Yes and no! I’m not really interested in city domination at this stage but for our catering jobs, Lunch Lady Lou will go anywhere. Plus there’s always the farm, coming soon!
INSPO #1 MOON app by Charlie Deets
If you're anything like us Dreamers, you're a little obsessed with all things universe, and especially like me, the moon. I am a big believer in it's energy and influence, and like to keep one eye on the ol' girl and what she's up to.
Our amazing copywriter Amy, is also a bit of a moon-sister, and told me about this amazing app simple called MOON.
This app is simplicity at it's truest form, and is beautifully designed to boot. All it does is show you visually the phase of the moon each day, as well as info about the new room, full moon and what stage the moon is at present. You can also change the date, so you can see what's up with Lady Moon down the track.
What inspires me about this app is how simple it is, yet so affective. It's not overly complicated and doesn't feel the need to inundate you with exactly what each phase of the moon means or what to expect, but just gives you the info needed and let's so take from it what you will. It's also designed so beautifully, and I am a sucker for a pretty face.
Laura - Creative Project Manager
INSPO #2 Why Meaningful Brands Will Always Come Out On Top
This week I chose pocketcityfarms.com.au as my show and tell, and it goes without saying that I absolutely love this concept - it warms my insides and brings a smile to face.
Increasingly we are are seeing an intersection between brand purpose, values and consumer aspirations and consumption. Consumers are demanding purpose-led brands, ones that stand for something bigger, something meaningful and something that will create positive impact on the societies we live in. Go even further than, you'll also see there is a huge trend toward living a simple life, one with just the essentials, and good old natural products. Society is looking for a way to peel back the layers of tech, virtual contact and feeding big corporates. Some very clever brands, like pocket city farms are responding to this demand.
No longer do we need to plan weekends away and escapes to the country side, they'll bring the country to you, with the launch of their first urban farm in Camperdown Commons. The concept extends beyond the farm, and includes an onsite restaurant, inspired by the concept of farm to table dining, offers Yoga on the premises and runs community workshops, where people connect and even swap crops, aptly called the "crop swap".
So what can your brand do today to respond to this growing consumer demand, how can you create change, that is aspirational and meaningful. Every brand has it in their DNA, its just a matter of tapping into it.
Dani - Creative Strategist
INSPO #3 The Importance of A Personal Brand
On a personal note, this weekend I was in great space re: my wedding planning, being super productive with sussing out some of the finer details. I really wanted to lock in a celebrant for the ceremony, and I am one to want to consider every option available to validate that I am getting the best value possible. As I am having the ceremony out of town, I couldn’t rely on word of mouth from my network and instead hit the web. I was unpleasantly surprised how hard it was to find celebrants that showcased themselves and how they perform the ceremonies.
This experience showcases a great example to businesses that you need to understand how to clearly distinguish your unique personality from your competitors and to really think through the ways in which you can best represent this.
For service based offerings like celebrants, where you need to sell your personal brand and voice, it’s crucial to use all the tools possible to represent who you are, what you do and how you do it differently. It’s so easy today to make a video where your personality and presentation skills are easily shown.
Too many of the options that I researched had outdated websites with pixelated photos and no personal branding. It was really hard to form an impression of how they are going to be on our special day.
In times where people are time sensitive, it’s important to create a great first impression to be in the top pool of considerations.
For now I have only found 1 option that clearly represents who she is, yet with none to compare her with, I am left feeling frustrated, unsure and unwilling to go ahead. Companies must aim to minimise frustrations and make the choice as simple as possible.
Ashley - Designer
INSPO #4 Heirloom Soy Sauce and the Meaning of Life
Late at night the past week, one of my favourite things to do to unwind after a long day at uni is to watch Chef's Table. A Netflix documentary series that follows individual chefs from all over the world and tells their stories in 60 minute episodes. From ramen shops to experimental Peruvian gastronomy, Chef's Table took me to Korea - To a place where you wouldn't expect to find a chef. A buddhist monastery. Temple food, as explained by Chef Jeong Kwan is an extension of their way of living.
"Secular food is dynamic, but temple food keeps your mind calm and static"
As the practice of meditation extends into the intent of the food she creates, she crafts it to incite a feeling that reflects so perfectly, that of her spiritual practice. As in the world of creative agencies, a designer is surrounded by millions of pictures, influences and visuals everyday - it would be interesting to adopt a practice that borrows from Jeong Kwan's mindset. That what you consume must be carefully selected and curated, as what you ingest must awaken your mind, not dull it. It's about mindfulness and awareness of the elements that exist, and the ability and intention to bring them together and synthesise them into something that brings "enlightenment" or a new bright perspective to anyone that happens upon the result.
A lovely example of this was her recognition of soy sauce as a heirloom. A peculiar comparison this may be, but it all made sense as she explained the meaning behind it, whilst gently spooning dribbles of rich brown liquid from porcelain bowls into the green tangle of spinach in front of her. Soy sauce existed in three separate versions on her cooking bench. Each representing the past, present and future. Some soys had been passed down over a hundred years, becoming a unique family heirloom, whilst others only 5 or 10 years old and others not yet ready for the palette - fermenting away in earthenware pots, half-buried in the soil. Yet when they were all brought together, an awareness and appreciation for the soy sauce making processes her ancestors and monks before her (as well as her own practice and the realisation of those to come) arose.
Yet, this practice and this way of living seems so far removed from the fast paced "wired" modern world, it almost seems impossible to be able to actually enact these beautiful values and concepts in a world that just doesn't have the time for it. According to Kwan, Time is naturally transformative and the most beautiful things, arise out of the serendipity and natural allowance of time to run its course. But maybe it isn't just about the physical concept of time, but the appreciation that lies behind what the unfolding of time has to offer. As Kwan plants each bulb, seed and flower in the monastery garden, she sends vibes of love, compassion and thankfulness into each and every one. Perhaps it is this practice of reflection.
Just stopping and stepping back, letting time standstill for a moment to appreciate what is before us, what the moment has to offer. And that is something I feel becomes lost in the motions of work in the modern world, being so caught up in completing tasks, against a deadline or just ticking off the boxes to what has to be done. We forget to enjoy every motion, movement and moment that is offered to us, the learnings that we experience - past, present and future.
Chef Kwan describes the 5 senses as something unique - and all together different to what we know: 1. Body 2. Feeling 3. Perception 4. Consciousness 5. Intention. A collection of 'senses' that collaborate with and connect the physical world to the spiritual and emotional nuances that exist in all of us. A holistic perspective that doesn't just draw learnings from the present, but fuses an understanding by taking into account the past, future and present.
If we combine the 5 senses we know and love and these new 5, we have 10! And it's so important to use these 10 senses to absorb the potential learnings that are in front of us, if only we take the time to appreciate it.
Edie - Junior Designer
First of all, you might be thinking, ‘What’s a brand video? Do I need one? Will my business fail if I don’t? Does it need to go viral? Will I be invited onto the set of the Ellen show?!’
Fear not, dreamers. With the help of our biz friends, Storydriven, we’ve compiled a list of four types of brand videos and what they can do for your business.
Video is not just for YouTube and Vimeo and Hollywood screens anymore - it’s a way more accessible and viable form of content marketing than any of us ever imagined. With phone apps like iMovie making it pretty easy to create decent content in a short time frame on a low budget, not to mention snippet video apps like Boomerang taking over our feeds, watchable content is all the rage. Remember when the film Jobs with Ashton Kutcher made and released the trailer on Instagram? Yep, the future is here.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Read on to find out the four types of brand videos and which one might be best for you.
1. The ‘About Us’ video
Who are you? What are you about? Rather than tell your brand story through some well-crafted (or sometimes not so much!) words on a page, it can be really great content to create a visual narrative. You can then embed this brief introductory video on your website’s About page, or use snippets of it for social media promos. It helps build rapport with your future customers, provides relatability and a human face behind the brand. But remember to keep it short - the average viewer has an attention span of less than two minutes.
2. The Educational video
If you’re looking to turn ice cold leads into warm paying clients, the educational video is your best friend. The key to this kind of video is to provide as much value as possible, without completely giving the cow away with the milk. You want people to believe in you and your brand, respect what you have to offer, and want more of it. Basically, you want people to realise why they need you. Think of a problem your target market might be experiencing, and provide some insights that will help them get on track. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember you.
3. The Explainer video
A little more intensive than the educational video, an explainer video gets into the nitty gritty. People coming along to view this kind of content are one step closer to pulling out their wallet. They’re your prospective clients or customers in the consideration phase of their journey, so it’s important to impress. Provide a specific solution to their likely issue, and pack as much information as possible into your video so they can make their decision.
4. The Case Study video
You’ve wowed your target market with your myriad offerings and knowledge, but what about letting your brand speak for itself? When a customer says you’re awesome, it basically makes you doubly awesome in the eyes of future customers. Your work is done, so let your happy customers be your new brand advocates.
The guys at Storydriven have put their money where their mouths are and made their own explainer video about the four types of brand videos that could act as a vital part of your marketing toolkit.
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INSPO #1 The Jam Factory
I recently took a trip to Adelaide where I stumbled upon an inspiring creative space called the Jam Factory. It’s a non-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes outstanding design and craftsmanship within ceramics, glass, furniture and metal design. It not only serves as a space for creatives to build their skills but also features an exhibition and retail space to showcase these contemporary Australian products made in the factory, to the general public.
What I loved about the experience that I had with this brand is being invited into the process and seeing the “behind the scenes” of what goes into the production of the artworks in the gallery and the items in the shop. It made me feel invested in the process and ultimately made me feel I could leave the space without buying a little piece of it!
Obviously this transparency is not a new phenomenon, we’ve seen it with in restaurants where the kitchen is in full view of the customers, however it’s becoming an expectation from customers. People like to be involved in the process and learn how things work.
What I take away from this inspiration is that I implore new business dreamers to think how they could celebrate the process that gets them to their final product/service and how to involve or educate customers in that process. This will not only gain you personal investment into the final product but also build brand loyalty and brand ambassadors that will generate great word of mouth. Let’s all try to be a little more like Jam Factory!
Ashley - Designer
INSPO #2 Why every successful entrepreneurial needs to be vigilant with their time
With more things to do, and what feels like less time, the art of journaling and self reflection is a growing business, but I have to say, this journal from Best Self co. definitely spiked my interest, more so than other journals of this kind I've seen. So much so, that I went ahead and bought it.
The reason I loved this journal is because it focuses on habit creation, to achieve your big picture goals and "chunks" this up into 13-week sprints, so it makes the entire process of goal setting much more disciplined. There are no dates, so you can start the journal at any point that is right for you (love this), and the days planner is bookended with positive psychology and inspirational quotes.
In the 1960s, University of Maryland psychologist Edwin Locke and University of Toronto psychologist Gary Latham discovered that goal setting is one of the easiest ways to increase motivation and enhance performance. Over dozens of studies, Latham and Locke found that setting goals increased performance and productivity by 11-25%*. The Self Journal is based on this concept, and many of the world's most successful entrepreneurs in the world know that the key to success is through setting short-term goals and measuring their progress.
To add further to this, I attended a "Design your day for Success" workshop, run by, business coach, Lauren Trlin, where she sighted examples from the likes of Steve Jobs and how they prioritise their time for maximum productivity. Steve Jobs wore exactly the same outfit, every day. Every. Day. He was so vigilant with his time, that he looked at certain tasks in his day that expended willpower and energy, and decided which of these he could sacrifice, instead spending his daily willpower and energy on actions that were productive, and laddered bag to his broader goals. He decided why waste your energy choosing an outfit every morning, when you can use your energy and time elsewhere.
As a creative agency, we talk a lot about the art of sacrifice here at Dream & Do. It not only informs our creative product, but it informs a lot of our ethos. This journal inspired me, because it took the idea that habits create your behaviours, behaviours create your goals, and your goals create your life, and it systemised this process. Clever. We obsess about every detail when it comes to our creative work, just like business owners should obsess about every detail of their business. So to all you budding entrepreneurs and startups out there, what can you ditch to free up space for the daily tasks that are going to shift the dial on your big goals?
Dani - Creative Strategist
INSPO #3 Becoming the emperor of your own micro-nation
Emperor George II sounds the like name of Europe royalty, not a stock-standard Aussie bloke in the middle of rural NSW. Appointing one's self at the mere age of 15, as emperor of "Atlantium" may sound like the makings of a meglomaniacal dictator. But worry not, nearly forty years later Emperor George has hardly made a dent in the national welfare of Australia. Seeing as we are a country where politics move slower than the cows.
It's amazing to think that something so seemingly ludicrous, could in fact exist for such a long time and attract so much interest without self-promoting at all. There is an incredible amount of detail and craftsmanship that has gone into sculpting the identity that is the micronation of Atlantium.
A flag carrying the colours of blue, yellow and orange, little postage stamps emblazoned with a graphic of the Emperor himself - designed in blue and orange, and to top it off a crest, featuring the same open palmed salute. If not anything, Atlantium proves the ultimate power of a brand.
That when done right, and expanded with the right resolve and into the right niche can be oddly successful (it has 3000 citizens from 100 countries around the world.
None of them live there though) The Empire of Atlantium has a lasting power and a timelessness that has superseded the passing fads and trends of the decades. A lucrative venture as well, the globally (albeit on a lowkey scale) recognised nation has enabled the Emperor to rent out his plot of land on Air BnB for $65 dollars a night. With visiting perks including being able to stay in 'Government House' or take a stroll through the 'Imperial Botanical Garden'.
George has created a brand that overtime, has evolved into something that has enough reach that it may one day become better than the Big Banana, a serious tourist destination and landmark in Australia.
Edie - Junior Designer
INSPO #1 Zig-zagging into Strangeness
I recently came across a snippet of a lovely article in Flow magazine, detailing a curious practice. Quote below:
The following is from "The Gentle Art of Tramping" by Steven Graham:
"The problem is to let chance and the town take charge of you. For the world we travel in is more wonderful than human plan or idle heart's desire. One day in New York, wishing
to explore that great city in a truly haphazard way, I hit on the following device - a zigzag walk. The first turning to the left is the of the heart. Take it at random, and you are sure to find something pleasant and diverting. Take the left again and the piquancy may be repeated. But reason must come now to the rescue, and you must turn to the right in order to save yourself from a mere and uninteresting circle. To make a zigzag walk, you take the first turning to the left, on (...) How unusual, real and satisfactory were the impressions obtained by going not the crowd's way, but the way of the zigzag, the diagonal between heart and reason."
In the entrepreneurial world, this sort of disruptive practice or behaviour is always referenced in many innovation-centric papers and ted-talks alike. Where such undertakings allow you to step outside the box and shake off any sort of mental complacency your patterns of thought may have fallen into. How many of us have zoned out on the walk home from the station?
A path so "familiar" that our brains tune out and take our surroundings for granted.
This sort of "blinkers-on" lull that many of us fall into, walking the same path everyday - demonstrates how we live in a bubble of assumption. It's such a powerful thing to become aware of what our assumptions are. And to instead take on the practice, adopted by ethnographers and anthropologists, that when entering a new culture, or tribe - to adopt a mindset of "strangeness". An existence where everything becomes new and not assumed to be experienced before.
Where no action, reaction or set of behaviour is taken for granted.Thus opening them up to a perspective that views the world as a constantly unfolding place of a million potentials, where there is always something new to be gained, even in what seems like the "same-old" experience. Don't box yourself in with assumptions, take a zig-zag walk! Who knows where it'll lead you (even if it might be right back to your doorstep).
*Stay tuned for next week when the Dream Team takes their own zig-zag walks!!
Edie, Junior Designer
INSPO #2 O'ssuloc Tea (Brand Experience Design)
I was gifted O'sulloc tea from a close friend who grew up on the Jeju Island of South Korea where it is made. When she presented this little sachet to me, she held it with such reverence and pride as it was my first introduction to something that represented where she was from. From the soft texture of the packaging, refined design and unique taste is truly felt like something special and to be treasured.
“It is our hope to provide people with valuable time in which people can form warm relationships and have more taste in their lives while cultivating their mind in the midst of their busy life in today’s society.” - O’sulluc
The entire brand ethos is both executed beautifully and consistently across each touch point that customers have with the brand. This is my key takeaway from this inspiring brand.
When building a company, all moments in which customers are introduced to your brand must be considered and made to be special. Whether digital or physical, the customer should always be wowed no matter the cost that went into it. Clever brand experiences can always be thought of even on a budget. Each channel that customers interact with the brand builds the perception and relationship with the brand, forging brand loyalty and brand ambassadors.
At Dream & Do we are all about building conscious brands. This is about being conscious of the entire brand experience and possible customer user journeys to ensure that at each touch point they are seeing your brand’s true personality and reason for being.
INSPO #3 VOW Customer Experience
If you're not familiar with them, check out the jewellery brand Vrai & Oro. They're a beautiful fine jewellery brand currently taking the US by storm.
I've been a fan of the brand for a few months now, but recently came across their sub-brand, VOW (Vrai & Oro Wedding) when doing some competitor research for our amazing client ESQ. While these wedding and engagement rings are next level beautiful, what struck me most about the brand was part of the service they offer.
As some of you may know finding an engagement ring is no easy task. You need to try things on, deliberate over styles and what suits you. VOW operates largely as an online business, so that customer experience process of trying on different styles wasn't an easy option for their customers. In order to combat this, they created a "Home Try-On" service, which allows customers to try on three "mock" rings in the styles they have for seven days, free of charge. Genius.
What I love about this service is their ability to think outside the box and give time and creativity to their customer experience. Just because something is traditionally an offline experience doesn't mean you can't adapt it to your medium or business model. Don't be afraid to take something you think is impossible and make it fit to work for you, you could end up with something as innovative and amazing as this!
Laura, Creative Project Manager
INSPO #4 Why strong brands give you creative license
This week I picked Daisy's milk bar for my creative show & tell. Daisy's is a contemporary take on an Aussie, old-school milk bar. They have an eclectically quirky and nostalgic brand, that takes you back to your childhood. Think back to those primary school days, when life was playful and full of possibility. You trotted around, carefree with your oversized school bag, played kiss and catch with the boys, ate tuck shop sandwiches and hot chips with vinegar after school. Life was beautiful in its simplicity.
All of this is just one part of why I love this brand, the entire experience transports you back in time, and evokes happy and nostalgic memories. Beyond that, they are using creative ways for people to engage with the brand, going past the bricks and mortar experience, and beyond their primary product, food.
Not only do they have an online store, complete with Daisy's milk bar paraphernalia, including nail polish, sticker packs, brooches and accessories, but they recently partnered with local jewellery designer, Haus of Dizzy. Who would have ever thought that a cafe and a jewellery design could partner together? This is the essence of creativity and original thought. Having a strong brand is what gives Daisy's its creative license. Because of the quirky nature of the brand, having a branded paraphernalia just works, and through this creative license, its opened them up to diversifying the ways people engage with their brand. Clever.
Dani - Creative Strategist