Well, life sure is different right now!
A month ago we were talking about meeting each other for coffees and drinks at the pub, or having date nights in our favourite restaurants. And now it's isolation this, and quarantine that. So I wanted to put a piece together that reminds us all that we're here and in the trenches together! We're each others' best allies and life support through this.
The incredible women interviewed over this series are from all over the country. They're artisans, business owners and freelancers I've walked my creative journey with. As such, they've all be hit in various ways by the crisis and have generously shared their journey over the past few weeks and months. I hope you'll be inspired by their stories, encouraged to connect and gleam little rays of wisdom from the way they've pivoted & adapted during this time!
Thinking back a few weeks, what was the last normal day of work for you like? (Before COVID-19 hit and self isolation was a thing). What did you do in it? What were your plans for the next few months?
It was a Friday and we were hosting a community event! It was our Breakfast Club series and the theme was spirit (this event is run as a collaboration between our magazine Paradiso and our amazing friends The Corner Palm – a co-working space in Byron Bay). It was full of hugs and hangs and heaps of inspiration dished up by two incredible speakers. After the early morning event, my team all came back to our studio and were buzzing with positivity. We were all working together in our wonderful studio, enjoying takeaway coffees and bagels from The Branches – an amazing cafe located right next door. We had a busy few months ahead of us and were all very excited for the projects that were coming our way. Oh! We also launched our studio rebrand!!!!! We changed our name and launched our new look studio … right on that last day. I was so proud of my team and how far the business had come in the past twelve months – from just me in the studio to a team that included a Studio Manager, Designer, Junior Designer, Editor and Partnership Manager.
How has the space you're working in changed/ work flow changed?
We made the decision early on to move our team to working from home – a few of us have had some health stuff and I wanted my whole team to feel supported and safe. We are lucky though because we all came from freelance life, so the transition to working from home wasn’t a tough adjustment. It was incredibly sad to not be in the studio together, but zoom (and slack and dropbox and instagram!) has kept us all connected. And sending gifs to each other constantly has been such a great source of joy! The toughest thing for me personally has been managing working from home with my whole family here too. My son has been staying home from school and my husband and I have been trying to balance work time with home schooling with quality family time. So everything is moving a little slower than it used too. But that is just part of the new normal. Accepting, adjusting and flowing. I did have a good cry on the first day I was at home by myself – my son was still in school, my husband was working in his other job at his Ayurveda clinic and it just felt like a real failure moment. Having spent the last twelve months working so hard to build up my amazing team, in my amazing studio. And then within a day, I was back at home, by myself. That was a tough day.
What is the greatest challenge you've faced in the last few weeks?
Keeping my business open. It was such a strange and sudden thing when the world paused. Projects were paused. Payments were paused. Any plans for the future – even just our immediate payroll run – were completely thrown. We were watching businesses around us shut up shop within days of the global pause and the flow on effect was incredible! We all held our breath together and unfortunately a lot of businesses felt the financial impact of that. And then there was the exhausting pull between wanting to fight for our studio – our team – and wanting to just give up and let it all go. There was an almost panic trend to pivot, innovate, drastically change. But I am very lucky that my husband is my Studio Manager and we have been able to have some amazing conversations through all of this that have meant that we have held strong for our team and business and decided to go slow and with the flow. We have acknowledged that we have to just sit with the new flow of business and not be emotionally or fear-based reactive. We can’t have our old blinkers on and continue up the same highway on cruise control. We are sitting in a Tuk Tuk on a busy road in India – horns blaring, traffic heavy, a lot of stop and starting. There is beauty in this new flow. What seems like chaos is actually the opportunity to watch out for each other and react to your neighbour’s (your client, team, friends, family etc) pace – we move forward, we slow down, we stop, we gently honk our horn, not out of anger, but to let people know we are just here. That is a long winded way to say we have been getting super deep these past few weeks in an act of self-counselling and calming :)
What have you implemented into your daily schedule to keep yourself sane? Stay creatively motivated? Or are you embracing this time to take space for yourself?
I don’t know that I have a routine yet. There are a few things I’m holding on to – weekends are still sacred for family time; Wednesday morning is our team’s Good Morning meeting; 5pm is knock off time. Outside of that I am just trying to accept that work will flow a little slower while we try to look after each other – that includes my beautiful family, my incredible team and the amazing people we work with. Zoom sessions almost demand that first 30 mins is spent checking in with each other and enjoying the connection.
How do you stay connected with your family, friends, and business friends?
Zoom pretty much for everything these days! How important is it to actually see people’s faces!?! We have family afternoon tea (on zoom) every week. And for our community, we actually just hosted our first digital edition of Breakfast Club – we had more than 60 amazing people join us on zoom to listen to the amazing Lauren L. Hill and to dance with the incredible Vanesa Marian. It was such a beautiful experience!
What are some things you'd like to do / you are doing during self-isolation that you maybe wouldn't have considered if you weren't confined to your house?
I’m creating without agenda. I’m actually enjoying a hobby that I don’t have to either share on instagram or turn into a new business idea. I’m also moving slower and seeing beauty in the most simple things. I was walking along the beach the other day and noticed the almost mirror like effect the water had once the wave hit the sand and then retreated back to the ocean. I could see the sun surrounded by clouds reflected – I felt like I was walking in the sky. It was beautiful. I hear the birds singing in the trees outside our home. I feel the breeze flowing in through our open windows. What a beautiful world we live in. And how wonderful that I get the chance to really see it now.
Is there anything we can do to support you & your business through this time?
There are so many things you could do that would mean the world to our small studio! We would love some instagram love. Share our work with your extended network and maybe it will resonate with someone who is ready to start a new project. We are also launching our newsletter soon, so sign up and get ready for some engaging content that aims to spark inspiration. You could attend our next Breakfast Club event (announced soon). You could purchase a copy of our magazine Paradiso online. Any support you can give to your creative community means we will be here in the long term. We are here, together. :)
Let's get social!