Some thoughts from our business director Amanda on working in a regional area, starting a design studio and her plans for the future.
After living and working in Melbourne for many years, how have you found the transition to Newcastle, both personally and professionally?
The transition to Newcastle was actually a move home. I completed my degree in Newcastle, living here before heading to Melbourne. Personally it wasn’t too stressful as I was returning to old networks and my husband and business partner Scott has been there every step of the way (including that dreaded 10 1/2 hr drive!)
Professionally it was a bit daunting at first. There isn’t the shear volume of potential clients in Newcastle like there is in Melbourne. Getting your name out there is tricky, as businesses in smaller places put a lot of weight on word of mouth referrals. You need to be patient as it takes time to build up your reputation. We were lucky in that previous Melbourne clients were nothing but supportive of the move and many have stuck with us even now, three years down the track.
What does a typical day involve for you?
I jump on my phone with my morning coffee to check any overnight emails, social media and read the news before heading to the office by nine. As Scott and I have evolved our roles within the business, I now spend the first full half of the day on meetings, scheduling, accounts, proposals and emails. After lunch is when I’ll aim to get into any creative work – this can be helping with any overflow or actioning our latest brand roll-out.
Each day ends consistently at five. After working in bigger agencies where it seemed competitive as to who could stay the latest, I’m very aware of leaving on time. Occasionally if there are deadlines looming we will work after hours, but I like to avoid that as much as possible.
I enjoy cooking so most nights revolve around making dinner. Being winter, it gets dark earlier so nights are spent in hibernation, but in Summer it’s hard to resist a walk along the beach to the Anzac Memorial Walk (if you’re ever visiting Newcastle I recommend it!)
What is the creative community like in Newcastle?
Really blossoming which is fantastic! There a lot of talented people here doing amazing things.
Newcastle has one of the highest retention rates of any place in Australia. This is of great benefit to the area because while people often leave to experience other (bigger) cities, they then bring that experience back home with them when they return.
Who is your typical client?
Our studio doesn’t have a typical client and we tend to attract from a variety of sectors which I have always enjoyed. In saying this, quite often their problems are similar e.g. businesses evolving internally with new technology having a bigger influence on processes.
In recent years the studio has attracted a lot of not-for-profit organisations which has been really rewarding.