Rosie is the proud co-founder, along with her husband, of ideapro, a design agency located in Melbourne.
1. How did you get into design? Was it your first choice?
I have been working in the marketing, sales and design fields for many years now in various capacities. The road has been curvy, twisted and creative, much like the journey of any entrepreneur. In essence, I love beautiful things and sharing them with the world so marketing and design fit perfectly within my personal interests and has driven most of my career choices until now.
After studying business and marketing at university, I started off in textile design and spent around eight years working in textile product development and sales for some of Melbourne’s leading fashion houses with the opportunity to travel around the world. It was a very exciting and steep learning curve in my working life. As a field that was looking to move offshore with job opportunities for local design dwindling, I started my first business designing clothes and fashion accessories. Three years later, I moved the fashion accessories component into party planning which was a great business model—but one that left me with little weekends free.
My partner and now husband, Anthony, is a graphic designer and was working in the printing field at the time and we decided it was the right time for him to branch out to use his design and print skills to help SMEs grow and present themselves professionally. We had a long-term view for us to join forces due to our complementary skills once the business was established so Anthony started our first studio, Additiv Design & Print with a business partner. I decided to return to my marketing studies and upskill, and for the next five years, worked for one of the largest paint manufacturers in the world. It was here I started off in marketing/communications and worked my way up to Marketing Manager for the Australian & New Zealand regions and learnt invaluable lessons in strategic and operational marketing, team building and project management in a corporate setting.
Four years ago, I quit my corporate job and joined Anthony and shortly afterwards we rebranded our design studio to ideapro to better reflect our product line and client diversification, with our main service being graphic design for medium and large sized professional organisations.
2. What are you currently working on?
We are always working on a wide variety of projects, both for clients and internally. Our current projects include a brand naming and development project for the safety division for one of Australia’s largest automotive retailers in conjunction with a range of collateral. We’re also refreshing the packaging labels for an adhesive glue manufacturer, which will be followed by advertising and a product brochure.
Just recently, we soft launched our monthly marketing consulting and graphic design packages which are only open to a select number of clients at a time. Of course, we are always working on our own marketing also, having just completed a photo shoot as well as writing content for our EDM which is due to go out this month.
3. What is your mantra during a tough period? Do you have a mantra?
I believe there is always a solution—you just need to find it. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl and I know there’s always a way to solve a problem and they shouldn’t get me down for too long.
4. Advice you’d give your younger self and to other business owners?
I think it all begins with a positive mindset and a morning ritual that keeps you that way for the day. Then it’s not being hesitant, don’t be scared to give things a go. If you have a dream, start taking actions towards it and don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis as it will stop you from moving forward. I always believe imperfect action is better than no action at all.
You should also be selective in who you surround yourself with as you really do become and are heavily influenced by the people you spend the most time with.
5. What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in business and how did you overcome it?
In my fashion and accessories business, I accepted a $10,000 order from a new customer and as a novice, I didn’t ask for a deposit to confirm their commitment or help cover my manufacturing costs.
I went ahead and purchased all of the materials and began manufacturing, only to receive a text message from the customer advising me that their business had gone into receivership and they could no longer accept the order.
I was devastated both financially and emotionally and it was a huge learning curve for me. I eventually sold off the stock to other clients at a reduced rate. It was a costly exercise, but a valuable one. I learnt to feel confident enough to ask for a deposit from all new customers, particularly for larger orders and I still do that today. I have found through every challenge in business, I always look for the learning and it helps keep me and my business moving forward.