~ One Year on… ~

Today {20th October 2014} marks the very 1st birthday for Studio B. I’m so excited to be sharing this with so many amazing clients and such incredible support. So, I have been frantically delivering these babies across Darwin! I hope you all enjoyed them! I’ve certainly had my fair share ha ha! B is for the BEST Clients!!!

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As I celebrate, I feel the biggest question on my mind has been “What Next?”. Although my first year has been incredibly awesome and I have never been so proud of something, or myself, there are still so many amazing ideas and opportunities that continue to sneak into my brain (usually at night whilst trying to sleep).

For me, the beginning of business life truly smacked me in the face like a dead fish. I wasn’t expecting so much stress or the anxiety brought on by the pressure I put onto myself. I certainly didn’t expect the amount of tears that have been shed, or the amount of achievements and ‘OMG’ moments. I have so many stories that I now feel confident and comfortable to share, along with plenty of damn proud ‘holy shit I AM a business woman’ moments.

One of the first things to get used to was having work, clients, jobs and money constantly in the back of my mind 24/7; even in the shower! I dream about work, I talk about work and I find it very difficult to switch off or just stop; no wonder I am exhausted.

As I reflect on the last 12 months and get excited about what the next 12 months have inshore, I hope I can continue to do what I love and that my business continues to travel down the path that I want to go down. I often question what “success” means to ME and if I am working towards that with my decisions and progress. Year 1 has been extremely successful in my eyes, but what do I need to do to ensure that year 2 is just as successful? Do I need to make any changes to ensure I am still moving towards my life goals and personal developments?

One thing I certainly don’t want to be is ‘just another design studio’. I want Studio B to continue to grow in a unique way, offering a unique experience for my customers and to do things a little differently.

Anyway, I’m sure I will figure the answers to these questions out in the coming weeks, and they’re certainly always in the back of my mind. So, I would love to take this time to reflect on ‘B’ and just how far things have come since launching my business on this day {20th October 2014} one year ago. Here is a little overview and a few highlights:

Studio B was launched on a Sunday, 20th October 2013. With no background in business, I was extremely nervous and to be completely honest I had no idea what the difference was between income Tax and GST!! I went from a full time position with a generous salary to a part time sales job, and was running the business part time. In March 2014, I went full time with the business as I was so busy and it was time to give 100% to Studio B. It was very difficult to let go of that part time income security, but it didn’t take long for me to begin making a small profit from the business. Thank goodness for my amazing partner Ryan for supporting me every single step of the way emotionally and financially ~ I absolutely could not have done it without him.

Within the first 4 months of going full time I successfully picked up 2 of the largest clients in the Northern Territory (TIO and Power and Water), as well as some work for the Northern Territory Government. I had also been awarded my first Annual Report for Department of Community Services; the design concept was approved with the first proof. Looking back on my business plan, most of the clients that I set the intention to work with are now regular clients. I have even done a logo for a Cafe´ in South Australia, and have sent 2 printed jobs to QLD.

Studio B Designs has been credited in 2 publications ~ ‘NT Style Wedding Magazine’ (for assistance with the layout) and the book
‘The Cosmopolitan Hippy’ (for the cover illustration and design, and assistance with the typesetting). I have done a fantastic range of jobs from an sirpot sign for a helicopter company, shed signage, vehicle graphics, Darwin Cup Carnival wristbands, corporate documents and tools, information wheels, bumper stickers, business cards, event stationery, booklets, wedding
stationery, product brochures, posters, stubby coolers, banners, fishing shirts, baby shower invites, the list goes on…

Although there is a large list of achievements, my favourite highlights would be successfully gaining 46 clients ~ creating 17 x Logo Designs for new businesses ~ completing 2 x Government Annual Reports within only a couple of weeks.

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To my beautiful clients, my partner, my friends, my family and most of all the people who have continually referred my business ~ words cannot THANK YOU enough! I feel like the proudest mum today, not only of my own business and growth in the last 12 months, but that of my clients also. It feels a little surreal, and I’m not entirely sure exactly how I have gotten through the last year, but I did it! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! I hope you all enjoyed your delicious cupcakes!! xxxxx

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I can’t wait to show you all what Year 2 has in store!!! Thank you all again.

xx B xx

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~ B travels Europe ~

{ Something from the very beginning of B ~ running around Europe in 2013 with a ‘B’ }

Last month marked the 12 month anniversary since my first trip to Europe. Prior to this trip I had only been overseas a handful of times, mostly Bali and once to New Zealand. Prior to my departure my gorgeous Aunty found me a white, wooden letter ‘B’ to take with me. At that stage the ‘seed’ of Studio B and starting my own business had only just been planted, and everything was ‘on hold’ until I returned from my overseas experience. It was so incredible travelling with this intention in my mind, and I know that I saw the other side of the world in completely different eyes than what I would have if that seed had not yet been planted.

 

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My trip began flying over to London and having a few days there on my own ~ travelling alone is something I highly recommend to everyone. It is such an eye-opening experience and I really surprised myself at how well I accomplished and enjoyed it!! Anyway, a couple of days later I was on my flight to Belgium to meet up with some friends, and head to the most insane music festival in the world ~ Tomorrowland!

 

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Words cannot describe the next 5 days. That festival is completely out of this world, has had a significant impact on my life and I will absolutely be going back one day (hopefully 2015). I listen to music differently now, and any sound of dance music throws goosebumps across my entire body and brings tears to my eyes. I know it sounds strange, but until you’ve experience something to that level (250,000 people from different nationalities jumping to the same beat) you can’t really compare or begin to comprehend.

 

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Leaving Belgium was sad, as I had been so relaxed and comfortable spending time with the familiar faces of my friends. I headed back to London, and met up with my gorgeous friend Christie who was exploring the next exciting part of my trip with me.

 

 

 

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We had a couple of days in London exploring and then jumped aboard our Topdeck Tour Bus for a 22 day experience of a lifetime! We possibly would have been slightly more excited at this point if we hadn’t found that incredibly fun cocktail bar the night before and weren’t so god damn hungover. Yep, a churning stomach on a bus for hours = bad idea!! We quickly decided that that would not be happening again ha ha!

Our 22 day tour saw us exploring Paris, Nice, Switzerland, Florence, Rome, Venice, Croatia, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Amsterdam! Beautiful wine, delicious food, incredible new friends, uncountable laughs, plenty of dancing, too many selfies, and a pretty stylish ‘stack’ on a bike tour later – we had absolutely had the time of our lives!!

It’s just the little things that you see and take in that will hopefully remain embedded in your mind for the rest of your days – the smell of ‘perfect’ in the air at the swiss alps, the feeling of a snow ball hitting you in the face for the first time, the richness of the French Riviera, the staleness of that weird dingy little pub in Prague, the feeling of a pebble ‘beach’ on your feet in Nice, the salty ocean you jumped into in Croatia, the sound of horse shoes on the cobble-stone streets in Ljubljana, the taste of your first beer in Berlin, the reflections of beautiful flowers on the canals in Amsterdam, and the peacefulness, balance and harmony on that incredibly perfect lake in Slovenia (Lake Bled).

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One aspect of my trip that I will never ever forget is carrying that timber white ‘B’ with me everywhere. Even my new friends were helping me setup fun photos with it, and pointing out “B’s” everywhere on signs, logos, flyers, graffiti, menus, trains and boats. It was during that trip when I would introduce myself as a ‘graphic designer about to start my own business’ that my dream developed further and further into a reality that I couldn’t wait to get home to!

 

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The design inspiration over there was absolutely incredible. The shop fronts and displays in the major stores in London, Paris, Rome and Verona were mind blowing! The contrast of such old beautiful buildings displaying modern crisp funky designs made me smile every single time.

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Surprisingly graphic design-wise, Amsterdam was by far the best inspiration ~ even the laundromats had beautifully crafted logos. I even discovered a gorgeous store that had been owned for many years by a lovely (and a little quirky) man who used antique letterpress machines to create prints and greeting cards! I was like a kid in a candy shop! Needless to say, I purchased a print of a beautiful ‘B’ from this inspirational man, and it proudly sits in my studio along with the timber white letter that was very much the Beginning of B!

 

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I can easily say that I reminisce on my adventure every single day, and without a doubt it is by far the best thing I have ever ever done ~ not only personally but also for my business and my creativity. I can’t wait to explore more of this amazing world, to open up my imagination even further, spark new creativity and remind me that anything is possible. Thank You Europe!

xx B xx

~ Understanding B ~

{How understanding my personality profile has changed my life, and the way I think about my business}

Within the first couple of months of starting my business I actually thought there was something ‘wrong’ with me. Starting a business is a HUGE deal, and a decision that certainly can’t be made lightly.

When ever I reflect on my life, particularly the last 5 years, I notice that things have changed quite dramatically numerous times (without a lot of notice). It’s not to say that I was unhappy in the situations I had changed, infact my life has always been pretty amazing. They just weren’t working for me anymore, and I seem to forever strive for more. Although I don’t make decisions lightly, I am very strong-willed, so once I make a decision my mind is set and no one can change it.

My decision to start my own business was a little while coming (that’s a whole other blog post). But when it actually happened it seemed my whole life had abruptly changed yet again. I have always been one for setting goals and achieving them, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I just couldn’t help but wonder whether I would ever be happy with what I had, seeing as every time I accomplished something I’d move straight onto the next grand idea.

Two months into being a business owner I really felt I had lost the plot. Not only with the confusion around WHY I had to continuously strive for goals, but also due to the stress, anxiety, and adapting to such an enormous change in my life. I had also moved in with my partner around the same time as launching my business, so i’d put almost every ‘stress’ possible onto him which was really upsetting me. Learning how to work from home and find any sort of work/life balance proved to be extremely difficult (and to be completely honest sometimes still is). I felt guilty when I was working in the office as I wasn’t spending quality time in my fresh relationship, yet I would also feel guilty whilst spending time outside the office as I had so much work to do. Feeling quite desperate and honestly feeling like my business, relationship and mindset was soon going to go down the drain I sought help from a business/life coach.

This decision has greatly benefited all aspects of my life, however, one of the best things I got out of it was learning more about my personality profile, and finally understanding WHY I make the decisions I make, think the things I think and take the actions I take. This amazing insight has profoundly helped my business and has changed the way I think, as I now understand ME so much clearer.

Here’s a little summary of the most interesting things I learned from my behavioural report:

• Predominantly a ‘D’ Personality which is: ‘Dominance – competitive, aggressive decisive and results-orientated, but can also be impatient, overbearing even rude. Related job roles to a ‘D’ personality could be: Supervisor, change facilitator, manager, managing director, company developer’ ~ LIGHTBULB ha ha!

• With a little ‘I’ which is: ‘Influence – talkative, sociable, optimistic and friendly, but can also be inattentive to detail, overly talkative and emotional. The ‘I’ personality can best be represented by a ‘peacock’ who loves attention and often is looking for the next shiny thing ~ that’s where instantaneously moving onto the next goal/idea comes into play. Related job roles to a mixture of ‘D’ and ‘I’ are: Sales, general manager, marketing manager, entrepreneur’. ~ Pretty interesting huh!

• Very much a ‘people’ person, however works best when ‘alone’ (music to my ears confirming my decision to work from home).

• Doesn’t like being told what to do (I possibly already knew that one).

• The strengths that come easily and naturally to me with little energy are: keeping up a working spirit, motivated with independence and challenge, inspiring, setting goals, taking risks, generating new ideas, accepting change, persistence to keep up pressure, setting goals high enough, always ready to move forward.

• My attributes are: extroverted, active, inspiring, restless, independent, impatient, results-orientated, decisive, busy, goal orientated, competitive, social, appealing.

• I prefer to avoid: “Brooke is not much of a team worker, and does not easily let people get close. Very strict rules and limitations depress her. She gets bored easily if others considered her too one-dimensional or when things do not proceed fast enough”. ~ I think this one was possibly the biggest ‘wow’ as I had always considered myself as a big team worker, however, the more times I read over this paragraph the more it really did make sense (if I was completely honest with myself).

• Largest causes of stress for me are: inability to make decisions, losing control, losing freedom, losing position in the limelight! ~ interesting and again very accurate.

• Largest signs I am stressed: Becomes impatient, irritated, inflexible, blunt and demanding.

• The best ways I alleviate stress: Agree on an important goal and how to achieve it, solve the problem independently, provide an opportunity to operate independently.

 

There is a lot more, it’s a 17 page document! Mostly I was just so happy to discover I was on the right track with my recent decisions, and it all makes so much sense now.

Learning this information has been absolute magic for me. Not only has it assisted me to understand myself and be happy and content with the decisions I make, it has also offered insight into other people’s personalities and how to work with them. My partner hated this in the beginning – I think he thought I was reading his mind or something ha ha! So I now know how to work with clients better as well, by being able to analyse their personality and knowing whether to be direct and straight to the point or to let them hear information (and costings) slowly with loads of information to back it up.

So now when my mind continuously wanders and starts to construct the next great plan (I think i’m up to stage 4 of Studio B), and I am forever coming up with bigger and better ideas, I know it’s just who I am and not to worry that I am unhappy or ungrateful for what I already have accomplished. It’s just who I am and what I do.

xx B xx

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I cannot recommend learning more about YOU enough ~ especially for fresh entrepreneurs. There are several places and organisations out there that can test you and work out what profile you are (plenty online). Do some research though, the more in-depth the report is the better.

 

 

~ Grandad’s Shed ~

I visited my grandparents the other day as I needed a hand to build a timber box that will be used to lengthen my calf muscles as I am suffering from extreme shin splints at Crossfit. Try explaining THAT to a couple of very ‘old school’ grandparents. My Grandma suggested it was ‘growing pains’ ~ bless!

Anyway, it’s always a very beautiful thing – visiting them. I’m so very lucky that I still have both sets of grandparents. My mum’s parents are interstate which is sad, but they’re only a phone call or a four hour flight away. My dad’s parents, however, live five minutes around the corner ~ but unfortunately I don’t see them as much as I should.

Whenever I visit them it is relaxing and always clears my head. We sit and talk about what has been happening, and they are always very proud to hear how well Studio B is going. If you’re not careful though, the next thing you know three hours have passed and you’ve finished three cups of coffee and a tin of biscuits! YUM!

After chatting to Grandma for a while, watching her feed the wild birds in her beautifully manicured garden (which is like an oasis in the middle of the industrial area that they live in), Grandad took me out to his shed. They’ve owned a property up here since after Cyclone Tracy (1974), and it’s been the same since I can remember. Grandad’s shed is FULL… mostly full of shit, old ‘junk’, rust piles and dust piles. I’ve spent far less time in the shed than my older brother has – he sees Granddad’s shed as a gold mine because you can almost always guarantee that it has got whatever you need! Nuts, bolts, tools, car parts (mostly Valiant ones), light bulbs, signs, materials, anything you can think of really…

 

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I used to just see it as piles upon piles of shit. But these days it’s different and I just think it’s amazing that he knows pretty well where every little thing is! I love that he is still so active and capable, he’s currently painting a big bus and has built his own little spray room and everything for it. He is always doing something.

As we were looking for some timber and bits and pieces for the box, I wondered whether he had an old typewriter laying around. “What do you want one of those for, haven’t you got all this ‘dot com’ technology stuff now-a-days?” < ha ha ha ha ha! God I Love him! “Just ‘cos it’s trendy to have those retro things these days Grandad” I replied. “Well I dunno… I did have one here but I think I got rid of it!”… “Dohhhh really Grandad?”!! Noooo….

 

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He kept giggling about it and couldn’t really comprehend why I wanted one. Then he looked in his office, under the desk and says “You wouldn’t believe it!”…

OMG OMG OMG I think I just wee’d my pants in excitement ha ha ha! Like an excited little kid, I watched eagerly over his should as he pulled out the old box and dusted it off.

He opened it up and there it was! A beautiful old (probably from the 70’s) typewriter – exactly what I’ve been wanting – instructions and all!! I tried to hide my excitement before he realised how valuable it was ‘these days’ and decided to keep it for himself ha ha ha… The old Lifton ROYAL is now proudly on display in Studio B. Every button still works and it still ‘dings’ when it reaches the end of the line. I know it’s not THAT old but I was quite surprised at how ‘good-a-nic’ it is in.

 

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Wow, maybe Studio B CAN be as trendy as all of the studios and stationery shops I follow on Instagram!

 

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It was such a beautiful day, and I certainly went home one very happy girl. Ryan (my partner) couldn’t really understand my excitement either when I shoved my new treasure in his face the second he walked in the door. I tried to explain that it would be like finding an old part for a rare old car ha ha ha!!

Later that night it got me thinking… I wonder if Grandad has any old cameras?! Or phones!! Ha ha ha

Best. Day. Ever… Thanks Grandad!

xx B xx

 

 

~ a little bit about B (me) ~

Well Hello There!

Welcome to my blog! I’m so excited to finally be making my first post, and I hope my readers do get something out of my blog.

So a little bit about me… My name is Brooke, and I am in my twenties. I’ve just started my own business ~ a boutique Graphic Design studio called Studio B Designs. I live in Darwin, Australia ~ which is ‘home’ for me, having grown up here. For those who don’t know Darwin, it is the most Northern City in Australia. It’s hot and humid but we get some pretty awesome thunderstorms and more rainfall in one day than what most cities get in a year! I believe we have the most spectacular sun rises and sets in the world (but no, I haven’t seen them all yet ha ha)… We only have 2 seasons, the Wet Season and the Dry Season – pretty self explanatory. Our Dry Season is from May to September, which is a perfect time for tourists to escape their freezing winters and enjoy Darwin’s spectacular warm sunny days.

Kakadu National Park is on our ‘doorstep’, as are many other amazing adventures and scenery (like Uluru). Yes we have crocs, and yes some people have them as pets. No not in their swimming pools! We can only have the baby ones as pets and have to give them back after 1 year. No we don’t ride kangaroos to work, and yes a lot of the Territory still has dirt roads, but in the city we have normal roads, cars and houses (which are probably stronger than yours as we have to build to a Cyclone code). Living in Darwin can be boring though, and very restricted. Our population is tiny compared with the larger Australian cities, so we don’t get awesome music festivals or most of the cool sh*t really… Which means we spend a lot of our time, and money, traveling…. oh! and drinking. Yep Darwin is pretty renowned for that! Why have I told you so much about Darwin??…Because I think it’s pretty reflective of my personality. I have two moods – Happy Sunny Brookie, and cloudy/stormy! Ha ha! I’m very easy-going, I love having fun and socialising, fishing and the outdoors, fitness and health and just beautiful things.

Last year I toured Europe, which was one of the coolest things I’ve done and I can’t wait to return (hopefully next year)!! I’ll be sharing a LOT of that with you no doubt.

More about me? I hate silence and hate being quiet. I LOVE chocolate and wine, music and pretty things. I love making things look pretty – hence why I am a designer. My second passion is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so I therefore love my fitness (be prepared to read a LOT about this!). I am motivated and inspired by motivating and inspiring others, which is the main purpose of this blog. So I will be discussing all things Brookie, Business and Beautiful, and I hope my enthusiasm and stories inspire you to achieve you own dreams.

Thanks for reading…

xx B xx

 

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