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    Interview – Tess McCabe of CWC and Creative Minds Publishing

    Tess McCabe

    By Andrea McArthur

    Tess McCabe is a Brisbane-born, Melbourne based creative entrepreneur who has made Creative Women’s Circle (CWC) the inspirational community that it is. Recently, Tess has also founded a resource for smart working creatives called Creative Minds Publishing. A big thanks to Tess for sharing her thoughts with us.

    Can you give a brief description of your path to CWC and Creative Minds Publishing.

    From an early age I’ve been a  lover of printed things – books, magazines, posters, stationery – though it wasn’t until late high school that I could ‘name’ graphic design as the career path to follow. At that point I was pretty determined to make that happen, though I was also open to whatever opportunities came my way job-wise in the industry. So after a Bachelor of Design Studies at Griffith University in Brisbane, I worked for a big publishing house designing educational and non-fiction books. I also freelanced for small studios and my own clients creating brand identities, printed things and web stuff, and after a year of travel found myself working independently full-time in 2008 doing all of the above. As a ‘side project’ and as a way to meet people in my new home town of Melbourne, I took over coordinating CWC in 2009 from its founder Dearne Mills.

    CWC grew in hops, skips and jumps, and in 2011 I was looking for a project that could combine my love of print and my interest in the stories of other creative women. I’m really passionate about promoting the work of women in creative industries and shining a spotlight on their career achievements. Thus Conversations with Creative Women was born, which seemed like a natural progression for CWC. That really sparked my interest and zest for self-publishing, so Volume Two appeared two years later.

    I’m a keen observer and listener, and if I think that there is a need for a particular resource for the community of independent creatives I am so invested in to be realised, then I think of ways to make it happen. The launch of Creative Minds Publishing earlier this year is basically a way to put an umbrella over these ideas.

    CWC and Creative Minds Publishing

    Describe CWC’s core values?

    We value shining a spotlight on the creative work of women, because we feel that women are vastly under-represented on many platforms that promote the work of creatives. But we also value sharing and uncovering the truth that there are many varied paths a creative career can take, not all of them conventional and most of them incorporating all of the other messy life stuff that comes with being a creative lady e.g. making money; having a family etc.

    At what period did you feel CWC gaining momentum?

    Probably after the release of Conversations with Creative Women: Volume One, and the introduction of memberships and The Circle Database in 2012. Those things extended the reach of CWC and meant connections between creative women from all walks reached beyond Melbourne’s borders (which at the time was the only place we held our in-person events).

    Where would you like to take CWC in the future?

    To be honest, 2015 could be a fairly significant year for CWC!

    Event-wise, in 2014 we’ve had speaker events and Member’s Morning Teas in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and of course Melbourne, and next year I’d love to see these events being hosted in the other capital cities and major regional centres as well.

    As The Circle Database grows, it will be great to see more interaction between Members and more of their needs addressed through website upgrades and additions.

    Structurally however, there are some changes which I’m hoping to make that mean the community of Members we’ve built will get to take a lot more ownership over the future direction of CWC. This is all in the planning stages at the moment, but more than it being an exciting thing for the group, it’s the right thing to do for the future of CWC and its sustainability as well. Stay tuned!

    Morning Tea

    At a Member’s Morning Tea event at Mimi-Myrtle&Co. Photography by Martina Gemmola

    What is the next event that CWC is hosting?

    We’ve just had our last speaker and morning tea events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney for the year over the last few weeks. Now it’s time for some resting, recharging, plotting and planning before we get back into the swing of things in February/March next year.

    How has networking helped you so far?

    I’m not a native Melburnian, so when I moved here 8 years ago I didn’t know very many people. Plus, 12 months after settling here I decided to become self-employed and work from home, which wasn’t a great strategy for meeting new people! Networks like CWC helped me get the support I needed as an independent business woman but has also gained me some very dear friends along the way. I’m a pretty introverted person by nature, and traditional networking doesn’t gel with me, so I really built CWC up to be exactly the kind of non-threatening networking device I wanted (and that I could see other people liked as well!). Yes I have gained a few clients through it, but mostly it’s given me a cushion of support and many, many bursts of inspiration as I fumble through my own business ventures.

    Has social media played a large factor in your businesses success as well?

    Definitely. When I took over CWC in 2009, blogs were becoming popular but the other platforms we are so accustomed to now either didn’t exist, or weren’t as widely used yet. The introduction of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the ability for the CWC community to meet in person at events and then stay connected through those channels has been imperative to CWC’s success – they work hand in hand. Though if we could all agree to hold off introducing another social media platform for a while that would be great – it’s a lot to keep up with!

    Have any of your creative businesses been a product of personal projects coming to life?

    I suppose Creative Women’s Circle evolved from a side project into something I spend a lot more time on and take more seriously from a business perspective. I’ve learned to keep truly personal and fun projects out of the business sphere as much as possible, to that the pressure off and to ensure they stay fun.

    Have you always had your “Creative Minds Publishing” idea in the back of your mind?

    Having my own publishing company was not something I always intended to do. I tend to focus on 3-5 year goals, so professionally I know what I am working toward, but those goals are always somewhat vague (or have ‘feathered edges’ as I like to think). I have a very young family and my partner is also self-employed, and so professional goals at this stage of my life have to be fluid and flexible. I would go so far to say as I will probably always want to work in graphic design, in print, and spearhead my own projects with cool people, so that combination of things is what spurned Creative Minds Publishing. But I have no master plan for the brand just yet – I’d like to see it develop on its own first and then mould it from there.

    Conversations with Creative Women

    When did you decide to act?

    At the beginning of 2013, CWC held a speaker event with Melbourne intellectual property lawyer Sharon Givoni about protecting copyright for creatives. It was one of our most popular events to date, and afterwards over coffee Sharon and I mused that there wasn’t a single comprehensive resource available to creatives that explained the concepts she discussed in the workshop, and the issues her clients come to her with every day. With her interest in writing and mine in publishing, and our combined networks of creatives from which to draw inspiration and target the resource, it seemed like a natural next step to produce a book together: Owning It: A Creative’s Guide to Copyright, Contracts and the Law. Formalising an imprint under which to release the book in 2015 was the impetus for launch Creative Minds in August this year. Plus, it made sense to re-release my earlier eBook Graphic Design Speak in print (yay!) to welcome the brand to the world!

    Over the years how have you learnt your main business lessons. From trial and error, reading, workshops or bringing specialists in?

    Probably the biggest lesson is to listen to the advice and feedback of others, but know when to take that advice with a grain of salt, and also know how to vet those to ensure they have your best interests at heart. In the past I have screwed myself over by not trusting people enough, and been screwed by trusting people too much. It’s tough steering a ship whilst also drawing the map – you need people around you but it can take time to find the right support network.

    I read a lot, but not the kind of ‘business’ books you might think. I like memoirs, particularly comedian’s memoirs. Comedians are self-employed, creative, pursue a niche industry they are intensely passionate in – often for years before they find success – but at the same time they are acutely aware of the absurdity of life and how lucky they are to be able to do what they do for money. I like that attitude.

    Many of the little nuggets of advice that rattle around my head are from CWC speakers, or interviews on our blog or the Conversations books. I feel pretty lucky to have that constant injection of real-life advice from other women who are steering their ships in the same ocean as me!

    Graphic Design Speak

    And, what advice has stayed with you.

    I’m not sure if there is one specific piece of advice that is high above all the rest, but we all know that saying ‘no-one on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office’. So probably the advice I try to keep front of mind these days is to work when it’s work time, enjoy family time when it’s family time, and relax when it’s relax time (and have a decent measure of all three in an average week!). That doesn’t always go to plan (I can’t help it if I come up with a great work-related idea when I am playing with trucks with my son!) but it’s important to keep trying.

    Walk us through a day in the life of Tess.

    I’m working full-time hours at the moment while my husband does the stay-at-home-Dad thing, something we consider ourselves pretty fortunate to be able to swing. So my day starts when my son, who is two-and-a-half, wakes up around 7am. From there all three of us amble around trying to get fed and dressed in a reasonable amount of time. I leave the house around 8am and walk to my office in a shared studio space five minutes away. Once there, I tackle the to-do list that I have made the previous day, usually starting with emails that have come in overnight. On an average day I will do a couple of hours of graphic design work for clients (while listening to my favourite podcasts), a couple of hours of work on Owning It or another smaller publishing project, and some time on CWC (preparing a blog post, emailing with a speaker or event host, tinkering with the website, or sending out book orders or membership packs). I’m pretty head-down-bum-up productive – way more so than when I didn’t have a kid and didn’t have to shut down my computer on the dot of 5.30pm. When I leave the office I head straight home to hang with my family and catch up on the day, wrangle the kid into a bath and then into bed, and then have dinner with my husband. After dinner I might do a gym class (no more than twice a week though… I hate exercising but have come to recognise it’s a necessary evil!), or record an episode of The New Normal Podcast with my friend and neighbour Emma Clark. Weekends are family time and I’m pleased to say I’ve stopped doing computer work on weekends – there’s just no time (or energy) after toddler taming and it’s nice to return fresh after a break from the big screen on Monday morning. I still check email and social media on my phone pretty regularly though… can’t break that addiction unfortunately.

    What were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realised you had lost all track of time?

    Sadly it was probably tackling a rather unwieldy email inbox or getting stuck on a design. How I DO like to lose track of time is painting, or reading, or meals with family and friends.

    - – -

    You can become a member of Creative Women’s Circle or view the titles under Creative Minds Publishing.

    Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as a Senior Graphic Designer in Dubai. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. You’ll find her sharing image musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.


    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: CWC news, interview, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    New eBook from CWC: On Creativity and Business

    By Tess McCabe

    Did you know that it’s been 10 years of CWC this year? True. Over that time, there has been so much advice given, taken, and shared here, that it is hard to fathom the ripple effect of so many women connecting and sharing over that time and how it has strengthened the community.

    As a celebration of sorts, over the last few months CWC’s first intern Madeleine Dore poured over the hundreds of blog posts on this site and curated a collection of the best snippets of advice, tips, thoughts and musings from the women we have featured or who have contributed to our blog in some way.

    On-creativity-and-business_CWC_ebook_530_DLpage_image

    The result is On Creativity and Business: Information, Inspiration and Ideas from Creative Women’s Circle. It’s 37 pages long, and available now for free for our Members… those who support us to keep going in this manner.

    2015 is going to be an exciting year for CWC (with plans underway that will be revealed in due time!). But as the weather warms up and the year winds down, we hope our Members will enjoy this little gift.

    And for those who are yet to join or who like to join in from afar, we encourage you to revisit our blog archives this summer and refuel your inspiration stores so that you too have a creative and productive 2015!

    On-creativity-and-business_CWC_ebook_530_DLpage_image2


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: books, CWC news | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Want to contribute to our next book? A call for submissions.

    OI_call-for-submissions530

    Updated 31 October!

    As you may have heard, our sister-company Creative Minds Publishing and Tess McCabe are currently developing a book with lawyer (and former CWC speaker) Sharon Givoni called Owning It: A Creative’s Guide to Copyright, Contracts and the Law.

    We are now looking for images and quotes from the Australian creative community to pepper throughout its pages, so if you fit the following criteria – we’d love to hear from you!

    Please have a read through this list to see specifically who and what we are after – and feel free to forward this onto your friends and colleagues (male or female!). If you tick one of these boxes please contact Tess via the email address at the bottom of this post and we’ll get back to you! The deadline is Friday 14 November 2014.

    Photographers

    • You have a photograph that was taken in a public place that required a permit.
    • You have an amazing photo that you want to show off.
    • You are a wedding photographer who has clients agree to certain terms or conditions or sign a contract before their photo shoot.

    Graphic designers, creative agencies and Illustrators

    • You have created an advertisement that has adhered to a standard or voluntary code of conduct.
    • You are a graphic designer and have portfolio examples of a branding and collateral project you’d like to show off.
    • You keep drafts of your original illustrations (paper or digital) that show when they were created.

    Makers and craftspeople

    • Your products are made in Australia and customers can find out more about the makers on your website.
    • Your products are made overseas and customers can find out more about the makers on your website.

    Product designers

    • You are a product designer who has registered a design with IP Australia.
    • You have had a potential client sign a confidentiality agreement before showing them a new product or collection.

    Tattoo artists

    • You have beautiful high-resolution images of your work that you’d like to show off.

    Architects

    • You have beautiful high-resolutions images of your work that you’d like to show off.
    • You get clients to sign a contract outlining your terms and timelines for a project including building variations etc.

    Fashion designers

    • You regularly use models in photo shoots and have them sign a model release.

    Artists and galleries

    • You are an artist registered with VisCopy.
    • You are an artist who is registered or has received Resale Royalty Rights from a sale of your work.

    Writers, poets, playwrights and publishers

    • You are a playwright or poet who has had works published or performed.
    • You have written and published an eBook.
    • You are a writer/journalist registered with Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).

    Musicians

    • You are a musician or band who has licensed a song, signed a recording contract or who has a publishing deal.
    • You are a performing musician who has professional images of yourself on stage.
    • You have remixed or sampled another musicians work with their permission.
    • You are a musician who is registered with APRA|AMCOS to receive royalties.

    Retailers and galleries

    • You are a retailer or yoga instructor and you pay APRA|AMCOS license fees to play music in your shop/studio.
    • You sell artwork or products by other people on consignment, and have some kind of basic terms that outline when consignment $ are paid.
    • You are a gallery that assists artists with receiving Resale Royalty Rights.

    Film makers and animators

    • You are a film maker (director/producer) who has professional images of ‘behind the scenes’ of a film set.
    • You are an animator who has made an animated film or short film.

    Business owners, sole traders, creative professionals

    • You have a social media policy in place for your employees.
    • You have a partnership contract in place in your creative business.

    {Note that all contributions will be shown in a completely positive light, and while we unfortunately cannot afford to pay for contributions, all contributors whose work ends up in the book will be fully credited and receive a discount on the book’s sale price once it is released next year.}

    Questions and expressions of interest in contributing can be directed to Tess McCabe at hello@creativemindshq.com.

    Deadline: Friday 14 November 2014.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: CWC news | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Graphic Design Speak: Tips, Advice and Jargon Defined for Non-Graphic-Designers… paperback edition!

    graphic-design-speak_cover

    Last year we released the eBook Graphic Design Speak: Tips, Advice and Jargon Defined for Non-Graphic-Designers, to lots of great feedback and hundreds of copies sold. By popular demand, we’re soon to be releasing Graphic Design Speak in paperback format through our sister-biz Creative Minds Publishing, and you can pre-order it now to get it first!

    This handy 44-page paperback guide explains:

    • Basic colour terms like Pantone, CMYK, RGB and what they mean
    • Common file types and where you use them (a.k.a. Why can’t my printer just get my logo from my website and put it on my business card?)
    • How to distinguish a high-resolution image from a low-resolution one (a.k.a. A journalist has asked for a high-resolution image for a story about me, but how do I know which one of these image files to send?!)
    • The standard paper and envelope sizes
    • Facts about fonts
    • And over 95 common words and phrases us graphic designers throw around willy nilly.

    Here’s what’s new in the paperback edition:

    Plus, it’s printed in full colour in Melbourne, Victoria using environmentally friendly printing methods and paper.

    Read more here or pre-order here! Books will be posted in early September.

    Graphic Design Speak - written and designed by Tess McCabe

    How and where to use colours such as Pantone, CMYK, RGB and more. Written/designed by Tess McCabe. Image by Louise Jones.

    Graphic Design Speak - written and designed by Tess McCabe

    A handy reference for paper and envelope sizes. Written/designed by Tess McCabe. Image by Saint Gertrude Letterpress and Design.

    Graphic Design Speak - written and designed by Tess McCabe

    Over 95 graphic-designy words defined in plain English. Written/designed by Tess McCabe. Images (left) Brand by Name; (right) Pom by Pomegranate.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: books, CWC news, women who write | Comments Off