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    Category Archives: regular columns

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    Interview – Tina van den Broek, illustrator and artist

    The Food Artist Interview

    By Andrea McArthur

    ‘Doing what you love’ is paramount to artist and CWC Member Tina van den Broek, who also goes by the pseudonym The Food Artist. Tina creates tasty illustrations for businesses, products and services that are looking to spice things up. It’s a new and unique industry niche she calls ‘Food Communication’!

    The Food Artist Logo

    Tell us about your background. What has led you to starting The Food Artist?

    I have a background in visual arts. I did a fine arts degree in Auckland, New Zealand, majoring in sculpture, with minors in printmaking and fibre arts. I also have a keen passion for making food. While studying I worked part time in a restaurant and worked in southern France for six months where I would cook, clean and entertain guests. I gained advertising and marketing skills while working for a boutique agency in New Zealand, and also larger companies like gumtree.com in London. In the last few years I have been working in online marketing.

    I decided I wanted to pursue my creative interests by creating a business and life that I loved. Something I did because I enjoyed it, which was extremely specific and told a story. In order to articulate what it is that I do and can offer people, I had to think long and hard about my core values, beliefs and passions.

    All my life I have loved food. I enjoy freestyle cooking where I whip something up based on the ingredients at hand. I can cook for hours and be in that same ‘happy place’ I go to when I am making art. Previous to this I was working under the name The Visual Citizen doing illustration, visual arts and face painting, which I still do. It made sense to bring my two passions together: food & illustration. Which is how The Food Artist was born.

    The Food Artist Workspace

    What skills have you brought into starting The Food Artist and what business skills are you developing?

    I bring with me a lifetime of customer service skills. From the age of nine I worked weekends or after school hours in my parents’ milk bar and bulk food store serving customers. I have a love of travel, meeting new people and learning about their life and experiences. I like to use my artistic and creative skills to help people and continue to refine and grow these skills. The Food Artist is quite new actually – I started the business in February 2014 and I am currently trying to develop my business and financial skills.

    What mediums do you work in?

    I like working in black ink pens, fine-liners, watercolour paints and pencils, metallic pens and coloured pencils.

    Who are your main clients at the moment?

    My main clients are independent food producers, life coaching mentors, health & wellness bloggers/practitioners, chefs and caterers. I look forward to adding many more in the future.

    Tell us about a favourite project that you have worked on.

    A favourite project of mine would have been creating illustrations for a forthcoming eats, treats and edible beauty recipe book. I was lucky enough to taste a lot of the recipes and I believe that helped me draw them! I also got to try the edible beauty treatments, which blew me away with their tasty ingredients that I just wanted to eat. I learnt a lot about ingredients from this job as the author has food intolerances.


    Do you have a favourite restaurant that you frequent or a favourite recipe that you cook?

    I’m more of a ‘whip something up at home’ kind of girl and I enjoy cooking ratatouille, home made banana ice cream, or kitty cat pikelets (which are pikelets made in the shape of a cat).

    What advice do you have for others who might be considering a jump into a creative business?

    My advice would be that you can’t do everything yourself so get help – a business mentor/coach, have people you can rely on for support and outsource what you can. There is always something you can work on so accept it and set yourself tasks rather than working yourself into the ground in a never-ending attempt to finish just one more thing. Last but not least, believe in yourself and never give up, sometimes things just don’t work so you learn from your mistakes and try another approach.

    What future goals do you have for your creative pursuits?

    My future goals are to illustrate a colouring in book and children’s book. To take my illustrations from 2D to 3D and do visual merchandising, styling, installations, collaborate with set designers or prop makers on TV, film or music videos. I would also like to license my artworks for use on products.


    Thank you Tina for your time and sharing your story with us! Follow The Food Artist adventures on Instagram @thefoodartist and Facebook /TheFoodArtist or for more foodie goodness and to see Tina’s work, visit www.thefoodartist.com.au.


    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 design related musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.

    Tags: Art, artist, business, food, Interview
    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: interview, regular columns | Comments Off
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    How to Improve Your Blog to Grow Your Creative Business

    How to Improve Your Blog to Grow Your Creative Business by Dannielle Cresp on Creative Womens Circle

    By Dannielle Cresp

    Blogging is great for business. We all know it. But when it’s not the number one thing on your to-do list, it can slip from a “must do” to a “should do”. When a month or two passes without any new content going up, we know it looks bad, but the longer it’s left the more difficult it feels to get back to it.

    I’ve been blogging weekly for almost a year now without missing a single post. So today I want to share with you my tips for improving your blog to help your creative business grow, without adding too much more to your plate.

    • Have an editorial calendar and dedicate at least half a day a month to it. Decide what days of the week you’ll be posting over the coming month. I recommend less rather than more if your blog isn’t your main business. It’s better to be consistent once or twice a week than 5 days one week and nothing for the rest of the month. Use that half day to plan what you will write (even if it’s just vague topics for now) and the dates you will publish the posts.
    • Dedicate time write posts in batches. Set aside half a day to a day to write as many posts as you can. Take the photos you need to accompany what you’ve written, and then schedule them according to your editorial calendar. It might seem silly to not work on your main business for a whole day or so, but blogging is an important part of marketing!
    • Make your images easily pinable to Pinterest. Only use great quality images and add your post title to the image you’re going to use (like the example above). Also consider adding a ‘pin it’ button over your images. This makes your content easier to share amongst Pinterest users, and will help drive traffic back to your site. It’s also a great way to bookmark and categorise your own blog posts for easy reference.
    • Have an e-Newsletter Sign Up on your blog sidebar and encourage readers to sign up (e.g. by offering them exclusive offers or something extra if they do).
    • Keep your colours and fonts consistent. Your blog is an intrinsic part of your brand, and consistency will ensure people will get to know you and your work by sight.
    • Only write as much as you need to. Blog posts needn’t be long, especially if your creative business has lots of visual appeal. Write only what you need to and share some great images that will help you get your point across. There is no ideal blog post length. For many of you, images will be a way to share some behind the scenes work and you’ll only a short ammount of text to give those images some context.
    • Have some fun with it. It might seem odd that you would have fun with the marketing side of your business, but if you let your personality shine through a bit people can see there’s a person behind the brand and feel like they’re supporting someone rather than something. Even if you’re a team, it can be a great way to give some insight into who the customer (or client) might be hiring or purchasing from.

    Blogging can be great for your business and it doesn’t have to take up a big part of your daily business routine. Find a rhythm that works for you and and it will be much easier to stick to and to enjoy.

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of 90s teen movies and can often be found hanging out on Pinterest. She is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style over at her blog Style for a Happy Home.

    Image from © Lime Lane Photography with text overlay

    Posted by: Dannielle Cresp
    Categories: organise me, regular columns | Comments Off
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    My Advice: Going freelance

    By Lizzie Stafford


    Going freelance means giving up a steady income, sick leave, holiday pay and the security of knowing where you’ll be or what you’ll be working on tomorrow, next week or a month from now. But it also means more creative freedom, flexibility, independence – and being able to nap during the day. We asked four freelancers – a graphic designer, a writer and editor, a consultant and collaborator and a creative director – for some advice on how to make the transition into working for yourself.

    Be practical.

    Jo Hoban, freelance editorial consultant and creative collaborator

    “I made the shift to freelancing when I had young babies, and it suited me—I knew I wouldn’t have a wealth of time to work anyway, but I managed different projects when I could, and now that the kids are a bit older, I’m finding it more natural to increase my workload.

    Starting to freelance is like bungee jumping—it’s scary, but you know you’re tied to something, so hope for the best! Exhilaration aside, you need to be practical. It’s sensible to know that you have a ‘bread-and-butter’ client or two who will flick work your way (thanks, old employer!). And if you share your finances with a partner, you need to know that they’re in a position to shoulder your financial responsibilities should your work contracts be on the lean side. Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can learn as you go, and slowly grow your business. I’ve found that if you just keep chugging away, gradually you’ll start to gather more momentum.

    Some useful advice I’ve received along the way has been to stay calm and make time for everything, even if you feel like a job is consuming you. Be organised with your admin and allocate some time for your marketing, or seeking future work—how much depends on how busy you want to be and how many existing clients you have. It’s worthwhile to do some kinds of work for free, to help build your portfolio and feed your creativity. And you never know what other opportunities might come from it. Gather testimonials as you go and connect with your collaborators and clients through social media sites. And finally… once you’ve made the decision to go freelance, back yourself! If you know that you can provide a valuable, high-quality service, be prepared to summarise that when an opportunity arises.”

    Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the work shows up, too.

    Madeleine Dore, freelance writer and editor, Extraordinary Routines

    “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” – Isabel Allende

    “In the beginning of building a career as freelance writer, I think it’s important to put your hand up for as many things as possible. Find an internship that will sharpen your skills, build your portfolio and give you a valuable contact in the industry who can vouch for your writing. Ask friends if you can help write content for their website, short bios, or press releases.  Pitch features to your favourite publications and volunteer to write the first one for free if the editor is not familiar with your work. Start a blog or writing project to showcase your writing. Make your name known. Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the work shows up, too.”

    Take naps often.

    Lara Stephenson, creative director, The Grazing Elk

    “Something I have learned through being a freelancer and now owning my own business would be: take frequent naps. If you’re tired or frustrated – just check out. Have a nap, watch a movie, read a book, go do something nice for yourself, have fun… and come back to your project, your business, or your work when you are feeling better, inspired and uplifted from the good things you have just done.

    It is only recently I have heard this from other people, but I have found it is one of the easiest and nicest ways to feel good again, get inspiration (my website idea came to me in a dream), and you feeling good, confident and loved is the first step of everything. Being a freelancer, you have this freedom to take time out, have a nap and do something fun.

    You will return to whatever you were doing before on a completely new level and fresh inspiration.”

    Stay busy.

    Jodi English, freelance graphic designer

    “Recently, I’ve been constantly coming back to some advice from Andrew Denton at the recent Semi Permanent conference in Sydney: “Be busy. Be Hungry. Be silent. Be bold. Be prepared to fail. And persevere.”

    Over time I’ve come to realise it’s so much more important to stay busy, not only on commercial work, but personal projects. This allows you the freedom to explore different mediums, different ideas, learn different skills and gives you a platform to continually experiment. Whilst freelancing offers you a degree of freedom, you are responsible with your time and it’s important to stay organised, be proactive and explore new and exciting opportunities that keep you motivated.

    For me, being hungry is having a constant curiosity, not only about design but about travel, people, food, ideas and the world around us. I believe we can gain inspiration from the most unexpected places so it’s important to always be a sponge!

    I find it so easy to constantly be thinking about your current projects, next week’s plans or getting caught up in your Facebook timeline or Instagram feed. Recently, I’ve been making a conscious effort to just sit down, relax and enjoy some quiet time away from my phone/computer and read my latest books and magazines. Surprisingly, some of your best ideas actually come when you don’t intend!

    I believe being bold is about being confident in your own abilities, believing in yourself and having the willingness to put yourself out there. At times, I think we all struggle with this and often compare ourselves to others. It’s important to believe in your work, embrace your individual style as a freelancer and remember the real value of your work. Be open to meeting new people, getting involved in your local community and collaborating with other creatives.

    More than anything else, work hard, stay humble, hopeful, patient and never give up! Oh and make sure you keep money aside for tax!”

    Lizzie Stafford is a freelance writer and editor and owns and runs Künstler, an independent magazine and bookstore based in Winn Lane, Brisbane. She is the Brisbane events coordinator for CWC.

    Posted by: Lizzie Stafford
    Categories: my advice, regular columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    How to Plan now for the Christmas Rush

    By Susan Goodwin


    Christmas, a time for giving, a time for family and the lead up to it can be some of the most intense times for your business. It may be months away yet but if you do some prep work now you will arrive at Christmas not a frazzled mess but as a cool calm collected business woman who has just made the most of one of the biggest retail opportunities available.

    Get your products ready
    Ensure all products, goods and services are going to be ready in time for the Christmas sales period. If they aren’t you will lose a big opportunity so make sure your deadlines are being met.

    Plan when to let your customers know
    Work out a calendar of when the goods are available and how to best communicate to your customers during a time period when they are going to be bombarded with buy buy buy messages

    Schedules your blog posts and social media
    Hopefully you are working to a blog content ‘calendar’ by now… If so, set aside a couple of days in July and do as much prep work as you possibly can to have December posts ready to go. Even if you need to add photos later, get the writing and scheduling done.

    Plan out your cards
    Sending out Christmas cards? If they are physical cards, get them designed and printed before October. That way, you have time to write in them and get them into the post mid- to late-November in time for an early December delivery. If the bulk of your cards are going overseas, be sure to check the posting schedule and aim for an early November post date.

    If your cards are virtual, get onto the design now and pre-schedule them to be sent out.

    Sending gifts or products to key clients or agencies?
    Think ahead and be sure to make your present relevant and as inspired as possible. Avoid the cliches and ensure you give a gift that will be remembered and appreciated.

    Wrapping paper, not just for the presents you are giving, but for your own products
    Think about how wrapping a product can benefit your brand and delight your customers. Do test runs, get costings and have everything ready far in advance.

    Wrapping your products in a creative way could work in-store or at markets. Think about how to make this an engaging aspect of your customer’s experience. Could you set up a wrapping station and allow customers to wrap their own gifts? Or have expert guides on hand to help? For online customers, offer gift wrapping as part of the service or for a small charge. Beautiful photos of the final wrapping are a must and will encourage people to take the option of wrapping and be happy to pay for it.

    Then, prep for sales beyond Christmas
    Think ahead: will you offer sales and discounts in December, or just from Boxing Day? Make a sales plan and act accordingly. If your website needs to change prices on the 26th, ensure you won’t be needed to manually input pricing changes on Christmas Day. Perhaps inside the gift wrapping you might consider adding a discount card to encourage repeat custom, or an easy way for them to share their gift on social media. Make it fun and engaging to increase your exposure. Plan it, pre-schedule it.

    Overall, planning and scheduling as much as possible earlier in the year, will ensure you’re calm and efficient during December. Not only will sales be flying out the door, you will have engagements and parties of your own to attend. Make sure your business is well looked after so you can enjoy the celebrations and not be locked in the office till midnight writing out Christmas cards (which could’ve been done in October!).

    Plan and schedule and you will have time for both success and pleasure this Christmas.

    Susan Goodwin is the designer, sewer and creator of Rocket Fuel, ensuring you are decked out in style while cycling. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter @rocketfuelstyle.

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    Posted by: Susan
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