If you’re obsessed with stationery and getting organised (like us) you’re going to love Design is Yay! We had a chat with Wita about how she channeled her passion and skills into creating a business.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs? I attended RMIT University in Melbourne, and graduated with Bachelor of Design in 2006. To be honest I have never worked as a graphic designer anywhere. When I finished uni I actually felt really tired of design and went to pastry school instead because I thought I wanted to be a baker. I worked in a few restaurants, and found out that kitchen job is physically tough. So I started freelancing while applying for jobs in agencies or as in-house designers. None of them got back to me, but my freelance jobs started to pick up, so after a while I couldn’t be bothered to look for a job in graphic design. When I worked as a freelancer, I didn’t limit my area within what I learned in uni (logo and branding). I also accepted jobs to create party design for children, wedding invitations, website layouts, calendars and many more.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I have two creative businesses. Design is Yay is a blog and Doodlesdo is a planner sticker shop. They are two different businesses, but they have one thing in common, which is creative planning. Design is Yay is a blog and instagram where I share about my love for stationery and planners, as well as day to day operations for my sticker business. Doodlesdo is the aforementioned planner sticker business.
With both businesses, I’m encouraging everyone to get back into physical planning using diaries, pens, washi tapes, stickers and other accessories, because they are a lot of fun! Ticking off your daily to do list is such a great feeling, and by having your tasks written down it helps to declutter your brain, therefore you can keep more important things in your brain. A lot of people told me the reason they stay away from physical diaries is because they don’t have nice handwriting or doodles, and they are not tidy. That’s where Doodlesdo Stickers come in handy, because we’ll take care of the visual aspects side of your planning and all you need to do is to fill in the details!
What does a typical working day include for you right now? Everyday is different because I dedicate each day of the week to finish off certain things and move on to other things the next day, rather than spreading everything within the week. Mondays are design day, when I have to design new stickers for my shop. In the afternoon I will allocate a few hours to take photos for instagram so that I will have content for the rest of the week. Tuesdays are marketing day, I usually plan how and what to promote for the next week, and who to contact or send PR packs to, Wednesdays are making day, when I print and cut existing orders. The rest of the week I will use to create marketing goodies such as sticker freebies and postcards to go with the orders, or to plan our ‘what’s next’.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way? 1. Even though uni provides a foundation that will strengthen your skills and passion, you will learn a lot more in your job than you ever will in uni.
2. Being published in magazines or other publications don’t always equal success. It just means that more people know who you are, but they don’t necessarily want to buy or use your products or services. I’ve learned to channel my energy in developing products and making sales instead of trying to get my work published.
3. Don’t be afraid to change the directions of your business. I started out 5 years ago by designing greeting cards and prints. Greeting cards and prints were not selling as well as I wanted them to, so I brainstormed what I could do with my skills. Opening my sticker business didn’t require me to start from the bottom, I was actually re-using some of my existing designs and make stickers with them instead. But it made a huge difference in sales, probably because I’m more into planning than sending cards or hanging art prints.
What advice would you give students starting out? Don’t beat yourself up for not getting the job that you’ve always wanted or the agency of your dream. I don’t believe that working in your dream places will be better than creating your own dream job. While going on interviews or taking on part time jobs, start developing your own skills and open an online store selling your design, even if they are printables or downloadable files! Making passive income is better than no income at all.
How important is networking to you? I used to think that networking was one of the most important things to get my business name out there, but I’ve been to a lot of networking event where people don’t have anything to relate to what I do, and in the end it was all just a regular social event. These days I would rather spend the time and energy trying to connect with my customers, or creating items that would benefit my customers, both existing and potential.
2017 for you in a sentence. The year I’m going to get to work.