Tag Archives: creative jobs

Creative Jobs #4

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I made it to a month! One month of interviewing a new creative person every week to find out more about how it feels to do their job. In case this is the first Ceative Jobs post that you’ve seen, I started out interviewing a magazine designer, an advertising art director and last week I interviewed a creative entrepreneur. And so… onwards, to our next interview! And as I suggested last week, if you love fashion, then this interview is for you!

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In my pretend fantasy world I’m a fashion designer. I get to spend my days searching for luxurious fabrics, sketching future master pieces and flicking through fashion magazines to see models in my clothes. WAKE up, time check, it’s 10pm on a Tuesday night and I’m working on round 12 of a logo design that never wants to end. However, for my friend Georgia, that fantasy world is a reality. In between daily trips to Knead Bakery and finishing her undergraduate degree, she’s running her own fashion design company, designing her own lines every season, and what’s more – it’s not only her friends wearing her clothes. Fortune is now being stocked online at Style36, is appearing in numerous publications and is hella fabulous. Georgia blogs at The Fortunate One where she writes about fashion, her fab life and her super cute pugs pups.

• What job do you have and what is your company’s name?
I am the owner and head designer for fashion label Fortune.

• What does your job entail?
I am what one would call a fashion designer, but I believe that today the term goes deeper than just designing clothes. My working title of designer/creative director sees me sourcing fabric, discovering and liaising with retailers and creating collections. I also handle the PR and social media marketing of my label.


• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
I’m currently in my final year at the University of Cape Town, completing a BA in English Literature & Media. Although my first love lies with fashion, I felt that being an individual of many talents wouldn’t hurt.

• Do you feel that your tertiary education has had a huge influence on your career, and why?
Being fashion designer was actually a childhood dream of mine that was realized through my mother having been in the industry for over 20 years and deciding to open her own CMT or clothing production factory. And yes, I’m not ashamed to say that nepotism played a role in my chosen career, but I’ve always believed that one should embrace the opportunities that one is given. I decided to eschew studying fashion design to rather pursue my love for writing, which is perhaps equal to my love of fashion, but ultimately the desire to begin my own career in clothing won out. I think that today it does certainly help to be a bit of an “all-rounder”, what with blogging and having a strong social media presence along with the actual fashion label all such important aspects of getting a brand going. I don’t believe that my decision to not study fashion design on a tertiary level has put me at a disadvantage as one tends to learn far more from hands-on experience than in more theoretical environments.


• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
From sourcing new styles to finding the perfect materials, being able to go through different creative processes each day is refreshing and challenges me to improve both my business and myself.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
Usually I answer and/or reply to emails from fashion media and prospective or existing buyers. I’m in close relationships with all three of my online retailers so if I have new styles to show them I head out to meetings. I’m on the road for the majority of the working week, sourcing fabric and liaising with those in the industry. I do always make time for a treat from KNEAD Bakery of course. We all have our vices!

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• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
I would have liked to have been a bit more clued-up when it came to the actual running of the business and how important having good PR relations are. I feel that I wasted a lot of time before I acquired the skills I have now, but in the greater scheme of things, self-education can be far more valuable and rewarding that any sort of “crash test” in how to make a success of one’s self. What I have learnt is that there are no short cuts to business satisfaction.

• What is your creative process when you work on a new line?
I begin with trend forecasting, usually with any of my favourite European fashion publications, along with whatever I feel would be marketable to a local consumer. South Africans can be rather conservative in their dress sense, but there is definitely a younger, more daring market out there that is looking for something bespoke and avant garde that will ensure that they stand out from the crowd. It is very important to me to retain my label’s aesthetic of classic, minimalist lines in unique and luxurious fabrics so there is of course a strong input of my own style in what I design.

Secondly, once I have chosen styles (I usually start with about 10 different garments) I have the patterns created and mock-up samples made. After that I source fabric, which is always tricky as Cape Town has a rather large family of designers and we are all shopping at the same places; and create my final samples which go off to my retailers who will then place orders with me so I can go ahead and purchase the materials needed. I’m very lucky to have a CMT that is as efficient as mine is and we usually get our orders of minimum 100 garments out very quickly.

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• What kind of person would make the ideal fashion designer?
One has to be thick-skinned to a certain degree, but overall an eternal optimist. The fashion industry, especially that of design is intensely competitive and absolutely everyone is really talented at what they do. An ideal fashion designer is someone with a strong personality that doesn’t shy away from wanting their name to be heard. You have to envision opportunity before it even presents itself and hold on to it when it does. My chosen career would definitely suit the person that creates her own destiny as opposed to waiting around for things to happen.

• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old were you when you knew what you wanted to be?
Since everything from my Barbie dolls to my pet dog received a myriad of outlandish outfits as I was growing up, I can definitely say that I’m living my childhood dream!

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• if you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
I would have started my label sooner. Nothing can top the satisfaction that working for yourself in a career that you are passionate about can bring. I have literally found my Fortune.

Creative Jobs #3

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This column gets more and more exciting for me every week. I absolutely love sending out my questionnaire, getting the answers back and reading through them. Even though the people I’ve been interviewing are mostly close friends of mine, it’s really interesting to listen to their stories and   find out more about them. You might remember that I started out with Nicola Hohls, a  layout & magazine designer. Last week I spoke to Harriet Stockwell, an avertising art director, and now we’re chatting to Robyn Britz from Zana, the brains and creative head behind the Cape Town based brand.

003_Creative entrepreneurRobyn is a really good friend of mine. Now I know I’ve said this before with the previous two posts, but in this case we’ve been friends since we were 6 years old. She broke my finger, we sat next to each other in Grade 7, we had lots of fights, lots of amazing sleepovers and made a million memories together growing up. Robyn has always been super creative – her mom’s been involved in printing since forever, and I always remember going to her house after school and there would always be crafty sort of stuff lying around, and lots of colored paper, and we used to get creative in between prank calls and swimming in the pool. She used her background in brand communication and coupled it with her insanely tenacious and go-getting attitude and launched an amazing brand called Zana (You might remember that I shared some photos from their studio a while ago) with her mother Sue. Add the talented interior designer, Melissa Nunnerly, to their team and they’ve gone from cushion covers to tote bags to table runners to pouches to covering chairs to taking on the world one seriously cool print at a time.

• What job do you have and what is your company’s name?
I am co-owner and head creative of a small business called Zana. We design textiles which we sell by the meter as well as develop into finished goods such as pouches, cushions, totes, tableware etc. We are an online store and sell to every corner of the globe from our studio in Woodstock.

• What does your job entail?
I do the designs and decide on the creative vision for our products (with a little more help now days.) I photograph new products, edit photos and work on the website. Because we are mainly an online store I am constantly updating the website and photographs of our products (which is in essence what sells them.) I also maintain our business blog, do admin and social media.

• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
I studied BA Creative Brand Communication specialising in MultiMedia Design at Vega in Cape Town – It took 3 years and I finished at the end of 2012.

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• Do you feel that your creative tertiary education was a huge influence on your career, and why?
Well, I wouldn’t say huge, but it definitely did influence my career. I feel like I have always had the drive and work ethic to my name but tertiary education just taught me how to think, I grew up, learnt how to use programs and obviously improved my design eye. I also learnt a lot about branding which is important as I now manage my brand.

• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
I absolutely love my job. I get to be creative every day and I’m inspired by the fact that I have created something that people want to own. It’s also my creative vision, which you cannot put a price on.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
I come in at around 9 (normally 9:15 because I’m off getting coffee somewhere – like Skinny Legs, my new favourite spot.) I get in, make sure my production ladies are okay and packaging orders. I check my emails and generally get into my to-do list. I will reply to customers, send out tracking numbers and discuss wholesale queries with the team. Small business involves being jack of all trades and I do more admin than most would think! I will also do some creative, shoot a blog DIY for our blog, queue posts for social media, Instagram some things and then I’m off home at 5.



• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
Before I had chosen a creative career I wish I had known that it’s hard work and everyone has a different taste, you just have to be yourself and be great at that!

• What kind of person would make the ideal creative entrepreneur?
An ideal creative entrepreneur needs to eat sleep and breathe their business, at least until it has its own legs. Starting small is fine, we did that, but when the time comes to give it your full energy, you need to be ready. You need to be a ‘do-er,’ many people talk about and dream up amazing ideas but never get it going. I think of something and then make it happen and that is definitely what has gotten us this far! Be willing to compromise on your social life and work harder than everyone around you. It also all depends on what growth you have projected for your business. You need to believe in what you do and feel inspired by it.


• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old we’re you when you knew what you wanted to be?
To be honest, up until 3rd year I wanted to be a web developer. I love computers, coding and the internet. College left me with mixed feelings about creative jobs, I tried my hand at a little advertising and that really wasn’t for me. I was freelancing from early on in college and I guess that’s when I really knew that I had the will power to do things on my own. Zana only really came into play just before I left college when we launched a few products. I decided not to apply for a job after college and set up my desk giving the business my full time and it honestly has sky rocketed beyond my expectations with local and international sales. I have since then been able to call this my full time job and it’s the best!

• If you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
Actually nothing! I would love to have learnt how to sew somewhere along the line. But I’m a serial jack of all trades and sometimes I just need to accept that I can’t know how to do everything!



|| All images are from Zana’s website or Etsy site.

Creative Jobs #2

Creative Careers_general headerSo here we go, round two of Creative Jobs, my new & exciting weekly column. Last week I featured Nicola Hohls, a good friend and great layout & magazine designer. This week we’re moving swiftly along into the big bad world of advertising, and next week we’re chatting to Robyn Britz from Zana, about her journey to becoming a creative entrepreneur.

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Harriet Emily Alice Stockwell is a super star designer. The kind of woman that turns everything she touches to creative gold. Her hard working, I-can-do-anything attitude put her through 3 years of Graphic Design (where I met her) and resulted in her graduating top of our year in 2012. While many of us lazy students kicked back after class watching series and Facebooking our friends, Harriet was working as a waitress, doing her homework until early hours of the morning, and never stopping to take a moment’s rest. She’s notoriously sharp, a scamp master of note, and never settles for anything less than perfect – and why should she, when she works so hard at everything herself?

• What job do you have and who do you work for?
Art Director for Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa.

• What does your job entail?
As an art director I am required to conceptualise creative ideas to communicate a certain message or thought. The idea needs to answer a brief, given for a brand/product. Once approved by client, I then direct the vision of the idea for execution.
Due to my design background I often do the execution myself, however, if a job requires illustration, typography or photography that is when we out source the best of the best and I direct them to deliver my vision.

• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
I studied at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I did a three year National Diploma in Graphic Design. I started studing in 2009 and finished 2011.

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• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
Seeing the final execution of the idea I came up with and sending it into the world for other people to see. It’s so awesome to finally finish a project, step back and see the great work you’ve made.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
I start my day by checking emails, then move onto the project I am working on at the time.
Sometimes I will have a new brief come in and that will be briefed in a meeting. Or I will have reviews, of the current project I’m on, with my Creative Director. Once a project is signed off and given to client, I then get a debrief on any changes they have.

I’m mainly behind a computer, working on Adobe illustrator, Indesign and Photoshop simultaneously. If I’m working on a big project, I sometimes get to do the fun things, like going to a photography shoot or being on set for a commercial.

• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
The long hours and little pay to start with. But the long hours pay off in the end and eventually the pay gets better.

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• What kind of person would make the ideal art director?
Someone with a great imagination. Great imagination makes for innovative/fun/creative ideas.

• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old we’re you when you knew what you wanted to be?
I always chopped and changed what I wanted to be, but I alwasy knew I wanted to do something creative. Whether it was art, dance or drama, I wanted to do something that I could express myself creatively in.
Graphic design became an option when I was 17 and about to finish school. I knew out of dance and drama, graphic design would guarantee a steady income, and if I hadnt studied that I would never have known about art direction and gotten the oppotunity to work for one of the top advertising agencies in the world.

• If you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
I don’t think there is anything. Because even though I didn’t study art direction, my design ability is what won me the job and the rest I’m learning along the way. And if I’m not learning, I’m not growing and then I’m useless, so I think everything has been just right to get me here.

Whole Campaign copy|| Oh, and it’s her birthday today!! Happy Birthday Harriet ‘Hbomb’ Stockwell! Your spark for life inspires me everyday!


Creative Jobs #1

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I’ve realized, after much conversation with non-design orientated people, that so many of them have absolutely no idea what the differences between graphic and an industrial designers are, amongst other things. Goodness gracious!

Being a creative, I often get asked what exactly I do for a living, and when I start rattling of the numerous things I do, people are often surprised. I know that everyone understands that there’s fashion design and fine art and graphic design. But what the heck is a surface designer? ANd can a graphic designer also do illustration? Or is that only an illustrator? And if I want to be a front end web developer, what should I study?

If this is how you feel, or you’re considering career options, you’ll love this brand new weekly column, all about different creative careers and interviews with people who actually do them.

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Nicola Hohls is one of my best friends. We studied together for 3 years at varsity and once she graduated with her diploma, was quickly snatched up by Art South Africa magazine, a well known publication amongst SA’s creative circles. She has worked here for just over 2 years, honing her layout skills. Not only can Nicola turn a copy heavy page into a reader’s dream, but she also speaks German, has amazing stationery design skills and a huge heart for helping others.

• What job do you have and who do you work for?
Layout and Graphic Designer at Art South Africa magazine.

• What does your job entail?
Full layout and design of the print and digital magazine, website updating and designing of web banners, designing weekly newsletter online, keeping archives up to date, designing Art South Africa adverts for other publications. Also designing other publications with my creative director, namely: Change Agent; Theatre On The Bay: The First 20 Years and 100 GOOD IDEAS: Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy.

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• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
CPUT, 2009 – 2011, National Diploma in Graphic Design. Took 3 years to complete.

• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
Coming up with the new look and feel of the magazine every quarter and doing the layout.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
Checking emails and sorting out any admin is the first thing I do in the morning. Then, when preparing for the upcoming issue, I sort out text and all images and begin placing them into the document (in InDesign). From there I discuss with our editor what the theme of the issue is and read all the articles. I then do some design research to get an idea of what we want for the look and feel relating to the theme of the issue. The normal day involves meetings with the editor and my creative director to discuss the magazine and the progress that’s being made. Also answering any queries that advertisers might have with regards to the specs of the magazine and deadlines. Updating the website also happens on a daily basis, staying up to date with current news in the art and design world.

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• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
The amount of hard work and time that goes into producing a high quality publication.

• What kind of person would make the ideal layout & graphic designer?
Someone that is responsible and organized, all images and text need to be filed appropriately. Accuracy is also very important when designing because you need to make sure that the entire magazine is consistent, that everything sits in the right place and that the layout flows throughout. A good eye for creativity and current trends is also very important, to know exactly how entice your target audience.

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• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old we’re you when you knew what you wanted to be?
I always wanted to be an architect when I was younger, because my grandpa was an architect and I always had an interest in buildings. However, that dream changed when I discovered graphic design when I was 16. I always enjoyed advertising and working with photographs and typography and never knew how to turn something like that into a career. Who knew that Graphic Design would be just the right thing for me?? So it was from that moment that I realized this was the industry I wanted to be in. While I was studying I realized that one of my greatest strengths was layout design and it was only natural for me to go into the publishing industry.

• If you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
Just to have more confidence in myself and my abilities when I started the job.