My shift towards living creatively - part 1

Author: Gabriella Tagliapietra   Date Posted:20 April 2019 

[Picking up the thread from previous posts]

As I said earlier there is usually a trigger for people to simplify their life and slow it down. It was during the Swansea years I faced certain things about my life head on and slowly emerged from the emotional carnage with a clearer sense of who I was and what I wanted out of life. I made a promise to myself that I would live creatively... and while this decision didn't support the financial security I had been chasing up to this point it was exactly what my soul needed.

In addition to the Graphic Pre-Press course I did at Hunter Institute of TAFE I also undertook a Certificate IV in Small Business Management though the local BEC. Although this equipped me with the tools to produce a business plan the journey was, and still is, a lot of trial and error. I put this down to having to wear all the hats, going on a steep learning curve to teach myself about the many facets of the business side of the creative venture... when all I wanted to do was create. I even looked into getting someone to manage the business side of things but it was not financially viable for a start-up and I also had concerns about finding the perfect person that would work well with me and not take over.

So I chipped away and researched ABN's and GST; I registered my business name* and set up Facebook; I researched where to source base cloth; I reasearched screen printers that could print my fabrics... and how to create repeat designs; I researched business insurance, shipping, website platforms, how to get my products to market, marketing and communications... it was a very long list and a very intense process, and in all honesty for the most part I did not enjoy it. I felt like I was stuck in the research phase because add to all of that I was also approaching this in a very environmentally friendly way, and back in 2010 this was very, very challenging. It's incredible, and heartening, to see the shift over the past 9 years! Oh, and I also started blogging over at the original Pinch River blog, this was actually one aspect I was enjoying, along with the creative side of things of course.

* A note on the business name... this was a very drawn out process. What to call my business? When I decided on a name I found it was already taken and so this cycle went for pages and pages in my notebook... and in the end I chose something that didn't end up working. I chose the word 'stilelemente'. This was a German word for 'elements of style'. This didn't work for two reasons: 1) no one could pronounce it and I found myself always spelling it out, and 2) using a German word didn't reflect the Australian-ness of my designs. So in 2013 I changed the name of the business to the current name and love it. You can read about the name here.

I put myself out there as much as I could and it slowly started to pay off. I was getting brick and mortar shops stocking my products, a little bit of media coverage and slowly, slowly establishing the brand... and then it stalled. I got all confused about what I actually wanted the business to be and I also packed up my life and moved, which is disruptive in and of itself. In 2012 I moved back to the Shire - a place I thought I would never choose to spend time in again. I moved in with my mum who was living in Como so that I could have some time to think about my next steps in life. At first Como felt alien to me, it wasn't the family home I grew up in but over the two years I was there I grew to love it as much as I had loved Swansea Heads and the greater Newcastle area. I thought I could never love a place again as much as I loved Swansea Heads but I have proven myself wrong three times since then (more on that later).

I did chip away at Pinch River during this time, creating the catalogues that, even though are quite a few years old now, I am still really happy with and part of the business side of things I thoroughly enjoy... but it was a period of stop start stop start stop... and then I undertook another course... and then I moved again.

[You can see a visual record of my journey geographically over on Flickr. My camera goes with me everywhere and because I am someone who is always exploring the great outdoors I take photos as keepsakes and a visual diary.]

Stay tuned for the next installment...