words CAITLIN MORIARTY top photo COURTESY OF FINDERS KEEPERS
Being a creative entrepreneur and running a small business can be tough. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of self-doubt and worry… and feel totally alone.
The Summit, held on Friday 17 March at The Edge, a light-filled corner of Melbourne’s Federation Square, saw a cavalcade of colourful crafters, makers and small-business shakers join together to celebrate the joy, and vulnerability, of a creative life.
top KAYLENE LANGFORD, PHOTO COURTESY OF FINDERS KEEPERS bottom PHOTO BY ON JACKSON STREET
A host of amazing panellists and speakers spoke candidly and authentically – sharing their worries, describing how they got to their wins and handled their losses and giving out solid gold tips on everything from how to write your brand story to what to do if someone infringes on your IP.
Guests enjoyed eats and drinks from some of the best, including coffees from Allpress, catering from Mabu Mabu and networking drinks from Minimum Wines and Sobah. Like all the other attendees, we left with full hearts, minds and stomachs, and we know we’ll be thinking about the insights and inspiring conversations for a long time to come.
In the meantime, here are the four words we’ll be taking away from the 2023 Finders Keepers Creative Business Summit.
top left JASMINE MAYHEAD, LAUREN BAXTER, LAURA THOMPSON AND FIONA KILLACKEY top right LAURA THOMPSON, KAYLENE LANGFORD AND LAUREN BAXTER, PHOTOS COURTESY OF FINDERS KEEPERS bottom PHOTO BY ON JACKSON STREET
It goes without saying that, to start a creative business, you feel passionate about something. As Colin Birney from Square said during a panel about how to effectively market and grow your business with purpose, “Businesses don’t just exist to make money, they exist to do something important.”
Our own Peppermint editor Lauren Baxter agreed, emphasising that caring goes beyond the ego and looks to the future, saying: “The ripples we are creating are making waves that we may not ourselves surf.”
Businesses don’t just exist to make money, they exist to do something important.
Looking at all three pillars of sustainability across environmental, social and economic equity was high on the agenda of speakers, with business owners like Laura Thompson from Clothing the Gaps encouraging attendees to think about ethics and sustainability from the outset. “If you are setting your business up with people and planet in mind from the beginning, you won’t have to retrofit your business,” she shared.
And of course, in all the stress of running a creative business, checking in with yourself and taking time was an important topic of conversation. “Self awareness is a key part of growing as a business owner,” said Fiona Killackey from My Daily Business Coach. “Know when to rest, not when to quit,” advised Jasmine Mayhead, the founder of Common Intent and owner and director of Worn for Good. “To harness creativity properly is to give myself time,” artist Shuh Lee shared.
top and left BOBBI LOCKYER, PHOTOS BY ON JACKSON STREET
Peppermint was very proud to sponsor photographer and artist Bobbi Lockyer as a keynote speaker at the event, as she spoke to the importance of finding your people. “I truly believe that creativity and community go hand in hand,” she said.
Community was the focus of a panel discussion on collaboration, with Shuh outlining the benefits of working with others and the power of collaboration over competition.
I truly believe that creativity and community go hand in hand.
“I only know so much, I can only do so much,” she said. “The only way I can explore and see my work in a different aspect is to work with someone else.”
Dr Marion Piper agreed that working with other creatives and brands can broaden your perspectives and lead to business growth, saying “Collaboration is about connecting the dots in new and interesting ways. Sometimes we need new dots and new data points [to expand our practice].”
top COLIN BIRNEY, BECCA STERN, CAT BLOXSOM, MORGAN COLLINS AND FIONA KILLACKEY, PHOTO BY ON JACKSON STREET bottom PHOTOS BY ON JACKSON STREET
The topic of scaling your business and mapping your money was not shied away from. While it can be hard for creatives to talk about cash, the reality of business shows it’s got to be done.
Founders of Cardigang, Cat Bloxsom and Morgan Collins, talked about planning to pay themselves from the beginning and defined what financial success looked like to them: “Coming from a corporate background, we were used to a certain lifestyle, and so we worked with our business coach from the beginning to figure out what the baseline would be so we could pay ourselves.”
Take wise risks.
Mustard Made’s Becca Stern charmingly pointed to buying the “fancy pasta” as a measure of her own financial success and attributed her willingness to “take wise risks” as a key driver of that – after asking her friends what they might pay for her product, she took their answer and tripled it.
top left MATT AND LENTIL PURBRICK (AND SPECIAL GUEST STAR), PHOTO COURTESY OF FINDERS KEEPERS bottom PETE CROMER, SHUH LEE, ESTHER SANDLER AND DR MARION PIPER, PHOTO BY ON JACKSON STREET
The Creative Business Summit shone a light on something we already knew: it takes guts to run a creative business.
Showing the courage of their convictions, Matt and Lentil Purbrick from Minimum Wines put forward this important advice on walking the talk: “Any pledges and promises you are making as a brand, if you can’t put them on paper, they are not pledges and promises.”
On being courageously creative, Bobbi talked about the power of art to heal, to push the boundaries and to give courage to future generations. Sharing her very personal story about her life and her art, Bobbi said “I got to be on the cover of Peppermint magazine. I didn’t do that for me, I did it for the other kids who look like me.”
Your business is the patisserie, not the oven. You can always make more bread.
Esther Sandler from Togetherness talked about the courage to keep going even after failure with this poetic statement: “Your business is the patisserie, not the oven. You can always make more bread.”
And finally, when it comes to courage, we’ll leave you with this pearl of wisdom on fighting like hell for your creativity. When questioned about how to approach someone who appears to be copying your work and ask them to stop, artist Pete Cromer said, “I don’t ask, I just sue.”