If anything, being away from New Zealand and seeing the work of creatives from home in irregular bursts makes me appreciate their talent even more, they just get better and better. One person on a speedy trajectory to (much more) amazingness is Julia from Studio Home - Studio Home is a blog dedicated entirely to discovering and promoting creative talent from down under, and in only a few years it has become the leading NZ site for all things design. An enthusiastic supporter of my work over the years I first met Julia when she came and photographed my old studio, since then we have regularly kept in touch and I am forever impressed by her dedication and her success so far. Despite Julia's busy schedule she took a moment to answer a few questions and share with us what it takes to run such a successful blogger. Grab some tea and take a seat this is a big inspiring interview with many great links!
K - What were you doing before launching Studio Home and how did you manage to make the leap to full time design blogger?
J -Studio Homewas actually the name of my small interior design consultancy I launched in 2007 ( I was about 26) and based in Queenstown, NZ. It was in early 2008 that I was introduced to design blogging through (the godmother of ALL design blogs!)Design Sponge , and it was a bit of a light bulb moment for me! Running a design business from a relatively isolated area meant that I spent A LOT of time researching and sourcing things online, but only ever between NZ and Australia to make shipping affordable. Between my discovery of this easily accessible format, my exploding desktop of bookmarks and my personal love of writing I realised that I had "something to say and share" that was unique annnnnnnd perhaps it would be a great way to promote my business!
K - What was it that made you decide you wanted to dedicate your life to creative talent down under, what is it that excites you the most?
J - Continuing from the last question a little - I realised once I had fallen down the rabbit hole (links galore) of design blogs worldwide that everyone was really just re-sharing "nice interior photos" that they were finding in magazines and online (this was pre Pinterest times). I felt that while that was nice to look at, it was so often completely irrelevant to those of us down under, our lifestyles and our environment - so that is when I arrived at a rigid and unwavering focus on New Zealand and Australian creative brands, people, business and ideas.
7 years later? I am like a highly tuned sniffer dog! I don't even think about getting out there to do research as I am constantly "on" when it comes to keeping my ears pricked, and mouse clicking on anything/anyone that looks even remotely of interest to share. It's really just like a new Studio Home "brain" I have grown. I LOVE IT!!!!!
K - What excites you most?
J - The feeling of pride and the constant flow of inspiration that comes from taking the time to learn the stories of NZ/AUS go-getters!. In turn being able to share the work of these brands/people with a growing audience who find motivation and lessons to apply to their own creative dreams!
I like building the bridges :)
K - You have interviewed and profiled so many people and studio spaces over the years, What are some of your favourite posts?
J - This is soooo hard! I guess some that really stick out are:
YOU! Your super inspiring story and DREAM living/work space in 2013...sigh. Need to come for a follow up at the Tree house!
Alex Fulton interviewed in her home in Blenheim, Marlborough, NZ 2014. Alex has become a great friend and wise (but crazy!) mentor in many ways. I visited her house twice in 2014 to shoot and disprove the idea that less-is-more (actually to disprove everything you think about interior design and formal education!)
Gosia Piatek of organic cotton brand; Kowtow, Wellington 2013. Her story is SO interesting and led by the desire to create a sustainable business for herself - not the dedicated passion for fashion which most would assume! Very inspiring!
Henry Hargreaves interviewed in Brooklyn, NYC. Henry was one of the very first people I ever interviewed and I was pretty much blown away by his level of success in contrast to his very down to earth attitude. Amazing creative work!
Hannah Jensen interviewed in her Auckland Studio. This woman has the most intense dedication and work ethic I have ever ever come across...all while glowing with yogi health and a killer watt smile!
Some others I loved which can be all be found under the Creative HQ category:http://www.studiohomeonline.com/category/creative-headquarters
SculptorHannah Kidd, illustrator Emma Leonard, artist/maker Emily Green, Marnie Goding of Elk, the husband and wife duo behind Meadowlark Jewellery , artist/designer/entrepreneur Austin Moncrief of Nitsua Collectiveand ....I love them all!
K - After interviewing such a huge amount of creatives, what are some of the key lessons they have taught you?
J - Right from day one I have made an effort to share the key "snippet of wisdom" that I took away from each interview (always at the foot of those posts). Some of my favourites would be:
WHAT I LEARNT FROM HANNAH JENSEN:"Among things like a quality work ethic and an appreciation of the realities of a creative in the commercial world …. a big genuine smile sure does wonders to your day and the people around you!"
WHAT I LEARNT FROM EMILY GREEN:"Don’t get distracted by those in your peripheral…know that no one can do what you do the way you do it! AND with that in mind always continue moving forward to meet new opportunities and bring ideas to life."
WHAT I LEARNT FROM BECI ORPIN:"Put your hand up, talk to people and work your arse off! People might recognise your potential but you are responsible for putting it in front of them first"
WHAT I LEARNT FROM KELLY THOMPSON:We are not defined by our teenage selves… in fact we are not even defined by money or location – just how much passion and patience we can muster to go after our creative dreams..
K - If you could steal any talent, what would it be?
J - It used to be to sing really well! Now it would be to wake up with full encyclopedic knowledge and outstanding talent in graphic design!
K - You have recently started to diversify and do special collaborative Studio Home projects, what can we look forward to in the near future?
J - The TEAM.WORK project has me so excited and a tad obsessed in developing ideas! But coming up you can expect some jewellery, limited edition prints, shoes and who would like an awesome woolly hat for winter commuting?
K - Weaving or Knitting?
J - Well...knitting....for woolly hat and mittens creation.
K - Illustration or fine art?
J - Impossible to choose....both take huge wads of talent right!
K - Baking or Cooking?
J - I am open in admitting I am terrible at both...most terrible at baking..
K - Do you have any words of advice for my creative readers?
J - The internet is your biggest tool for inspiration, networking, connecting with like minded people, promoting yourself, building a culture for your brand and its virtually FREE! No need for those pesky middle men any longer! Just remember one thing - never share anything on there that you wouldn't tell a stranger.
Photos / Julia Atkinson /
Julia with Mike Grobelny and Nikolai Sorenson of Trestle Union with TEAM.WORK Pot Plant Stands as shot by Evie Mackay /
Meadowlark team in their Auckland HQ. Shot by Julia / Kelly Thompson Studio /
Julia with the Newlands TEAM.WORK Tote Bags as shot by Emily Hlavac Green /
Hannah Kidd and her assistant shot by Julia