Creative businesses share their steps to success

Good Day Girl founders Alexia and Sophia. Image provided by the City of Sydney

From turning a competitor into a partner or building a slow-fashion brand, founders of Sydney’s top creative businesses will reveal their steps to success with like-minded artists and entrepreneurs.

The City of Sydney’s City Thought Leaders: Creative Enterprises session on Wednesday 27 September 2017 will bring together ‘slow fashion’ pioneers, a contemporary jeweller, an art practitioner and educator, and an artistic director and designer.

Fashion designer Alexia Spalding will share her experience in setting up a joint venture with former competitor, Sophie Toohey, to reinvent fashion manufacturing and reduce waste.

“We met in 2012 as competitors. I secretly admired Sophie but never told her. We had a friend in common who introduced us and after a lot of coffees together, we found out we were frustrated by the same issues, including waste,” Ms Spalding said.

Their fashion brand, Good Day Girl, is a made-to-order fashion service that reduces waste in the supply chain. Good Day Girl produces two collections each year, with clothing designed and manufactured in Sydney. Clients can book a styling appointment at the Paddington salon or order from an online collection.

“We work on a six-month process and continually test if our business model is working,” Ms Spalding said.

“Our thrill comes from a customer walking out of our store with a little spring in her step.”

Cesar Cueva, a contemporary object and jewellery designer and co-founder of Courtesy of the Artist, will share how his business grew from a small studio in Surry Hills to a four-premises operation.

Just over a decade ago, Cesar moved from Canberra to Sydney to pursue his artistic career. In 2004, he and his partner Nina Cueva established Metalab, a multi-disciplinary creative studio and gallery.

“It was a really tough three years trying to activate that space. We held three to four events a month to try to find our demographic,” Mr Cueva said.

Since then, the duo has held more than 100 events and travelling exhibitions and now run four premises, including two boutique galleries in Sydney’s Strand Arcade. They manage a team of five staff and the galleries showcase the works of over 60 artists.

“I don’t think we could have done it at this scale in Canberra,” Mr Cueva said. “Passion is paramount. It’s the only thing that drives me.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the free talks were designed to inspire and encourage the next generation of Sydney’s business leaders.

“Starting up your own business can be a daunting experience, which is why we’re offering the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the city,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The experience these leaders bring demonstrates the clear business benefits of collaboration and sustainability.”

Carolina Totterman, co-founder of KINDRED, will introduce her new knowledge exchange platform for the creative industries and share her insights from more than 20 years of experience in the sector.

Seminar participants will also hear from Jeff McCann, a Sydney based art director and designer who transforms recycled cardboard into works of art for festivals and events across Australia. Jeff will share how scheduling and project planning allows him to manage multiple projects and a diverse portfolio of clients.

City Thought Leaders: Creative Enterprises
When: 6.30pm–8.30pm, Wednesday 27 September 2017
Where: Barnet Long Room, Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Sydney

  • Carolina Totterman, Co-founder, KINDRED
  • Cesar Cueva, Co-founder and Creative Director, Courtesy of the Artist
  • Alexia Spalding, Co-founder, Good Day Girl
  • Jeff McCann, art director, designer, maker

Cost: Free. Bookings essential, and can be made via the City of Sydney’s What’s On website.

Future seminars include:

Women led businesses – 25 October 2017
How important brand is to business – 29 November 2017

Source: City of Sydney

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