Tess Robinson is the founder and creative director of Smack Bang Designs, a Sydney-based creative studio (and the phenomenally talented team behind our own brand and website). An entrepreneur since her early 20’s, Tess has grown Smack Bang Designs from when she was a 22 year old independent freelancer to where it is now, as one of Australia’s leading creative studios. Tess is also the co-founder of Urban Growers, building a greener future through edible gardens, urban farms and education, has co-authored a book, Slow Down and Grow Something, and she is a mom to a beautiful baby girl. To say we are inspired by Tess’s fearless drive, positive vibe and thoughtful approach to life and business would be an understatement. We’re so excited to share a bit of her story and hopefully inspire us all to find our “why”, take the leap of faith and enjoy the journey.
Tell us how it all began.
It all began nine years ago. I was a clueless and confident 22 year old, who really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Smack Bang began operating from my apartment before moving into a 2×2 sqm space mapped out by masking tape in a coworking warehouse. Clients started rolling in fast and YouTube tutorials, caffeine and sleepless nights became my existence. As the work expanded, so did my team (and the studios).
Describe a career-defining moment along the way.
There have been too many to count, but the defining moment that comes to mind is my five month maternity leave. Growing a human while growing a business is one heck of a journey, and having the ability to step away from my work baby to focus on my little one for such a long period of time was surreal. I am so grateful to have been able to hand the reins over to my incredibly capable team while I learned how to become someone’s mum.
What does operating a purpose-driven and sustainable business mean to you?
It means a lot! I simply believe that finding your ‘why’ is the only way to do business successfully. Chasing a profit without purpose is not just bad business, but in my opinion, it’s pointless. Running a sustainable business is investing in my child’s future—The one in which she gets to live the life with all the privileges and opportunities that I have been lucky enough to enjoy. As a business owner, my platform brings with it a responsibility to impact the world positively and consciously.
What are you most proud of?
My family and the life we’ve created for ourselves.
“I simply believe that finding your ‘why’ is the only way to do business successfully. Chasing a profit without purpose is not just bad business, but in my opinion, it’s pointless. As a business owner, my platform brings with it a responsibility to impact the world positively and consciously.”
When are you most creative?
When I have time and bandwidth to focus. I need that deep ‘do not disturb’ zone to get creative, which as a new mother, is rare. I’m in the midst of planning a little getaway on my own to close all the open tabs in my mind and switch on my creativity.
Who and what inspires you?
My family and the beautiful chaos they eschew. My creative friends and their endless talents. My team and their brilliant minds. Nature and her beauty.
Go-to Spotify playlist when you want to get into a creative flow.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow and get inspired.
Most days begin early with meditation, incense and a strong coffee. And they usually end with a walk on the beach with my two favourite girls—my daughter and dog.
Describe your perfect Sunday.
Pancakes at the beach is our Sunday morning ritual. On a perfect day this would be followed by an off-road adventure to a secluded spot, surrounded by nature to bask in the sun, drink, eat and breathe slowly.
How do you and your family embrace slower living?
Living by the ocean in a small village breeds a certain slowness. My family and I spend a lot of time outdoors, adventuring, relaxing, growing our own food, painting and harvesting our backyard honey.
“Growing a human while growing a business is one heck of a journey, and having the ability to step away from my work baby to focus on my little one for such a long period of time was surreal. I am so grateful to have been able to hand the reins over to my incredibly capable team while I learned how to become someone’s mum.”
Where are you dreaming of traveling next?
My brother lives in California so when I can, I’ll be bee-lining it straight to L.A!!
What has travel taught you?
Above all else, travel has taught me independence through curiosity, resourcefulness and a thirst for new experiences.
How will you travel a little lighter and more consciously in future?
For me it’s about choosing your destinations wisely and making deliberate everyday choices that are more mindfully eco-conscious. All the little actions we take add up to form our life’s entire impact.
Philosophy to live by.
How you live your days is in fact, how you live your life. All your little habits add up to your way of life so it’s important to pay attention to this and carefully construct the life you truly want.
Who should we interview next?
Jacqui, from The Broadplace.
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