I felt pretty chuffed this week to be invited in for an interview with Forme - because well, basically I love what they do. Everything is so conscious and considered. So it should have been no surprise to me that the questions they asked would be so thoughtful. I picked a couple of my faves to share here - but of course you'll have to stay tuned for the interview for the whole 'shebang'; the team were so lovely and welcoming - and even a tad cheeky; the interview I'm sure will be great (though I'd love to see the out take reel too!)
What sparked your passion to start MVK?
My business has always been there for me. I never dreamed about working for someone else - only running my own business; it had to be something creative, an outlet for expression for me; it’s evolved with me and grown into what you see today.
As a whole my business is about self expression. I love photographing entrepreneurs that have a service or product to express and my interior design is very much about expressing your self and desires in your physical environment. It's rewarding, exciting and I love the connections I make.
It's my passion (and personal expression) to help others express themselves as a brand or for yourself – it’s been a journey to figure this out – but that’s been half the fun.
What would you say was your greatest challenge you faced in the beginning of your business?
Absolutely myself! For a long time I held myself back with really limiting beliefs; I wondered if anyone would want what I had to share – would anyone pay me for what I do? Could I be so lucky? Like most embarking on a service based industry I found myself taking it personally.
Overcoming this doubt has taken time – and experience. It helped me a lot to explore what failure and success would look like to me (not someone else, this was a clear distinction to be made) and then push myself to be brave enough to give it a go.
I found like most things in life; some people like to project their own fears and stories onto you – It took me some time (and falls) to learn to trust myself and my capabilities and not ask for external validation or approval.
What is one of the things that sets MVK apart?
My approach to both aspects of visual design in my photography and interior design is incredibly personal. I don’t have any set ideas or rules I follow – I am led completely by my clients. I encourage them to drop all their rules and self imposed limitations and feel their way into the end product. My services are multi faceted – intuitive, personal and unique. It’s very empowering for my clients and the results are always amazing. How we get there together is always different and the end result is always a great reflection of this.
No two assignments are ever the same; which is what I love most. When photographing for entrepreneurs the images must be aligned to the vision of the business - and no two businesses have the same vision. Working in interiors with my clients is similar; to cultivate a space that is aligned to the life my client lives and desires means no two spaces are ever the same. A space can be beautiful and unique.
I find all my work as rewarding and inspiring as my first job was – it’s a level of passion I think should be in all small businesses.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of starting their own business?
Trust yourself. Trust in your ideas, your vision – and if it needs to change or evolve – allow it to; your ideas and vision may change but don’t allow your belief in yourself waiver. Stay strong in your own corner – and work hard. Be persistent. Don’t take rejections personally; use them to learn – figure out what didn’t work and change it. You are not set in stone and neither is your business, so give yourself the space you need to grow and breath. Don’t get attached to outcomes and try and enjoy the journey.
How do you define success?
It sounds cliché – but being happy. When you’re happy and wellbeing is high I think you cultivate good health, creativity and the energy you need to enjoy life.
Receiving a regular and dependable income while doing something I love is pretty damn amazing. Being in a position to work as I choose to balance the needs of myself and my family and being with my children as much as I can. Teaching them by example that with intention and hard work they can do something that makes them happy and pays the bills as well is absolutely possible.
To have the privilege to be able to keep learning, growing and evolving. If I can spend my life with those I love, exploring with an open mind and helping others would be a meaningful life for me – and a meaningful life is a successful one for me.
How do you juggle being a wife, mum and successful business owner?
By surrendering! This is a big one – for any working mum and wife… Being a wife – amazingly I’ve never been asked that before! What a great question. That may be the hardest one actually if I’m completely honest.
My children are an extension of me of sorts – as is my work; so I can work that out. As for my hubby – he is him, and I am me. We are individuals with a shared life – and that can be a more challenging balance to obtain. We are both passionate about our work and our family; finding the space where we both can thrive as individuals and a couple without sacrificing our needs as family is a constant moving beast. With every stage our children move through their needs change; as do ours. I just try my best to communicate my needs as best I can and I try and offer the same space for him. We're on the same team and have each others backs; will continue to navigate our way through with humour and adventure.
However, I have learned that they all need each other to exist in their best form. I need to work to be sane; use my brain and have connections with adults to have the energy and confidence I need to raise my children. I need my children to keep me in check. They keep my feet on the ground and keep life in perspective for me. I need my hubby to keep me balanced and on track. He is my biggest critic and fan rolled into one – and a wonderful daddy to share the labyrinth of parenthood with.
Of course there are days I feel like I’m falling short on all fronts! but I’ve learned those days pass and give myself some compassion. I do the best I can everyday, I try and keep it in perspective otherwise I get stressed; which is the least productive way for me to operate. I can’t be creative or present with my children when I feel stressed – but most of all I’m not happy. When my life is out of balance so are my emotions; I am generally pretty aware of what I need to regain my balance.
You mentioned on your web site that in 2014 you were diagnosed with a brain tumour What did you do to cultivate calm in such a difficult season?
I’m not sure there was much calm! I was brought to my knees. But if I can say so – it may just be the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the hardest – by far, but I actually think it was my making. I have (gratefully) had a very positive outcome with my health prognosis – not many are that lucky. So I would never complain about it – it all comes to perspective I guess. I figured out very quickly what was important and let everything else go. I let go of a lot of emotional baggage I was lugging around because I realised just how truly blessed I am to be alive – and I didn’t want to waste another second dwelling on things that didn’t make me happy.
As for calm… probably mostly thanks to those around me. My husband was truly astounding. He researched and found the best surgeon for what I had – he did all the reading I couldn’t bring myself to do – and I trusted his judgement completely. My family, friends and children became my happy place. The word surrender comes to mind again actually. I changed my mindset completely trusting the outcome would be ok – I didn’t give any other outcome much headspace.
With such a full life what do you do to relax?
My ‘downtime’ like any mums has to be available in small bite size chunks! I rarely get long periods of ‘me time’ between family and work.
I LOVE music, it can relax or energise me in minutes, and something I can do with kiddies as well – if any of us are grumpy a bit of a dance party at home can shift a bad mood.
Reading. I love to read – anything that expands my thinking, learning and imagination.
Creating. There are elements of my work I find incredibly relaxing; designing, sketching and sourcing.
Other than that; playing, anything outdoors, movement (exercise of all kinds - it’s a lot more gentle and nourishing post surgery), the ocean relaxes me.
What ways do you find your inspiration?
Any space I get to myself is usually very inspiring. Time alone caressing little seeds of thought is golden; and where my ideas grow. However, as most parents can appreciate – this is not the ‘usual’ and inspiration usually strikes at the most inconvenient times! My best writing ideas swim in my mind when I am laying in bed trying to fall asleep. Cue the notebook and paper next to the bed!
I get some of my best ideas when I’m in the middle of something else – like cooking dinner or at childcare pick up time – rarely does inspiration strike me when I have the time and space to do anything with it. Though I then have to get creative on what I do with it – I’ve written notes on napkins, drawn pictures and sketches on the back of receipts – its laughable actually. I’ve recited words over and over for a whole drive home so I don’t forget it before i get home to be able to get it written down.
Who Inspires you and why?
I don't have any one person actually. I have many - I actually like to try and find one thing that inspires me from every person I meet. It usually has me asking more in depth questions than the usual small talk – which leads to real conversation and connection – win win for me!
Generally I’m inspired by people that make something from nothing. Are brave enough to express themselves genuinely and openly. Those that work hard and stay humble and are kind to people without expecting anything in return.
What would be your favourite quote?
That's an easy one! Words to live by –
“We each have two lives; the second one begins when we realise we only have one” Tom Hiddleston.
It's so true - and a powerful one to reflect on, are you living your best life? I sure intend to live mine.
So I hope you get to see the interview - maybe even the out takes; more life, more giggles and even a rumbling tum!