Saturday Haus: Interview With Matilda Wilson Creative
Recently we sat down with Los Angeles based Saturday Haus, a predominantly women's oriented platform that stands for balance over hustle.
To read the full interview, follow this link: https://saturdayhaus.com/matilda-wilson-brand-web-designer/
First things first, what’s the story behind Matilda Wilson Creative? How did it all begin?
Matilda Wilson Creative started as an online portfolio, firstly, while I was at University studying Communication Design and then evolved into an actual business while I was working full time at a publishing agency as a designer on a few of their lifestyle titles. My business grew slowly during its first years and that’s exactly how I needed it to be. The business as it currently stands is completely different to its origin and will likely be completely different in two years’ time and that is great because I won’t allow it to grow out of its means and will keep intention and values at the core of what I put out there. I’m definitely grateful for the slow approach looking back on it, as I’ve been able to try different avenues of developing my niche and pivot the business where need be without an over-commitment or fear of failure. My absolute main point that I told myself prior to committing to being a full-time business owner was that I wouldn’t take that leap until I knew what I wanted my business to be at its core and how to consistently deliver this to every project I worked on. I’m proud to say that Matild Wilson Design is an ethically oriented creative agency that helps build integrity-driven businesses through creativity and intentional design.
The way you masterfully convert brands’ stories into creative design concepts is awesome! What inspires and influences you professionally?
I think the process itself is the most influential factor. When you dedicate time to strategy and allow for the evolution of an idea as an integral part of your process and analyse the crevices of the business you’re dealing with, you’ll uncover so much more direction than if you didn’t and to do so before you put pencil to paper is a great way to create clarity. I believe that once you know the in’s and out’s of the business, you’ll start to uncover what influences them and can culminate your creative direction with their interests at the forefront to turn it into a proper strategy. Their influences can range from ecology to tone of voice and anything in between, but all are vital points in mastering a brand’s story.
What has been your highlight and most challenging moment to date as a businesswoman?
I think overall, the most challenging moment to date as a businesswoman was cultivating enough belief in myself to step out of the comfortability of working for someone else and transition into my own business. I’m no stranger to self-doubt and would often be my own undoing by facilitating a negative perception of myself through comparing what I was doing to others, even while I had such a great support network around me cheering me on. But in a cathartic moment of sorts, I think the biggest highlight thus far was overcoming this. Truth be told, there is no extra security in the full-time job, who’s to say they won’t cave tomorrow or you’ll be made redundant? So why not pursue exactly what you want to do and what you feel is right for you? It really was quite liberating realizing this and I try to remind myself that nothing is ever promised but if you put enough passion and care into what you do, it just might work.
Podcasts can be your best friend when you freelance or work on your own and any opportunity to learn off of someone is one worth taking.
Talking from your experience as a designer, what advice would you give to those who’ve just started their creative journey?
Delve into podcasts, I personally love Jessica Rhufus’ Stop, collaborate and listen and the Dribble podcast Overtime, they’re really different in content and length but cover a strong basis of design and entrepreneur profiles, re-brands and strategies, personal and professional initiatives and clever marketing tactics to implement. Podcasts can be your best friend when you freelance or work on your own and any opportunity to learn off of someone is one worth taking.
Network, I was so scared of this and still am to a degree, but it’s a great way to build a community, develop connections and source inspiration. Try and commit to events, even if it is just showing up the first time and building up towards the lengthier conversations. Check out platforms like The Design Kids and Ladies, Wine and Design and Woman by Abby Rose.
Design for yourself not for the industry, if it makes you happy and you think the concept is great then roll with it, you don’t have to follow trends or design for a response from peers, just design from a creative point of view and you’ll stand out far more than replicating what everyone else is doing. To add to this, share your work! Utilize the great creative platforms we have at our disposal like Dribbble or Behance.
Walk us through your workspace, what essentials we would find at your desk on any given day?
You’ll find a MAC with a very organised desktop, an iPad ready to go with procreate if I’m doing some custom illustration or lettering, a sketchbook which is my go-to first step for branding and ideation, a pencil case with a mix of art pencils and highlighters, an organised life diary and probably a plant (or four). If you asked my partner about my workspace he’d probably tell you it is out of bounds haha, I’m very OCD about my space and believe that if it’s tidy, I’ll work better, strictly no clutter. I also like to have everything within reaching distance to not break focus if I need to switch gears and quickly change over to a different project. If I’m at my desk, I’m at my desk and without distractions. However, if the focus starts to fade I’ll step away completely to refresh myself with a walk with our dog Mack or a tea to avoid any silly tired related mistakes.
Networking is a great way to build a community, develop connections and source inspiration. Try and commit to events, even if it is just showing up the first time and building up towards the lengthier conversations.
Some creatives have a special routine to start their workday successfully, do you have any? Can you name some?
It changes depending on what I have on but the one consistent is coffee, I only have one a day and it’s happening in the morning. I work best in the earlier hours of the day and I think this has come from working with regimented hours, so I try to take advantage of this as much as possible. Generally, I’m up early and up first is my admin, once that is out of the way I’ll delve into whatever project I have on that is either the most pressing or needs my undivided attention and likely won’t move until about 11 am. Additionally, I try not to get too attached to a special routine as I don’t want it to be my undoing should my day to day change and potentially jeopardize my flow. Priorities will come and go and the capability to roll with it and be flexible will make life so much easier, especially when you’re ticking your personal and professional to-do list’s off along the way.
Sometimes, as an entrepreneur, it’s hard to force “me-time” into a tight schedule. Do you have any advice on how to find time for self-care when there’s too much work?
I wholeheartedly agree with this and think it’s a great point to cover. From coming from working upwards of 70 hours a week due to balancing (or lack of) full-time work and trying to grow a business I suffered from burn out quite often and because of this, I think self-care really is important. My advice is to check in with yourself, ask yourself whether you think you’re producing the best work you could be and if you’re not, it’s time to step away and channel what energy you have into something else. Exercise is always a good option but don’t underestimate the power of simply spending a bit of time with a friend or jumping in the ocean, the little things we often take advantage of are so important in the grand scheme of things.
Design from a creative point of view and you’ll stand out far more than replicating what everyone else is doing.
Here, at Saturday Haus, we’re standing for balance over hustle. And what is the golden rule at Matilda Wilson Creative?
The golden rule at Matilda Wilson Creative is to treat every task with integrity and equally regardless of the complexity or depth of the task. To do this requires me to show up every day and with the same level of passion. I can’t do this if I’m run down, over-promising, or drowning in deadlines – so follow the rule above to check in with yourself regularly and don’t over-commit. One thing I’ve learnt that I’m incredibly grateful for, is to be completely honest with clients, if you tell them you’re currently at capacity and can commence a task in a week – do it. They will appreciate your transparency a whole lot more than you talking the talk and then delaying their work or not responding to emails. You have more time than you think and when there’s a client’s budget involved it’s your duty to provide the services you’ve promised to the best possible degree, so be honest with both yourself and your capabilities.
And finally, what are your plans and goals for Matilda Wilson Creative?
First and foremost my goal is to grow a business that is entrenched in its values and continue to strive towards working with integrity driven businesses that are having a positive impact on the world. Secondly, I want that business that makes me feel uncomfortable from time to time, to be able to pivot where necessary and not be afraid to explore avenues unknown. And lastly, I want a business that allows me to create a lifestyle I love and to be a kind person if I can pack up a laptop and drive wherever and still put my best foot forward and create a positive impact, that to me, is the pinnacle.