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Dream Creative Jobs and the Australians Doing Them


Want a creative job, but don’t know how to go about it? The prospect is alluring – you’re probably imagining a role with flexible hours, an opportunity to express yourself (not your boss) while using your skills and initiative to make a positive difference to someone else’s life.

Utilise your passion and ingenuity, and get paid for it, Prepare to be inspired with the stories from those Australians who have made it in the creative industry. We asked them what their day-to-day looks like, what inspires them and the moments that have made their careers truly special.

Nick Leary – Fashion and Portrait Photographer

Travelling around the world to photo shoots for fashion titles such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and GQ sounds like a dream for many aspiring photographers but for Nick Leary it’s all in a day’s work.

His impressive portfolio is bursting with designers Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Moet Hennessy and celebrities including Cate Blanchett, Hugh Jackman and Miranda Kerr. Cate Blanchett even went so far as to describe him as a ‘magician’.

Beginning his career as a model, Nick has always had an eye and appreciation for beauty. This, coupled with a creative streak, meant it wasn’t long before he transitioned to the other side of the camera.

Beyond his work and the stunningly beautiful settings and people he is constantly surrounded by, Nick finds zen and inspiration in the clear, cool waves of Australia’s premier east-coast surf spots.

Most inspiring moment: Nick is inspired by a diverse range of things and elements, as his style changes from commercial and editorial photographer to fine art photographer on a daily basis.

When shooting fine art collections, Nick often travels on his own and just shoots from the heart amidst the climates, lighting and conditions that the mother nature present him with at that particular moment.

Ashley Grace – Designer and Founder of Hank in Chief 

Playing on the word ‘handkerchief’, Sydney-based Hank in Chief designs and makes custom, hand-sewn pocket chiefs and trimmings for style-conscious gentlemen.

This wonderful range of unique accessories includes pre-tied and self-tie bowties, pocket chiefs, and cufflinks, all handmade by designer Ashley Grace.

These sophisticated items provide a svelte finishing touch to a man’s attire and came about as a result of Ashley’s deeply ingrained fun, creative streak.

Ashley was inspired to start a business when she struggled to find the right bow tie for her own groom on their wedding day. Since Ashley was unable to find exactly the right one, she decided instead to craft her own from a piece of fabric that she loved.

The result was a bow tie that was classically handsome but fun and full of character. Ashley’s wedding day was not only perfectly magical but it was also the day that her design business was born.

For Ashley to realise her dreams she enrolled in design school, where she says she was inspired by the incredibly talented artists and designers she was surrounded by every day.

Most inspiring moment: Not surprisingly, Ashley quotes her wedding day as her most memorable and inspiring, both on a personal and professional level.

Ryan Primrose – Owner and General Manager of Flowers for Everyone

Operating Australia-wide, the family-operated floristry business is owned by aptly named Ryan Primrose. The business has two sides, a brick-and-mortar presence in Sydney and an online retail space.

Flowers for Everyone has grown to encompass a team of 55 florists, drivers, operational and administrative staff, not to mention a flower farm in Grose Vale.

Ryan was surrounded by all kinds of blooms from an early age as he worked in his Mum’s florist shop after school and during weekends.

Nowadays, he receives his inspiration from social media sites such as Instagram and he also keeps a close eye on top international designers such as Preston Bailey, Joseph Massie, Jane Packer, and Paula Pryke.

Ryan is also inspired by ideas from people he meets on a day-to-day basis, since customers and employees bring with them fresh new ideas and styles all the time.

Most inspiring moment: Ryan has found himself within reach of international celebrities in the line of his work.

His proudest moment was his commission for the table centrepieces for the ARIA awards, where he got to watch Delta Goodrem, Robbie Williams and Jessica Mauboy rehearse, and the massive on-stage floral installation he created for an Andrea Bocelli concert.

Juju Roche – Artist

Working on both commission and exhibition basis, artist Juju Roche’s style is described as ‘fluid, stimulating and evolving’. Where previously travels to Africa, India, Nepal, Thailand and Japan inspired her works, her recent adventure in motherhood has seen a new aesthetic emerge.

Now her signature animal designs using watercolours grace nurseries and children’s rooms around Australia. Juju says of the new direction, ‘I have sold pieces to families with the intention of the work being hung in the children’s room but it ends up in the living room.’

Artistic soul Juju can’t remember a time when she wasn’t enamoured with colour, shapes and patterns. She attributes her creative career to creative parents who have always encouraged and supported her to pursue her passion, combined with the hard yards she put in herself while studying painting at Sydney College of the Arts and working with Blue Mountains Artist Terrance Plowright.

Most inspiring moment: ‘I was involved in an exhibition at the Wagga Art Gallery called '8 Artists' which involved emerging artists with disabilities,’ says Juju who partnered up with her ‘beautifully creative’ sister, who has downs syndrome. It was an extra special event as Wagga is the hometown of the sisters.

Mara Morrison and Jo Myers – Co-founders of The Filing Fairies 

Do you have thousands of photos scattered all over the place? Wouldn’t it be great to have someone to sort, arrange and present them in an orderly, logical and articulate way? Enter The Filing Fairies!

Mara Morrison and Jo Myers work the magic behind their inspired business, providing creative ways to display photos in homes and businesses and offering innovative solutions to store images all over Sydney and Illawarra.

Mara received a wake-up call regarding the importance of family photos during the Sydney Bush Fires in 1994 when she was asked to evacuate the area. After rescuing her cat from under the bed, Mara’s first thought was the photos!

She then proceeded to rush around her home madly, collecting numerous heavy photo albums to load into the car. This made her think long and hard about how precious and irreplaceable our photos are.

Most inspiring moment: Job satisfaction is huge for Mara and Jo since they often get to meet their clients personally.

They experience their customers' relief and delight first-hand when they explain to them that they can take old, deteriorating photos, or large volumes of images, and work their magic to organise and preserve their images for future generations to enjoy.

Millicent Nobis – Jewellery Designer and Founder of Mies Nobis

Millicent is the Australian-born brains behind jewellery label Mies Nobis, who creates conceptual collections from her studio in the cutting-edge design hub of Berlin, drawing inspiration from art, sculpture and fashion.

Her signature statement pieces are painstakingly created from high-quality materials, silver, gold and bronze, and reflect her fascination with the human form and its adornment.

As the daughter of an architect, a creative career was always on the cards for Millicent who studied fashion design in Sydney before relocating to Berlin where she worked part-time as a model, all the while building her label.

The constant stream of creative types who revolve through the city in search of inspiration have led to a series of collaborations, the most recent of which was the launch of the concept studio and store, AA-COLLECTED.

Most inspiring moment: There have been so many highlights since the launch of the label in 2012; she still gets a thrill from seeing her designs feature in publications like Vogue and Glamour.

A defining moment for Millicent, however, was her inclusion in the International Talents Showcase in Dubai, after being handpicked by Vogue Italia.

Almira Armstrong – Founder of Lumira Luxury Home Fragrances

Almira Armstrong is the unstoppable creative force behind Lumira Luxury Home Fragrances. The Destination Collection from the preeminent lifestyle brand features all-natural soy wax candles infused with the finest fragrances, poured in ebony glass vessels.

Almira says of her signature collection, each fragrance pays homage to the spirit of exploration.

‘Travel is one of the three core inspirations we draw on with our candles’, explains the designer. Each fragrance goes on a long journey of alchemy before the final refined product is put to market – a process that can take up to 12 months.

Fond childhood memories of playing with her mother’s perfumes and making candles as presents, mean that Almira’s chosen pursuit comes as no surprise to those who know her well. But it was becoming a mum which forced her to reconsider her lifestyle and develop a business that fitted in with her schedule as well as her passions.

Most inspiring moment: ‘Each step forward is a pinch me moment,’ says Almira of starting a business from scratch. With every milestone she’s reminded ‘That Lumira is a business I started out of passion. To me, that is very exciting.’

Lara Hotz – Founder of Lara Hotz Photography

Lara Hotz runs a talented team of photographers who specialise in capturing the love between newlyweds. ‘Just walking down the street and observing the way that light falls on different objects of the combination of colours and texture and objects together’ is a constant source of inspiration for Lara.

She further explains that photography is not just her job, it is her passion; often, it does not even feel like work.

Photography has allowed Lara to capture far more than moments in time, it’s preserving something priceless for her clients forever. If you can capture inspiring, thought-provoking, images that evoke deep emotions, hint at a secret or tell a story, perhaps photography could be the career for you.

You will need to be utterly devoted to life through the lens, have an eye for a scene, colour and composition to succeed in this calling.

Most inspiring moment: For Lara, every wedding provides inspiring moments in the form of heartfelt relationships between people. One such moment was watching ‘a bride walk over to her grandmother during the wedding reception and pull out a special flower from her bouquet to give to her as she knew it was a flower her late grandfather grew.’

All over Australia, new creative businesses are born, fuelled by the individual passions and steely determination of their creative founders. If you think you have what it takes to follow in their footsteps, listen to your heart and start forging your own creative career. Your imagination is your only limit.