About the Episode
Along with creating slow businesses, I have seen a big push to create a conscious business. Today on Entrepreneurial Outlaws, Kate Carman, Founder & Creative Director of Studio Wilding, is sharing her story of overcoming burnout to eventually create a business that fits her wants and needs as a business owner and creative. This episode is for you if you’re scared of making a needed change because it may mean saying no to income or re-creating your boundaries.
Topics discussed in SEASON 2, episode #88
- What Kate is finding her soul needs at this season of her business as we come up on the end of the year
- Managing our clients expectations when we want to slow down as entrepreneurs
- Kate’s journey to being a multi-passionate entrepreneur and experiencing and overcoming burnout
- Recognizing your scarcity mindset while also knowing your worth and knowing when it’s time to walk away
- How Kate creating the space to say no more often and how this led to her creating abundance in her online business
- Changing our mindset around boundaries to look at them as a more positive thing and to recognize how they help avoid burnout
- How we have the power to shape consumer habits to make the online industry and corporate environments healthier
- What having a slow business actually means and how Kate has restructured her business to do what feels right for her
- Working with brands that align with your values to create more conscious businesses
Kate Carman is the Founder & Creative Director of Studio Wilding, a full-service digital design studio in Melbourne, Australia that creates heartfelt branding, packaging, and website design for purpose-driven brands.
Kate is an advocate for conscious creativity, as well as a web dev mentor to graphic designers and is passionate about empowering fellow creatives with the knowledge, resources, and inspiration to realise and achieve their business goals and dreams.
Kate applies elements of slow living and mindful design to everything she does because creativity needs space to breathe (and so do we).
Connect with Melanie here:
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Okay. We are recording. Okay.
Melanie Knights (00:06):
Welcome to entrepreneurial Outlaws. Kay. I am so excited to chat with you today.
Kate Carman (00:11):
I am super stoked to be here, Melanie. Thank you so much. Calling me on the podcast.
Melanie Knights (00:18):
We were just chatting beforehand off air for like we've known each other for a couple of years now in the online space. Yeah. I always find like a really strange thing to discuss. I'm like, yeah, my online friends. <Laugh> my internet friends. Yeah. <Laugh> so you may or may not know that our theme for this season of entrepreneurial Outlaws is entrepreneurial ban out. And the reason I chose the theme as because this is the season of finish strong marketing, we see it everywhere, especially as we hit September this kind of race to the finish liner, so to speak and life can also get very busy at this time of year. And so often I find that we neglect our needs, and this is something we talk about a lot on the show. So I wanted to start by asking you, what is your soul need during this season of your business?
Kate Carman (01:06):
Well, that's such an amazing question and yeah, this definitely pops up a lot at this time of year where it's like, we're kind of running towards that finish line or trying to cram in as many projects or what I find for me is as a designer as a brand designer and a web developer, as well as that, no matter how much I try to prevent that burnout happening at the, this end of the year, or try to encourage my clients ahead of time, you know, giving them fair warning saying, you know, we're winding down. Like, are you, have you got things that you're needing done before the end of the year? Let's not ask us in December because I don't wanna offend you by saying no. But yeah, there's, there is a lot of kind of ramping up at this season of the year, where for me personally, I'm really trying to wind it back.
Kate Carman (02:01):
Like I've been, I, you know, I've had my business for going on six years now and I've seen the cycles and I've been through them and I've been through that burnout. And I don't wanna keep repeating that every year. So yeah, for me, this, this season is about slowing down and not taking on too much. I always love to try and take at least a couple of weeks leading up to Christmas off just where, you know, I'm still in my studio, I'm still active, but it's more kind of working on my business and my brand and setting those goals and intentions for, you know, the coming year. So, you know, from around September, there's a, you know, there's not too many weeks in there for client projects. So yeah, for me, it's a really the start of the slowing down. And yeah, I'm a fan, a big fan of like slow business and we can delve into that a little bit more as the chat progresses, but yeah, for me, it's kind of trying to wind it back rather than ramping things up.
Melanie Knights (03:17):
Yeah. I, I love that. And I agree. I think that in my experience, especially when I was running an agency, I felt like whilst perhaps as the, the kind of owner of the business, you're trying to maybe slow down and wrap things up and tie up loose ends whilst clients expectations perhaps increase. Yeah. Which I think is interesting because essentially we are also clients of somebody or we are also, you know, consumers of someone else. But I do feel like there is that, that line. And especially those boundaries that we have to create when we are running businesses or as service service business owners to try and balance out that, that desire to finish something up at the end of the year, or suddenly realizing that they wanna run some kind of promotion or whatever it might be whilst we also try to slow down. And I think what you said there is, is perfect. Like, you know, having those boundaries in place and seeing it, I think it's such a right of passage that we all experience as well.
Kate Carman (04:20):
Melanie Knights (04:21):
Thank you for sharing that with us.
Kate Carman (04:22):
Yeah, no, of course.
Melanie Knights (04:26):
So we are gonna get into kind of fully what you do and how you got here and your experience over the last six years. But Outlaws, before we get into this story, we do have to talk about one very important thing. <Laugh> I need to know cuz I don't know this story. So I need to know your relationship with the outlaw who led me here, whale and Jennings. Because as I mentioned in the intro, you have a super cool tattoo of whale and Jennings it's on your arm, right? Yeah,
Kate Carman (04:56):
Yeah. On your arm. Yeah.
Melanie Knights (04:57):
I need to, I need to know more. I need to know more.
Kate Carman (05:01):
I hope that my story isn't kind of like a buzz kill for your
Kate Carman (05:05):
Participation for yeah. I do actually have a really cool Waylan portrait of one of these really. Like for me, Waylan was just yeah, super cheeky, super mischievous and super cool, like outlaw country music. And I've, I've listened to a really diverse range of music like from yeah, outlaw country to like gangster rap and everything else in between a lot of rock and roll, a lot of punk rock. But for me like that, the Outlaws were like the original gangsters in a way of like just doing things their way and yeah, like using their creativity and taking their art and their music and kind of not conforming to the musical industry standards back then, which were pretty like strict. And it was, you know, to get on the radio, you had to look like this and play a song like this that went for this many minutes and they were kind of like, yeah, we're gonna stick it to the man.
Kate Carman (06:09):
And yeah, I've I love that ethos. <Laugh> I've always had a little bit of a rebellious streak and I think, you know, sometimes authority needs to be kind of told where to stick it and those guys did it really well. So yeah, the tattoo came about, like I was listening to a lot of country music. I had a little stint living over in the United States and yeah, my circle of friends, like yeah, outlook country was like on heavy rotation and then yeah, back here in Australia, like I live in Melbourne Australia and one of my friends, Sammy is a really amazing tattoo artist and he he'd actually done a series of portraits on another one of our really good friends, like a whole sleeve of outlaw country. And also there was like some amazing like hiphop legends and yeah, it was just he did yeah.
Kate Carman (07:11):
A whole series of tattoos. And then we were kind of just hanging out one day and he was like, I really feel like doing another Whelan tattoo. Like he's was experimenting a lot more with his portraiture style of tattooing. And I was like, I'll do it. And that's kind of like a lot of my tattoos and I've got some yeah, like some funny ones and some silly ones and they all tell a story about a time and a place. And they've all kind of got like a meaning to me, probably not like a big, significant meaning to other people, but yeah, it was kind of like, we were just hanging out and it was like, let's do this. And I found, yeah, the picture that I wanted and it's super cheeky and he nailed the eyes and I think, yeah, it's just those mischievous eyes that I think I resonate with and that, yeah, they're pretty hot. So that's better. <Laugh>
Melanie Knights (08:07):
That's exactly what I was thinking. I was like mischievous sexy that's I?
Kate Carman (08:14):
Yeah, it was hot. I like the music. Like his music just took you on a journey. You feel like you're on that horse and you're riding it and like you're running away from the cots and you know, like you're on that journey with listening to the music. So yeah, it was it's there <laugh> amongst the whole, you know, mishmash of other tattoos as well. So
Melanie Knights (08:35):
Yeah. I feel like I haven't seen it. I haven't looked any of the other tattoos. I'm just like, I was like, does she have a tattoo off Whelan? So I feel like we could do it a whole other episode. Perhaps we need to think plan that one out. Yeah. Fair. Couldn't agree more agreed with everything you said, like that's exactly why I'm here and aside this podcast and agree about him. And yes, that portrait, I think is a very, to me it's like a very is an epitome of like who he kind of appears to be and that very cheeky, cheeky, demeanor in the way he behaved. And I've yeah. So many stories which we're not gonna get into cuz we have a whole podcaster record <laugh> oh, I really could. Okay. We'll talk about this another time. <Laugh> yeah. Okay.
Kate Carman (09:21):
We could delved in date because they, I also get like, just on the back of that real quickly, I get asked by so many people like who, you know, who is that? Or whatever. Well, they'll say like someone random, like a lot of people's like, is that Jesus? I'm like, no it's Whelan. Outlaw me.
Melanie Knights (09:39):
I'd be like, sit down, let me, let me, let me educate you. Yeah.
Kate Carman (09:43):
Melanie Knights (09:44):
Yeah, yeah. This is the thing I'm like now I'm thinking I should get a Whalin tattoo and I'm I'm, I'm like excited by the idea of people not knowing who it is. Yeah. But my husband will just be like, okay, stop asking how this questions, every time it would be okay. Right. I'm gonna be booking an appointment to get tattoos. Amazing. More tattoo me. Okay. So let's dive in. Let's take a complete, well, somewhat of aour. Can you tell us about your, an entrepreneurial journey, your personal relationship with burnout and ultimately what led you to being a multi passionate designer and an advocate for conscious creativity?
Kate Carman (10:27):
Well, that's a big Doy question. <Laugh> yeah, I would love to say my journey into design started in more of that traditional design route. Like I went to university and got a degree in digital design and that was yeah. Many years ago now. Which is kind of scary to think how long ago that was, but <laugh> I went into like that in-house design role after university and started kind of like working up in that in-house design kind of environment. It wasn't so much corporate, but I guess that's kind of what it's relatable to. And it was kind of running parallel with like, you know, you step up from a junior designer into your midway and et cetera. I think I've always been multi passionate with my creativity I've always kind of had an artistic streak and creativity is yeah.
Kate Carman (11:32):
One of my values. It's not just something I love to do. It's like, yeah. A part of who I am and something that I have to do on the regular to like as a form of expression. So yeah, I was working in that design role and then I started to become like uninspired I guess, and not super passionate about that job that I was in. I also kind of felt a little bit undervalued, especially being the sole designer for this company and kind of you know, doing everything it was for accessories brand. So I would do like yardage patterns. So like seasonal fashion prints that would go on products. And then I was doing all of the artwork specs for production in the point of sale and the website and all the photography and the, yeah. It was everything and it was super fun and I like, I got to experiment and explore a lot, but then yeah, I wasn't being valued.
Kate Carman (12:31):
And I guess that's where that like relating that to Outlaws mm-hmm, <affirmative> where I was kind of like, you know, I, I basically asked for a pay rise and what my boss kind of told me, like was a little bit insulting. So I was like, okay, well I think it's time for me to move on. And at that time yeah, a girlfriend and I just traveled over to like Mexico and then in south America and that kind of started a on and off traveling trip for like five or more years. And in essentially at that point would have been in that, under that traditional like route for design. Would've been seen as like neglecting my career and I think in a lot of ways, like, yeah, I was kind of having those like self doubts and things like, am I kind of doing the right thing or should I, you know, should I have stayed and just worked my way up that ladder?
Kate Carman (13:37):
And like in no way, would I ever trade that travel and new life experience and the connections that I've made and you know, the exploration, like I love to travel and explore and I think, you know, that really peaks our curiosity. So yeah, I landed back in Melbourne eventually, and my options were kind of to try and compete in this very clicky design scene here. Or at that time freelancing started to become something that was seen as more accessible and more realistic. Whereas previously, like freelancing was like not a thing unless you're kind of a retired senior designer and you could just pick and choose like that's kind of how it was seen. And then yeah, I started up Rabel RAs creative which in itself is kind of a nod to like that anti-authority outlaw little bit mischievous.
Kate Carman (14:42):
Yeah. Like stirring the pot kind of thing. And I, yeah, it's grown and it's infused a lot of my passions along the way. And you know, as you know, you kind of grow and evolve with your business and with your brand and figure things out together kind of in parallel with life and business. And yeah, it's kind of now at a point it reached a point after, like you said, like ending up back in burnout time and time again, or being like, okay, we're in this feast and femin cycle again, or you know, I'm taking on projects that I'm not super passionate about just because I feel like I need to like I can't turn down that job. I can't turn away the money. And yeah, like when you're, it starts to you find yourself in a space of not being really passionate about the projects you're collaborating, collaborating on.
Kate Carman (15:45):
For me, like I started like, I'm a massive empath, so I like, I feel everything. And it was like, well, you know, it's not really fair on the, the clients either. Like, even though I'd give the project my all, if I wasn't super passionate about it, like it's like, they were probably those types of projects, better off collaborating with someone who is super passionate about that kind of design. So my brand started to evolve and shift and I started to be to be able to kind of pick and choose, or even just kind of getting over some of those little hangups where you're like in that scarcity mindset. Like if I turn down this job, I'm turning away money, but when you say no to something, you're actually saying yes to something else. And what started to happen was I was attracting projects that did light me up and that I am super passionate about.
Kate Carman (16:42):
And where that has kind of landed is that now I only like exclusively collaborate with brands that align with my values. And that is a lot of yeah, like ethical and conscious and sustainable brands who have a deeper purpose than just churning and burning or, you know, making money or putting consumer products out there that don't kind of consider a lot of other factors along the way. So yeah, it's a total process of evolution and it's forever evolving and I feel like I'm going through like another shift right now. But sometimes that's scary. But on the other side, it's also exciting because like sometimes where the magic happens and where you can really manifest your dream job that like, for me, that didn't exist when I was finishing uni like 16, 17 years ago. Like it designed was a very different space then, and now it is. So it's exciting to be here and it's exciting to see these phenomenal shifts in the creative landscape and the industries and in consumer habits and yeah, that that's attributed a lot with the technology and these resources that we have available these days. And yeah, in a lot of ways, I feel like I'm just getting started even though I'm nearly six years in. So that's kind of a little long winded intro to yeah. Where the evolution of my brand to date.
Melanie Knights (18:28):
It's no long winded at all. I
Kate Carman (18:29):
Melanie Knights (18:31):
I love a story and I, I think it's so interesting cuz as you said, you know, you use the word evolution and I, I agree a hundred percent that as we evolve on a personal level, our businesses often evolve as well and it doesn't look the same for everyone. But I think it is interesting to consider in the last, you know, 15, 16 years how much has changed now. I remember studying art and fashion and design at school and even, you know, at college it, it looked very different. You know, I always, for me, my creativity as you put it, it's like, it's part of who I am. It's a value. It's not just something that I like to do. Like I do enjoy doing it, but I have to do it. Like I have to have that creativity in many different forms.
Melanie Knights (19:22):
It has to exist for me to, for me to exist. I, I guess, you know, it's a huge part of my life and it also gets to be part of my, my dream career as well. And the difference between, you know, when I was back in college and the way I was creating to now, I think obviously this part of it is me being older and hopefully a little bit wiser. But also just that shift, you know, that you, the number of artists that I see online now, people who are picking up creativity that they left, you know, when they were in their teens. And I'm seeing that a lot also just in the last couple of years is kind of, it feels like it's like a silver lining of the pandemic that a lot of people are, who have always had that creativity there. Right. I mean, we all have creativity there. It's just how we decide to express it, but the way they're picking that back up and, and exploring it, it's, it's really beautiful. And what I'm really curious about is something you mentioned there was this, this shift from this Rite of passage that we all go through, but this shift from taking on everything because money adulting.
Kate Carman (20:34):
Melanie Knights (20:34):
And potentially not in the beginning, not always getting those dream clients or dream projects. And I think at least in my experience, I feel like we sometimes have that one and we kind of compare everybody to that, that one client or that one project. And what also happens at the same time, if we don't see those, those projects or those clients or those relationships, as you say, we can often say yes to everything that's happening and everything that gets offered. So I'm really curious to know the shift from saying yes to everything, to starting to say, no, I'm making space for those. How did you find yourself building that abundance into your business and life?
Kate Carman (21:20):
I think, well, yeah, one advantage that I think I have is that I am a multi passionate designer. So I am both a yeah, a qualified digital designer and that kind of all encompassed like graphic design and dig like digital design, web design and development. So where, you know, I, the strengths that I took from these skills that I learned and have honed and refined is that I could take my clients on an end to end design experience. So from the conceptual phase of their business, with their branding and helping you refine their like tone and develop a visual voice all the way through to like the collateral and packaging and stuff in between to an online presence. And I think these days it's the online presence and especially post pandemic that is really like that key touch point for, for every business.
Kate Carman (22:28):
Like it almost overnight, everyone had to get their brick and mortars or get their businesses online. And although I'd been doing this for a lot longer than the pandemic I think having that unique point of difference with my services and the offerings and being able to kind of delve deeper into strategy and delve into deeper relationships with my clients to take through through this journey and to really like, like I said yeah, like being able to kind of then pick and choose the clients that I worked with that really aligned with my values. So it wasn't an overnight process at all. There was projects, you know, I had to kind of do a lot of dirty work as well and, or things that just didn't feel aligned with with yeah, my values or even my creative creative style or aesthetic.
Kate Carman (23:28):
And some projects that were kind of ended up being a lot more challenging and leading to that burnout that we were talking about earlier you know, than I had anticipated. So again, it's yeah, a constant learning curve, but with each project you do take away something. And for me, I think that's helped me establish a really kind of strong set of boundaries now where I and this is something, you know, that is, it's a, you know, it evolves as well, but where I can now really put a lot of structure around my projects and boundaries don't have to kind of be a negative thing. Like sometimes when people think of boundaries, they're like, you know, it's us saying no to clients' demands. And yeah, there is a part of that where, you know, like, because as their projects evolve, they want this and that.
Kate Carman (24:29):
And you know, that kind of starts silly lead to scope creep, but boundaries can also be a really great tool for guidance and keeping the projects on track and keeping your clients like heading towards their longer term vision and their goals that they kind of might start to get a bit blindsided as things start to develop. And they start to see visuals and wondering where, you know, they, their imaginations start to run RI and where they can take it. So I think yeah, boundaries can be a really positive thing for the clients as well, but definitely for business owners and especially if you're offering services, like having a strong set of, or a firm set of boundaries that really kind of resonate with you and the way that you work, the way that you like to work, that you resonate with your creative process.
Kate Carman (25:24):
I think that's really important because when you start to feel like things are starting to get outta control or you're heading, you know, spiraling towards that burnout because you've let boundaries drop. And now you've saying yes to too many things and you're not, you know, you don't have that space to you know, execute your best creative work. Yeah. That's when you, that's, when you do end up in burnout and that's when you do start to kind of you know, the resentment or you start to become a little less passionate about what you're doing. And that's kind of the reason we start our own businesses in the first place. Like no one said it was ever gonna be easy, but like we do get to choose how we execute our projects or how our creative process flows. And yeah, I think for me being a multi passionate designer and have being able to take my clients through that end to end design experience has kind of really enabled me to refine my creative process, streamline the absolute, like out of my you know, the client onboarding, offboarding process and yeah, take my clients through that journey.
Kate Carman (26:42):
And that's why they're coming to, you know, that's why your clients are coming to you because you, you are the expert, you know, the process. I don't expect my clients to know anything about websites or the web development process. So I have, yeah, like I just said, like have streamlined everything where it is that step by step journey, I'm taking them on an experience and I'm super passionate about their projects and want the best for them. And I'm really passionate about giving them a platform for success because they've had a dream and they've run with it. And there's nothing more badass than that. Like if that is an outward than, I'm not sure it is. So I'm all for it. The more creative businesses out there, like the more inspiring kind of abstract ideas or, you know, like different ways of doing things like that keeps the world like a creative and curious place, but it also, yeah, like it we, it also kind of shapes culture and consumerism.
Kate Carman (27:45):
And when you are a designer and you get to work on a project from like an inceptual or like the conceptual phase, we do have that power of influence where we can shape consumer habits. So I think it's really important to leverage that and to not just kind of fall into the trap of like, well, this is how it's been done for ever, or this is like traditional marketing, or this is like, you know, like we're gonna use all the tricks of the trade to kind of just push our product to make profits. It's like, I think, you know, you take a look around and there's massive shifts even on the corporate level of things or that mass consumer level where yeah, the it's there, the shifts and there are shifts for the better where the consumer habits are changing. And it's pretty awesome to be able to kind of help influence that. So I'm kind of like on the inside pulling strings to try and make the world a better place. And that's how I want to use my creativity for the, for the greater good really.
Melanie Knights (29:00):
Yeah. I, I love that. And I am definitely that kind of client who PE you don't give me boundaries. <Laugh>, I'm gonna, I, my, my creativity and my imagination are just gonna run wild. Yeah. And I think there is that level of self-awareness I think not, I I've seen it a lot with the more creative folks that I've worked with. When you have that work in relationships, when they're coming to you with their business, and they're coming to you and saying, I have this product, or I have this business, and it can kind of just it instead of having like a path that just kind of all comes out at once. There's no kind of specific journey, because I think with when it comes to creativity and creative businesses, and you can so often you do have lots of, and especially if you're multi passionate, you do have lots of ideas and not all of them can be executed at once. No.
Kate Carman (30:00):
Melanie Knights (30:01):
You know, there does have to be, as you put at some boundaries with that. And so I think that's really important. And another thing that you said was about the choice about you getting to choose how you, you know, how you deliver your creativity, you getting to choose what that looks like and so important, because I think so often in online business, there isn't a big enough conversation about the choices that we can make. I understand that choice can sometimes be an absolute privilege, but at the same time as a business owner, when it comes to how we decide to do business in the online space, we ultimately do get to choose how we do that. But because there's so much of a conversation of it looking one way, choosing one thing, you must pick one thing, you must do it like this. There isn't enough conversation about autonomy and being able.
Melanie Knights (30:55):
And I mean, that's not just in online business, that's across so many different, oh yeah. Industries you know, we're not allowed to make choices about ourselves, but the reality is that that choice helps us to define how our business looks. It helps us to take the next step. It helps us to create those relationships, how we're going to market our business. And that's, to me that's very outlaw as well is like having that conversation with yourself first of okay. But how do I want this to look, how do I want this to feel? Because as you said, when we're passionate about the projects that we work on, and I think any business owner, whether you're a service business owner, a coach, or you create products, you are able to define that for yourself through your values and how you want to make the world a bad place. I think that's so powerful.
Kate Carman (31:51):
Yeah, definitely. And that's something that I think like, I'm just, you know, we talked earlier about, you know, evolving with our brands and I feel, yeah. Like my life and my business are going through another kind of big shift right now. And it's like, just allowing yourself or giving yourself permission is the first thing. Yes. That's huge. And that's exactly what you're just kind of tapping into Melanie where you're kind of like expected to conform to these trends that are forever evolving, but it seems like, you know, everyone's doing this now and then everyone's doing that. And if I'm not doing that, like my business is going to fail and I'm kind of testing the opposite, like, and I'm, I'm, you know, exuding my, you know, outlaw and kind of going, what, what if I do it this way? What if I do it my way that feels you know, in aligned with me and in aligned with my offerings in aligned with my life and my lifestyle, why do we have to kind of stick with those traditions?
Kate Carman (32:59):
And the more that I do that I'm finding that I can do it my way. And of course, you know, you've still gotta run your business. But yeah, one thing that I can mention earlier on this conversation was like tuning into more of a slow business model and slowing things down and giving creativity space to breathe, giving myself space to breathe you know, assessing my goals and reassessing things like yeah, you can try things out and you know, it might not work out fully how you you'd planned. You can change that or you could shift it or adapt it. And I think that's the beauty of creativity is that nothing is set in stone. And also, you know, there's a million, like you talk about like, clients is like a million fish in the sea. Like you are gonna resonate with someone.
Kate Carman (33:56):
So for me, I think it's really important personally to take that space and to reassess often to reevaluate my goals to reevaluate. Yeah. Like how I want my business to look how I wanna show up how I want to yeah. Show up authentically. And that's something that's massive for me because I'm like, I'm a huge introvert. So, you know, like there's now, you know, the latest social media trends, it's like, you've gotta be on tick talk or you've gotta be a content producer for video. It's like, well, what, I'm just here to design cool things for clients and give them, you know, a platform for success. And yeah, I think giving yourself permission to slow down and give yourself that space is like the first step for, you know, like taking that step back. And most of the time when you take that step back and reevaluate with fresh eyes, those are like those aha moments.
Kate Carman (34:58):
Those are where that's where the magic happens and where you have those kind of creative breakthroughs. So you don't have to be on the hamster wheel, like all the time. And like we were talking about this, you know burnout season of where a lot of industries are like ramping things up. It's like, no, let's like wind it back. Let's reevaluate. Let's kind of prioritize our vision and goals for a moment and kind of start to plan for like what we wanna create next year or yeah. The direction that we are wanting to go in.
Melanie Knights (35:38):
Yeah. I agree. I mean, I think in terms of slow business and slowing down at this time of year, I know that slow business in itself still feels like it's an, it it's an unspoken part of our part of business. You know, I've talked about this before on the show. When I think when, back at the beginning of the year beginning of this year when we did a slow business theme, but if you Google it, it's a lot of the blogs and articles are all about how to heal and fix slow business because slow business just inevitably is looked at as a bad thing. And I think that's what feeds into a lot of this end of the year, strong and finish strong and achieve those goals. And you've still got time. And so much of that feeds into, I mean, it feeds into hustle culture, but it feeds into a lot of that scarcity and FOMO mindset, which, you know, we've obviously today talked about abundance and we've talked about saying no to things.
Melanie Knights (36:42):
And I feel like that's the completely opposite this time of year. It's like say yes to everything. Do every single promotion there is. And I've watched over years of seeing business owners, you know, just drive themselves into the ground with this need to match the pace of everybody else. And so often this happens through marketing. It happens through social media, you touched on trends and, you know, I'm, I'm an introvert. I love being on video and I find it harder to write about my business than to speak about my business. Hence why we're here. <Laugh> so for me, you know, some of those trends are appealing, but I think at the same time touching on what you were saying, it's about choosing what works for you also knowing what is actually working as well and like recognizing what is working and then deciding, okay, do I want to do what is working?
Melanie Knights (37:42):
I think just recognizing that's still a choice, but so often this comes from the marketing that we see the conversations, the advertising that we see on social media. And I know here we are an advocate for ethical marketing practices and creating and working with like value driven businesses. Like that's really, really important to me as a, as a business owner, as a podcaster, as a human. And I would love to hear more about your work with creating those conscious brands that are rooted in ethical practices. You've talked a bit about how you, you're working with these brands that are, you know, doing good and, and matching your values. And I'm really curious to know if you're primarily working with, you know, new businesses or is it businesses that maybe have been kind of doing it themselves and now they're looking to evolve? Like how does that look?
Kate Carman (38:38):
Yeah. a amazing question. And I, I just wanna kind of start this off because we were talking about slow business and just to kind of think like a lot of people, when they hear slow business, they think that means less money. And I guess that's kind of where, you know, a lot of those, the fear and the stigma around it comes up. And for me, it just means moving like authentically and following my intuition to do what feels right for me. And yeah, that has kind of led me to wanting to work with brands that align with my values and that, yeah, some of them are a lot of them are newer brands or some are ones that are, you know, tested a concept and are really wanting to kind of then up level and elevate that idea and that brand and take things kind of to that next level.
Kate Carman (39:36):
And it's, you know, a variety of industries like, but for me, yeah, it's, there are so many as, you know, Melanie so many different like layers to what an ethical brand means. And I think you know, everyone is just kind of taking imperfect action and that is the most perfect thing that we could be doing because it's being conscious of the outcomes conscious of our footprints, conscious of the process. And yeah, just the brands are kind of forward, like thinking in that manner, like, you know, it's kind of impossible when you are just a startup to be, you know, running on a triple bottom you know, line and considering or, you know, giving back as much as you'd probably like to, but it's yeah. Taking that imperfect action. And sometimes it's, you know, perhaps they're not a fully, you know, they, don't kind of brands that I collaborate with might not sit under that umbrella of being sustainable or ethical or kind of in that amongst, you know, those kind of brands in their, their industries, but they might, I might see an opportunity where I can have an input to make a positive change and have those conversations with them about like, have you ever considered this?
Kate Carman (41:07):
Or you could potentially consider doing things this way, or just like embedding that or planting that seed where it kind of can create a new idea or it can kind of help shift that brand into a more positive direction. And again, that's kind of comes back to what we were talking about earlier as being a designer. We have that ability working on that conceptual phase to reshape brands, to reshape consumer habits. And you, yeah. Like the more kind of seeds we plant, we are planning along the way, it's just taking that imperfect action. So yeah, as well as like that within a lot of my projects and especially my websites, because this is a really great way that we can kind of leverage brands. Like it's where you can show a lot of personality of the brand. You can take that kind of static, two dimensional, like visuals and turn it into a dynamic form and make it interactive.
Kate Carman (42:13):
And the website was like the main hub for a brand's marketing. So you get to really kind of flex that personality and on all of my projects, I'm like, okay, so where are we going? You know, this is the place where we embed your like giving back, or this is where we're gonna share and speak about your values. So this is where we are going to you know, talk about yeah, just kind of the, the positive aspect, but maybe they, haven't kind of thought of that where they're kind of just thinking, oh, I've gotta tell my brand story. And this is my product, or this is the service and here's how to contact me. And it's like consumers and like people wanna know humans, like people want your story. They want kind of to delve and peel back some of those layers.
Kate Carman (43:02):
So it's like, tell them, yeah, share your values, share how you like, share your passions, like how you, like, how you can give back. And, and whatever capacity that looks like. Because again, like not everyone's at that stage where they're able to kind of, you know, you might just be covering your bills or, you know, getting your teams together and things like that. But it's taking imperfect action and that's like, all we can ever do. So yeah, that's kind of what looking, working with ethical brands kind of looks like it's, it's a whole, it's a diverse landscape. But I feel, yeah, my, my role part of my role as a designer is to kind of spark those conversations where it's like, how can we be doing this better?
Melanie Knights (43:55):
Yeah, yeah. I think I, I agree. And I think a huge part of it as well can be knowing that you're probably gonna get it wrong at some point, oh yeah. You're going to make a mistake. You're you're not gonna say the right thing. But this is such a big first step for, for a lot of brands and yeah, I mean, I, again, I don't know what your experience is, but for me the last couple of years have really made a massive difference to my own spending habits and who I'm, you know, how I spend money within my business and outside of my business. Oh yeah. What I look for, you know, I know that, you know, younger generations are spending in a different way. I, I, I hear, I don't, I mean, I'm on TikTok, but I don't know what TikTok shop is. I hear people talk about this. I'm like, I don't know what that is.
Kate Carman (44:38):
Melanie Knights (44:39):
Kate Carman (44:40):
I have no idea. I,
Melanie Knights (44:41):
No, I think it's, I dunno, but I see it and I hear it. And I, and I, I notice how that, you know, how that changes spending habits. However, I do also feel like it's definitely feeding into consumers and capitalism in a, in a strong way, because it seems like a lot of that is to create more content. So it's like this it's feeding that kind of, that marketing it's feeding that way. But for a lot of us, I think that's a huge, a huge step in the right direction. And just a piece of awareness is like, I'm gonna get this wrong. I'm gonna say the wrong thing, but taking action, as you said, is just, even when it's imperfect is, is such a, a strong value and a strong step in the right direction for most, for every brand, for every business and every brand. And I think that's so powerful and, and it's amazing that you do that work and that you see the potential of having that conversation with businesses and brands that you get to have that input and potentially steer things in that direction. Oh
Kate Carman (45:48):
Yeah. All of that for sure. And you just nailed it before, when you said it's awareness and that's all it is like, we are all, it's like, I don't know about you, I'm cons I'm forever learning. Like I'm gonna be a lifetime student. And that's something that I love because, you know, there's it keeps things curious and keeps things interesting, but it, all we can do is like share awareness. And I think, you know, like the, the online space has evolved so much, like technology just kind of speeding up all the time. And like even six years ago when I started my business to how design or, you know, how the online space is and not just design, but like yeah, the online space, the technology, the tools, the, yeah, the connection that we've got that there can just be a lot of noise and fuzz and like, just crap.
Kate Carman (46:44):
But I think there's also like this underlying kind of movement in a way where people, yeah, like there's always gonna be this fast paced aspect to it, but where people are kind of stopping in or slowing down in some ways to absorb different information and go hang on, like, yeah, we're talking about like all of these global issues whether that's like environmental issues or social issues that are having this like massive impact on the lives of everyone around the world. And it's like the last couple of years we were all the entire world, like experienced the same. It was like a unanimous experience. I know there are very varying degrees within that, but I think that is kind of created an awareness where people are like, okay yeah, we can keep things fast paced, but I am really passionate about this.
Kate Carman (47:43):
So I'm going to kind of think twice about, yeah. That product I buy, or I'm gonna read that label. I'm gonna look into that brand. And you know, like the young generations are, you know, as passionate as they are, they're like, I'm gonna call 'em out even like, <laugh>, they, you know, take things even further. So I think it's kind of, and, you know, you look into the corporate space even, and they are adapting more ethical practices, whether that's like ethics within their you know, workplace like environments they're creating or you know, how they manage their, you know, waste or, you know, like all different kind of aspects, but they're seeing the numbers and the, the numbers are growing. Like there's some really crazy statistics out there where like, in some industries and in some age groups, it can be like up to 95% where it's like, someone will choose this brand over that brand because they've got an ethical thread woven into their business or a sustainability cause, or they're, you know, giving back or they're doing something versus this consumer, you know, like fast food or fast consumerism kind of just churn and burn.
Kate Carman (49:04):
It's like, okay, well now they're even starting to kind of pull up and see like, Hey, these, you know, people are looking around, like, people are starting to take notice of you know, what our practices or the world around us basically. And, you know, it's not sustainable to kind of do business how it's been done for, you know, decades and decades. And something does have to give, so, yeah, I think it's like up to the individuals, like there is power in your purchasing decision, so yeah. Spend wisely <laugh>
Melanie Knights (49:45):
Yeah. Yeah, there absolutely is. I think I, I, I think it's funny cuz we talked about choice a lot today. It comes back to the same thing. I think, you know, in some cultures there have been, has been so much choice, overwhelming choice, just, you know, when you go to the grocery store for example, and, and sometimes that can be too much and you're like, I just want one thing, just tell me what I need. Yeah. But on the other hand, in other parts of our spending habits, we want that choice. We don't want to be presented with just one way of doing something. And I think it's those brands that give us that choice and do it really well and connect and tell a story. You know, I, I always joke and say to people like, if you, if you can tell me a story behind whatever it is, even if that story doesn't deeply resonate with like my experience and my lived experience, if you're gonna tell me a really great story, I'm probably gonna pay you. Like, if I want, I need the thing. Yeah. It's it's that for me, the story part is so, so powerful. And I, and I really love to see that within brands and businesses and their marketing and everything else,
Kate Carman (50:52):
So yeah. Well people are craving connection. Like we are a very digital, you know, everything's been very online where it's like, yeah, tell me your story. I want I'm craving connection here. I'm craving authenticity and that human element. So yeah, like let's make our brands a little bit more human and I guess, you know, the, the beauty of being an entrepreneurial outlaw is that you get to shape your brand and your business, however you want. Yeah, sure. You gotta make money. So, but so you've gotta run your business, but you don't have to do it the way everybody else is. And you know, sometimes first to do it actually, you know, step outside of the bounds, as scary as that can be, but do it your way because that's where you're gonna stand out.
Melanie Knights (51:43):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for sharing it with us today, Kate, because this has been so insightful and I really, really enjoyed chatting with you about your work. And obviously the amount of times that outlaw came up was great. <Laugh> I know like it's just lost our meaning now <laugh> but we, we are coming to the end of today's episode, but as always, I do have one last question, a very important question for you. And that is what does being an entrepreneurial outlaw look and feel like for you during this season of your business
Kate Carman (52:28):
Probably ties a lot back into everything that we've just chatted about, but for me being an outlaw in business is sticking to your values and being yourself no matter what. So yeah, just being you and leading with your values and kind of not being swayed or pulled or coerced into kind of doing something that doesn't feel authentic or aligned with you and kind of being like this is, you know, this is how I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it my way. I'm going to, you know, lead with my values, lead with transparency and do a great job along the way. And I think that kind of having that rebellion to step outside of like, or, you know, the conform conformity is is how we can kind of make big shifts. No matter what industry you're in, it's where, you know, you can inspire someone else to kind of go hang on, I'm gonna do this my way as well. And yeah, we can change the creative landscape and we can make these big, you know, bigger contributions to to our industries for our like clients and customers that also to kind of help change things for the better. And yeah, for me, that just means using my design for yeah. Designing for good brands and doing good work to create goods. So yeah, that's kind of what it means to me.
Melanie Knights (54:04):
Amazing. Yes. I love that. Thank you for sharing. So where can everybody listening, connect with you online and learn more about your work?
Kate Carman (54:15):
Yeah, sure. My website is Rabel RAs creative.com and my handles for like Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest, et cetera, is at Rabel RAs creative. And I know that is a little bit of a tongue twister, but yeah, I guess my, my brand name in itself is kind of yeah, rebellious and off. Yeah. It ties greatly into your to your podcast, Melanie. So <laugh> we can, yeah, on my website, I've got some great resources. So I've got a few different eBooks that you can download for free. That one, yeah. On various things. So being a multi passionate designer, there are some about design. There are others about creating an ethical and aligned brand and yeah, I think for me, that's something I'm kind of leaning more and more into is just yeah, like stepping into that space of slow business, doing things my way and trying to kind of unraveled yeah. Like taking that imperfect action to create an ethical design space. So yeah. Yeah. <laugh>
Melanie Knights (55:29):
Perfect. So we will make sure that everything is linked in the show notes. So you'll be able to head over there and find links to all of Kate's online info. You'll also be able to find a full transcript over there at the show notes, Melanie knights.com/podcast. Thank you so much, Kate for joining me for today. Thank you so much, everyone listening. I really
Kate Carman (55:54):
Appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me, Melanie. It's been a real honor and it's been yeah. Amazing to connect and I'm yeah. Looking forward to seeing your next tattoo of your,
Melanie Knights (56:08):
By the time this airs, I may already have like a whole link,
Kate Carman (56:11):
But we'll see. Thanks everybody. Bye. Hmm.