Let's make beautiful design with purpose

Interviews, talks & workshops 

 
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INTERVIEW: by Almost Real

Paradiso
Co-Founders
Beck Marshall and Lila Theodoros
Byron Bay

 
 
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Name: Beck Marshall and Lila Theodoros
Occupation: Paradiso Magazine Managing Editor (Beck), Design/Production Manager (Lila)
Location: Byron Bay

How do you know each other?
Beck: We randomly met at a cafe, Lila was wearing a perfect colour combo, holding one of my favourite magazines, I couldn’t let her go without complimenting her and her fine taste.
Lila: I was waiting for my coffee, flicking through a magazine I had just bought and Beck yelled at me, “Is that the latest issue?? I’m in that!”, and we just got talking about all things magazine.

What are your creative backgrounds?
Beck: Lila is the Owner and Designer at Oh Babushka, a design studio. I am more peripatetic. I swing between editor, occasional stylist, creative director and mum.
Lila: Um, Beck is a creative super star! She has worked with major international brands as either Stylist or Creative Director. She also ran her own, very successful, high end children’s fashion publication Papier Mache for more than ten years. And, last year, launched her new publication The New Story – a beautiful ode to motherhood, daughter-hood and sisterhood. She is amazing and I am lucky to work with her. I currently run my own design studio Oh Babushka with a focus on creative brand development. But magazines are my passion – I have worked in publishing since 2002 and was Art Director for a creative street press magazine in Brisbane for five years.

How did the magazine come about? Did something/someone influence you?
Beck: We were both working on separate projects, chatting daily about how much our town needed a good read… it evolved to a ‘if we made a magazine’ Pinterest board…. to lets actually do it… to oh shit here comes 10,000 copies on the back of a truck.
Lila: Ditto!

How do you keep inspired and creative?
Beck: I think we both find creativity quite easy … Lila is the perfectly focused creative – where as I have a tendency to flutter. It makes the perfect balance.
Lila: Working with Beck means thousands of Instagram messages containing the most amazing and new creative discoveries. It is invaluable to be able to have a friend who can help me dig myself out of a creative black hole with just a simple conversation, followed by a trip down a rabbit hole of ideas! Inspiration comes from all over – like the usual digital places such as Instagram, Pinterest, Behance to the more experiential like film, poetry, nature, music and conversation.

What have been some highlights over the past 12 months?
Beck: Actually producing the mag – no.1. Team Paradiso (Lila, Aarna and myself) has 6 kids between us and juggle other projects so at the end of each issue it always feels like a highlight that we survived another deadline. It’s also a pretty rad feeling to race in to order a coffee at a cafe and see someone enjoying reading your baby…
Lila: Definitely launching issue no. 01 of Paradiso. This has been a dream come true for me! Another major highlight is our new print project that will out at the end of the year – Takeaway. A creative and re-imagined guide book for Northern NSW. We are working so hard on this one and can’t wait to share it with the world!

What changes have you seen in the industry?
Beck: Print media is always changing. That is the beauty of it. It rises and falls, adapts and evolves. I think that is our attraction to it.
Lila: It is very exciting to see the world make the shift back to print media. As we are all overwhelmed by the constant demands on our time and energy by digital sources, picking up a beautiful magazine and slowly reading it while sipping on your coffee is a pleasure we have forgotten we need. Print is grounding, calming, giving and engaging. There was a major move years back to digital everything – but slowly we are realising that this is not real engagement, is not real community, and we do want that. Print, when done well, can provide something real.

Has this affected your approach to your platform?
Beck: Response is healthy. It’s the way we make change and look at ideas differently.
Lila: Absolutely. We know how little time everyone feels they have and want to make sure we are offering a product that is of value and enjoyed by those willing to give us their time.

What do you think the Australian Government could be doing to support creative culture?
Beck: I’ve given up on the Australian Government sadly for me and my children. It is abhorrent.
Lila: It is quite a disillusioning time for Australian politics. But creativity thrives in response to the times we are in. We seem to be in a place where we are being called upon to create our own sense of community, where we are empowered, where compassion and care are valued assets, sans Government.

What do you think about our Government?
Beck: How long have you got? When children are setting themselves on fire in cat ionic states of depression on Manus Island and Nauru. When we are the only democracy in the world that doesn’t have a charter or bill of rights. When Indigenous children are 10 times more likely to be in out-of home than non-indigenous children. When as a country we have regressed on a global index measuring gender equality from 15 to 46 … When I am raising my children in a time of political instability and “dog-eat-dog” political antics. I could keep going but it just gets to depressing.
Lila: Compassion, common sense and love need to make a greater showing. Action must be taken without nonsense agenda blocking outcomes.

What is the secret ingredient to success?
Beck: HARD WORK. Sacrifice. And a good sense of humour.
Lila: Hard work! Done without expectation of reward other than experience. And always work to be better – if you think you are at the top of your game, where have you left to go?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
Beck: I’m probably not the right person to ask this, I am perpetually nomadic. Be in it the psychical sense or the romantic sense. This month I am currently dreaming of starting a small bed and breakfast on the island of Vis Croatia. But next month I could swing back to a bakery on Hydra.
Lila: My answer is more boring … I am so happy where I am right now. My husband and I had a ten year plan to move back to Byron Bay (we grew up in the area) and after we had our son we knew this was the place for our little family.

What is it about Byron Bay that makes you want to live there?
Beck: It’s my hometown. It’s the place I come back to when I need my family. My mum. When I need to be grounded. But I definitely have a strange relationship with Byron Bay. The longer I stay here the more it
makes me want to run. I guess it’s ancestral. Heal and go.
Lila: It’s a mix of nostalgia, family and place. I grew up in the area and nothing can beat the sweetness of memory of a childhood spent running through rain forests, diving into sparkling spring fed creeks, or driving past our mountain range. It feels like, and is, home. And now that I’m back, grown up me is thriving on the pulsing creative energy that saturates Byron Bay. It is full of creative, compassionate, motivated, innovative idea makers and doers. This creative energy somehow facilitates the flow of inspiration and it is very hard to not want to act on ALL of the ideas you get gifted just by being here. And the coffee is pretty amazing too

Can you give us some local insight into your favourite cafe/fashion/people?
Beck and Lila: We spend most of our time in Mullumbimby, 15 minutes north of Byron Bay – “The biggest little town in Australia”. It is a lot more like Byron Bay in the 1980’s. Our favourite places to eat here are Punch and Daisy, Diner 55, The Green Grocer and our local The Branches. If we head to Byron we would normally pop by Combi, Leaf and Grain, The Roadhouse, Allpress or 100 Mile Table. We are spoilt for choice in the Byron Bay Shire – go to Bangalow for incredible food at Woods, coffee at Sparrow, fashion at Assembly Label, flowers at Braer. Venture out to Federal for the home of amazing local coffee by Moonshine Coffee Roasters paired with the best Japanese food you will find at Doma. Brunswick is just down the road with amazing coffee from Jones and Co, an incredible old motel reimagined and totally instagramable called The Sails Motel, and entertainment mecca Brunswick Picture House, featuring anything from sing-a-long film nights to cheeky cabaret. And then we are surrounded by small town gems like Murwillumbah with its emerging arts scene (and amazing coffee, cocktails and old school vibe at Keith), or down
to Lismore, the home of NORPA.

One thing you would like to do but haven’t got around to it yet?
Beck: Ha! Buy that old house in Vis and start that bed and breakfast. Or hem my curtains.
Lila: Travel and adventure! I want to take my family on a trip to India AND Greece. My husband and I spent a lot of time backpacking through India and we can’t wait to share its beauty with our son. Greece is my cultural homeland and I will get there one day!

Favourite website/s?
pinterest.com
behance.com

Favourite app/s?
Instagram
VSCO
Repost
Squareready
HUJI

Favourite creative/s?
This is too hard to answer – the world of creatives is now so easily accessible and thousands of people are doing incredible things! New inspiration can be found every day!

Do you have any upcoming events?
Paradiso turns one in November, so expect a month of celebration! As part of the celebrations we are planning a Breakfast Club Extravaganza, a Paradiso birthday party and launch party for Takeaway. The end of the year is going to be full of celebration, community and creativity!

What’s 2019 looking like?
Already half way planned! That’s the beauty (and terror) of producing a bi- monthly magazine. New projects, new collaborations and another year of doing what we love. Come on 2019!

Originally published by Almost Real

Photos: Jess Lacroix

 
 

SPEAKER: Potluck 2018

Lila Theodoros
Oh Babushka
More than meets the eye – creating brands that connect

 
 
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Excerpt:

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Hello! And welcome.

My name is Lila Theodoros. I am the founder of Oh Babushka, a design and branding studio based in Byron Bay, Australia. I am a graphic designer, creative collaborator and visual storyteller. For the past ten years I have been developing beautiful brands for a wide range of lifestyle clients – ranging from food to fashion to travel to property. I love that I get to make beautiful design for a living and I am super excited to share my passion with you.

My workshop will give you an understanding of the importance of creating and growing a cohesive brand that visually communicates your story and creates real connections with your audience.

Today, I will take you through the basics of branding – with no tricky designer waffle – I promise.

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You probably already have a brand and have been running with it for a while. I’m not here to tell you all to stop what you’re doing and immediately contract a Designer to rebrand. I’m just here to help refocus, refine and rekindle that initial drive and vision you had at the very beginning. It’s never too late to review and strengthen your message.

So, branding –
It’s more than meets the eye … A brand is not just a beautiful logo, a cool business card, a website that people actually visit or a series of perfect instagram photos. A successful brand has an incredible depth behind it and is constructed of layers of multiple components that come together, forming a unique and powerful message.

But let’s just simplify this concept first – at the centre of a brand is a story.

A really well told story. This story is the foundation of your business and excites and engages your audience.

Your story determines:
– your voice / tone
– what you look like (visual brand/communication)
– what you share (social)
– how you do business (mission / values)

So, how do you figure out your story?

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The process I take in developing a brand is:
First comes the Idea then the Story then the Visual Brand.

This process is very involved.

Your story is the incredible combination of unique factors that weave together to create your one and only brand. This uniqueness sets you apart from your peers, personalises your brand and opens up a whole bunch go honest engagement with your audience.

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Don’t follow the crowd. You have just come up with an incredibly unique story that sets you apart from your peers. Don’t fall into the trap of replicating the current trend – this goes for all of your visual communication – your logo, your stationery, your created content.

Trends fall out of style very quickly – don’t get stuck with something that was cool for five minutes – create and build something that is unique and will endure. This doesn’t mean that you have to create a visual brand that stays the same forever – I encourage you to evolve and grow. It’s just more fun that way. But create a brand foundation that tells your story, not everyone else’s.

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Thank you.

 
 

SPEAKER: Potluck 2017

Lila Theodoros
Oh Babushka
I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes – creating brands that connect

 
 
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Excerpt:

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Hello, hello! Thank you for joining me.

My name is Lila Theodoros.

I am the founder of Oh Babushka, a design and branding studio based in Byron Bay, Australia. I am a graphic designer, creative collaborator and visual storyteller. For the past ten years I have been developing beautiful brands for a wide range of lifestyle clients – ranging from food to fashion to travel to corporate. I love that I get to make beautiful design for a living and I am super excited to share my passion with you.

My workshop will give you an understanding of the importance of creating and growing a cohesive brand that visually communicates your story and creates real connections with your audience.

Today, I will take you through the basics of branding. 

First up we will discuss The Brand – what is its and why is it so important? 

Then we’ll learn how to come up with an idea and run through the process of Ideas Generation using the workbook I have made for you.

I’ll also keep mentioning the word “Connection” throughout this workshop – and explain why it is so important to make “friends” with your audience.

After all that power thinking, we will treat ourselves to the really fun stuff! We will have a play with Instagram, work out how (+ what, when, why) to post a really cool photo, and also learn how to talk “Graphic Designer” – which will help you clearly brief your designer when working on your next project.

So –

After attending my workshop, you will walk away with:

• a greater understanding of the importance of your brand

• the tools to develop a new Idea or grow your current brand

• a professional recommendation to use Pinterest even more than you do now

• ‘formal’ training on how to post quality photos to Instagram that aren’t just of your feet in the coffee queue

• a tear in your eye when you think about the beautiful and real connections you are making with your audience

• a few fancy ‘Graphic Designer’ phrases and actions that you can impress your friends with – or use to successfully brief your designer

• an overwhelming sense of achievement that you are doing what you love, building your truthful brand story and connecting with people that love what you do.

So let’s get started!

 
 

INTERVIEW: by We are the Sorority

WE KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT:
LILA THEODOROS OF OH BABUSHKA

 
 

If you're anything like us, chances are you've seen that loo door design that's doing the Insta-rounds.. no? Well, in case you haven't seen it... 👀

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So now that's out of the way, let us introduce you to the brains behind the project, Lila Theodoros, founder of design studio Oh Babushka.

We asked her our customary questions, and we were so thrilled with the responses.

We hope you will be too.

BUSINESS

What motivated you to start your own business? What's your story?

So many things motivated me to start my own business! I wanted flexibility in my work, control over my own time, the ability to say yes to clients who inspired me, the ability to say no to clients who didn’t.

I had been working for more than ten years for different publications and creative agencies and felt that I was ready to step out on my own. I had learned and listened and asked. This time was invaluable for growing my skills in design, writing, business management and ideas generation.

I also saw that things in my industry were changing – a lot of small business owners were getting lost in the big agency system. I saw small business owners really taking a massive jump into the unknown to chase their dream and the process of an agency did not suit them – they weren’t a priority because they were small and they felt out of the loop because they generally never met the actual designer working on their life-changing new idea. These inspiring people were creating something from their heart, and mostly, taking great personal financial risks in order to get the right start for their business. They needed to feel supported and heard. I knew that I could offer these businesses something different – I could be the actual person that they met with, spoke to about their exciting project and worked with closely to make it happen. I could also provide a business structure that worked as collective – if the client didn’t require copywriting, I wasn’t paying that person to be on staff or absorbing that into the overall costs for the client. This makes my service much more cost effective and also gives my clients access to additional creative services where needed – I work with an amazing collective of copywriters, photographers, developers, illustrators and content strategists, bringing them into the project when their awesomeness is required.

What challenges did you face in the outset? How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was working out what my point of difference was. Why would someone want to work with me over another graphic designer? I think that one of the biggest mistakes we can make as designers is to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. I know the things that I do well and then I collaborate with superstars who do other things better.

I also made the decision early on to change the typical language of business from “we” to “I”. It was getting so uncomfortable writing about the business as though I had a whole room full of employees making up the team. I made the decision to stop feeling like I had to communicate as if there were a whole pack of designers sitting in my studio and really start owning the privilege of being involved with every project, every client, every hurdle and every win. This was one of the reasons I set out on my own in the first place. I knew that I didn’t want to build a big business. I wanted to build a real business with real and honest connections. And the response to this simple language change was amazing! I had so many people contact me and tell me how excited they were to finally find someone who they knew they would meet, talk to and actually collaborate with. People are really seeking honest connections and by bringing this to my business I create solid client relationships, beautiful projects and a happy me.


FRIENDSHIP

How have other women helped you during hard times?

I am so lucky to have been surrounded by strong, inspiring and loving women all of my life – they lift me up with their support and advice. My mother gave me some fundamental advice when I was in year 12 in high school, right when I was having to make MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS about my career/life path – she said: “the world needs creative people”. This was life changing advice and reassurance at a time when I was struggling to see a future where I was going to be able to do something that I would love with all my heart – I didn’t want to be a lawyer, or a pharmacist or an accountant. I was a creative. I dream. I think. I make. Her words gave me the power to carve a future path that was decision-lead from the heart, always.

Add to this unending support from the sisterhood throughout my career – my family and friends have been major and super vocal supporters of everything that I do.

After I had my son a few years ago, I was faced with the daunting task of rebuilding my business and myself – when you run your own business, any sort of leave can potentially mean the business just has to go on hold. I had an incredible network of women who supported me in this return. We called ourselves “The Unofficial Mother’s Group” and made it a priority to meet for coffee (and avo on toast) every Friday, with or without kids in tow. This face to face contact was so important and meant that we weren’t just facebook-lazy friends, but we were real friends, who had real conversations, gave real hugs and invaluable support. These women pulled me through one of the toughest times I have ever had. I was a new (scared/tired/overwhelmed) mum, I felt like I had been ‘out of the game’ professionally for ages and my confidence was flat. Every Friday they would ask ‘what exciting things are you working on?’. I would show them some design ideas that I was playing with for a client. They would rave about how awesome everything was … even if maybe some of it wasn’t, but it felt so so good to hear it.

What does female support mean to you?

Female support IS belonging to a sisterhood. It is love. It is laughter. It is the connection. Female support lifts you up and encourages you to fly. Leslie Knope is one of my favourite fictional female characters and she says “Ovaries before Brovaries”. Word.


SOCIAL MEDIA

How has social media changed the shape of your business?

Instagram is everything! It is so full of inspiration and has given me access to amazing creative people all over the world. It is also the ultimate business tool. I am a visual person, so being able to use a promotional tool that lets me communicate in pictures has been the best thing to happen to my business. A picture tells a thousand words. And when you are in the business of visual communication, Instagram gives you an outlet to tell your story and connect with so many amazing people. And I get to go a little crazy with emojis – and it is totally justified!

Tell us about your ingenious toilet doors in Brisbane...

This was a dream project – supportive client + blank canvas = ideas explosion!

This was such an exciting project – I had never really done anything like it before. I was tasked with creating a branded space that could excite and engage the community and bring life back to an old retail centre. My amazing client gave me an initial brief – “it just has to be awesome”.

Ok.

Working collaboratively with my client, and Idea was formed.

Sherwood Square is a revitalised retail centre, bringing energy, creativity and vitality back to 600 Sherwood Road. We want to build and foster our community and offer a collective space for retailers and visitors alike.

I developed a creative brand and personality to complement the refurbishment of the retail centre to engage, energise and revitalise the precinct. In addition to branded signage, creative elements were designed to give a subtle element of fun to the centre – such as positive posters, cactus murals, custom laser cut screens and some of the most exciting – and Instagrammed – toilet doors found in Brisbane. We just wanted people to be happy in the space. A little joy never hurt anyone ;)

AND I was listening to Lemonade on super high rotation. So that happened.


STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned in business?

You don’t have to work with everyone.

Early on, of course, I was grateful to just have work … any kind of work! But, then I realised that my best creative ideas came when I was engaged and excited by a client or project – when I had a real connection to the project, my work became more joyful and almost effortless.

I think it is really important to understand who you want to work with. Going out on your own gives you the greatest privilege to actually determine what you want to do. I absolutely recommend taking a moment to just sit down, and really think about your ideal client. What do they do? Why are they doing it? What kind of business is it? And, most importantly, what kind of projects really excite you? Then promote to these people and be brave and say no to the work you don’t want to do.

You will be happier and your work will shine.

What do you believe is the greatest strength of a female business owner?

I love working with women because we know that we can always be better. We know that there is always something to learn, always a skill to strengthen. And this makes us a powerful force. We just keep getting better and better. We keep learning. We keep challenging ourselves. We stay humble and listen and learn from others whom we admire.

Being a female is my most cherished strength in business and beyond.

When I was working in various agencies, I was surrounded by the very masculine – and in my opinion outdated – way of doing business. There was so much ego and a really stagnant energy. I was surrounded by people who truly believed they had it all worked out and were better than ‘those other agencies’ etc. But, if you’ve got it all worked out, what else is there to discover? What a disappointing and boring career you will have.

The core of my business is support, positivity, celebration and gratitude – for my clients and for my peers. I truly believe that there is new way to do business, and that way is female.

Originally published by We are the Sorority