Hi Kate! You are synonymous with the creative culture that makes Melbourne what it is. You’ve had your finger in many a tasty pie that have been formative influences on our own creative journey. Can you give us your back catalogue, how did you get to be, “you”?
Well that is a VERY nice thing to say, thank you! I have been lucky to have met a lot of amazing people along my path who’ve been so inspiring and influential in all the things I’ve done in my life. I’ve always been a big fan of collaborating, it’s way more fun when things go right, and it’s a lot nicer when things go wrong.
All I wanted to do when I was a teenager was to be a designer in a London agency. And after being booted out of school, and art school, I finally made it to my dream job at 24.
I moved back to Melbourne in 2004, had a baby, and another 9 months later opened a café in the centre of Melbourne, called Switch Board. It all happened because I found a cute $100 a week hole in the wall in the Manchester Unity building and managed to convince my best friend that opening a café together was a good idea. I’d never actually worked in a café before, the closest I’d come was waitressing in a bar … badly.
We sold the café in 2007, and it’s still there today!
After Switch Board I worked as a freelance designer, moved to Sydney, moved back to Melbourne and then moved to regional Victoria.
I started the Photo School in 2012 after people kept asking me what camera I used for my Instagram photos. I just used my phone, and I wanted to show other people how to get the best out of the phone, instead of forking out cash on fancy cameras.
This same year I started the Lunch Lady blog. It took on a life of its own. I was a little blown away by how well it was received. It’s funny looking back at it now, as even though I LOVED how I baked the crap out of my kid’s lunch boxes at the time, I definitely feel there’s a little more balance of baked v convenience in our lunches.
In 2013 I was approached by Louise and Lara from We Print Nice Things (founders of Frankie Mag). It was like they had read my mind! We got stuck into turning my humble blog into the incredible magazine it is today. I left after two years, I realised I was making a magazine about family and not actually having time for my own. I was mentally exhausted and also felt I was really letting my kids down, which was the very reason I started Lunch Lady. It was time to walk away.
6 months after leaving Lunch Lady I floated around Lake Daylesford drinking wine and crying, thinking I was never going to have another idea ever again.
Another 6 months later, I launched OK Motels.
OK Motels came from my insane love of old motels and country towns. Firstly, it was an Instagram account, and then by chance I stumbled across a 70s function room in the beautiful town of Charlton, Vic. We’ve had 3 mini music festivals there now and are planning number 4, 5 and 6! We’re also looking at bringing it to states other than Victoria, so stay tuned.
As much as I love OK Motels, it is still a passion project, and to pay the bills I have now started my own little creative services and branding bizzo, Friendly Service. And even though Friendly Service does all the things most creative services bizzos does, design, copy writing, photography, social stuff and web stuff, the thing I love doing more than anything is finding the magic in someone’s business story and building a brand identity around it. It’s so fun, and it’s such an amazing thing to find what’s behind all the incredible ideas people have.
Oh, I wrote a book too, it’s called Family, Food and Feelings.