Interviews

What Do You Actually Do? Claire Baker by Ilsa Melchiori

what-do-you-actually-do-claire-baker-this-is-lifeblood-ilsa-melchiori-blog-2018-2.jpg

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.
Guide women home to themselves.


Now expand…
My work centres on the menstrual cycle; I believe we need a greater understanding as
individuals, and in the collective, on the shifting rhythm that women who menstruate
experience each cyclic month. I teach women how to flow with these changes, across all
areas of life, rather than working against them. I’m particularly interested in the emotional,
spiritual, and creative aspects of the menstrual cycle, recognising that our self-care
practice is deeply rooted in both. I deliver this work through 1:1 coaching, writing and
publishing eBooks, and teaching various live workshops and online courses throughout the
year.

what-do-you-actually-do-claire-baker-this-is-lifeblood-ilsa-melchiori-blog-2018-3.jpg


What has your career journey been like?
Surprising! I would not have believed you five years ago if you told me this is what I’d be
doing today. I trained as a health coach in 2013 after previously studying and working in
both the arts industry and business management roles. It’s been an organic step-by-step
transition since graduating and delving into self-employment, as I’ve uncovered more and
more about what I feel most called to focus on in my work.


Best part of your job?
Freedom of time is one of my highest values. I’d say I work more hours now than I ever
have before, but I treasure the fact that I can work around my own cycle. That’s a real
privilege; being able to create a ‘job’ that is truly aligned with my own creative rhythms. I
deeply believe in the conversations that I’m having right now through this work, and it’s
really exciting to see the change that’s beginning to happen in the world of menstruation
and rising period positive culture and to be able to play a part in that.


Worst/hardest part of your job?
Admin is never much fun is it?

what-do-you-actually-do-claire-baker-this-is-lifeblood-ilsa-melchiori-blog-2018-1.jpg


What does your typical workday look like?
I wake up around 7.30 - 8 am and will get outside as soon as I can for a walk, or a yoga
class if I’m up a little earlier (which doesn’t happen so much in London!). I always give
myself a couple of hours to exercise, have breakfast, do some journaling and check in with
myself before diving into work. I see clients every second week, so if it’s a coaching week
then I’ll sit down for those Skype sessions at home, otherwise, I’m writing content, and I
tend to spend these creative weeks out of the house in a cafe or co-working space.
I don’t have an office (or a desk), so if I’m at home I’m just moving between the kitchen
and my lounge room floor, sometimes even my bed! I’m really structured when it comes to
what needs to be done in a week, but on a daily basis I’m much more free flowing, and
that works for me. I try to finish around 6 pm, but some days it’s earlier or later than that.
I’m currently experimenting with a 4-day working week, which does mean my working days
tend to be longer, but it’s worth it for a long weekend every week!

What percent of your time is spent on work that pays the bills vs your own creative
projects?

Ha! Honestly, over the past year (since moving to London) this ratio has slid much further
away from my own creative projects, but I can see balance slowly beginning to restore
itself. It comes in seasons for me; sometimes I’m devoted to my creative writing and
exploring new mediums, but the truth is that the work that pays the bills so often takes
priority. It’s also hard to discern the difference between the two sometimes; I’m currently
thrilled to be working on a book that most likely won’t bring in a great deal of income (even
when published), and while it is certainly a ‘life goal’ for me, it also isn’t the same as writing
short stories for fun on a lazy afternoon. Many of my arty projects end up becoming apart
of the courses I teach or used on my website or social media. I always try to set aside
time for ‘Claire’s Creative Time’ but it inevitably embeds itself in my work. I think that’s
okay though!

what-do-you-actually-do-claire-baker-this-is-lifeblood-ilsa-melchiori-blog-2018-7.jpg


What are your favourite apps to use for work?
I use Satori for everything coaching related, iCal for scheduling, Adobe Creative Cloud,
Wordpress for blogging, Instagram is my favourite social media app (though I love
Facebook groups), Self Control for blocking said social media, MailChimp for email
communication and course delivery (as well as Soundcloud and Vimeo for course content
storage) and I use Pages and Dropbox to write, store and share my work.


What is it like working for yourself?
It’s genuinely been a life-changing experience being self-employed; it’s forced me to be
more accountable, responsible, and more socially conscious. I absolutely LOVE it and
cannot imagine working for someone else again. I’m a bit of an introverted hermit, so
working alone suits me. The older I get the more I recognise my own sensitivities and
strengths, so being able to create my own working environment is the biggest gift. I very
rarely miss working in a team, and if I do need feedback or idea workshopping, it’s easy to
reach out for that.


What is your current work playlist?
Bonobo, Ryan Adams, Michael Kiwanuka, Banks, Four Tet, Fleetwood Mac, Father John
Misty.


Best career advice/tips you could give someone?
We’re living in such an exciting time in history, where so much more than we can even
imagine is possible. If you feel a call to a project, just really go for it. This all sounds so
cliche doesn’t it? But it’s true: hard work and devotion are gifts in themselves.


Can you tell us about your next project?
What I am most committed to seeing manifest is a published version of my eBook Adore
Your Cycle. I just want to hold her in my hands! (And smell her pages!)


What is your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

I think I’m going to move to Ireland next year. I love London, but it’ll be time to move in
2018, and I’m not ready to come back to Australia yet — though I am running a retreat in
Victoria next year! I’m very very grateful that I can take my work with me like that. :)

what-do-you-actually-do-claire-baker-this-is-lifeblood-ilsa-melchiori-blog-2018-4.jpg

4.8 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with Emily Baker by Ilsa Melchiori

I've got a range of diverse and interesting people coming up on the What Do You Actually Do series answering a few nosey questions about their work within creative fields. Over time I'll be sneaking in more and more 'not often asked' questions including those about the all shameful, yet all necessary, money. But that's later.

Up today we have teacher and documentary film maker Emily Baker talking about how she splits her time between teaching children in custody and working on Mariposa St Flims upcoming project I Am No Bird.

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

E: Make docs and teach kids.

Now expand...

E: I direct documentaries, so that's half of what I do. I'm currently directing my second feature, working title I Am No Bird, which follows 4 women from around the world through their wedding ceremonies. And then the other half of what I do is work in the Vocational Education team at Parkville College, a school serving students in custody. I love both my jobs.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

What has your career journey been like?

E: Really fortunate, and continually supported by other people. I started out as a journalism under-grad who felt pretty unenthused about mainstream media. I wrote to some guys who made a short film I really loved, and they told me to come to the States and work on their feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild. That was an incredible opportunity, which led to me working on other great films and documentaries. That, in turn, gave me the confidence to do my own documentary, SPOKE, for which I rode my bicycle across the United States. When I got home to Australia, I worked in VFX on a bunch of big Hollywood things, before deciding I'd like to teach. I'd volunteered to teach Saturday school for a few years, and it was something I really loved.

Best part of your job?

E: The best part of making documentaries is having a vehicle to step into someone else's life and see something you otherwise never would. On this film, that's included experiences like seeing traditional Naga dancers in North-East India and visiting a Pentecostal Church in Dandenong. Both are experiences I wouldn't have had without film. The best part of teaching is seeing a kid's confidence grow. It's a great feeling to take a kid from thinking they'll never understand a concept, to getting it and feeling great about themselves. It's the best.

Worst/hardest part of your job? E: The most boring part of filmmaking is trying to get funding. I'm pretty impatient so for my last project I just used Kickstarter funding rather than grant bodies. I just wanted to make it, I didn't want to wait. But I'm taking a different, slightly more professional approach with this one! The hardest part of being a teacher is wanting to protect your students from harm.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

What does your typical work day look like?

E: It really varies a lot! When I was in production, I was basically just following these generous, patient women around and filming their everyday lives. Now I'm in post [production] I spend a lot of time in the studio, huddled in front of a computer with a cup of tea.

What percent of your time is spent on work that pays the bills vs your own creative projects?

E: About 50/50. I'm very lucky.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD 

What are yourfavourite apps to use for work?

E: I don't really use any apps for work? Sorry, not cool enough.

What is it like working for yourself?

E: I don't really consider it 'working for myself' because while I do earn a little money from SPOKE, it's nowhere near enough to cover costs. All that comes from my day job, and I have bosses there. I used to do more freelance film stuff, but I found it didn't leave much time or energy for my own work. So I don't work for myself, I definitely have a boss (hey Dan)! But I'm really fortunate to work somewhere that's been flexible and happy to accommodate me.

What is your current work playlist?

E: Haha. WELL. At the moment on Spotify I'm digging of Montreal, LION BABE, Coda Conduct, and some old Turkish stuff by Nilufer that's getting me inspired for my film. Also that one DJ Khaled song with the Biebs that's everywhere right now.

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD

Movie still from I AM NO BIRD

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

E: I don't really feel qualified to be giving advice to anyone, but I would say to ask for help and be grateful when you receive it. People are only as good as the help they are given, I don't believe in the 'self-made-man' concept overly.

Can you tell us about your next project?

E: My current project, I Am No Bird, follows 4 women from around the world in the lead-up to, and on the day of their weddings. We shot in Australia, India, Turkey, and Mexico, on a BlackMagic as well as Super8. Currently, we're in post-production and seeking finishing funding, so if you have too much money give us a ring.

I AM NO BIRD 

I AM NO BIRD 

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

E: To finish this film and let everybody meet the four intelligent, strong, and diverse women it features. Also to get a cronut.

I Am No Bird is currently seeking funding to finish the project. If you are interested please head over to the website to get in touch with the team and find out more.

21.7 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with Cassie Smith by Ilsa Melchiori

i-am-ilsa-melchiori-what-do-you-actually-do-cassie-smith-stylist-e1492568903125.jpeg

It's that time again! time to pry into the life of a freelance creative and find out what it's really like. This time we have Melbourne based Stylist and Graphic Designer Cassie Smith. This is one very talented young lady, who I've had the privilege to work with before, and who I also call my friend.

To see more of Cassie's beautiful work and find out how to get in contact with her, check out her website:http://www.cassiesmith.com.au/

No onto the prying, I mean questions...

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist 3
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist 3

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

C: Make things look pretty.

Now expand...

C: Well I have two jobs - I’m an interior/prop stylist & an event stylist for a company called Lettuce & Co.

Essentially as a freelance interior/prop stylist, I get approached by clients who want their products styled for photoshoots whether it be for catalogues, online, social media etc. Most people only picture a stylist working on the set of a shoot but there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes first. It will start with a brief from the client and usually a follow-up meeting where we talk about the nitty gritty - budgets, look and feel, props, colours, lighting etc. Then in most cases, I’ll go out sourcing props for the shoot (yes I get paid to shop for a living and yes it’s as good as it sounds) before you know it the shoot roles around and it’s usually a blur of craziness but always comes together at the end of the day.

Event styling has a lot of similarities to prop styling which is why a lot of stylists have spent time in their careers dabbling in both. Event styling works the same as a photoshoot but there’s much, much more work in the lead up to the event or wedding as there is a photoshoot. We’ll get the brief from the client, find out their budget, the venue they’ve chosen and the overall theme and colour palette they want. Months are then spent sourcing products, briefing in florists, hiring furniture, designing stationary, liaising with the venue and other suppliers... I could go on forever...

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist 1
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist 1

What has your career journey been like?

C: Super challenging and super rewarding. It wasn’t until half way through my Graphic Design degree that I realised I wanted to get into styling so I had a few long, tough years between then and now getting to where I currently am. It was one thing to develop all the relevant skills for styling without studying or working under someone else (I put this down to stubbornness) but getting consistent work is a whole new ball game. I’ve only been styling for 4ish years now so looking back at what I’ve accomplished and the clients I’ve worked for in such a short time at such a young age is a massive pat on the back moment.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist Officeworks
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist Officeworks

Best part of your job?

C: Every day is different and the final product makes everything worth it. Seeing your work in a magazine or standing back after you’ve spent 5 hours bumping in a wedding or event on top of the 6 months of planning prior feels pretty great.

Worst/hardest part of your job?

C: The stresses that come with freelancing are absolutely horrific.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist Mark tuckey x cotton on
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist Mark tuckey x cotton on

What does your typical work day look like?

C: I don’t think I’ve ever had a typical work day in my life. There are that many activities/jobs I could be doing at any given time but I’ll give you a sample of a few. Prop sourcing, meetings, mood boarding, on set shooting, driving around all over Melbourne looking for the perfect prop, emails, invoices, setting up an event. Basically, there’s lots of driving and lots of time in front of a computer.

What are your favourite apps to use for work?

C: I guess Instagram although there’s usually 2 other editing apps, VSCO and Snapseed, that I use to edit before I upload to Instagram. A lot of people think the pictures I post are professionally shot by a photographer but I’ve actually just got really damn good at making my iPhone photos look legit. I know how cliche this is but it really is all about faking it till you make it.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist 2
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist 2

What is it like working for yourself?

C: Really really really hard. Nothing can prepare you for freelancing. Literally, everything is on you - meeting deadlines, replying to emails, sending invoices, chasing up overdue invoices, liaising with clients, producing consistently good work the client is happy with, spending days on end on the road prop sourcing, holding onto a million receipts so you can get reimbursed. I know a lot of this sounds like small trivial stuff but when you’re juggling multiple projects and trying to do all the smaller things that come with running your own business it can get overwhelming. You have to be extremely self-motivated and self-disciplined which I find to be impossible 100% of the time. In saying that, I don’t think I’d have it any other way - I love being my own boss. I don’t think I could go to the same desk day in and day out and sit in front of a computer all day. I love that each day and each job is so different. What’s that quote.. ‘Variety is the spice of life’.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist food
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist food

What is your current work playlist?

C: Just some cute upbeat boppy songs... in no particular order: Best Coast, Frank Ocean, No Doubt, Little Dragon, Passion Pit, Metronomy, Santigold, Tegan and Sara etc.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist The little moon
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist The little moon

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

C: Work hard and be nice.

Can you tell us about your next project?

C: I’m about to design the interior for a new Health & Wellbeing studio! It’s still very early stages, especially considering the build is running about 4 months behind schedule (typical) but I have a feeling this is going to be a good one!

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist OFFICE WORKS
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do Cassie smith stylist OFFICE WORKS

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

C: Where to begin!? Short term is definitely to work with some new clients and find time to collaborate with some photographers on folio work. Medium term is to move to New York (or Copenhagen or Paris) and spend a few years there. Long term dream jobs are set design for a Wes Anderson film (a girl can dream) and I’d loveeee to design a boutique concept hotel like Ace or QT.

24.4 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with CC from Little Hurricane by Ilsa Melchiori

i-am-ilsa-melchiori-what-do-you-actually-do-cc-little-hurricane-bycorypiehowicz-e1492995424146.jpg

Next up in the What Do You Actually Do series, we pry into the busy life of CC, from the San Diego alt-rock band, Little Hurricane. With a new album recently released and a jam-packed touring schedule, what exactly does the daily life of a busy musician and business woman look like? We ask CC all the usual What Do You Actually Do questions, along with a few bonus style and beauty questions (because let's face it, I couldn't help myself).

To find out more about Little Hurricane, look up tour dates and find out how to get your hands on their striking new album, Same Sun Same Moon, head over to their website: www.littlehurricanemusic.com

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

CC: I'm an entrepreneur who drums

Now expand...

CC: I play drums and sing in a band, but my job is so much more than that. I co-run a small business with many components. I am in charge of all of our merchandising which we sell online and the road. Right now we offer t-shirts, tank tops, custom drumsticks, CD's, vinyl records, posters and a book. I have to find the right designers for all of the above, source a manufacturer to print them and order a proper inventory for both touring and our online store. I have to make sure what we are spending is cost efficient so these products can generate a profit. I am in charge of our marketing, which is focused mainly on the internet but also some physical marketing. I run our social media and our street team to keep our fans engaged with our tour dates and new content. I organize and style our photo and video shoots, and when we are touring I am our HR department, making sure we have the right crew at the right pay level for each tour.

I Am ilsa Melchiori what do you acutally do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I Am ilsa Melchiori what do you acutally do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

What has your career journey been like?

CC: It's been a dream! I opted for culinary school instead of a traditional college and cooked into my early 20's. No matter how many kitchens I tried out, it never felt like the right fit. When I made the switch to playing in a band, it fulfilled me in ways I never thought possible. I get to tap into my entrepreneurial spirit, but I also get to travel and perform. Playing drums is the closest thing to my heart I love every aspect of being behind a drum kit. The fact that I get paid to do this is unreal! Although it's a lot of work being on the road, I have loved this journey so much and feel so lucky to have my passion as my career.

Best part of your job?

CC: Getting to meet people who have been affected by our music. I love hearing stories of how one of our songs helped someone out of a difficult time, or how I have inspired someone to leave their comfort zone and try something new.

Worst/hardest part of your job?

CC: Not having a drum tech yet. The actual act of carrying in, setting up and breaking down my drums. It sounds silly but I hate doing it they are so big and clunky and I dream of a day where I can just show up to a gig and my drums are already set up!

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

What does your typical work day look like?

CC: When I am off the road I am up early answering emails and getting busy work done. I usually practice in the afternoon, cook dinner and go to bed early.

How does this differ when on tour?

CC: On the road, I am usually up by 8 am answering emails. I eat a small breakfast and head to the van to drive anywhere from 2-8 hours to a gig. I don't do most of the driving, but do 2-hour shifts when I can. I find us a spot for lunch and make sure we are organized for load in. Usually, by 4 pm we load into the venue, which means emptying the van of all the music gear and merchandise. We have about 1000 pounds of music gear. It takes about an hour to set up and sound check, and then we break for dinner. I do my makeup and pick out an outfit and do some warm ups before the set. We usually perform for about 60-75 minutes, and after the set, we hang out and take pictures and sign autographs. Then we begin taking everything on stage apart, putting it back in the cases, and organizing it back in the van. It is usually midnight by now and we drive to the hotel, check in, sleep for 6 hours and do it all over again the next day.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

What are your top 5 essential beauty products for tour?

CC: Dry Shampoo, Burts Bee's facial wipes, Bliss eye makeup remover, Tan Towels, Stila eyeliner.

What are your favourite apps to use for work?

CC: I use Yelp every day to find the best spots to eat in a new city. I use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for work and Snapchat for communicating with friends. I love the Canva app to make graphics on the road as well.

What is it like working for yourself?

CC: I believe everyone should work for themselves if they want. The downside is you never clock out, the upside is you aren't selling your time to follow someone else's dream. It takes a lot of determination and commitment but even if you fail you progress.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

How does your personal style differ from your onstage style?

CC: Offstage I am all about comfort. I usually wear leggings and an oversized t. Onstage I try to look pretty feminine - I love old-fashioned dresses and vintage looking clothes. I used to wear exclusively vintage dresses onstage, but have since had to get more updated clothes that will last through tours and nightly sweating.

Favourite new independent designers?

CC: Jennafer Grace out of San Diego is my favorite! She makes these beautiful kimonos that every woman should have in her wardrobe.

What is your current work playlist?

CC: Bahamas, Timber Timbre, Tribe Called Quest

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

CC: Be your biggest fan. When you feel like giving up, be your own cheerleader and tell yourself you can do it. Be critically aware of your inner voice. It will make or break you.

I am Ilsa Melchiori What Do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group
I am Ilsa Melchiori What Do you actually do CC Little Hurricane Cory Piehowicz Mascot Label Group

Can you tell us about your next project?

CC: I'm looking to put together a girl group. It's something I have had a hard time sussing out, but I'd love to put together a group of female musicians that can make music together.

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

CC: For now I just want to do our new record justice. Tour as much as we can, and bring our music to as many people as possible. My future dreams and goals are to do something totally out of my comfort zone and try something new. I have many different ideas for products I want to launch, I am just waiting for the right time.

Image by Cory Piehowicz

26.2 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with Jess Lafrankie by Ilsa Melchiori

what-do-you-acutally-do-qa-jess-lafrankie-i-am-ilsa-melchiori.jpg

Ever wonder about the lives of self-employed creatives? How do actually make money? What does their work day look like? This new Q&A series will start asking creatives just that, what do you actually do?

First up we have Melbourne photographer Jess Lafrankie. To check out more of her stunning images head to her website: http://www.jesslafrankie.com/

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

J: Fashion and commercial photographer

Now expand…

J: I’m a freelance photographer based in Melbourne who shoots for fashion brands. My style produces crisp, clean and colourful images that maintain a feminine aura.

What has your career journey been like?

J: I discovered photography when I was 15 and was put in the wrong class in high school. I started shooting paid work when I was 16 and from there relocated from a beach town to pursue this kind of career further. It’s been my sole focus ever since.

Best part of your job?

J: Having the chance to enjoy what I’m doing every day. I wake up excited to get to work and my favourite day of the week is Monday.

Worst/hardest part of your job?

J: Never clocking off. I didn’t realise I hadn’t taken a day off in 5 years and it started to affect my health. Putting my health above my career has been a struggle.

What does your typical work day look like?

J: As a photographer I don’t have a typical work day, which is probably the best part of all. I’ll either be shooting all day or in my office retouching and planning. Before this starts to become too much like a routine I’m generally on a plane for a work holiday.

What are you favourite apps to use for work?

J: Wunderlist - I’ve got my shooting gear list stored in here so I can literally just tick what I’ll need and what I have saves me heaps of time.

Ubereats -  I’m not even kidding. Having the piece of mind that if I’m exhausted from shooting or I’m too busy with deadlines I can just order some food is a life saver.

What is it like working for yourself?

J: It’s the best kind of job in the world. It’s important that you can self manage, self motivate and be proactive.

What is your current work playlist?

J: I’ve made a playlist on Spotify with all the songs that have the word WORK in the title or are about working. I’ll play this if I need a boost. I’ll play Ben Howard for good retouching vibes though.

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

J: Read Timothy Ferris’s books.

Can you tell us about your next project?

J: It’s inspired by paintings. It’s going to be epic, my favourite to date.

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

J: Become even more portable with my work life and get back to Europe!