This month we were honoured to have have our very own in-house Creative Developer and Stylist, Therese Moussa, take to the floor at our Ask Me Anything session in the City. Sharing her career experience, knowledge and tips & tricks for going far in the industry, here’s a recap on what she covered and a few tips if you’re looking to follow in her footsteps.
A little about Therese:
Therese studied Design, specialising in Interiors at the Whitehouse Institute of Design. She made her start in the industry working in a textile house sorting fabrics before working her way up to the role of a textile consultant.
Inspired by the brilliant stylists and interior designers she was surrounded by day in and day out, after three years Therese went freelance with her own company, pushing herself to network and connect with talented industry professionals.
Moving from a structured work environment to freelancing can be a daunting thought but in Therese’s eyes, “if you’re dedicated and love your work, then it’s up to you to make it happen”.
In her early days of freelancing, Therese recalls the craziness of her work schedule to trying and make it all work. “It was an adventure,” recounting the story when she missed her own birthday party and instead chose to stay behind at work to ensure that the event was a success and that everything ran perfectly.
“It’s a work ethic like this that will make people take notice of you and want to work with you and recommend you time after time.”
Need a few tips on how to network?
Knowing how to network and using every opportunity to make contacts is an invaluable skill, but one that takes time to nurture. For Therese, prior to her first paid role in a textile company, she spent her time learning through unpaid internships.
“Working in amazing companies means you’ll meet the amazing people behind them – you’ll learn so much and build connections (and make friends). If you put your feelers out, work hard and show your passion through giving your time for free, something’s bound to happen! Even if it means starting at the bottom with unpaid work, have the patience and persistence to build yourself and climb to where you want to be.”
Worried it’s too late for a career change?
Never – you are never too old to learn or do something you’re passionate about. If you want to attend colour theory courses, enrol in a new course or pick up a book, you should do it. Proof that it’s not about age, Therese recalled that during a recent class she took, she was the youngest in the room by 30 years but learnt so much! It’s about leaving your comfort zone, taking a chance and surrounding yourself with the right people in the right environments.
Tips for sourcing props:
A major part of Therese’s role is sourcing. Depending on the project at hand, she sources from both old and new suppliers. When you’re starting out, Google is your best bet. “I spend so much time researching everything, If it’s a local supplier, you can go into the store and rummage through their offering but don’t feel limited to stores. I love platforms like Etsy and at Gumtree when it comes to sourcing.”
Tips for working with a small budget:
BE CREATIVE! Jump online and search for bargains. Look at Catch of the Day or source from stores like Kmart. The key here is researching. If you’re using florals, her tip is to set your alarm and head to the markets early – you’ll save a pretty penny sourcing them yourself! If you’re looking for vintage pieces in op shops – 10 is a good number. And by 10, she means visiting 10 stores (not just your local one).
One of her favourite project to date:
Creating new concepts and bringing them to life is a passion for Therese and being involved with the design process for The Grounds of the City was a rewarding one.
Beginning the process with a huge amount research and developing vision boards, Ramzey & Therese travelled to Chicago to study Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ process to push their concept and experiences to the next level. It’s where inspiration for engaging, guest-experience roles were born, including the tea lady, shoe shiner and coffee sommelier, and a great theory to look into!
Therese’s final tip when it comes to styling your space:
Think about the extra lengths you can go to and the multiple levels of detail you can inject into your spaces. It’s never just about sourcing a few props, it’s about layering and creating a space that feels authentic. It’s all in the attention to detail!
If you’d like to join us as at our next session, we’ll be welcoming Amber Hodgman, Head of Product at fashion retailer, Showpo. Secure your seat here.