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Sydney Designer on Color, Creativity & The Myth of Entrepreneur Balance

Rachel Castle

Sydney, Australia



Instrumental Piece of Advice

Don’t complain and don’t explain. As a woman juggling a thousand things I felt guilty for years not being able to say yes to everyone, family, work, friends. I had a really good friend who would happily big smile on face say ‘sorry my love I can’t make Sunday’ and I wouldn’t blink an eyelid, and I wondered why I found it so difficult to say no when she did it so gracefully. The epiphany was she didn’t need to explain, and I didn’t need an explanation. It was life changing for me.

"I just decline if I can’t do something, and decline with love and one sentence, rather than with guilt and a long-winded, very boring explanation that is completely unnecessary. Try it, it’s awesome."

Creating a Space that Feeds and Nurtures You

I follow my instincts always at work and in the studio. There are no plans for any of the spaces, they just evolve as I feel inspired. I love lots of plants, lots of books, lots of things on the wall. At home, the walls are covered with artwork, and here in the studio with drawings and prints, and tear sheets, and murals, and pretty much anything we like the look of. If it visually inspires us it goes on the wall. I’m not a lover of filing, I’d rather stick it on the wall.

Design Rules I Follow

There are many design rules for me, little things that work aesthetically. And I LOVE a rule! Grey marle and butterscotch are the two colors that neutralize a very colorful palette and are crucial for making everything fit. Don’t go too off-brand, don’t get bored with your core aesthetic, it’s what defines you and what people want from you. If I make a product I have to BE IN LOVE with it, no fillers. No fillers. Ever.

Color. Color. Color.

Color is life to me. I love to look at all the beautiful white things in the world, all the glorious blue things, all the glorious grey things, but I simply cannot (I’ve tried so many times) help myself but pepper everything in the end with all the best colors. For me, it’s like eating all the ok chocolates in the box and leaving the best ones. The colors are the best bits for me.

Staying Humble is the Key

Work hard, stay humble. The one thing I know about business is that, like life, there are good times and there are bad times. It’s so cyclical for me. We have a good patch, then we have a tricky patch, and the tricky patch is always with production, production is a DOG of a thing when it starts to go tits up. It’s like riding a crazy horse that runs rogue and you need to saddle up and sit tight and reign that little bugger in. I say to my kids the minute you start to think you’re a bit clever it all goes belly

up, staying humble is the key to life happiness, if you ask me.

Balancing Business & Home

My work is my life. Equally, I have a family and many friends who share this life. I have three rules for getting away with being a workaholic:

  1. Be home every night for family dinner Sunday through Thursday.

  2. Take at least 4 family holidays a year and do not work AT ALL, no social media, no emailing, no talking to work peeps, nothing.

  3. If you have to work at home do it quietly, these days everyone is happy with screens, and I am reluctantly as long as we are connected, so you can work and watch Breaking Bad with your boys at the same time, as long as you do it quietly.

Great Life Lesson:

Focus On Your Own Work. A simple but powerful life lesson for me has been to keep buoyant and strong in my own creative lane. Social media allows us to indulge in what everyone else is up to, sometimes rather than concentrating on yourself, your own work, your own progress. I love reading the magazines and having the occasional glance on Instagram but I limit my time there. I need to be moving positively through my own workload and along my own creative path to evolve and stay happy and productive.

About The Artist

Her whimsical, recognizable paintings, screen prints, and fabric embroideries – pop with visual energy and color. An avid pop culture fan, she is known for her love of a good song lyric and an obsession with flowers and spots

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