The below interview was published on Fierce Girl Co in March 2019. Thanks to Amy Dellaverson.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a graphic designer based in Singapore, and I run Studio Giraffe. I grew up in India and moved to Singapore for my undergraduate degree in Visual Communication 10 years ago, and have been working here ever since.
I have worked in both agency and in-house environments, for brands in recruitment, F&B, FMCG, luxury retail, alcohol, cosmetics and travel among others. I have collaborated with marketeers, small business owners, MNCs and agencies on projects across Asia Pacific across a variety of industries.
Prior to launching Studio Giraffe, I worked as a Senior Graphic Designer with the in-house marketing team at one of the world’s most respected recruitment consultancies, where I was the team lead for branding and art direction across the region.
While I enjoyed my time with each of these companies, I didn’t want to get too comfortable. Studio Giraffe was born out of a desire for variety in my work. I wanted to expand on my design experience with a strategic approach, while learning how to run a business. Working for myself gives me the opportunity to work with clients from a large variety of industries, which is creatively very fulfilling while also giving me a lot more flexibility than I ever had before. I also get to supplement my design expertise with marketing and copywriting work. Every day is completely different and that’s incredibly exciting!
Can you share any challenges you’ve dealt with and how you got through it? Do you have any “If I knew then, what I know now…” moments and why?
When I first decided to become a graphic designer, I’d come from a science background – which had been something I’d done very well at. I just never felt the passion for science that I did for design. I made the decision to do a degree in Visual Communication, but the years in university were definitely a challenge. I was constantly second-guessing myself and comparing myself to my classmates. There was a constant question in my mind of whether I’d made a mistake abandoning the tried and tested route that I knew I could have done well at.
As I finished my degree and started working full-time, that voice in my head began to quiet. Each project I’ve worked on has taught me something new and given me the confidence to recognise and capitalise on my strengths. There are certainly still moments of panic when I’m faced with something new and unknown, but I’m learning to get a grasp on those thoughts and work it out. Rather than being intimidating, doing something new is now exciting.
If I could tell my 17-year-old self that in ten years I’d be running my own design business, I don’t think she would believe it!
Are there any resources like books, mentors, etc. that have left an impact on your life?
I consider my father to be my mentor. He started his own business 20 years ago and built it from the ground up to the huge success that it is today; but he managed it while keeping balance in all aspects of his life, especially family, health and travel. That’s what I aspire to achieve – a successful business that keeps me satisfied with the work I’m doing while also affording me enough time and money to spend on things outside work that are just as valuable.
My father has always been incredibly supportive of my efforts with Studio Giraffe and I consider his advice and ideas invaluable to the growth of my business. His field may be engineering while mine is design, but the principles of customer service, management and a growth mindset remain the same. There is a wealth of knowledge that I have already gained from him and his experiences, and plenty more for me to learn. I hope to do the same for my kids one day!