Sarah McLennan

Malvolio 

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Where did you grow up and where are you based now?

I grew up in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne, and did the “sea change” to the Mornington Peninsula several years ago.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? 

I wanted to be an artist, all I wanted to do was draw!

When and how did you transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I started as a freelance graphic designer in 2004. After a few years of working for other studios full-time, I realised I had enough freelance clients to fully branch out on my own. The business kept growing and now my husband works with me full time too!

What’s your why?

Inspiring small and medium businesses to see their brands in a new way, and help them get excited about everything visual they put out there.

What do you love about what you do?

Seeing and hearing the excitement from clients when they are happy with a project I've worked on. Happiness is infectious!

What’s challenged you most since being in business?

People understanding the value of design. It's not just about what the final product looks like, there's a lot of thought, knowledge and experience that goes into every piece. Some people get it, while others are quick to say “oh but I have Photoshop, so I can make it myself!”.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

My husband and I are very involved in our local community, and have not only donated a lot of goods but also have spent countless hours volunteering. One group we have been highly involved in since moving to the Peninsula is the Western Port Festival, which we received a Mayoral Commendation Award from the Mornington Peninsula Shire in 2016 for our volunteerism.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

The designer/client relationship is quite special – it's not just about providing a service, but having a connection. You end up working very closely in a client's business, so relating and connecting to them on a personal level is just as important as being able to do the project. 

What are some resources you or your business can’t live without? 

My notepad (the pen and paper type) and calendar! While a lot of our work is completed using technology, I still find the best way of working is on paper first.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or change jobs to an industry/role that they’d love?

Get a plan together while you're still working, and then go for it!

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I'm a trained ballroom dancer.

What does your ideal day look like?

Any day is good with a little bit of sunshine and a coffee somewhere to break up the day!

What’s one of your favourite quotes?

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way."

Who or what inspires you? 

My inspirations are three illustrators and artists who have played a big role in my life choices: Graeme Base, Terry Costello and Roland Harvey. All for different reasons, but they have all left a mark on me and motivate me to continue to do what I love.

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