Tess Robinson, the founder and creator of Smack Bang Designs, a boutique design and branding agency in Sydney. Tess oozes style and is effortlessly cool (just take a peak at her instragram)! We chat about how it all began, her success, her excitement and fears of becoming a mother and her favourite pieces around her home.
Define yourself in three words.
Creative, strong willed, ambitious… and maybe a little bit impatient.
What does a typical day look like for you (pre maternity leave)?
Each and every day is different and comes with its own to-do’s, but these days I’m the master of my own time and can choose how I want to spend my day which is very liberating.
I usually start my day with a walk on the beach with my dog. Then comes the very important ritual of brekkie and coffee.
I work from home three days a week and head into the studio in Sydney the other two. When I’m at the studio, it’s usually a big day of meetings, brainstorms, creative direction and phone calls. When I’m at home it’s a lot calmer, I generally tackle the more creative side of the business or my favourite - business planning and .
What were the chain of events which lead you to where you are today in your business?
In two words: Hard work.
It’s been a journey of almost 8 years in business now, but to be honest, my entire life has geared me towards this thing I call Smack Bang Designs.
Since I was a kid, I always had an obsession with aesthetics. I’d constantly be decorating and then redecorating my room, pulling together the most outrageous outfits, painting, creating, scrapbooking, making. As my mum would attest, I’ve always had busy hands and an even busier mind.
I dropped out of 4 university degrees - all in the creative fields - and decided that I really just wanted to get my hands dirty and experiment with the idea of running my own show. So I left uni and started Smack Bang, and never actually worked a ‘proper job’ in my life.
What advice do you have for women who want to follow their creative/business passion but don’t know how to start or are scared of failure?
Honestly, just do it. I’m the queen of ‘under-thinking’ and tend to throw myself headlong into new projects and adventures without really thinking about them too much. And to be honest, I think this has been my greatest strength.
You've got to learn to trust yourself. Trust your intuition. And trust that the universe has your back.
Stick to your guns. Own your own story. And be original.
Prepare for long days and sleepless nights. But know that it’s SO worth it in the end.
Get a business coach. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dream.
Stop worrying what people think of you. One day you’ll realise that the only person whose opinion you need to worry about is your own.
And don’t be afraid of failure, because saying you tried is success enough.
You are due for your first baby in less than a month! Firstly, a huge congratulations on this exciting time! What are you most excited and nervous for?
Our little girl is due to arrive any day now. I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life, a wild adventure and undoubtedly one of the most challenging roles I’ve had, I’m sure.
I’m excited for the joys and challenges of Motherhood.
I’m excited for the bond of our family to completely blow my mind.
I’m excited for my heart to burst open with love and pride and awe.
And I’m excited to see her thrive, learn and experience this big, beautiful world of ours. I can't wait to teach her an openness to other cultures, a willingness to change the world, a hunger for independence and a stubbornness to not back down on the things she believes in.
You have such a cool and effortless sense of style and interior design - where do you pull your inspiration from?
I have a very pared back aesthetic, relaxed style and chilled demeanour, so naturally, my style reflects this vibe. Growing up on the beach and always gravitating toward nature has certainly influenced my style too.
I’m completely obsessed with simple, pared back aesthetics and always believe that less is more. When it comes to interiors, I’m forever bouncing ideas off my partner - he is my sounding board, my reality check and my vote of confidence.
What are some of your favourite fashion brands?
I was born and bred by the beach, so my everyday attire is reflective of my laid back lifestyle. I like to keep things simple, beautiful and most importantly, comfortable.
Zulu and Zephyr is my daily uniform, without a doubt. I also love Maurie and Eve, Assembly Label or Jac + Jack for easy-to-wear basics - anything that’s easy to throw on really!
And some homeware/ furniture brands? (yep this question is for me, we are renovating and I want to pick your brain hehe)
Oh gosh, there are too many to choose from. We’re renovating both our house and the Smack Bang Studio at the moment, so I am completely interiors obsessed. Some faves are; MCM house, Globewest, Jardan, Worn Store, Mr & Mrs White, Pop & Scott and Country Road.
But to be honest, I find the best pieces on Gumtree!
What are your three favourite pieces in your home?
Right now, my bed is my all time favourite place to be (hello 3rd trimester!!). I also love our big, fat lounge (the best place for family snuggles) and our outdoor chairs (the best place to soak up the morning sun with my coffee or chai).
What does a day on a plate for you look like?
Mornings always begin with a scorching hot cup of chai (I am a complete devotee of this one). Then it’s usually some lazy sourdough toast, or if I can be bothered, eggs and kale.
When I’m working at the studio, lunch is always a grab and go situation - generally something easy and healthy. When I’m working from home I love making a delicious salad with all the toppings.
Dinner is when I get most creative - it’s a favourite part of my day, sitting down with my partner - so we usually cook something delicious in celebration. I’m completely obsessed with cooking Japanese so that often appears a few times during the week.
I’m also a queen snacker, so tonnes of on-the-go-healthy-ish snacks are sporadically mixed throughout the day too.