If you’re anything like me, you probably spend more hours than you’d like to admit scrolling through Instagram on the prowl for inspiring images. I love coming across a beautiful account full of amazing pictures, but I always feel a little disenchanted when the caption on every image reads #repost or #regram (call it a First World problem, but I take creativity very seriously). I don’t really know what this person’s aesthetic or brand is, all I know is that they have great taste in other people’s work.
If you can relate, you'll know how refreshing it is to come across an account with a cohesive aesthetic because all the images are the account holder’s own. When a few of us at Style came across Girl Boss Louise Roche and her account (@villastyling), we were ecstatic. Louise built interior styling, photography and graphic design business The Design Villa (with adjoining Instagram account @villastyling) on that exact premise.
“I always stuck to using my own photographs and producing my own content. My whole intention from day one was to be authentic. It’s my work, it’s what I love to do, it’s my style and it’s who I am,” Louise says.
With 20 years of graphic design experience working for big businesses such as the Outdoor Furniture Specialists and Quest Newspapers under her belt, it was only in 2006 that Louise fell in love with the world of styling.
Working for a large Australian-owned home linen company, Louise was heavily involved in producing and coming up with the creative concepts for the store’s catalogues. After being handed full creative control of the publications, Louise took the company from a mere six catalogues a year to a startling 72 a year.
“I fell in love with homewares. I was gaining exposure, building looks and working with a photographer to really tell a story.”
With such an increase in catalogues, it’s obvious Louise was thriving in her industry. Finding it difficult to source inspiring images for her graphic design jobs, Louise soon discovered that she had a talent for creating and photographing beautiful images. Thus, the idea for The Design Villa manifested.
“I started taking my own photos before Instagram even existed. One thing lead to another and it grew from there.”
Starting The Design Villa in 2011, working full-time and designing for her own clients at night, Louise says it got to the stage where she couldn’t keep up with both. It was four years before Louise felt confident enough in the success of her business to make the leap from having The Design Villa as a hobby to making it her full-time gig.
Growing up, Louise admits she “lived and breathed art”, but she regularly dealt with a lot of criticism for her career choice.
“People would tell me, ‘Art doesn’t pay the bills, Louise.’ I had to overcome their negativity and pursue my passion. In those days, people didn’t understand what other things artists could do.”
Louise stuck to her guns and the outcome has been a successful creative career. “I’ve always been incredibly ambitious. I’ll work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure I’m producing the best work I can,” she says.
However, starting your own business will always come with struggles. Louise, highly skilled in design and creativity, has found juggling her passions along with running a business was a learning curve.
“Every day I try and do something different or better to make the schedule flow smoothly,” she says.
“I’m still learning every day. Managing the business by myself is time-consuming. I take calls and emails while prepping for shoots and on shoots as I am always working on multiple projects."
Louise manages her busy schedule by taking the time to work on each client’s job every day. “My days can consist of shooting in the morning, through to design work and then editing photos in the night. I’ll go above and beyond to make sure the clients get the best they can.”
She has a strong support network around her, including her loving husband and little dog and has many exciting projects waiting in the wings for the rest of 2016.
Louise’s advice for other aspiring Girl Bosses:
- Always believe in your talents and strengths.
- Put trust in your instincts.
- Stick to what you are passionate about.
- Stay true to who you are and not what society expects you to be.
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