Studio Alte is a small agency based in Sydney, headed up by creative director and founder Elli Zacharowitz. The agency mainly caters for clients in the fashion industry, dealing with branding to web and print collateral. With a few exciting things (yet to be announced) later this year, I sat down with her to discuss the ins and outs of working for your own agency.
What made you take the jump from working in an agency to starting your own studio?
Running my own studio that specialised in fashion had always been my optimistic goal, it just happened sooner than I had expected.
I guess for me, I didn't want to live somebody else's dream and work for them building their business, rather I wanted to explore and nurture my own. I was also quite lucky as had a lot of support from the (fashion) community who had nurtured my aesthetic from day one.
What were the main challenges with starting your own studio at the beginning?
Looking back now, it seems an obvious, but at the start I didn't 100% grasp the fact that being a director was something I'd straight-away have to inherit.
I'm the sort of person who jumps into anything pretty eagerly and with an open mind, so while it wasn't easy at first, I'm definitely used to it now and wouldn't have it any other way. Lets be honest, being able to get to work at 10 is totally worth it…!
Your client base is mainly in the fashion industry, what can graphic designers learn from other creative outputs such as fashion/textiles?
I firmly believe that a strong foundation for any graphic designer is to reference and learn from the minimalism of fashion. Think for a second about
some of the most successful brands in the world coming from corporate design and advertising. Both mediums rely heavily on minimal colour palettes, fonts and graphics. If you're a good designer - you can say it with less.
Some say the design industry is saturated in Sydney with too many designers for not enough work. Do you think there are similar challenges abroad?
Of course. However, think about this - Someone in Sydney wants a logo, googles 'logo design' and has 20,000 Sydney based designers to choose from; A fashion designer wants a logo and knows straight away through their network of people, the names of 3 designers. If you develop a niche, stick with it and know how to talk to people, there will always be work. It almost always comes from who you know.
Who would be a client you would like to have in the future?
I'd love to work alongside some online retail giants, in particular Nasty Gal. I really admire Sophia Amoruso and reckon it would be incredible to learn and also prosper off what she has created for herself.
Describe a typical day in the studio, what is the split from admin to design work?
The morning generally starts off as admin - emailing, calling people, following up new work, getting a second coffee……haha, but each day is different of course!
As an overall, I'm super lucky to work alongside my good friends Andrew and Nicole. They also specialise in fashion but are both photographers and videographers. It's really nice because we've been able to separate work from play and are genuinely interested in what the other is doing. It's been great because we always ask each others opinions and are refreshingly surrounded by our separate mediums.
Any advice to designers thinking of staring up their own studio?
Develop a niche and surround yourself with people who support your idea!
Photography: The Bonafide Bedfellows & Vassi Dyulgerova (photographer)