With a mission to empower women and small businesses through incredible visual stories, Sarah Lawrie and Laura Turner have been creating visual and branding gold for their clients for the past three years. The duo behind Sarah & Laura Design are our latest ‘Business of the Month’.
They share a combined 15 years’ experience in marketing and graphic design, as well as a passion for food. It was this passion – showcased through their amazing foodie and recipe blog Wandercooks – that inspired their decision to quit their corporate jobs, sell their homes and travel the world.
Returning to Adelaide with a “new mindset” and new skills, their business was born. Lauren from KIS Communications chats with the inspiring pair about sparking joy, the enigmatic world of coding, photography tips, and their latest challenge.
When and how did Sarah & Laura Design come about?
It was definitely a series of events. Laura and I both have a background in marketing and graphic design.
At the end of 2014, we made the bold decision to quit our corporate jobs, sell our houses and travel to 34 countries in 12 months as part of our Wandercooks food journey.
During this time while working on Wandercooks, we developed many new skills including photography, web design and an overall new mindset of freedom.
Not wanting to go back to the corporate world, Sarah & Laura Design was born as soon as we touched back down in Adelaide, just over 3 years ago!
What services do you offer clients?
Essentially, we provide photography, web and graphic design services to our clients as well as branding help through our coffee conversations. But our ‘why’ is to empower women and small business through incredible visual stories.
Who do you work with?
Anyone who has as much passion for their business as we do with ours. It’s that spark of energy and connection that really drives us with our clients.
You offer a Coffee Conversations service where you sit down with clients for a one-hour discussion about branding and business. Where have these conversations led?
Epiphanies! *laughs* Sometimes all it takes is being a sounding board for their brilliant ideas to find the links they need to take the next step and trigger that journey. As well as reaching in and showing them the confidence they already possess to do great things in their biz.
You both have a background in marketing, but such complementary skill-sets overall! How did you each find your niche/ biggest passions?
Constant evaluation and change.
It’s so important to look at the work you’re doing and ask yourself if it brings you joy. Now we sound like Marie Kondo – but it’s true!
Be thankful of the services you once provided, but let them go if they aren’t a good fit for you or where you want to take your business going forward.
By doing this, we’ve created the space to provide better service to our clients with the things we are most passionate about.
Laura, the coding side of websites still seems to be a male-dominated field – or at least that’s our conception! Is that true? And do people love that Sarah & Laura offer both the design work and the build aspects of creating websites?
I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it in that way! For me it’s a passion that grew from my two loves – language and design. I now get to design websites with language – aka code! It’s crazy when two passions end up aligning in such an unexpected way.
In answer to your second question, our clients definitely love this blending – although I’m not a web developer per se (I use pre-built themes as a base for creating a custom website for each client, while minimising the time, cost and coding required).
“Sometimes all it takes is being a sounding board for their brilliant ideas to find the links they need to take the next step and trigger that journey. “
Sarah, your photography is beautiful! What are some tricks of the trade to creating the perfect flatlay?
Aww thanks! Here’s a couple of quick tips for those wanting to get started:
- Start by using Pinterest and Instagram to generate ideas.
- Use a balance of colours and shapes in your scene to create a feeling of cohesiveness throughout.
- Sometimes it’s the little additions to a scene that really make the difference – in food flatlays that could be a garnish, crumbs or just knives and forks!
Are there any brands you’ve each been particularly excited to work with recently?
Laura – Oh this is a hard one! I’ve been working with Jasmine at The Little Roundabout on her online clothing consignment store. So, so excited to launch this one in the next few weeks!
Sarah – Yes, Callie Rose Communications are the best group of girls – we’ve teamed up on some amazing projects together, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of 2019.
What do you love most about having your own business? And what do you find most challenging?
I think it’s a tie for both feeling so rewarded and energised from running the business, as well as the lifestyle we’ve created as a result. Also, allowing time for passion projects such as The Fear Less Series – which puts us in touch with so many amazing, amazing women.
The challenge comes when something doesn’t go as you expect, and learning to ride the emotional rollercoaster. Knowing that for every down – you’ve got to come back up – and reminding yourself of that!
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
We don’t think we can even envision that! If we had to choose though? Probably travelling and cooking around the world again, because why not!
When you’re not working, where’s your happy place?
Our guilty pleasure is video games! Otherwise, you’ll find us in the kitchen, garden or walking along the beach.
Finally, why do you love being a part of the SA Woman community?
So many reasons!
- Community over competition
- Connecting with amazing complementary business owners and creators
- An instant support network whenever you need it
- Knowing we’re not alone in this crazy thing called business.