Sarina Duddy plucked up the courage to ditch a job that wasn’t filling her creative cup & returned to the bush to design bespoke wedding stationery and signage. A decision that is so much more rewarding than she could have ever imagined.
Tell us about your business Sarina Creative.
Sarina Creative is a small business creating bespoke wedding stationery and signage. Officially launched in September 2022 after a long time in the making, it’s blossomed into the thriving business I had dreamt about for years. It’s a way for me to express my creativity in a luxurious, refined space.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I can’t say Sarina Creative was born from a ‘lightbulb moment’ as such. It’s just something I had dreamt of for a long time. My first year out of uni in 2018, I was working in Sydney in the grain industry, and while I really enjoyed it, I had this nagging feeling that it wasn’t quite right for me. I wanted to do something creative, something that set my soul on fire. I’d always had an interest in graphic design and thought it would be a skill that would complement my business degree quite nicely.
While discussing some study options with the director of The Graphic Design School, she said to me, “It sounds like you’re a right-brainer who’s been surrounded by left-brainers for too long”. Never has anything resonated so strongly with me in my life! I enrolled on the spot, quit my job and moved home to Willow Tree to jump back into full-time, remote study.
As I came to the end of my course in mid-2020, just as Covid had settled in, I found myself living rurally and struggling to find an entry-level role as a graphic designer with no industry experience. I was faced with the prospect of an unpaid internship
and/or moving back to the city. Neither of which I was prepared to do in such an unpredictable time. Luckily, an opportunity came up locally within the grain industry, which I gladly took.
During this time, I had the pleasure of doing the invitations for two close friends’ weddings, which confirmed that the wedding industry was where I wanted to be. I am forever grateful to them for putting their faith in me, and I often wonder if I would be in the position I am now if it weren’t for them. They really kick-started it all. It goes to show you can achieve anything if you have a good support system.
At the end of 2021, I sold my house and handed in my resignation to move in with my fiance` Jock, on his family property near Moree and the opportunity to turn my dream into reality presented itself. I thought if ever there was a time to take the leap, to commit and give it my all fully, it’s now. And so, Sarina Creative was born.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting your own business?
The most rewarding aspect of self-employment is undoubtedly the flexibility. I can book a mid-week dentist appointment or get my car serviced on a weekday without having to take half a day off to do so. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but it’s the kind of freedom you take for granted until you don’t have it, especially in the bush where you don’t necessarily have everything at your fingertips.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
The mental challenges were probably the biggest obstacles I had to overcome at the beginning of the journey. The worry of the unknown and self-doubt can be quite overwhelming when starting a business, but it’s important to trust yourself and the process. I also had help from the most wonderful, local, fellow creative with a lot of experience in the industry. She offered me some priceless advice and answered some burning questions I had, which really settled my nerves. I also struggled with content creation in the beginning. Working with clients anywhere from 4 to 12+ months before their wedding means you are on a content delay of roughly the same time. This was something I didn’t factor into my plan, and if I could go back in time, I would have had some more samples prepared for this reason.
What’s the best business advice that you’ve ever received?
“Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising”. Not only is it a powerful marketing tool, it’s a great incentive to go above and beyond for every client. It’s a win-win.
What has been your most memorable experience as a business owner?
The most memorable experience for me so far was sending off my first client’s invitations and knowing I made a meaningful contribution to one of the biggest days of their lives.
What’s on the horizon for Sarina Creative in 2023?
2023 is going to be a big year! I really didn’t expect business to take off as quickly as it has. When I started, I told myself if I only got a handful of clients in my first year, I would call it a success. 5 months in, and I’m fully booked for 2023, which is a huge milestone. I’m also really excited to have the opportunity to work with more of our incredible regional wedding vendors.
Location: Moree | NSW
Photography: [sarina]: clancy paine [stationary]: @lensofrosie
Facebook: Sarina Creative