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Mar 21, 2016

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

  • Name: Tess Guinery
  • Company:
  • City: Gold Coast, Australia
  • Kids: Peaches Wilde, 2yrs old

This Aussie mommy, on our business blog today is sharing some honest truth about the freelance life – it’s the good, the great, the messy. Her lively sprit and serious skill (see her work on have given her a career full of opportunity and the ability to still hit the beach every morning with her little one, Peaches. Read all about how she entered the world of design, the story behind her daughter’s name, and how she balances her dream life:

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 01

Tell us a little more about your design business, where your career started and what let you to freelance design?

I graduated from year 12 and moved to a small coastal surf town called Mollymook where my best friend and I opened a Dance Academy. It ran at full speed for 7 years, seeing itself with 400 beautiful students. I met prince charming in my 6th year of running the Academy and traded my hip hop shoes for a Mac book pro. 

Ironically, a massive multi-million dollar Design school opened up across the road from our dance studio. A German lad by the name of Karl Von Busse decided to bring a taste of Sydney design education to our humble little town in Mollymook! I was so curious about it – the building looked so sparkly and pretty and just downright ‘wow’! So one afternoon I paid a visit and it was … amazing! Immediately I thought and inwardly declared, ‘I am going to study here’. And that I did.

Post graduation I landed a job in an Fashion PR agency doing their in house design and running around like a little minion from the devil wears Prada – The small town girl in me wasn’t cut out for the fashion industry so I pursued a job at a boutique design agency that was a beautiful yet stressful introduction to the fast pace design world. After working there for one year an opportunity a-rose to become the lead designer in the creative department at C3 Church,Oxford falls. This is where my creativity was unleashed, released, edified and strengthened – I was given all the creative freedom in the world – Story shortened, I fell pregnant (planned) and now have a 2 year old little girl named Peaches and am currently working “full time” as a freelance mumma specialising in Visual Communication + Graphic Design and have just released my first ever E-mag #lagoontothemoon. I LOVE FREELANCE! 

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 02

Everything you create is so fresh and different.. Your flat lays truly have us drooling! Where does your inspiration for your designs come from?

My daily inspo really comes in whims — One day I realized how I worked best and decided to let it be and nurture my process, there are no rules except I have to meet my deadlines — how I get there doesn’t matter… I find that when an idea comes you just gotta go with it. Most days I have a huge to-do list and you would laugh if you saw my process… the technique is fluid with a few bounds (to make sure it actually gets done).  I make sure I have room to spontaneously create — and this is how the flat lay came about. One day I had a big piece of foam core and decided to create a flat lay of some vintage clothes for my partnered vintage label (The Gray Girls) — I lay it out, took a pic and uploaded — the people wanted more! I loved being away from the desk — creating something with my hands and then getting back to the desk. This getting away from the desk has actually lent to some serious creative flow that has trickled on down into the graphic elements on my computer screen… it all goes hand in hand. It’s funny but this whimsic idea to make flat lay one simple day has now become a huge part of my business… people are going crazy for the flat lays.

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

My surroundings are paramount to my productivity! If my studio is a mess, my designs are disjointed and messy too! I find creating a tranquil space around me that looks inspiring makes for inspiring design results. I try to make a point of having tangible, colourful and live elements around me when I’m working. I believe that in the creative process there is a good kind of “distraction”. Have yourself some good magazines close by, fresh cups of water, rocks, plants and music. Taking 10′ to distract yourself creatively will essentially payoff and set you on your merry track to achieve a wonderful and magical end result. #distractyourself Make creating an experience. I also make sure I see the ocean everyday — I start my day at 6am — grab a coffee from my local and hang at the Beach for some chill time then clock in at 10:30 and begin a full day of design. 

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 03

Did you have a "I've made-it" moment?

I haven’t had an “Iv’e made it” moment and in fact — maybe I never will… Maybe reaching this moment would would mean that there is no where else to grow. Often when I kick a goal my silly fast track head will leap to “what’s next?” — I have to slow the pace somedays and be present in the moment, I think it’s important to soak up what’s “NOW”. In terms of exciting moments — just recently I got a job (funny enough) flat-laying for Urban Outfitters — this was a very exciting email to receive (I may have squealed) and they were a dream to work for! I also did a bit of studio solo happy dancing when I launched my e-mag #lagoontothemoon and the purchases started rolling in — I was more in shock that people would actually take the time to read it! This was a very happy and wonderful moment for me!

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 04

How do you balance being a mom, wife, and working?

Ha! I get asked this a lot — let’s be real, it’s not all glam… But I have a few little things in place that make it somewhat easier. Somedays it’s smooth and I feel on top of the world and sing songs like “Freelance is the free life” — and other days it’s not so great, trying to meet a deadline with a sick clingy bub is a stress and plain right crazy! But right now we have a pretty good set up, both my husband and I are those silly dreamers that decided to leave the comfy life and go for our BIG crazy dreams, we decided to do it at the same time (this eliminates all worldly security may I add) — Sometimes we look at each other and say “we are crazy” — but we both decided we’d rather be 80 and old and stoked we tried! So we are both freelancers/contractors — He’s a stuntman and I’m a designer and literally at the beginning of every week we plan who’s working and who’s being mum for the week and this is how it works… So when he’s in-between stunt gigs, I’m full time designer and when he’s on a movie full time, I’m full time mumma doing the crazy juggle — working some serious late nights and sneaking in some work when Peaches is having her day nap or sometimes (guilty) I have to put her in front of a few episodes of Pepa pig to meet a deadline. It’s a serious juggle but it somehow works in this crazy little nomadic family of ours. Somedays I do cry when it’s hard and other days I think to myself I would not have it any other way. We could never say life is boring. 

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 05

What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood? 

The amount of new friendships I’ve encountered. Having a kid is a magnet for some real raw mumma conversation and a recipe for some crazy nights chatting nonsense over red wine… In motherhood I’ve made some friends that I will keep for life, I’ve had some conversations that are recorded in the scripts of my mind for life. I am truly thankful.

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 06

We are so curious, where did your daughter's name come from?!

Peaches was actually taken from a nick name I was given by a close friend who would call me “Peachy girl”. When I started dating Caleb in my early 20’s he loved the nick name and suggested that one day we would name our little girl “Peaches”. We had the name saved for so long and told no-one, it was our little secret, we were so excited when we actually got to use it.

NO. 07

What does your typical day look like? 

Every morning I wake up and head to the local beach front by 6:30am with Peaches, it’s our thing. We grab coffee and baby chinos, head to the park, have a swim and then head back to start work by 10am. As I said before — no day looks the same, some days I’ll be flat laying, shooting and editing and other days I’ll literally be replying to emails all day, or designing a logo or catching up for a meeting! This is why I love my job! So much variety.

Working Mom: Graphic Designer Tess Guinery

NO. 08

Style Icon?

I don’t have a style icon as such but I’m drawn to the 90’s mixed with some boho cowgirl mexican tropical vibes all rolled together with some patterns — Maybe my style icon is a rainbow? ha…

Quick ?'s

Current read:  

Lunch Lady Mag

Can't leave the house without:  

Lip gloss

Mountains, desert, or beach:  


Favorite thing to design:  

Logo's or creative content for social media

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