At Home with Tess Robinson
Our ongoing ‘JA At Home Series’ aims to unite women during this difficult and isolating time. It’s a way to share on our experiences, provide insights into our current lives and ways in which we are all managing, in the hopes that as a collective, we can stay connected from our homes and help one another through this. Share your experience
Tess Robinson is the founder of the epic creative agency Smack Bang Designs in Sydney. I have been following Tess’s incredible journey of building her business, running a 14 person team, creating inspiring work for brands we all know and love, and becoming a mum! As someone who I am inspired by, I wanted to gain insight into how she is navigating her way through this new world. Tess is a powerhouse and her positive outlook during this time is infectious. Enjoy!
How are you? Perpetually fascinated by the world right now / Busy and very much buried in my work / And inspired by the challenges ahead.
Tell us where you are and what you can see? I’m at my desk where I’ve been for what feels like 4 weeks straight. I can see my dog sitting next to me (snoring), and a very productive mess on my desk.
What are you reading? To be honest, I’ve been so focussed on work since COVID-19 hit, that I haven’t made much time for reading. However, prior to this in my ‘pre-pandemic’ life (ha!) I was reading ‘Simplicity Parenting’ by Kim John Payne – such an interesting and informative perspective on raising creative kids.
What are you listening to?I made a self-isolation playlist of all my favourite tunes to keep me inspired during this time and have been listening to it on repeat: ‘Self Isolation Tunes’
What are you watching? Oh, how I would love to spend a day bingeing some Netflix series! Unfortunately my work isn’t affording me such luxuries at the moment. However, I did watch one episode of Tiger King to see what all the fuss was about and oh-my-freaking-lord. Can’t wait to watch more.
What are you wearing day to day? I’m living in my Assembly Label basics. I make sure to put shoes on each day too, as I feel this really helps lift me from ‘loungey’ to ‘business’.
Have you implemented some structure to your day? Or are you taking it a day at a time? To be honest, my day-to-day hasn’t changed all that much, because I generally work from home most days a week anyways. The main thing that’s changed though is I’m working longer hours. So I’m trying to make sure I exercise, drink plenty of water and meditate each morning to enable be to last the long day with stamina.
How are you keeping busy? I have a team of 14 staff, so I’m very much feeling the weight of the situation and the responsibility of my position. I’m working huge days, and putting in enormous effort to ensure I can keep all of them in a job. They are the most committed, brilliant and wonderful people, so I owe this to them.
Are you doing any at-home workouts? I’ve been doing a quick Fluid Form Pilates class each morning and am loving them.
How are you staying positive? I’m generally a fairly positive person, and strangely enough I love being thrown into hard situations. I find I am most inspired when I’m challenged with complex problems. So keeping positive and creative is coming quite naturally to me at the moment, thankfully! I am fully aware that this can change at anytime though, so just preparing to ride the waves ahead of me with as much grace as I can.
How are you practicing self care? What are you doing to look after your mental health? Hrmmm, with a couple of businesses and an 18 month old there isn’t a lot of time left for self care. But as I said, exercise, meditation and trying to eat well are my three focuses for mental health and wellbeing right now.
What are you most grateful for right now? My family, my health and my Smack Bang team. Oh, and living by the beach – I’m tucked down on the south coast so have wide empty beaches all to my self!
What are you most hopeful for? The positive, beautiful and surprising growth that will come of this situation. A crisis of this scale presents major opportunity for growth, creativity and innovation. And we’re seeing it already, only weeks in. I can’t wait to see what the world looks like in a year’s time.
What has been the most unexpected blessing that has come out of this for you? A newfound sense of purpose, drive and heightened creativity.
Are there any goals you have set yourself? I’m very much trying to keep personal goals and aspirations low for the time being. My focus is on keeping my business and my family healthy, and simply surviving!
What are you most looking forward to in the future?Seeing my mum and dad, having a backyard BBQ with all our mates and flying to Los Angeles to hug my brother.
Any other tips? I’m living by the motto: This crisis is happening FOR us, not TO us.