Georgia Fowler, Founder of Georgia Fowler Design
Georgia is one of those people that you can instantly chat and feel comfortable with. Her warm smile and down-to-earth nature is like a balm, echoed by her love for animals and the country life. Commuting between her home on the farm and the big city, Georgia thrives in a life of variety and exciting challenges, all while keeping it at her own pace as a freelancer. In our interview, we talk about her journey to a design career and some of her fabulous projects and clients.
Tell us about your journey in design and how you came to start your career.
I started my own business after I finished my Creative Direction and Styling course at university in 2016; however, looking back I can see that my journey to a career in design started from a young age.
Creativity runs in my blood as my Dad is a professional photographer—I’ve grown up with a camera in hand. I was always working on some kind of creative project for as long as I can remember, whether it be hand crafting clothing from fabric remnants in primary school, to planning my birthday parties as a child with full itineraries in locations such as Montsalvat, or taking great care to design my bedroom as a teen, importing wallpaper and hand sourcing everything.
The Creative Direction and Styling course at Whitehouse Institute of Design was ideal for me as it covered a range of areas in design which really opened my mind to all the creative career possibilities. I loved so many aspects of the course, from graphic design to food styling to event planning. This allowed me to keep my business offerings broad, so that I can continue to work within my favourite industries.
'...my day always starts outside with the animals on my farm, feeding them and checking in before the city commute begins. The fresh country air and time to tune into them really grounds me for the day ahead.'
What does a typical work day look like (pre- and/or post-COVID)?
Pre-covid, I was working at The Langham Melbourne and each day was slightly different; however, work day or not, my day always starts outside with the animals on my farm, feeding them and checking in before the city commute begins. The fresh country air and time to tune into them really grounds me for the day ahead.
Once I’ve made the commute from farm to the city, next thing on my mind is coffee! After our morning team briefing and sorting through new emails, I’d usually have several meetings that divide up my day. From internal meetings to discuss and plan upcoming projects, to meeting with external suppliers. With the time I have between meetings, I would continue working on my major projects I had on the go. These ranged from themed high tea launch events, signature suite re-designs, or seasonal events such as Easter. I start by researching my concepts and ideas for the project and begin putting together a design proposal.
I could also be found on the road sourcing new styling pieces for events or suites, along with visiting showrooms to select fabrics for custom cushions or furniture pieces, for example. I love that no two days were the same and I worked with different colleagues throughout the hotel to breathe new life into every department.
'I knew I wanted to be my own boss...'
What spurred you on to take on freelance work?
I knew I wanted to ‘be my own boss’ and was lucky enough to land a job as soon as I finished university, working with Dani Venn contracted as the Creative Coordinator at her company Eat It Up Creative. This really reinforced my desire to work freelance and allowed me to retain a broad range of clients and projects. I also never wanted a 9-5 desk job—I love that I can determine my own hours and that my work gets me out and about. If I’m working in an office environment, I love to bring personal touches to my space and have some greenery nearby!
What are some standout projects you've worked on?
I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on many special projects, but a few of my favourites have been working on the Kerrie Hess suite at The Langham: a custom-designed suite showcasing some beautiful commissioned artworks by Australian illustrator Kerrie Hess. Transforming the whole suite was a dream!
I also loved bringing the ‘Season’s Harvest’ concept to life in Melba Restaurant at The Langham; it’s all about local Victorian produce and suppliers which is something I’m passionate about. This project meant sourcing some really beautiful and unique pieces for the Season’s Harvest dining space, such as custom linen napkins, custom designed crockery by Ryan Foote (R L Foote design studio), and beautiful jugs of fresh flowers and potted herbs I hand planted. We also started a herb garden in a courtyard, adjacent to the restaurant, and it was really special to see the plants grow throughout the year.
Aesthetically, some of my favourite work was created as part of my final university assignment where we had free reign to develop our own business imagery. I’m personally drawn to natural colours and textures, so I photographed and styled a table-scape with beautiful handmade ceramics, linen table cloth, sculptural branches and some delish food from Alimentari, in Fitzroy.
Can you tell us about your beautiful FARMily? How do you manage looking after so many fur babies?!
As an animal lover who grew up in Fitzroy, moving to a farm was like an open invitation to welcome some beautiful animals into my life! I grew up riding horses on the weekends and couldn’t resist owning one (or two!) of my own and from there it grew. I have two gorgeous palomino horses, one of which I ride, the other is a companion.
My three goats have all been hand raised and bottle fed and would honestly sleep on the couch inside if I still let them!
When they were only a few weeks old and needing regular feeds, if I had work in the city I would take them to my parents house in Thornbury—the neighbours quickly got to know them as I would take them to the dog park for a walk and they certainly didn’t sound like dogs when they cried out!
I also have a very smoochy cat named Otis; a 3-year-old Doberman named Cooper; and a Maremma farm dog who guards the sheep who should be due to have some lambs soon! I love being outdoors and caring for the animals has become part of my everyday which I love. It is not without its challenges though—being responsible for some very beautiful creatures comes with some compromises and lots of learning along the way.
What's your favourite, can't-live-without cuisine? What's your go-to snack on the go when you're working?
This is a tough one! I love fresh, homemade food…my favourite would probably have to be homemade vongole pasta with fresh seafood straight from the ocean. Simple, delicious and brings back many memories of warm summer nights.
It sounds a little boring, but when I’m on the go I love to carry a piece of fruit. Whatever is in season—bonus if it’s home grown! I also find a handful of nuts to be a great on the go snack.
Do you have any advice for other freelance creatives and designers starting out?
My top advice for freelance creatives starting out would be network, network, network!
Someone that you may not think will be useful in helping your career might just know the exact person that will bring you your big break! If I trace back my connections that lead me to my job at The Langham, I have my hairdresser to thank! Broaden your network wherever possible, even if it isn’t directly work related—you never know what may come of it!
Check out Georgia's work and portfolio here: www.georgiafowlerdesign.com