Tell us about The Magnets? How did you all come together?
We actually began as street performers in Covent Garden in 1996. The Magnets have introduced millions to a-cappella music for the first time in concert, on radio and TV. Our richly varied career has seen us sign a major record deal with EMI, release four albums. We have performed alongside music legends including, Blondie, Bryan Adams, Tom Jones, Tinie Tempah, The Black Eyed Peas, Gregory Porter, Rick Astley and The Kaiser Chiefs to mention a few and play private shows for supermodels, heads of state and royalty. The new line-up includes 3 incredible top tenor voices. The guys are all west end lead vocalists. Shows include We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages, Ghost, Footloose, Chess, Guys and Dolls, Jesus Christ superstar and Jersey Boys. I’m now the old boy! I used to be the youngest.
You’re show at the Adelaide FRINGE incorporates humour with your amazing a-cappella talents, how do you think music effects your audience and their mood?
The aim of any Magnets show is for the audience to have fun and have an hour of escape time to just enjoy. Music can be too serious. We like to get to know the audience and for them to get to know us. It’s basically a big 80s party. Everyone in the group has their own special vocal talent and their own story to tell. 5 guys on stage having fun and singing amazing music. Everyone leaves smiling and happy!
How do you guys manage balancing the touring life with a healthy personal life?
We all have very understanding partners! It can be tough sometimes though and Mike and Nick are both married with children. Nick actually has his Wife and little boy over here too. We love having our families and partners on tour with us when we can. It’s just so easy to keep in contact now. When I started touring I’d only just bought my first mobile phone and was too expensive to use overseas. A long time ago!!!!!!
Tell us how it really makes you feel to entertain us at your shows?
It really is the best job in the world. To make people smile and have fun in every show is just amazing. The Magnets is a family show everyone. No one is left out and to have the opportunity do this is Adelaide is just amazing.
Lalitha Epaarachchi ~ Health & Fitness Coach and Youtuber
1. Tell us about yourself and your Business?
I’m a father, Health and Fitness Youtuber (Alpha lee fitness) & Online coach ( weight loss, Muscle building and health & fitness lifestyle coaching)
Over the last 3 years I’ve built the largest online health and fitness community in Sri Lanka with 26,000 followers on instagram @lalitha_epaarachchi and 62,000 subscribers on Youtube, my Youtube channel alone has had over 3 million views in just over an year. I’m proud to say that I have successfully hoisted myself to the top of the space with zero paper qualifications.
The way my business works:
What I found out through the initial stages of my work was that there were plenty of influencers who are willing to share their lifestyle, expose their bodies, promote products without considering its impact and provide subjective information convincingly enough to make a sale or push a brand. This is a very lucrative method to earn on the short term but on the long term, in a space where you are dealing with people’s health and fitness it’s a naive, shortsighted method.
Based on this understanding, over time, I fine tuned my approach to:
Delivering accurate information that has scientific evidence. I do this both in Sinhalese (youtube) and english (instagram)
Promote a balanced lifestyle which the majority in Sri lankan’s can afford, emulate, still be healthy and fit and importantly keep building on.
Work long term with brands. This is mainly because I noticed that most influencers worked with brands for a few weeks and moved onto another brand. Brand hoping is lucrative but damages your credibility as a product influencer which means in the longterm brands will not be paying you as much due to a lack of conversions. Engagement is meaningless without conversions – Your audience to Their customers. The 2 best examples from my brand portfolio are zimantra leisure center battaramulla and protein.lk. Both have become top brands in their space.
Build my own paid service (online coaching). This is a service where I build training & nutrition plans for my clients. This was important because I wanted to make sure that brands could not pressure me into promoting anything I don’t like or agree with. If my income is covered through my own sweat equity, I would not have any reason whatsoever to con my audience by promoting products that i don’t believe in.
Why did you decide to start your own business and What keeps you motivated.
I started making content on youtube and facebook while I was working as a software engineer. 3 weeks after I had my son I was very unfairly treated by my employer at that time. In brief, my employer accused me of not working well enough. That experience made me understand that as long as I work for someone else I will never truly be happy or appreciated regardless of how well I worked for them.
I’m not a believer in motivation. If you need to be motivated to follow your passion i don’t think it is your passion to begin with.
As a Sri Lankan influencer, how would you like to influence other Sri Lankan’s, as well as all others around the world?
I can’t fix the world with the work I’m doing but I firmly believe that I can change the health and fitness space for the better. With my work and approach to my work I hope I can influence more people to bring our space back out from vanity & drugs. In other words, I want to show people you can be honest, ordinary, average looking, earn and live a happy, peaceful life.
‘GOOD stories get read, then get archived or used once, but more than likely they often get forgotten about…GREAT stories last a lifetime- any story, even an event, no matter how big or small should always take your guests on a journey’.
What made you decide to start your own business?
I studied a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing and Human Resources at University for 4 years, and studied an Executive Certificate in Event Management.
I then established myself in the financial industry in a global role for 6 years, which is where I realised my passion and enthusiasm for event management. I have managed complex logistical events spanning both the international and domestic market, across a variety of industries, which have showcased my superior event management skills and professional execution of events.
She Means Business Events (SMBE ~ officially launching in May 2017) was born from my desire to spend more time in South Australia, and my passion and love of bringing people together in the one space and creating memories!
I have a keen eye for detail, complemented with perfectionism, which ensures a uniquely created SMBE event. SMBE adds a modern and trendy spin on events for both our corporate and private clients which are flawlessly executed.
2. What/Who inspires you in life and work?
I have to admit I find it very hard to answer this question. Inspiration is stimulation for the human mind to learn, create, achieve, and to give. I believe that all great accomplishments are a result of motivation, encouragement and are spawned by inspiration.
So, what inspires me to be successful, and why am I inspired? For some time, I’ve been following inspiring leaders, entrepreneurs, and business movers-and-shakers, and I’m still awed and amazed at how much there is out in the world to be inspired by! I’m happy to say that I am now constantly inspired by men and women who are 100 steps ahead of me, doing what I long to, in the way I long to do it, with authenticity, clarity, grace and power.
I am fortunate enough that I have been inspired and mentored by some wonderful people both domestically and internationally, the most influential and inspiring motto coming from my Adelaide based mentor which SMBE currently lives by…
“Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like buggery!”
3. How do you find the work/life balance and your Top 3 tips for balancing life and work?
If you’ve been sitting at your desk reading about SMBE, daydreaming about the glamorous life of owning your own events company, it’s time to wake up! Starting up any business can be brutal in this socioeconomic climate and to be successful you have to face reality – hard work, long days (and nights), and a whole lot of coffee and networking!
It’s not all doom and gloom though, once you’ve taken the leap and decided to start! Here are a few of my tips for managing and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Step away from the email
At some point, almost everyone becomes addicted! For me, it started when I starting working for a global company. I wanted to be available 24/7 to my team who were located in multiple locations around the world. My ‘new email’ alert would constantly sound throughout the day/night and my Inbox began to control my life. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine would confiscate my phone during our catch ups, that I truly realised that I was in fact an addict, and how much I was missing out on around me,
Would you believe that scientists have actually established a clear link between spending time on email and stress? In other words, the more frequently we check our email, the more frazzled we feel!
Just say ‘NO’!
In today’s fast-paced and caffeine-driven world, it seems like the need to say no is absent in most people. You can’t say no because you feel guilty, or people will judge you.
I understand your situation completely. Confession time? I used to say yes, all the timetoo because the thought of saying no literally crippled me.
Now, though, I regret the times when I failed to say no! Let’s face it saying yes to everyoneis stressful, and it’s definitely notgood for your mental, physical and spiritual health!
Work smarter, not harder
There is a body of opinion that you should work more and sleep less. It often takes Margaret Thatcher as a role model: she only needed four hours sleep and look what she did to the country! These days they call it sleep hacking- training your mind and body to need less sleep. But that trend is all wrong!
Essentially, working smart means figuring out what your strengths are and building a network around you to build upon those, in order to reach goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
The more self-awareness you gain about your work strengths the more you find ways to work smarter, not harder and finally achieve the work /life balance you desire.
In celebration of the launch of new jewellery brand ‘Of Dreamers and Dancers’, I did a Q&A with designer, Rebecca Minervini, touching on all things work, life and chasing dreams….
“Dream and take chances, dance through life enthusiastically because, as I found out, you never know where seizing opportunities and thinking outside the box can take you.”
What made you decide to start your own business?
I have a background in graphic design, particularly branding. Whilst I love graphic design, to have my own brand and something I would have creative control over was an ultimate dream. It wasn’t a case of waking up one day and thinking, I’m going to build a brand. Whilst I actively had to pursue getting my designs created and sculpting the business, what it took to get to this point developed quite organically, tapping into my passions and design experience.
Who and what inspires you and your business and do you have a mentor?
I am inspired by strong women who have accomplished big dreams but still stay grounded. Samantha Wills and Lisa Messenger are two women I look up to who definitely fit this mould. I relate to their passion and creativity for what they do and their constant development of their businesses.
My business is a lifestyle brand and it’s message is inspired by the brand name. From the challenges I have been through, to turn my dreams into reality, I very much want to instill in my customer to be a dreamer and dancer too. Dream and take chances, dance through life enthusiastically because, as I found out, you never know where seizing opportunities and thinking outside the box can take you. What started as a whimsical name very quickly became the core of the brand’s identity.
My designs themselves are inspired by an affection for love, life and travel…the pieces are very much for the wanderlust spirited and will connect to a customer who shares these same ideals. She is the modern bohemian and the pieces I design for her reflect her wild hearted nature while also taking into account that she lives in a modern world and so the designs can be easily incorporated into her everyday style.
From a business perspective my mentor is 100% my Dad. He helped me to realise my dream could become a reality if I was prepared to work hard for it. He has been in business himself for over 30 years so teaches me everything I know from a business sense. I don’t have a mentor for the design aspect of the business. This is very much driven by me, my design experience and creativity. I live and breathe creativity! I like to push myself and I am always learning. Working out how to translate my graphic design expertise into jewellery manufacturing was definitely a huge learning curve but I enjoy it and it’s great to continually grow creatively.
How do you balance running you’re own business with everyday life?
It’s hard to switch off that’s for sure but I think because I love what I do so much it doesn’t seem like I need to find a balance. If I have to work after hours, I will. I do what it takes. Of course, I take time out for family and to have a social life, that’s important too, but living a dream is definitely not a 9-5 job and that’s just something you have to accept.
Where do you hope to see yourself and your business in 5 years?
Well it’s early days for me. I would love at this stage to just be able to do a second collection but I do have big dreams. In 5 years time I would like to have established myself as a known and respected luxury costume jewellery brand in Australia. I would love be a go-to brand with an established loyal customer base and be recognised for unique quality pieces that are affordable. I would also like to grow internationally and potentially branch out into other lifestyle areas. I may need a little more time for that but you never know! I love the idea of collaborative projects to branch into new areas too so I‘d like to explore this avenue more also.
What are your top tips for staying motivated?
The number one tip I can give for staying motivated is to be passionate about what you do. With passion nothing will be a chore and it will definitely keep you going even when times are tough. Beyond passion and on a more daily basis, I really love reading quotes to kick start my attitude if I am ever questioning what I am doing or are finding it hard to find the get up and go, we all have our moments! I mainly find these quotes on Instagram (I love Instagram!) and I always post one every Monday to set a positive tone for the week. Reading biographies about entrepreneurs and the magazine the Renegade Collective really motivates me too. Finally, making sure you do have some occasional time for yourself does help in keeping you happy and motivated too, everyone needs moments to zone out every now and then.
Emma Hack is an Adelaide based, internationally known artist, who is known for her skill in the art of body painting, having painted celebrities, including singer; Gotye in his video for ‘Somebody that I used to know’, she is a truly talented artist. I had the pleasure of chatting with her in her newly renovated gallery, located on O’Connell street, here is what she shared with me:
What made you choose to become an artist?
I’ve always felt like an artist. But I ended up getting trained in hair and make-up. I was doing hair and makeup to earn a living, although I was using my artistic skills whenever possible, I have been body painting for 25 years. It wasn’t until 2002, which is when I had my first exhibition. I just decided that if I focused on my art I would be able to create what I wanted to create.
What inspires you and your art?
- Vintage fashion
– Different cultures
– Other artists coming up with new ways of doing things
– Mixed mediums
– Different textures
– Techniques I used as a child (eg. pin pricking in year 2)
What are some of your stand-out career moments?
Stand-out career moments include; doing my first calender, my first exhibition, the moment I realised that I could actually sell my work; I had a stall at an art fair in 2008 and we had a line of people waiting to purchase a piece of my art (it was so humbling), creating the ‘crash car’ by painting 17 people and positioning them in a way to look like a car, having Joanne Gair, who painted Demi Moore for Vanity Fair, come to see my exhibition, and finally my having first exhibition in New York.
Advice for up and coming Artists?
- Practice as much as you can.
- Always be true to yourself and your vision.
- Have strong morals and ethics in the way you treat people.
- A successful career does not happen overnight!
- Stick with what you know and refine it.
- My Dad’s advice: Plan your work and work your plan (plan, assess, then go and do)
How long have you been in pr and when/why did you start Grays Management?
I have been in PR pretty much my whole working life in some capacity.
I’ve had at Grays Management for 13 years.
I remember when I was at high school and we had a questionnaire go around to determine what type of job you would suit. I ticked off all of the things I liked, was good at and enjoyed and low and behold – my best suited job was PR. The only catch was I didn’t want to go to Uni – I wasn’t a great student so I went straight into the workforce. And fortunately for me I fell into opportunities and jobs in the media that led me to Grays – so I think to be honest I have always been destined for this type of work. I just didn’t go about it the more traditional way.
I started Grays after having my first child – and it was all by accident to be honest. My first job was working on McLeod’s Daughters as publicist which I did for around 7 years. And during that time there were a lot of other opportunities in the market.
What keeps you motivated in the PR industry?
My motivation is determined by lots of different things at times. The market is hugely different to what it was a few years ago even, so we are always changing. Being smaller means being adaptable and responsive to the market and opportunities.
I really love who I work with. Being older and somewhat wiser, I have made the conscious choice to work like an absolute dog for people or businesses that I believe in and genuinely want to see them succeed. It’s a 24hour job at times and there is also a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to see a result – so you have got to genuinely love it.
What did your 20 year old self dream of doing in the future?
The one thing I am disappointed with my 20 year old self was that I didn’t really have a dream. I didn’t really pin point an idea, a thought and I didn’t have any concrete ambitions – not even to buy a car. My life was one day at a time, leading into fun and adventure. However, I had a really good work ethic, I learnt on the job that I loved to work hard and I was good at what I was doing. I also worked with a lady; Nicola Mills who really changed the way I worked and the way I thought about myself in business. She was probably the first ‘business woman I had met. She was ambitious, strong, worked hard in a “mans world” and was incredibly supportive and motivating. She was really the one point in time that I stopped and thought – I could do this …
What is the most exciting experience/opportunity that has come your way within your business?
Running a business is probably the most exciting experience to be honest. There have been a lot of changes and challenges. Managing your personal life and children with a job that requires a lot of effort and commitment is a challenge also. Although I think this is the first time I’ve found that balancing point and can genuinely say that the balance is working and I’m really energised by our clients and the opportunities we create with them. Granted we’ve had some incredible jobs – working on a Bollywood Movie, Presenting and speaking in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, meeting and knowing some incredible people and being able to weave in and out of our work lives at different points to work together again.
Best piece of advice for anyone wanting to get into public relations?
We have a lot of interns and work experience people come through our business. Mostly because I like to genuinely give people an opportunity to really see what it’s like. The perception of what PR is and the reality is often times very different. PR is not as easy as giving away food, or ticking a box for a client with bloggers, or getting a piece in the paper – and anyone who wants to do that will have a short lifespan. Because at the end of the day you need to provide results for your clients, be cost effective and show a return on investment. So I think the one piece of advice would be – don’t put too much value on the input, don’t make yourself so busy and with so many pieces of paper that you are busy being busy – it’s the output that counts and it has to give a return to your client. Turn your way of thinking on PR upside down and work backwards….
I recently did a Q&A with South Australian Style Magazine Editor; Jodi Nash, her story is one worth hearing and she is a testament to hard work equals success
What made you decide to start a magazine?
Coming from a freelance makeup, styling and photography background a opportunity came up to rebrand a magazine that I was freelancing for.I decided to give it a go and see what happened, it took off from there. There was also a huge gap in the market for a women’s publication in Adelaide.
I was frustrated that I couldn’t visit the fashion stores that were promoted in the nationals so I made my own just for the local girls.
How did you get to where you are now in your career?
A lot of hard work starting with a great education. Working in Canada and America helped with experience on an international stage.
I studied visual art, photography, makeup and hair artistry straight from high school. I went to Uni during the day and did makeup classes at night. I worked for free for photographers for years assisting on set. I also taught modelling, catwalk and deportment. I got into fashion styling after Uni and coordinated and art directed a lot of catwalk shows over the years, even helping to launch the first Adelaide Fashion Festival in 2001.
I helped create a professional makeup school for budding makeup artists called Paint in 2004.
I have always worked for myself as a freelancer or a consultant and found having a good skill set helped to gain lots of employment opportunities in all fashion fields.
What are the opportunities that have opened up for you as the editor of SA Style?
Meeting great people, working with celebrities and having fun putting fashion shoots together.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced within your career?
The publishing industry is full of deadlines and time constraints. I find that the hardest thing.
Any exciting plans ahead for you and/or SA Style?
It’s our 20th birthday next issue (December release) little did I know 5 years ago when I was planning the first issue on my kitchen table that we would be doing our 20th edition!
What advice do you have or can you give to anyone wanting to get into a position similar to yours?
1) Up skill all the time and get jobs in the fashion industry wherever you can, even starting in a fashion retail store is great experience.
2) Build a solid skill set. The more strings to your bow the more employable you will be.
3) Work for people you are inspired by, and be loyal to those who gave you a start in the industry.
4) Professionalism, being polite and friendly, showing up, standing out from the crowd, dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s, will get you more places than an emailed resume ever will.
5) The people you stomp on, on your way up will be the same people you meet on your way down, so don’t burn bridges.
6) Use your gut and do things you believe in. Be original and go your own way.
7) Success won’t happen overnight, but if you never take no for an answer, it will happen eventually.
8) I have never given up an any project I started, see everything through to the end, it is an invaluable lesson.
What made you decide that public relations (PR) was what you wanted to do as a career?
I graduated from Uni SA with a degree in marketing, and as I was looking at employment opportunities in the communications field I was encouraged to undertake work experience and internships first. I wanted to stand out from the rest of the graduates so I thought, why not go to New York and do an internship there! I was lucky enough to know someone who knew someone who secured an interview for me with a high end fashion label – Brian Reyes – in the PR, sales and marketing department, and I was lucky enough to land the job. After spending three months in New York during New York Fashion Week doing the internship, I learnt the key principals of fashion PR, sales and marketing, and it was then that I knew I was destined for a career in PR.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Career wise, I look up to people like Kelly Cutrone and Roxy Jacenko – both of whom went out on their own and started their own PR agencies. They are now known for being the most successful women in PR in America and Australia, and represent a number of amazing clients. They are the go to women for PR.
What has been the biggest opportunity that has come your way because of your work?
The fact that I get to work with a range of different clients from different industries allows me to develop my networks, skills, contacts, relationships and experience. I have been able to travel interstate as well as internationally because of the clients I represent and this has opened a number of doors for me. But the biggest opportunity is that after five years of working successfully in PR in Adelaide, I was able to go out on my own and launch Girl About Town.
Where do you (want to) see your career in 5 years?
I would love to see Girl About Town being the go to lifestyle PR Agency in Adelaide.
I completed a bachelor in Communications Studies and studied public relations at Tafe. I worked as an Account Director at Michels Warren and I was the Global PR Manager at Imagination Entertainment. I now run my own freelance PR Consultancy called; Sassafras PR.
What are the opportunities that have opened up for you within this position?
Opportunities are endless! The chance to meet people running exciting businesses and launching sensational products is an adrenalin rush for me and then showcasing these brands to the world is my passion. Working with media is energising and exciting and there is never a dull moment!
What advice do you have or can you give to young people who want to get into a position similar to yours?
Just simply; do as much work experience as you can!