Discovery In Business: Knowing Your Worth And Building On Your Skills

Published

February 12, 2024

Member Spotlight

Throughout March we are delving into the realms of self-discovery, building new skills and recognising your worth. Meet Justine Malone.

Throughout March we are delving into the realms of self-discovery, building new skills and recognising your worth. Meet Justine Malone.

Our focus theme for this month is Discovery. In line with this, we are speaking with a member from our Gipps Street community to gain insights into her journey as a woman in business. Getting a better understanding of the valuable lessons she has learned and identifying areas where she envisions further personal and professional growth - meet Justine Malone.

"If something excites you, step towards it, and always do what brings you joy 100% and more, because if it brings you joy, you'll care about it, and when you care about something you put more effort, love and attention towards it, it manifests and grows."


What is Malone.Co Studio? And what services do you offer?

The Studio is a safe space to become a brand, in other words. We connect and partner with people and businesses to help them take an idea from conception to launch, or re-envision their current business. We understand the creative industry for some can be intimidating, with so many different costs, styles and ways of working. With our creative service offerings, from Brand Strategy, Creative Assets, Graphic Design, Digital Design, Photography, Video and Website design/build, we can guide our clients through each phase of the idea-to-launch process with intention, support and their final goal and vision in mind.

What skills did you feel you needed to start your own business?

For my business, I felt I needed to know how to take a project from brief to completion and understand the outcome and intention of the output. This may not have been a tangible skill so to speak, yet it was important if I aimed to satisfy my customer's needs. Other skills that I felt I needed were a basic understanding of business finance and management. I had previously studied this through my last employment, these skills, along with my design experience in the creative industry paired with knowledge and practice using the Adobe Creative Suite were enough to help me land my first client and confidently provide the services they needed from me.

On the theme of discovery, what is the biggest learning you have taken from starting your own business?

1. It's consuming and rewarding at the same time, but also quite obsessive to say the least!

2. Follow your instinct, if something sounds great but doesn't FEEL right, sit on it, dissect it, break it down and think "What is this uncertain feeling and what are my conditions?". Business comes with many opportunities, some with thorns attached to them, however, if you have your conditions and agreements in place, then you can confidently engage with areas of business that feel uncomfortable.

3. If something excites you, step towards it, and always do what brings you joy 100% and more, because if it brings you joy, you'll care about it, and when you care about something you put more effort, love and attention towards it, it manifests and grows.

4. Lastly, don't care what other people think, or what they are doing. Stay in your lane, do you and you'll be happiest.

What have you discovered about yourself along that journey?

Three things that come to mind.

1. I learned that I can inspire people to the point they get excited about their business journey again. This truly brings me joy, meeting people with a dream and helping them realise that it's within reach.

2. I'm extremely high-energy and have an abundance of ideas and exciting thoughts, which can exhaust people. Therefore, I have learned to control this energy and in turn, have learned to "create order from chaos" for other people too, a statement I use religiously in my business

3. To be truly authentic in who I am, my design style and abilities. For a while I was 'being' someone I thought other people would want to work with, in turn, I ended up attracting the wrong clients, people and work which made me feel like I was in someone else's skin.

"You be you, you do you - is my mantra."


Do you feel as a woman, you faced more barriers in starting a business?

Not in starting a business. I'm blessed to be in the creative industry which, to me, feels very gender-accepting and equal, or maybe that's just how I see it, I may be blind to any barriers. I also work with a lot of women as my clients so I feel there is a lot of support and understanding between us, especially when it comes to my kids popping into a Zoom call or the juggle of school holidays. In saying that. I do feel barriers as a working mum. The juggle is real, it's almost an amusing joke, the limit of time I have to spend on my business has probably slowed down the growth, compared to a person with no kids, but I've realised that my journey will go at the pace it needs to go at for now.

How have you personally worked to challenge stereotypes and biases in your professional journey?

When I was a younger designer working for a company I had so many great ideas that years later came to fruition in larger/other businesses. One of the ideas was even an AI idea that I'm still yet to see live. I was laughed at in the meeting. I felt I was stereotyped for being a young female in a male-dominated company, "Yes Jus, thanks for that" is often what I got. I had to work really hard and prove myself over and over and over again. Yet, I never felt 100% respected due to my sex and age. So, I left and started my own business. Now, when I have a client with an idea, I don't stereotype them and think they can't do it because you can't judge someone's ambitions by the way they look, their age or their background. Just look at any great success story, they are all the exception to the rule.

Justine capturing content at The Commons Gipps Street for Millie Stevens

Looking at past projects, is there anything you would love the chance to change? Perhaps trialling a different approach?

Yes! Don't fake it until you make it. When I was younger in my business, I took on 2 projects that were too large for me, I completed them, JUST, yet they caused me a lot of stress, anxiety, and anger and I lost a lot of time and money on them. Pushing yourself and learning new skills is super important, yet doing them in incremental stages is a better approach in my opinion.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are navigating launching and growing their own businesses?

Don't underestimate the power of a brand strategy, this will set you up for the first 2 years of your business, including supporting your creatives through the branding, design, content and website process. A brand story or strategy holds everything together and is the thing you take to market. I always like to think that launching a business and growing a brand is like building a boat and becoming a weathered sailor. When you buy the hull of the boat, you know the end goal is for it to sail, yet there is so much in between that needs to be done and learned. The first day you take that boat out on the water is like the official launch of your website - the weather is perfect and it's a day trip. 3 years later you're weathered, and wiser, sailing through storms and across oceans. The learning never stops, yet when you look back, you'll see how far you've come and smile at all the adventures, people and stories you've made along the way.

"You can't judge someone's ambitions by the way they look, their age or their background. Just look at any great success story, they are all the exception to the rule."

What have been your favourite projects to date?

Generally, my favourite projects are the ones where the founders I work with are so invested in their idea and vision that it's almost like an extension of themselves, founders that are patient and want to launch with intention, rather than race to cross the finish line. I find these projects become exciting and so mindful with every decision, like building a dream forever home.

However, to be more specific and highlight some brands, to name a few. Gem Products, 35mm Co, Le Louvre, Millie Stevens and Onder stand strong in my mind as of late. Working with Georgia Geminder/Danos on her brand Gem was incredible, Georgia is always thinking one step ahead of the trends, thinking out of the box and doing things 'different' which is why I personally think the brand has done so well.

35mm Co, working with Madi, who was 19 then, to launch that brand was an incredible inspiration to me. Working with such a young person, who had such vision, drive and professionalism gave me no doubt she would succeed, from that, I couldn't help but put every effort I had to help get that brand up and live for her.

Le Louvre, was a heartthrob client, the history and story of the founder drove me to open up my creative ideas in a way I had never done before. I have a deep passion for history and storytelling, so when I heard the history of this great iconic Melbourne brand I felt so privileged to be a tiny part of it, launching their first ever online store.

Millie Stevens was by far the most fun. Millie has a style, and vision that is contagious. Everything about this brand was 'extra' and fun. When I think of the time I spent with Millie through this brand creation I just smile and remember all the good energy. Lastly, Onder. Onder is a brand born out of patience, heart and care. Working with Dani reminded me that good things take time. I cannot express how much care and attention to detail was put into this brand, and the outcome, something we are all so proud of.

I could honestly speak wholeheartedly about every single client, and feel bad I haven't mentioned more!

"It doesn't matter how big, small, well-known or unknown a brand is, it's the heart that surrounds it that is what I enjoy the most."