INTERVIEW WITH ARTHAOS FOUNDER SARAH-JAYNE KERR
Some people grow up and dream of being astronauts or firefighters; others dream of jobs where you don’t have to work another day for the rest of your life. However, for many now, the dream of becoming your own boss, the ultimate goal, seems far out of reach… For Sarah-Jayne Kerr, this dream has finally become a reality, with her launch ARTHAOS (pronounced ‘art-house’), a creative studio dedicated to making chaos your muse.
Between branding workshops and PR launches, we sat down with SJ to discuss the kind of magic ARTHAOS can bring to their clients.
Q: “Hi, SJ, congratulations on launching Arthaos; how does it feel to finally be your own boss?”
SJ: “Gosh, it’s been a really exciting and challenging experience! It’s been a dream of mine for many years to own my own company and an absolute journey up until this point. It wasn’t until I started working with the right people and networking outside of my comfort zone that it really turned from a dream into an opportunity.”
Q: “Tell us more about your career path, and what led you to where you are now?”
SJ: “Well, I originally started out in the fashion industry, interning for Australian Fashion Designer Alice Mccall. It was so inspiring seeing a female boss running the show, which kind of a benchmark for what I wanted to achieve in my career. Also, looking at my father and his career and how he navigated the business world really shaped my work ethic. I then moved onto Peppermayo, who found me online after seeing my designs on Instagram and offered me an opportunity to design my first collection. I ended up creating over 7 collections before being headhunted for Cotton On Group. I learnt a lot there. I designed mostly for Cotton On Body creating their intimates range. I met a lot of talented, inspiring designers that really solidified my love for the industry.
My last role before ARTHAOS was at Target, where I dove headfirst into trend forecasting and textiles design. Ironically I was a check out chick there when I was 16 – who knew I’d be designing the collections I was scanning! Then I met my business partners for ARTHAOS, and the rest is history.”
Q: “Do you have any favourite projects that you’ve worked on so far?”
SJ: “You can’t ask me that! As cliche as it sounds, I honestly love everything I work on. I remember producing my first fashion collection. I remember feeling so proud, working at it for months, going through the production process and producing something that was truly amazing in my eyes – it was like having a secret or planning a surprise party. I remember walking down the street and seeing someone wear it for the first time in real life. That feeling. That “first collection” feeling. That’s the feeling I get with every brand I work on, and that’s why I don’t have any favourites.”
Q: “Tell us more about ARTHAOS; who are you for, and why do you exist?”
SJ: “ARTHAOS is a creative agency that’s both multi-skilled and multi-disciplined. We specialise in strategy, branding and textiles, having everything under one roof to meet all our clients needs every step of the way. We exist because we saw an empty space within the market, one where agencies specialised in one specific area and couldn’t provide everything brands needed inhouse. Brands needed a one-stop-shop.
We’re actually part of an ecosystem – we’re just one out of three businesses. Our brother company, No Standing, is a digital marketing agency that covers everything socials to website development, and our secondary brother company GrowMOFO is a virtual agency for SMB’s. We all work together under the same roof so that no services ever have to be outsourced – we literally provide everything.”
Q: “How did the idea for ARTHAOS start?”
SJ: “When we decided to launch a creative agency, we had an incubator night with the team and some creatives. We were brainstorming and had an idea of a joint exhibit between myself and my friend’s art. We had a prompt around the idea of “why do we create art? I remembered that the reason I started creating art was to give myself permission to release control in a creative environment, which links heavily to The Chaos Theory. Combining the words art, house and chaos, we produced “ARTHAOS.”
Q: “You launched ARTHAOS during Covid-19, that’s a huge achievement in itself! What are some of the things you’re most proud of so far?”
SJ: “There are so many things we’ve achieved so far that we’re proud of. First of all, our first hires have been all-female identifying – we’re so excited to be working with some really powerful creatives. Secondly, we’ve just moved into our first office in Collingwood, the epitome of youth culture and the hub for creatives. We’ve been making a lot of movement in the space, working across a multitude of projects across varied industries including music, hospitality, beverage, fashion, health & wellness and more. But our biggest achievement? Getting through COVID unscathed and actually having quite a successful year in 2020- 21. If we can survive those years, we can survive anything.”
Q: “Is there any advice you’d give others wanting to start their own company?”
SJ: “Believe in yourself; you can manifest anything you want. Your environment reflects you, so ensure you’re surrounding yourself with people who enrich your life. This means networking; they don’t tell you to do this in university for no reason. Talk to everyone about your dream, and don’t be scared to ask for help, don’t let your ego get in the way. We’re all human.”