I caught up with 4 Sydney creatives in a weekend, this is what they taught me



Coffee and conversation.

It was a happy stroke of luck that I made it to Sydney and back before swapping blazers and bellinis in Bondi for a borderline hermit-like existence in Melbourne’s fourth lockdown. I was there for one weekend only, ‘for a good time, not a long time’ as my interstate-appropriate Hinge profile might’ve read.

The MO of the trip was a mix of business and pleasure, to meet some editors, writers and long-distance creatives I’ve worked with over the last 12 months but hadn’t met sooner due to You Know What

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My itinerary was filled with morning beach walks, ceaseless Uber trips and excessive coffee ordering. I subbed full-sized lattes for piccolos, ran a tight schedule and turned a few preplanned cafe meets into knockoff wines.

Thanks to the four bright faces I had the pleasure of sitting across during my journalistic junket, I came away with a full and frenzied mind (plus some great new friends), ready to apply their expert advice to my career, life and day-to-day operation. And now to relay it all to you. 

Crimson Dunstan and Bridie Alman, editors of Sampled and comms professionals


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These two left me feeling like I could do it all, if my schedule was clever enough. Crims and Bridie met yonks again on the PR circuit (where they still operate Mon to Thurs now). Since the dawn of their unshakeable work/play companionship, the duo conjured up a digital zine dubbed Sampled, containing their hot takes on all things fashion, wellness, beauty and life in Aus.

Next up comes their technicolour nail sticker brand for decorating talons sans hours in The Chair. Biggest lessons? Play to your strengths, lean on the friends and work wives around you, and maximise your off days (if you have them) to forge a creative outlet that could prosper. Balance is attainable if you play your cards right.


Melissa Mason, Digital Editor of Marie Claire and Elle


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Mel encouraged me to ‘put the feelers out’ to my current employer in the media industry, making a strong case for taking initiative when you’re unsure what exactly the next step is as a writer. She prompted some deep introspection around personal brand and the importance of its gradual development. How can I optimise a freelance gig or morph a contributing writer role into something more?

I came away from our Park Street coffee date considering work, love, life and where I can get myself a pair of Mel’s iconic Rolla’s flares. The biggest takeaway was probably in the value of persistence and maintaining patience when forging your own path, but simultaneously pushing yourself to leverage opportunities. Mel left me feeling confident that when you ask, you shall (maybe) receive. Nothing ventured, nothing gained etc.


Alice Carrett, Hatrik House resident + editor of Cool Guides


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It was a candlelit and antipasto-laden meet cute for Alice and I at Potts Point’s Dear Sainte Eloise. Alice’s lessons resonated well with me, the most paramount being to always order a second wine. We rehashed our work trajectories, Syd/Melb foodie recommendations and the joy of creating content you actually care about. Alice’s passion was palpable as she spoke incredibly fondly of her fellow Hatrik House [a Sydney creative agency] dwellers.

Uni isn’t everything – Alice didn’t finish her degree and I don’t know why I was shocked to hear that. I never gelled with tertiary education and contemplated cutting my degree short at numerous junctures. A fact that may be surprising to some is: she’s a multi-talented, multidisciplinary creative who never completed her higher education, albeit starting on it. Alice has made her way in the industry on her own terms, through the unshakeable bond she’s formed with Hatrik House’s director (and her friend) Sophia Athas.

Through interning and working with some of the best in beauty and lifestyle brands (insert Sephora here), Alice is the embodiment of self-taught success. Lean on and learn from other clever humans, and don’t be afraid to take the jump from a seemingly-glittering full-time role to work on a brand new project of your own (aka a fun, fashionable and conscious guide to the best in travel and trends, Cool Guides). 


Genevieve Phelan is Fashion Journal’s Lifestyle & Careers Columnist. Her writing fuses introspection with investigation, calling on her own personal anecdotes and the advice of admired experts in the realms of intimacy, money, friendship, careers and love. You can find her here and here.

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