How many of you have heard about Nadia van der Mescht? Maybe you think you know what she does and who she is. If not, I have asked her a few questions to satisfy your curiosity – Okay to satisfy my curiosity!
You were a successful crafter (still are) and then you became a creative business consultant. How did that come about?
I started my first creative business when I was really young so I also knew I had an entrepreneurial spirit. I established a career in marketing and fashion, which I eventually expanded into blogging when I lived in London. When I returned to South Africa I yearned to start a creative business again which I successfully did. My knowledge, years of blogging, marketing experience and creativity lead me to shape a brand focused on business development for creatives. People kept asking me for help and it developed from there.
What training did you receive to become a creative business consultant?
I studied a range of business and marketing focused subjects along with practical learning. The various jobs I have had in marketing and fashion lead to the business elements being nurtured. A great part of what I do is rooted in it being a vocation – I can honestly say I have a knack for it and I utilise that element often.
Why do you specifically focus on creative businesses?
I believe that creative business owners have incredible talent, but often need guidance and assistance with elements that are related to traditional business. I pair this thinking with their needs and bridge the gap to assist them specifically. My experience and expertise also lie within creative fields and it’s what I truly enjoy.
What does your job entail?
It’s a really vast role that spans over a variety of jobs so to speak. It requires objective thinking balanced with insight and research. The average day is a mix of tasks that ranges from admin through to working one on one with clients. Some of the tasks I am currently working on are assisting a client with preparing a press pack, teaching a few creative minds how to improve their blogging. Another client is getting help with her editorial calendar to really build her social media. I’m reviewing a website for a new business to ensure it’s truly the best it can be. Another task on the list is guiding a several newly established businesses on the next steps they need to take. Those of just a few of the things my job entails.
Please explain the courses that you offer. Can anyone attend even though they might not have a creative business?
The workshops are aimed at creative business owners in a variety of fields from photography and design to crafters or even bloggers. If you have your own business and want to learn and prosper, then the workshops are ideal for you. The topics range from social media to creative marketing ideas and there are two types of workshops – one for beginners and one for intermediates. The Intermediate Workshops are for those who are in the industry and on the right track, but would perhaps like step it up a notch. However, I often have creatives who attend who are bloggers or just creative in general and want to get more out of what they do. It’s a good foundation for creative thinking in general.
What aspect of your job do you find the most satisfying?
Each individual creative business owner that I guide brings me not only joy, but a sense of personal achievement and satisfaction. The ability to help people and to see them flourish is the greatest reward possible.
How vital is social media in the success of a creative business?
I believe it’s is exceptionally important as a communication tool, but you need not use every single platform out there. Having a well-rounded online presence is essential. I really enjoy guiding clients with every step of the social media and often do one on one lessons to help creatives get over their ‘social media stage fright’. Social media is a tool and therefore it’s useful for businesses... big or small.
How do you stay inspired?
I get out into the world and interact with other creatives. Travel, within South Africa and internationally is one of my absolute favourite ways to get inspired. I also enjoy observing others and the way that they go about their work.
I know that you love stationery. Where do you feed your obsession?
Pretty much any place that sells anything stationery related. I am always on the hunt (even when I’m not supposed to be). Of course Typo is always awesome! I also really like all the stationery knick-knacks at The Space.
Are you a coffee or tea person and where is your favourite coffee shop?
Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t drink coffee. Most people are really shocked when they hear that. I’m pretty good at rating cake though – so hopefully that makes up for it. I really enjoy a good Red Cappuccino and try them at various spots around Durban. I love enjoying a nice cup of tea in my peaceful office – there something so satisfying about the perfect mug.
I love to collect Blue Cornflower Corningware, are you a collector?
Over the years I have collected vintage brooches and clutch bags. Stationery is the big collection focus, but I am very good at actually using it and sharing it. I also always look out for interesting pencils and friends usually bring me one or two from their travels.
Being based in Durban you must know some hidden gems. Could you share 1 or 2 with us?
I find that Durban is a gem in itself and with blogging being so popular people share their personal favourites more readily. I think the Station Drive Precinct is damn nice, but I might be bias as my office is there. One hidden gem to check out is Adams Books in Musgrave Centre as they often have nice notebooks and creative books. I like The Ruby Orchard in Howick and Fenn & Ivy in Pietermaritzburg.
What apps/filters do you use to make your photos look so fabulous?
I simply always try to take my photos in good natural light. My motto for Instagram is ‘quality over quantity’. I like to take my time with photos – what’s the rush, nothing is truly instant anyway. My favourite filter is Valencia.
You mentioned on Twitter that you took part in Miss South Africa. Please tell me about it.
Oh goodness, you weren’t suppose to see that (*blushes*). Yes, I did indeed take part in 2005 if I can remember correctly. It was a really great experience. It gave me confidence because as a young teenager I was told that I would never be a model. I decided to enter Miss SA in my early twenties (regardless of the naysayers) and really felt that I proved them wrong as I made it to the semi-finals. I think it also taught me what I really wanted and that is to be a business woman, not a model. Plus, I still get to be in magazines, but the focus is on what I do rather than how I look and I really like that.
Nadia van der Mescht – Business development for creative entrepreneurs. Creatives can get in touch via email should they wish to find out more about her services or how she can help them.
Nadia is running one her popular Creative Business Workshops on the 29th August in Durban if you are in need of insight into social media and its purpose within your business.