Rachelle Saevil is the founder of branding and digital design studio Saevil Row. Originally from Toronto, Rachelle has lived in Paris, is now based in Sydney and her travels have spurred a string of clients from all over the world. Her latest pursuit, ‘Desk Side Chats’, stretches far beyond that of a traditional design agency and is a resource of actionable branding advice for business owners and creatives. In this interview we cover Rachelle’s unique insights when it comes to branding and how she consciously designed the life she wanted.
CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH YOUR DAY-TO-DAY?
I love this question because no two days are EVER the same. There are days where I’ll be on a client call at 6am with someone in North America and others where you’ll find me starting my day at 5:30am with a workout! However, I’ll always take our puppy Pinot (she’s a Hungarian Vizsla) for a morning walk before I head into the office for 10am.
We’ll usually start the day with a quick touch base between my project manager and other designers, so we’re all on top of the day’s creative. Our specialty is branding and online brand experiences, most of which service clients in the lifestyle space – think: fashion, wellness, beauty and interiors. So that could be designing a new brand from concept to execution or creating a website layout that not only looks beautiful, but works well.
Whatever the day brings, I still think it’s wild that we can be in one city and work with someone on the other side of the world – I love technology!
HOW DID YOU START OUT? WERE YOU ALWAYS IN THE WORLD OF DESIGN?
I was always in the design world. In fact, I got my first hit of design watching that movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson. He was a creative director for an ad agency and there was just something about the big thinking and creation that I loved.
I then went to school for Advertising and Graphic Design, landed an internship at a top Women’s magazine in Toronto and started my career there.
While my path looks clear from where I am now, it wasn’t always like that. However, looking back, I can see how each experience has given me the tools to succeed in exactly what I’m doing today!
YOU RECENTLY LAUNCHED A NEW IGTV CHANNEL CALLED ‘DESK SIDE CHATS’ WHERE YOU SHARE BUSINESS TIPS, INTERVIEWS AND ACTIONABLE BRANDING ADVICE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS AND CREATIVES. WHAT’S THE GOAL BEHIND THE SERIES?
I’ve been wanting to do something different that wasn’t just focused on design and that’s how Desk Side Chats came about. Real, actionable tips and discussions that help other entrepreneurs in their business journey. While I work with so many different clients at different stages of their business, I was noticing a trend that they felt was lacking in their immediate networks. The need for an inside look or a helping hand throughout the early stage business journey is there and I want to provide that in a fun and informative way, through video!
As I mentioned, it will be business focused, not just branding, but that will certainly take a spotlight as that’s my sweet spot. I can’t wait for what’s coming and think you should do an epi with me 🙂
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU SEE BUSINESSES MAKING WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR BRAND?
Not having a clear idea of who their target market is. I think this is one of the things that is overlooked, especially in the early stages. If you don’t have a clear idea who you’re trying to appeal to, you’ll have an even harder time connecting your brand to people who will ultimately buy your product/service.
The solution is quite simple – define one single person who is your ideal target and get to know them like they’re your bff.
IN AN OVER-SATURATED DIGITAL WORLD, YOU FOCUS ON CONNECTING TO PEOPLE ON A HUMAN LEVEL. CAN YOU SPEAK TO THIS?
It’s similar to what I mentioned about target market. I know who we attract, so it’s easy to reach them on a level that makes them feel heard and connected. Above all, we do that authentically. We’re emotional beings and at the end of the day, we want someone to understand our needs and know we can count on them.
I guess you can say we take that approach when it comes to our clients. Connection for us is a defining pillar and why our clients come back to us time and time again.
IN TERMS OF CREATING AN ENGAGING PERSONAL BRAND, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS AND CREATORS?
A personal brand can be your greatest asset and in all honesty, we’re all personal brands to an extent. We all have the power to influence and I think having strong messaging behind that is essential.
My tips for creating an engaging personal brand are:
- Clarity – Have a clear vision of who your brand is and what you stand for. Clearly define your values and brand idea, so nothing gets washed away.
- Consistency – Nothing says a strong brand than one that’s consistent every single time. Every touch point should be cohesive and relate back to your brand, always.
- Courage – Owning your brand, unapologetically shows the world you’re ready for this, so have the courage to put it out there and be the truest version of your personal brand.
WHAT ARE THE MOST REWARDING AND CHALLENGING THINGS ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER?
I could answer ‘everything’ for both of those questions – ha!
I absolutely LOVE empowering clients with their biggest business asset – their brand. Seeing it enter real life is so rewarding, whether it’s window vinyls or physical products, I love witnessing that milestone.
On the other hand, I can never shut off, so work is ALWAYS on my mind and I’ve been burnt out more than I’d like to admit.
THE MOST VALUBLE THING YOUR CAREER HAS TAUGHT YOU?
Oh this is a goodie! I’d say that the answers already lay within. It’s so easy to doubt yourself or get caught up in what other people are doing, but your true calling is deep within and waiting to be ignited, if you just trust that.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN CONSCIOUSLY DESIGNING THE LIFE YOU WANT?
100%! Life by design is all about creating different aspects to make a whole. To me, I’ve defined what I value in both my personal and business life and I carve out the space to ensure I’m attending to that. I love the morning walks with my dog and I really enjoy cooking dinner at the end of the day, so I schedule my work days to accommodate that.
I’ve also implemented a new work structure, where we’re 10am-4pm Tues-Thurs at the studio and the rest remote, as ‘flexibility’ is a core value for us.
When you allow space in between your day, you allow the magic to happen.
HOW DO YOU STAY AUTHENTIC TO YOURSELF?
Integrity. I really value this for myself and for the work we produce, so it’s woven into everything I do and stand for. While it can be hard to stay focused when there are so many external factors (looking at you, Instagram!) I can easily put myself in check to ensure I’m showing up as the best me.
YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS OUT OF LA PORTE SPACE – POSSIBIBLY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OFFICE SPACES I HAVE EVER VISITED! HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR WORKING SPACE TO YOU?
I absolutely love the space we’re in as it’s almost vital to have an inspiring and ‘open’ feeling environment. I spent too long blurring the lines between work and home when I worked out of my living space and to have that separation about all is really important. With that said, while I love having a physical space, the nature of the business is quite remote and I wouldn’t change that. Although now when I travel, I always make sure there’s a beautiful café nearby to work out of!
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM LIVING ALL OVER THE WORLD?
While it’s hard jumping around, especially in your late 20s/early 30s, there’s no place like home. Which is where I’m getting at – it’s always there. Each one of those moves were risky, but I knew that if all else failed, I still had ‘home’ to go to. If a decision makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s usually because you’re being pushed outside of your comfort zone, which is truly where growth lies. For me, my biggest lesson has been risk it and take the fall, because in the end it will be worth it all.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE FUTURE THAT EXCITES YOU MOST?
I NEVER thought I’d be saying this, but the unknown. I’ve been running Saevil Row for 5 years in 2020 and I can’t wait for the next evolution of it. I’m working on a few things, including another business and I can’t wait to see that blossom into something beautiful.