INTERVIEW: Stacey Vergis, Fashion and Graphic Designer
When it comes to choosing a career, millennial’s are not nearly as limited as our parents were at the same age. Mum and dad could probably count on one hand the different career prospects that they were aware of – let alone what was available to them. But one of the coolest things about being a millennial is that the sky isn’t the limit. We can make money and create a life in more ways than ever before (I’ve entirely given up on explaining what a blogger is to my mum’s friends or how I earn money to my dad’s friends). But with opportunity also comes anxiety; too many options can be overwhelming.
My latest interview is with Stacey Vergis, a freelance fashion and graphic designer who, after spending two years as the Design & Digital Marketing Manager at Superette where she created some of their most sought-after garments, has recently moved to Thailand to discover an eclectic mix of creative talents.
You are a freelance fashion and graphic designer. Has that always been the goal? Or are you working towards an end goal like having your own fashion label or company?
To be honest I always thought I’d be some badass Art Director killing it in the advertising world. The end goal has changed multiple times for me over the last 10 years because I’ve always felt this overwhelming need to see and experience the world for more than four weeks of the year. I loved the idea of owning my own fashion label, until I realised that would mean I would have to choose between my passions. The end goal for me is to be able to combine my two favourite things, travel & design, into a sustainable lifestyle. I want to be able to work for who I want, whenever I want from wherever I want. Working remotely online as a Freelance Designer has given me the most amazing feeling of freedom and the best work/life balance I’ve ever experienced.
You spent a couple of years as the Design & Digital Marketing Manager at Superette. What was that experience like and how did your range of skills grow and develop in that role?
When I first started at Superette the Design & Marketing team was made up of myself and one other person, so if a fresh new idea came our way we just had to figure out a way to make it happen. Being thrown in the deep end really helped develop and broaden my skill set in a big way. I had always specialised in one field, but in this role it’s fair to say no two days were the same. One minute I’d be diving into analytics and the next I’d be meeting with suppliers or designing a t-shirt. Oh, you need me to create a printed PVC zip slide bag from concept through to production? Let me just figure that out real quick… That was how my days would often play out. I’ve always loved the fashion & lifestyle industry so working for one of New Zealand’s biggest players was an amazing experience.
You are now living in Thailand! Tell us a little about the ‘Digi-Nomad’ scene in Thailand, how did you find out about it and what drew you there as opposed to a more cosmopolitan creative hub like New York?
I use the term ‘Digital Nomad’ with caution because there are mixed ideas and opinions on the definition. To me it just means being able to live a location-independent lifestyle. I found out about this movement through YouTube, podcasts, blogs and friends who had already made the leap. At first I thought it was unrealistic and would remain a pipe dream but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. It’s a confronting feeling to start questioning whether everything you’ve ever worked towards is actually what you truly want. After months of researching and planning we (my partner and I) sold everything we owned and booked a one-way ticket to Thailand. There are so many reasons why we decided to start our journey in Chiang Mai. This place is arguably one of the most well known hubs for Digital Nomads because it ticks all the boxes. The standard of living is amazing, there’s a good mix of western and local culture, insanely good coffee and creative co working spaces. On top of that there’s a whole community of knowledge and support that you can access through regular meet ups. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s 30 degrees most days, everything costs a fraction of the price I’m used to and the food is mind-blowing!
What has been your favorite project to work on to date?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible brands over the years. Collaborating with Magnum ice creams, The Wolf gang and P.E Nation, creating a juice cleanse for Well+Good and designing the infamous ‘Super’ varsity tee for Superette have all been major career highlights. But my favourite project to date is an ongoing one, and that is defining my own brand identity (it has also been the most challenging!)
Being a freelancer poses its own set of challenges, as well as some beautiful rewards, what advice would you give other young creative freelancers?
Work Hard — Freelancing isn’t for the fainthearted. It’s hard, it’s scary and it’s more admin than you probably want to deal with. Be proactive and open to developing your skill set. The more you know, the more confident you will be.
Respect Relationships — Word of mouth can make or break a Freelancer so be real with your clients and think about the fact that you couldn’t do what you do without them.
Take (Calculated) Risks — Don’t try and be like anyone else, be authentic and original so you develop your own unique style. Don’t just think outside the square, forget about the square altogether.