We've only got love heart eye emojis for Bianca Cash. The Melbourne based creative works a day job as a graphic designer while managing a side hustle producing the diary/planner of your dreams. Cash's iconic Datekeeper hits the most delicious sweet spot of function and form. The cleverly designed diary pulls together your week of appointments, to-do lists and moments of gratitude, with lush colour, thoughtful layouts and the cutest stickers of all time. We caught up with the woman behind the desktop wonder to get some tips on organising creative minds, (yes, it is possible!) motivation, and her MVP stickers.
Hi Bianca, First things first - what do you make?
I design a Datekeeper/diary/planner! While I don't physically make each diary (not a bookbinding wizard, unfortunately,) I design everything from the inside layout, to illustrating the stickers, to packaging.
Your Datekeepers empower us to keep organised and on top of things, as a creative, a slashie, and an entrepreneur, what role does organisation play in your day to day life?
Organisation is so important when juggling an almost full-time day job and small business. I use my Datekeeper to make to-do lists.
Usually, I use the 'things to do section' but during this lockdown with minimal forms of socialising, I've been creating a to-do list within each day. I always put a square as my dot point and draw a big tick in it once each task is complete.
I also love using Asana but a handwritten to-do list gets me really excited - it's almost like a ritual.
It has to be said though, there are days and weeks where I don't have any to-do lists because life ain't perfect.
Did you study? What did you want to be when you grew up?
I studied a Diploma of Graphic Design at Swinburne. I started third year Comm Design but at the time I was pursuing a lot of freelance work so I decided to continue with that.
I've always been very interested in art and creativity, though. As a child, I wanted to be a primary school art teacher when I grew up. Seems kinda fitting and to be honest, I still would love to teach kids art.
When was that 'Ah-ha' moment, when you realised there was a business opportunity in helping people get organised?
Ooh good question! I'm actually not 100% sure when that moment happened but I think it was probably in my third year of producing the Datekeepers.
I think after having done them for a couple of years, I really started to hone in on creating a diary that was exactly what I wanted in a diary, personally. And by the third year, I was really stoked with how everything came together - the diary itself but also the packaging and the story behind it. With being a designer, I love pretty things, so creating something beautiful was a must but equally, it was really important that it was a helpful and useful tool.
Sometimes being a creative isn't always synonymous with being organised. Do you have any organisation tips for us?
Yes - so true! As previously mentioned, I love a 'to-do' list! Write it all down and even write it down when you've completed it - ticking it off is just the best feeling.
Focus on one thing at a time - my mind can get easily muddled and easily distracted. ONE. THING. AT. A. TIME. Still very much learning this.
What role does colour play in your brand? What colours are you drawn to?
Colour plays a huge role with my brand.
Over the past diary season (including this very soon to be season) I've had the Datekeeper available in four colours.
Honestly, one of the hardest decisions is picking the colours. I love doing it but it's such a process. There's a really fine line between selecting four colours that look incredible together but also stand out individually. At the end of the day, a customer only needs one and the ideal is to sell-out of all four colours - so they all need to be a standout in their own right.
And within that decision, I have to make sure I'm meeting the different customer groups - such as the millennial pink lovers! I need to have a pinkish colour in every year or they'll be really unhappy.
Colour also plays into the stickers and packaging hugely. Each Datekeeper comes in a hardcover box. I have always had this box in the same colour for all four diaries, so that's another big consideration - making sure all four look great in the one box colour. It's a wonderful, messy, up and down process (insert emoji with sweat on brow x 10 - the end goal is to get to the love heart eyes emoji.)
Your Datekeepers come with some seriously cute stickers. What are your most frequently used stickers?
Oo definitely the 'water plants' and plant stickers because have a collection of plants that demand to be watered.
I love the love heart sunnies because they are just damn cute.
And the undies! Oh and Hazel the whippet sticker - have to include our sweet little skinny minnie doggo.
It's been five months since Melbourne first locked down amidst this global pandemic. How have the restrictions impacted the way you work?
Yes - it's definitely had an impact.
I work four days as an in house graphic and textile designer for a Melbourne baby sleepwear company. I've been working from home for them since March.
While there have been ups and downs - such as communication etc, it has had a lot of positives such as no time commuting, meaning more time for me to invest in my business and also sleep!
I've worked from home as a full-time freelancer in the past and also currently work from home for all things Datekeeper related - so this hasn't changed for me. Though my passion and excitement has definitely dwindled more than usual. We all have those moments of not 'feeling it' creatively, but COVID-related restrictions have definitely given me so many more of these moments.
My little business has been impacted by COVID-19 in several ways too. Manufacturing costs are much higher. A lot of my stockists in Melbourne and Victoria have been closed for months so orders have definitely taken a dive this coming diary year. But I told myself that this year, the goal for the Datekeepers were to produce them and break even - they were my musts. So I made this season as risk-free as possible with ordering smaller and cutting costs with extra features (such as not going forward with new additions I had hoped to add prior to this pandemic.) To be honest, I feel good about how I have approached this coming season. It's nice to feel this given the current climate of life right now.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
At present during COVID times, I usually start with a tea, some toast and a morning meeting (my day-job.) I usually work 9am - 5pm. But my workday for my own business looks very different. I'm often most creative late at night... which I'm finding to be harder to do the older I get. Probably sounds rather funny but staying up late is so much easier in your 20's.
What are some things you need to have around you to feel inspired and productive?
I'm quite sensitive when it comes to sensory-processing (also known as HSP,) which means the space I'm in can have a huge effect on how I work.
I love natural lighting and a clean and tidy space*. I love using a humidifier and also have an oil diffuser streaming out lovely fresh scents.
Sometimes I have music on and sometimes I need a quiet space.
*my space is definitely not tidy 100% of the time.
What are some of your favourite self care practices and mood boosters?
I'm really bad at this and I know it's something that humans should just do naturally but I can be a bit of a camel when it comes to consuming water.
So whenever I'm drinking water, I feel like I'm doing something great for myself, as sad as that sounds haha - what an achievement! The girl is drinking water.
I'm fairly obsessed with skincare, so this is a huge self-care practice that I really enjoy. I usually do this while listening to a podcast.
Music is a great mood booster too. I have a working playlist I put together. Here's the link!
And writing a good to-do list and completing tasks really boosts my mood :)