Julie Ta from Akin Studio is a creative and strategic marketer who helps her clients gain a deep understanding of their business and how to bring their brand to life. As well as her marketing expertise, Julie is a creative stylist who shares her love of beauty and simplicity in the solutions she offers to clients.
Julie and I first worked together five years ago when I needed some help marketing my business. When I first engaged her, I hadn’t anticipated just how much value Julie would add, both to my business and to me personally. She is so much more than a marketing strategist. Julie’s a beautiful listener and she has a unique ability to really understand people. She made me feel seen and understood, which meant her insights and ideas about my business were thoughtful and aligned with what mattered most to me.
Julie helped me to untangle what felt like a confusing mix of service offerings and gave me clarity not only about how to market my business but about the way forward for my brand. I think you’ll love getting to know her and if you’re a small business owner, check out her special offer for Total Balance clients (noted at the bottom of the web page she created especially for us).
Can you tell us a little bit about your business and the clients you usually work with?
I’m a brand strategist, copywriter, social media content creator and digital marketer. I’ve been working in my business, Akin Studio, since 2016. From FMCG to boutique businesses, my clients are usually owners of eCommerce stores, startup brands or service providers. No matter their industry, the common thread that draws us to working together is their passion for what they do (differently), their heart-centred approach to serving customers, and our shared vision for their version of success.
What do you love most about your work?
Seeing the growth of my clients’ businesses, and their ability to realise their vision through a clear purpose and a good strategy. When they’re able to outsource, instead of juggling too many hats, they can focus on their zone of genius – and thrive. I love being a part of their journey and supporting them through my work, so they can live out their dream. On a personal note, I love the freedom and flexibility that working for myself grants. I’ve been fortunate to travel and bring my work with me. Lastly, because I’ve worked with many different businesses, I’m able to fuel my inquisitive side through learning about all types of industries and their unique ecosystems – I find it wildly fascinating.
Are you able to share your business (and or personal) values?
Because my work and life are so closely intertwined, I believe my business and personal values are one and the same. In no particular order…
Collaboration: drawing on your personal strengths to help one another
Freedom: being able to make purposeful choices without constraints
Balance: living in alignment with what’s most important
Dependability: being accountable and reliable to the people around me
Curiosity: discovering potential, always learning, and trying new things
Simplicity: living without excess, and appreciating the little things
What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting to start their own business?
From a mindset point of view: “Start before you’re ready.”
From a marketing point of view: “Set your foundations right”.
Having a brand strategy and marketing strategy in place before you embark on your business journey will give you the clarity, confidence and calmness you need to launch successfully.
Can you tell us about a project you’ve worked on recently that you have loved?
I’ve just wrapped a project for a newly launched brand of children’s eyewear. My lovely client initially approached me for copywriting services but quickly understood that the tone of voice and personality all stem from having a brand strategy in place. We had an amazing brand strategy session, where I deep dived into her target audience profiles, identified her unique points of difference and positioning, defined her key messages and brand statements and developed her brand tone of voice. Once I delivered the brand strategy document to her, it became crystal clear how her brand was going to be presented to the world. From there, I produced all of her website copy, email marketing and social media profile set-up. These elements ensure that her business launches with a standout, consistent brand presence from every marketing touchpoint.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Lately, a slow walk around my neighbourhood is all I need! I’ve recently relocated to the Yarra Valley, so it’s wonderful to have mountain views and the sound of birds all around me. It’s not unusual to see someone walk their horse on the footpath here – which has been quite amusing to me.
What is something new you’re learning at the moment?
I enrolled in a local pottery class a couple of years ago and I loved it so much I purchased a little pottery wheel to practice at home! After moving house, I’m slowly getting back into self-learning and experimenting with clay. I’m also in the process of managing some light renovations in my little cottage. This is something I’ve always dreamed of doing, so I’m excited to undertake a few DIY’s and learn new skills along the way.
How do you maintain a sense of balance/or stay grounded while working for yourself?
I feel like it’s a constant work in progress for me. I have a tendency to work longer hours than I should, at the expense of the time I need to recharge. I’m really organised in my day-to-day schedule, so I find that if it’s put in writing, I will make time for it. (Yes, this includes simple things like walking my dog and going somewhere new for lunch).
What advice would you offer your 20-year-old self?
This is a fitting question as I’m about to “depart” from my 20’s this year. Looking back a decade, I would say, there’s always an opportunity to grow and evolve, as long as you are open to change and have the intention to discover a new direction. Just be ready to welcome new possibilities.
What’s one (or more) change you hope to make in the world through your work?
My work primarily emboldens business owners to make a change in the world through their work. The change I hope to make is to instil confidence and clarity in the passionate founders and committed business owners who doubt themselves, despite being amazing at what they do. Sometimes, all you need is an outside perspective who can see-feel-understand your business in a way that you [deep down] know and believe it to be. I hope that through my purposeful insight into the “who, how, what and why”, more business owners can be truly proud of their brand.