Jac Travers is someone who doesn’t follow the crowd. Her makeup and styling business was born from a desire to help women balance the push and pull of professionalism vs creative expression. She’s passionate about the promotion of individuality – and someone who truly walks her talk.
Most recently, Jac launched a new arm of her business in her hometown of Canberra. It’s what she calls ‘not normal networking’ where Jac brings together creatives and hobbyists who want to meet like-minded people in a supportive and friendly environment.
I have loved working with Jac. She’s warm and courageous and funny and she has a genuine passion to help both men and women embrace their own uniqueness. I hope you enjoy our interview and after reading it, you feel a little more inspired to unapologetically be yourself.
Can you tell us a little bit about your two businesses?
I would love to! My main business is Maverick Creative Academy (MCA) and a branch of that business is a not normal networking event called Maverick Creative Connections (MCC).
As an internationally accredited and published makeup artist as well as a personal stylist in a previous life, I use MCA to teach women how to do their makeup and feel confident in their own skin again. I run monthly challenges on Facebook, as well as face-to-face sessions, teaching short courses at the local TAFE (we call it CIT in Canberra), and I also help other community organisations with personal presentation workshops for women returning to work and the like. It is incredibly rewarding to help women reconnect with their value and worth again through appearance. There is strength in owning your look.
MCC is not normal networking because networking sucks (just being honest here). It was born out of dissatisfaction with current offerings for networking in Canberra. I went through a very judgemental and demoralising experience at one particular event which led me to search for events specific to the beauty or creative industry, to which I found none. As a result, I created one – I mean, why not, right?
Each event is themed and hosts a Q&A panel with 3 local creatives, a workshop to apply to learnings from the panel and good ol’ fashioned fun. I am thrilled to be kicking it off in February. It is going to be a memorable experience!
What do you love about having a side-hustle?
I think first and foremost it allows me to be who I am. I’m the chick with the crazy hair. I’m the one who will think outside the box. I am that person who fiercely believes that everyone has their own unique blend of personality. Pursuing a creative side hustle is a way for me to express that and encourage self-acceptance in others.
Secondly, it provides me a connection to my mother.
I lost her to cancer at the age of 12. She was the one who taught me how to sew, to draw, to learn beyond the structure of the classroom and to love my family.
She was someone who had a lot of ingenuity, creativity and hustle. She was unapologetic about who she was as a person and that confidence was magnetic. Whilst I may not have known her for a super long time, being a creative is what we have in common and I hold on to that dearly.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome while taking on these new projects that you feel proud of?
I have a real problem with perfectionism and holding things back from the world until they are perfect. As a result, I hold myself back because I have minimal output. No output means no growth. No growth means a dying business and so on. It can be crippling at times because of a fear of judgement around what I produce – is it good enough? Is it professional enough? Is it modern enough?
Since identifying this tendency through business coaching, I have been able to recognise when it is happening and take action to counteract it. Such going live with the MCC website. I built it. It’s not perfect. But I can tweak and improve upon it as we go, the important thing is that it is out there, and people can find it.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I am devouring Shannon Mattern’s Pep Talks for Side Hustlers podcast right now. It has been great to help me focus, make small but impactful changes, as well as feeling like I made a new friend! She focuses on web design businesses, but the concepts are fairly universal.
What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting to go into their own startup?
Make sure you have a support network. Life is hard as it is, and then you throw in running a business and all the challenges and complexities that come along with it – some you never could have anticipated either! It’s tough. But if you have a support network, you will be able to weather those storms because someone will be holding the rudder whilst you fix the sail. For me, family especially – I cannot begin to describe the difference I have seen and felt in building my business with the support of my husband, my sisters and my sister-in-law. In the words of U2, “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own.”
Can you tell us a bit about your purpose – in business and/or life?
I find that life and business are intrinsically linked. I can tell when something I am doing in the business isn’t aligned with my life purpose and vice versa – because it’s a life suck! If it is aligned, then I am driven and focused.
My life purpose is to create a flexible and free lifestyle for my family due to actions that enable women and creatives to take their power back through attitude, appearance and individuality.
I want to be the example to my kids (when they pop out), my nieces and my nephews that you can be who you are, do what you love and be successful regardless of the expectations others have for you.
There is a Hall & Oates song that says, “Do what you want girl, but be what you are. There ain’t no right or wrong way, Just a play from the heart … So do what you want to do, But be what you are.”
I like to think the business is an example of being true to me!