Behind the Biz: Racquel Helmers
After a brief hiatus from the blog we’re back! Did you miss us?
This week, we’d like to introduce you to wordsmith, Racquel Helmers. Raquel is a wonderful writer, runs the ever evolving Rackers & Co Studio and is a mental health advocate. We’d been following Racquel for a while when she approached us to be interviewed for an assignment she was working on – so it was only fair we returned the favour and shared her wisdom with you all!
Who’s That Girl?
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 24, a student at University of Canberra studying a Bachelor of Writing and I run a small biz. I never considered myself an artist until this year. I bloody love dogs, books and tea (but I’m also an avid coffee drinker – a weird hybrid). I also get told all the time that I’m really weird.
How has 2018 been for you so far?
Tumultuous! I have had a test with my mental health over the past year but I’m actually finally on a path to helping myself for the first time. It’s also been one of my best though, as I self published my first poetry ebook, launched my jewellery line and went to New York for the first time!
What was it like living in Canberra?
Mmmmm….. haha, I absolutely adore the city because it’s quiet and I know it so well. I sometimes find it so hard because it feels like I know everyone – it’s a small town in the form of a city. Our culture is growing which is amazing; so much great coffee around now and such incredible support for small business. It will always be home.
What is home to you?
Books and dogs, wherever that is.
What was your professional background prior to launching Rackers?
I was studying to be a teacher! It wasn’t until I was halfway through my degree that I realised it just wasn’t for me. I moved to Sydney and worked in direct sales for ten months but that really, really wasn’t for me so I made the grueling decision to move back home and go back to Uni. Best decision I’ve ever made.
Did you complete any formal studies or are you self taught?
The only studies I’ve completed are for my writing, but that’s all for fine tuning and growing as a writer. I have self taught graphic design and all artistic avenues I follow. I learn mostly by just doing.
What inspired you to choose a path in creative writing and curating an online store?
I have always wanted to be a writer. Like, always. I used to create a newspaper in our cubby house with two of my siblings when I was younger and I started a blog two years ago when I just wanted to get my voice out there. The store was a completely random and fast decision but I’m so glad I jumped into it. I had people interested in my designs and hand lettering so I figured I could just offer my services and art online. What did I have to lose?
How would you describe your writing style?
That is such a hard question! My best writing comes from my feelz. I like to help people by writing about what I’ve been through; so it’s almost a self-helpy poetic prose? Haha.
You’ve designed a wonderful collection of trinkets and gifts (especially loving on the self care box!) what inspired you to launch your store?
Oh thank you so much! I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore. It gave me incredible anxiety to have a boss and I genuinely hated it. I thought I’d try it out and hope for the best.
Do you have a favourite/most memorable project?
My poetry ebook was my favourite personal project. I sold way more than I ever thought (I genuinely thought I’d sell about five copies to those closest to me). It all came about when I was in a really bad depressive state but something wonderful came out of it.
What was it like launching your own creative studio?
Aaaamazing. It honestly still gives me jitters to think that I have a space and an audience to create for.
What is your point of difference from other writers and makers?
I think it’s the personality I portray through my work. I put so much love and soul into it (not saying others don’t, obviously) but it just makes me feel at home to be creating and I think my pieces show that. They’re very me.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out in the writing and design fields?
Trial and error! Honestly, my first prints I started to sell compared to now and crazy different, simply because my art just progressed. I didn’t try to perfect, I’d just put it out there and see the feedback. If you don’t trust your writing just yet, get someone to help you edit; make some writer friends, reach out through social media, their opinions are invaluable.
What is the best part about running your own biz?
Freedom! It just feels so right. Making at my own pace, listening to podcasts or music or watching some Netflix. Being able to have a day off at your own accord without anyone else to answer to.
And the worst/most challenging?
Money haha. I’m not at a stable enough stage yet to be able to pay myself a wage so it’s hard to figure out where to put the money and also put food on the table – but that’s the risk to take.
How do you use/interact with copywriting in your day to day business life? Do you use it at all?
I’ve done a few projects with bloggers and their social medias but unfortunately copywriting doesn’t seem to be my jam. I have so much admiration for copywriters; there’s a bit of a bad rap that comes with it, often people think it’s boring work but I think it’s amazing to use words to connect businesses with people. A lot of the time, though, my writing when it comes to my social media is just whatever is on my mind at the time. Not particularly professional.
What’s something that people don’t see/realise that you do (the nitty gritty, behind the scenes stuff)?
The time put into things! It’s honestly like they see the end product and think it took me about two seconds. Even poems; you write what comes to your head and often it doesn’t make sense until you edit and edit again. There’s also all the admin, money, tax, packaging and whatnot that comes with having a business.
And of course: what inspires you?
Other writers, books and nature. My best writing is done when I’m travelling. Also, people who go for what they want with reckless abandon.
How do you take your tea (or coffee)?
Earl grey tea & Almond flat white
Fave coffee shops/cafes at home
Cannons Googong does the best coffee near home & it’s run by our closest family friends so that’s a bonus. In Canberra my favourite would be The Grounds at Uni of Canberra.
Go to outfit
Pointy toed black boots, black dress & denim jacket.
Publishing my poetry ebook!
Coffee from Cannons, a really good book & my dogs.
Casefile!!! SO obsessed with True Crime & Mamamia Outloud. Favourite books would be Harry Potter (I read it every year), Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, all things written by Cecelia Ahern, Kate Atkinson and Jodi Picoult. My all time fave book is If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern.
Ultimate travel destination
Omg, hard! I absolutely adore Paris but New York stole my heart when I went there.
We hope you’re loving this interview series as much as we are! We are curious in nature, and very much enjoy learning the ins and outs of business and start up stories from other female entrepreneurs.
If you have another wonderful lady in mind that you’d like us to interview, drop a comment below or straight to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until the next brew,
Rust Creative helps women in their twenties fast-track finding their purpose. Through 1:1 coaching, group programs and specialised resources, we offer women clarity and direction so that they can ENJOY the most exciting decade of their lives. And tea, always tea.
The Rust Woman
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She's a savvy twenty-something looking for a safe space to he heard and supported. She's confident that she can achieve her goals, but she doesn't know how she'll get there – yet. Sshe KNOWS she has a purpose but needs a helping hand to uncover it.