Our Origin Story
If you’ve read our About page, our origin story goes a little something like this:
Rust was formed in the fiery depths of Mordor (okay, not really, we’re Australian) as a result of a budding idea, some serious inspiration and a desperate longing to do things our way. We wanted to start something that would help other creators bloom and make us happy at the same time.
But that is really only the tip of the colour coordinated iceberg.
We love startup stories as much as the next caffeine addict, and love learning how other businesses were built and WHY their founders decided to launch them into the world.
Naturally, we decided to get a piece of the pie (or rather, bake one) and deliver to you our very own startup story.
Be warned, it’s a pretty hefty piece, packed with soul searching, audience outreach and secret Pinterest boards.
Read below to hear from our founder, Viv, on the inspiration behind our brilliant biz and how painting on the floor and a trip to see the Foo Fighters set Rust alight.
Looking back, I can’t actually pinpoint an exact moment when I knew Rust needed to bloom.
Writing has always been a passion of mine, but I’d always pictured myself venturing down a more traditional path of a music journalist or author (still two things I would happily do today).
After a few years of not doing that, I landed a job at a design agency where I championed the copywriting and social media for the business and clients alike.
I’d had no formal training, but was a quick learner and liked to stay informed, so this cute little combo meant I gained momentum and confidence in my work quickly.
But it still wasn’t quite right.
Although I was working with businesses to develop website content and blog posts, they weren’t technically my clients. I had very minimal interaction with them and often found I struggled to grasp their brand’s voice (because it was rare to actually have a direct conversation with the owners/employees!).
Sure, this might be the norm and work exceptionally well for some businesses, but I craved personal connections and the opportunity to write for people who I knew and understood. I wanted to be able to sit down with my clients, have a cup of tea, catch up and then get into the good stuff (aka the work).
I love the idea of writing for others, and helping them boost their brands and voices through words, but the current situation I was in just wasn’t doing it for me.
I spent a few months mulling this over, and wondering what at 22-year-old could actually do to change anything, when it became pretty clear that I couldn’t – not there anyway. They had sculpted their business to suit their needs (which is completely fine), but such needs weren’t giving me the spark or excitement to wake up and head to work everyday.
Christmas time rolled around, and we suffered an unexpected loss in our close family. Having never seen death up close before really fucking shook me, and forced me to do a massive evaluation of my life and how I was spending it.
Pretty heavy stuff, but I like to hope that things happen for a reason (at least some do).
My little self assessment lead me back to a humble dream that I’d had for years: I wanted my own business.
[Really, the world should’ve seen this coming, because the Sims 2: Open for Business was legitimately my favourite game ever. I obsessed over that bloody thing, and spent way too many hours upskilling my Sims so they could be the best florists in all of Pleasantview.]
I then had a very therapeutic brainstorm session where I sat on the floor of my lounge room with some watercolour paints, and scribbled down all of the things I enjoyed and wanted out of my life.
The list went a little something like this:
- Own boss
- Book store
- Graphic Designer
- Interior Designer
- Making a difference
I spent a considerable amount of time laying on the floor deliberating said list. What could I do – now – that would involve some of the activities and jobs that I’d chosen?
I don’t remember the exact thought train, but I know it lead to copywriting and social media management for small (ideally female led) businesses.
It would allow me to write and educate, with the possibility for design and photography opportunities along the way. Creating this business would would not only help others, but provide a much needed creative outlet for myself, and one that I could make money from.
Oh, and I’d get to be my own boss.
A couple of weeks passed, and although life resumed as normal, internally I was obsessed. I would go to work and evaluate how I’d do things differently. I started trawling through Pinterest, suddenly enticed by images of certain moods and colour schemes. I was reading more and more startup stories and business books, and realising that hey, if they could do it, so could I.
Amidst the madness of the new year and returning to work and uni, my 3 day getaway to Brisbane arrived – and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Dad and I were flying down to see Foo Fighters, a band who we bonded over as I grew up and one we were yet to see live. We spent the trip visiting galleries and pubs and eating our way through the city.
We also had a lot of time to talk about work, so I decided to bring up my copywriting idea and see what he had to say.
My father is a very practical man, and knows a lot about a ridiculously broad range of subjects, and also happens to be pretty savvy when it comes to planning and strategy at work.
After explaining what copywriting actually is, and how launching this venture would be come with next to no startup costs, I was pretty darn pleased when he said it was a good idea.
I didn’t need my father’s approval, but knowing that an actual, experienced adult believed in me and believed in my business was a helluva confidence booster (and seeing Foo Fighters was pretty awesome too).
Phase 2 brought the fun stuff: choosing a name.
I got out my ‘Ideas’ notebook and turned it to a fresh page, and simply scrawled ‘Business Names’.
I wanted my biz to have beautiful branding right from the get go, and also have a cool name that I wouldn’t cringe at in 5 years time. Looking back, it was actually a massive decision to make, and one that I took pretty casually to begin with.
I wrote down everything.
Any colour, place, object or feeling that sounded pretty went on that list. I also jotted down a separate list of secondary names such as: Studio, Creative, Agency, Designs, etc. that could complement the first name (and offer some explanation as to what the business actually was).
I wanted my business name to feel as natural and ‘me’ as possible, whilst also have a cool persona for an audience to follow and clients to take seriously.
I narrowed it down to my top eight, and took to Instagram. I messaged a bunch of friends and family that were in my target market and asked them to choose from the list (partly so I could gauge what my audience actually liked, and partly because I couldn’t choose myself).
After a really close run between three names, I went with Rust. Not only does it represent one of my favourite colours in fashion and bedding right now, but it had this air of power and a certain magic connected to it. Like saying it would mean something – and sound right.
So Rust Creative was born.
Following this exciting revelation was the not so glam stuff: registering our business name, buying a website domain, securing social handles, setting up emails and so on.
I’ve had to learn a LOT in a really short space of time, but am also really darn proud of myself for choosing to learn rather than giving up and leaving it all in the Ideas book.
It’s also important to acknowledge that I have an incredibly long way to go.
I believe we never stop evolving and learning, which is a practice I apply to Rust everyday. It’s why we send you monthly recommendations with the books and podcasts that inspire us. It’s why we use our Instagram to share the beautiful work of others. It’s why we change our systems if we find something that works better.
We can’t claim to be the best, but we can always work towards being the best version of our business, which I will always choose to do.
P.S. I still have that messy list blu-tacked to my wall to this day, and plan to refer to it for a long time to come.
We hope this story wasn’t too long and rambly (who are we kidding – it was), and that you enjoyed this little insight into our brand.
And for all of those looking to start their own biz, all we can say is: just start.
Make a list, and then make another list that breaks down the first list. Write it all down, and celebrate the little things. And definitely take advantage of all of the free plans out there. That’ll save you a LOT.
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
AKA Our Ideal Client.
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. She KNOWS she has a purpose but needs a helping hand to uncover it.