If you knew what you wanted to be when you were in high school, you were one of few. If you knew what you wanted to be when you were at Uni, you were one of the lucky ones. If you’re like me and still to this day have no idea, then you're not alone.
At Summersite, we have spent years supporting influencers and our production crew with getting them amazing experiences and connecting them with brands, just because we know how hard it is trying to make it in this industry let alone any. We recognised that there was a generation of up and coming creatives that needed this support too and have developed our own bespoke program called Summer Seekers which does exactly this. Our ultimate goal is to provide everyone with the tools to be the best at their job and so we are always supporting causes that are doing the same thing.
Enter Hustle, created by Byron Bay girls Popped Creative, Hustle is a series of events hosted at Thom Gallery in Byron Bay. Invited to speak are industry leaders sharing their big ups and fuck ups, designed to make us all feel a little less alone knowing that we aren't the only ones that fucked up. There were 5 guest speakers on the night to share their failures and fortunes. Julia Ashwood, ex channel 9 host and founder of The Vista; Andrew Crawley, co-founder of Jack Media; Lizzy Abegg, one half of Spell and the Gypsy Collective; Jim Hearn, author of High Season and Ali Klinkenberg, editor in chief on Monster Children.
There were a lot of really important takeouts for me but one thing of note was that there's something most of the speakers had in common. They left Bondi for Byron. It’s no secret that Byron Bay has become a thriving town for creatives moving from the big city smoke to live the ultimate work/life balance. We all ‘sacrificed’ our long boozy lunches for surf breaks and yoga sessions. So I googled the word Hustle to refresh myself on some definitions and related to one the most.
“a state of great activity. The hustle and bustle of the big cities"
I’ve been wondering since, with all these incredible entrepreneurial businesses in town and all these inspirational people around, do we still Hustle the same way we did living in the city? The answer is yes. You never lose the Hustle. The Hustle is something that forms as a result of motivation. Motivation to create something and creation is about making something that has never existed before. There’s no good or bad in creativity. There are just people who are Hustling it better than others.
Each speaker was briefed on sharing their stories of how they Hustled to where they were without sugar-coating it. There were a few swear words shared, begrudgingly by some, but mostly there was a lot of humility. In this world today, where filters mask the very identity of our brands, Popped have created an environment where it’s safe to take off the layers and feel vulnerable. They promote the very idea that not every story is perfect, although our Instagram might say otherwise.
For one of the speakers, Julia Ashwood, it was about admitting that what they thought was their dream was not going to come true but realising that it never was really her passion anyway. At the time, a heartbreaking truth that led her to become who she is today. “We’re all defined by what we say no to”. That one will continue to etch its way into my brain for a long time. To remember who we are because of where we’ve come from.
Jim Hearn, author of High Season, talked about the idea of addiction and how that brought him to where he is today. About how addiction is essentially excess energy and how we can repurpose that energy into a creative outlet. How we deal with this surplus energy is critical to our happiness. He talks about how transgression is defined by stepping over limits and crossing boundaries and that bad things happen, but those things don't exist outside of what we think of as an experience. Basically, he’s very, very intelligent and had me thinking of all sorts of crazy ideas that I've bookmarked for later contemplation. One thing I can say is that he gave me a sense of acceptance. I somehow didn’t feel like my head was as crazy as I first thought when I listened to him.
One of the most surprising speakers was Lizzy Abegg. Some might look at Spell and the Gypsy Collective and think that their business has been a perfect model since conception, but it hasn’t been. Lizzy, sister of Spelly, had no troubles admitting it wasn’t always easy. What started off as a humble market stall then evolved into an inspirational Tumblr account and when Instagram took off in 2014 so did Spell. This rapid growth led Spell’s systems to collapse and they decided to adopt a “better, not bigger” approach, concentrating on the inner health of the business. It’s only now in 2017, that they have just been able to drop this motto after years of working on refining their business strategies and are now partnering with companies to help them reach their 2025 goal of being a sustainable and ethical brand.
I think I wouldn't be alone in saying that it’s so easy to judge people without knowing them. What this event made me realise is that even though you might have 1 million followers or 100 followers we are all still human and make mistakes. It’s how we deal with those fuck ups that make up who we are today and most importantly it’s about sharing them. Sharing them so that everyone knows you’re not hustling alone.
Words // Daisy J Crawford
Lead Image // Unsplash