The Design Kids
Meet Frankie, the creative crusader currently making dents across the universe. She’s the mastermind behind The Design Kids, a platform developed to celebrate and connect the next generation of creatives with the professional industry and beyond. Armed with plenty of charm, smarts, and the all-important Aloha spirit, she effortlessly blends business with pleasure, travelling the globe to meet new friends and make cool sh*t happen. Get lost in her adventure and embrace the joy.

Describe your self in one word.

Tell us a bit about your day job?
Day job is a bit strong – I’m a big believer in blurring work and play. I run a design platform to educate students about the graphic design industry. Not an talent agency, not a recruiter, and not a blog, we sit somewhere in the middle!

What’s your earliest memory?
Flying to Ibiza as a 3 year old, showing my granny how to buckle her seat belt like a boss. That, and nearly drowning in the pool 3 days later!

What type of Kid were you?Creative, grubby, nature lover. I grew up in a tiny village of 800 people in the New Forest in England, surrounded by wild horses and lots of green. You had to amuse yourself!

What posters did you have on your walls?
None, but the walls were yellow, orange, red and pink! And then turquoise. And then white. I was really into interior design as a 14yr old (ever seen Changing Rooms, circa 1997?!) but then I discovered graphic design.

Did or do you get into trouble for daydreaming?
I was a pretty hard working kid but I definitely daydream now, thinking up ridiculous ideas and then persuading people around me to join in. The latest one is a two year TDK roadtrip around the USA, in a painted RV from 1977! And it’s happening : )

Did you have a hero growing up?
My Grandad. He’s 85, worked one job his whole life at KPMG as an accountant, ended up a Partner in London, but he’s the poster boy for rags to riches, hard work and just getting on with it. He’s awesome! And what’s really cool is even though he doesn’t have an Instagram account or know what a blog is, he totally gets what I’m trying to do.

How do you relax?
Getting on a train/plane/bus to a faraway place with headphones (hello daydreaming) or reading a book. My number one possession is my travel hammock. So great.

What’s your favourite smell and why?
Freshly baked bread! Reminds me of going on ski trips when we were kids, driving across France all night in dad’s van and waking up in a French village somewhere to the smell of baked goods. Mmmmmm!

Where’s the most enjoyable place in the world?
Right now, Tasmania! I’ve been floating for a long time, I’ve lived in 9 cities in 20 houses in 13 years and was definitely time to just put my bag down somewhere. I found a steal of a house in Tasmania end of last year when I went over for the AGDA Awards – a 1960’s fishermans shack built by a guy called Fred, 3 bedroom wooden house right on the water, an hour from Hobart for $130k. It’s gorgeous! I’m now in the process of turning it into a design b&b, and I built a cabin the back yard for me to come home to. Heaven.

Who’s the funniest person you know and why?
My friend Tom Hatcher, we went to school together in England. I’m actually seeing him tonight! He’s just got a great British sense of humor and you can guarantee any time spent with him will involve not being able to breathe and tears rolling down your face!

What’s more important to you, getting it right or making mistakes?
I’m going to go with both. I think getting started is the most important thing, just get it out there. Make it the best you can at the time so you’re really giving it a chance to succeed but don’t be precious if it’s not working. I have a sticking rate of about 85% – on the other 15, you learn, move on. It’s ok! I’m always honest with people and say we’re going to give this a go and I think others respect that. It’s actually one of the reasons I live in Australia not England, it’s a different culture of just giving it a go. Love the underdog. If you try, you’re a winner and if it actually works, you’re a winner!

How do you stay happy?
By being on the move. Moving helps me think, thinking brings me clarity and ideas, and ideas I can translate into the world and help people. I’m happiest working, if you can call it that. Like I said, it’s a blurry line. Last night I booked my flights to the USA but the cheapest was via Iceland. So… I’m just going to work from Iceland next week and get my connecting flight later. Days will be spent laptop on lap, madly coordinating AUS-NZ-USA businesses. Evenings will be spent hunting out the blue lagoons and trying to spot the northern lights! It’s hard to call it work when it’s this much fun : )

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world who would it be?
Sir Ken Robinson – if you’re one of the few people that haven’t seen his TED talk, do it. I think education needs to go along way and I’d love to work with that guy. Designers have the ability to think outside the box, and in any industry. Maybe change the world. From my hammock. Ha!

Tell me one book, movie, blog, recipe, holiday destination or anything that could change my life?
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Although I definitely have my own spin on it. He sets up passive income streams that only require 4 hours to manage, then he spends his time as he wants – traveling, learning to tango, kickboxing. I’ve used it to free up my time to work more, which sounds crazy but I love my job.

It’s also heavily about lifestyle design – how you want to live. Some people when I tell them what I do say “living the dream!”. Well it’s my dream, not THE dream. I doubt many people would stick my life out for more than a week given the chance to trade. Launching The Design Kids in NZ this year meant traveling around beautiful scenery for 10 weeks, going on boats, helicopters to glaciers, and lots of fun things, but it was also sleeping in airports, hitchhiking the whole trip, sleeping by the side of the road, owning one outfit, going to a million meetings and working from laundry mats/libraries/cafes at any chance we got! It’s not for everyone. Thank god for Yve (Johnson), my sidekick. She’s incredible! One minute she’s googling which side roads are best for getting rides, the next minute writing all 13 newsletters in time for the deadline from the back of a truck! It’s certainly an adventure, but it’s not at all glamorous.

What’s your definition of happiness?
Complete freedom to live your live how you choose.

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