Justine Bloome: Founder of The Village Agency

Justine Bloome - founder of The Village Agency

Our first interview this week we chat with Justine Bloome, founder of The Village Agency a collective of marketing and communications experts. Justine is a speaker and a trainer and in 2012 has presented and hosted workshops with audiences at events such as the Creative³ Forum as one of four “Disruptive Entrepreneurs”, TEDxSouthbankWomen, FUNNEL and more.

I am a firm believer that collaboration is the key to making ideas happen and that it’s this collaboration that makes the idea stronger, better and more innovative.”

In amongst all of this, Justine sits on the Media & Marketing Advisory Committee to The Salvation Army (Southern States), the organising committee for Social Media Club Melbourne and created Meet & Eat, a culinary club for conversationalists, hosting events for likeminds to meet over a great meal.

What are you working on right now? 

The Village is in a really interesting and exciting place right now.  We have some great clients we’re collaborating with daily – such as MAdE EstablishmentIgnite Media Brands,MIISHKAcriticoneThe Social Studio, along with personal brand such as Shane Delia and Sally Joseph –  plus I’m also looking at the next evolution of the business and how we can scale our virtual structure to service more clients and embrace more freelancers as “Villagers”.  It’s an exciting time here at The Village.

How do you make ideas happen?

To be honest, I am not sure I am the one that makes them happen!

I have a hundred ideas a week, and if left to my own devices, I’d be off looking at the next shiny, new thing every other minute.  That’s initially why I created The Village.  I am a firm believer that collaboration is the key to making ideas happen and that it’s this collaboration that makes the idea stronger, better and more innovative.  At The Village, we very much lean towards the Disney model for creative thinking, I find that a really interesting and beneficial, particularly when working virtually.

What does your typical day look like?

I thrive on variety and – to a point – creative chaos as well.  But if I had to pick a ‘typical’ day, it would start around 5.45am when I get up to do Qi Gong either outside or just in my living room.  Then it’s get-ready-get-my-son-to-school kinda chaos, sometimes followed by a session with my personal trainer or Yoga.  I like to get my exercise and meditation done in the morning, almost like a reboot of my brain, ready for the day ahead.

Then it’s the work day – which is everything from client meetings, writing strategy, curating a creative team for a project, kick-off meetings for new projects, speaking to new clients about pitches or estimates, being on location for shoots or events, preparing for a speaking gig or a workshop, reviewing plans, work and reports from Village teams, presenting work to clients…. and trying to remember to eat well and drink 8 glasses of water amongst it all!  I pick my son up from school and do a couple more hours work before I down tools for a few hours for dinner with my son or I attend client / work events or a night out with friends.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

You need to have super amounts of self-esteem and resilience because you will doubt your decision at least once a week for the first two years.”

Gosh, so many…! You need to have super amounts of self-esteem and resilience because you will doubt your decision at least once a week for the first two years.

I realised very quickly how important it is to align yourself with people or businesses that can support you in areas for which you may not have the right skills.

For me, that’s the finances, business structure, process and detail side of the equation.  Ideas, strategy and big vision – I am in my element when I am playing in these spaces.  But spreadsheets, project timelines, legals, and balance sheets – I glaze over and start to get twitchy.  Which is hard because these are pretty fundamental parts of running a business and growing it to be a profitable, successful venture!!  So I rely on partners such as my accountant, book-keeper, lawyer, my Executive Assistant to advise me and put the processes in place that will support me to stay in the zones that play to my strengths. That’s how I’ve found I can grow my business best.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

When things get crazy and you ask the Universe for assistance, that’s when the magic happens.”

Don’t pretend you’re fine if you’re not.  Ask for help.  Call a friend.  When things get crazy and you ask the Universe for assistance, that’s when the magic happens.  Well…. that’s when it happens to me!

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry?

I really enjoy watching the work that agencies like Naked and FRANk, but to be honest, most of the really innovative stuff is coming out of the little players. Check out the work of Hunter, for example. Or TheSumOf in Brisbane. It’s these smaller players that I enjoy watching the most!

What role do you think marketing and communication can play in affecting social change?

Marketing and communications have the power to shift behaviours, change perceptions and increase awareness of social issues and the need for change.”

My industry has a huge degree of influence on affecting social change.  We just need to deploy our energies in the right way!  Marketing and communications have the power to shift behaviours, change perceptions and increase awareness of social issues and the need for change.  Great examples at the moment, where I think some of my industry are really putting their skills to good use are: #MakeItPossible and I love the notion behind B Corporation.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter? 

  • @BetterHappy1 – thinker, challenger, strategist – with a heart.
  • @Sammartino– one of the smartest guys you’ll meet in Melbourne
  • @benmelour – he makes me laugh, daily.

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?

Absolutely.  I am seeking a small amount of funding for the next evolution of The Village.  It’s an idea which is really exciting, but confidential right now.  Once we get the funding, we’ll be able to announce our 2013 plans and beyond.

I am always in need of good, self-starting, capable interns – and you don’t need to be in Melbourne to apply. Email [email protected] with your CV if you think you’re interested in taking up temporary residence in The Village.

Our readers are smart, creative, talented and good looking. Here’s your chance to ask them anything.

Would any of you be interested in coming to our next #CreativeMelbourne or Fabulous & Freelance event for Meet&Eat ?  I’d love to meet some of you in person and discuss creativity and more!!

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

Do I have to choose just one?  I work closely with seven restaurants/bars – The Press Club, Maha, Hellenic Republic, Little Press + Cellar, St Katherine’s, PM24 and Mama Baba – and they are all so unique and wonderful in their own ways…. it’s like trying to choose a favourite child.

We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?

I’ll chip in one month of mentoring (inclusions of my standard package are here) – valued at $1,200.

Make sure you sign-up to join our amazing community for Australians making ideas happen.

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