Renee Douros: Founder Milkshake Creative & The Milkbar Co-creative Community

Renee Douros - founder of Milkshake Creative

Renee Douros is the owner a boutique creative agency called Milkshake Creative specialising in marketing, PR, event management, styling and interior design. She also owns and manages The Milkbar, a co-creative and inspiring open plan studio – one of the first coworking spaces in Canberra.

I think the trend of co-working spaces in Australia is really taking off with huge momentum.”

What are you working on right now? 

  • I’ve got a large scale, fully styled wedding shoot coming up shortly that I’m currently building mood and style boards for. The shoot will feature at least three, separately styled “mock” weddings, so this is chewing up a lot of time!
  • In the midst of filming an advertisement for a client of ours, coming down to the final few scenes, so I’m organising talent, props, shot lists and scripts.
  • Also working on my first book, an Australian design and style guide to creating beautiful spaces, events and experiences.

How do you make ideas happen?

Plenty of hard work and late nights, combined with some collaboration and guidance from those I trust.

What does your typical day look like?

No two days are the same, that’s why I love what I do so much – I always try to put some kind of framework around my day because order and structure is something I really crave. Every morning I ride my bike down to Kingston, open The Milkbar and grab a coffee and then I start with checking emails, my favourite blogs and our daily online coverage. I like to include my whole team in every part of what is going on so I always have a quick informal chat with them to see what’s going on in their day. I’m usually in and out of meetings all day so after 4pm and late into the evening is when I actually get most of my work done.

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

Australians really suffer from Gen-Y discrimination.”

My age has been somewhat of hindrance both in starting and growing my business (I founded Milkshake Creative when I was 23). Australians really suffer from Gen-Y discrimination. There is this perception that people in my age group are lazy freeloaders with no loyalty or drive when actually, I’m quiet the opposite.  In the beginning, people were hesitant to work with me because I was a young woman trying to run a legitimate business all on my own. I guess it’s about proving them wrong and working really hard to show those who had doubts that you are talented and can be successful, no matter what preconceived stereotypes come along with your age.

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

I love it when talented people are sharing everything that is influencing them, even abstract things…”

If you’re not in a position to have a website designed and developed, get yourself a blog. It’s a fantastic way to showcase your work and what inspires you. However, be warned…I’ve seen blogs where the authors only intention is to sell their work. I believe that it is important for creatives to make a genuine effort to connect with whomever stumbles upon their blog and this is done through sharing – always sharing – not simply to use the blog as a platform to market your work. That is a bit boring, don’t you think? I love it when talented people are sharing everything that is influencing them, even abstract things (those are often the BEST posts) and both related to and unrelated to their work. I like to see what comes across their desk, what matters to them and what is meaningful at the moment to them.

What people do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment? 

Sibella Court is the darling of the Sydney styling scene and a huge inspiration for me. She owns the shop The Society Inc, she’s written three hugely popular books, Ecetera, Nomad and The Stylists’ Guide to NYC which was my bible on a recent buying trip to New York.  She also designs interiors for the Merivale group, has a paint range for Murobond and collaborates with Anthropologie. I love her style and admire her for the huge success and respect she has attained in both the worldwide and Australian interior design community.

What about internationally?

Kate Moross is a highly ambitious and insanely talented UK graphic designer who has catapulted herself to the very highest ranks of the UK’s creative industry. She is multi-disciplined and produces the most beautiful illustrations, graphic designs, brand identities, music videos and seemingly anything else she wants to do. She even runs her own record label and has a t-shirt brand.

Everything she has achieved at such a young age is an inspiration to me and when I’m feeling a little disillusioned with everything, I remind myself of Kate’s immense drive and success and push on.

What role do you think co-working spaces could play in catalysing the entrepreneurial and creative spirit in Australia?

You all become good mates, and with that comes the chance to work on exciting new projects together.”

Running my business from my couch was becoming a real drag, so I started formulating my ideal workspace for a new think tank and creative studio, The Milkbar.  It needed to be a space that would still allow me to be around creative people — but one that wouldn’t fall into the typical workspace rut. Within two months, I’d opened a co-working space – a bright, colorful environment filled with inspiring, low-cost DIY decor.

I think the trend of co-working spaces in Australia is really taking off with huge momentum. These spaces provide those who have previously worked in isolation the opportunity to meet and collaborate with like-minded individuals in their community, individuals that they may not necessarily would have had the opportunity to work with before.

Working together in this kind of environment has created a spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. You all become good mates, and with that comes the chance to work on exciting new projects together. It also provides you with a great wealth of knowledge and library of resources!

I think there is a bright future ahead for the co-creative workspace world. I look forward to seeing the inspiring projects that it drives and the valuable working relationships and friendships it fosters.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

  • – Written by Hannover based Holly Becker who has a great eye for details and a really lovely writing style. This blog is wealth of inspiration for all things interior design and can be a great help if you’re re-designing or looking to be inspired for you next project.
  • – A great insight to all things cool around the world.
  • – For lovers of graphic design, typography and stationary.

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

Actually yes! – I’m looking at running community workshops in 2013 that would teach a range of different things to those who participate including “how to create a mood board”, “how to use your camera” and “how to create a graffiti masterpiece”. If you have a unique skill that you would like to share with others, then get in contact!

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

I’m loving afternoon drinks on the OX Eatery balcony in the new East Hotel in Griffith

Honky Tonks in the city is always a lot of fun for Saturday night festivities

The Harem Turkish Restaurant in Kingston is an old time favourite and is conveniently located right above The Milkbar!

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