Team Member Profile | Brenna Kleinig

Team Member Profile | Brenna Kleinig

Brenna is our sunshine team member! Bringing light and fun energy into our Berry spaces she is always looking to connect with each new member and make them feel seen, heard and welcome.

We were lucky enough to welcome Brenna to the team late last year and have benefitted greatly from her talents in branding and design. Chances are if you have seen any of our WorkLife or SocialLife graphics recently and loved them – they were created by Brenna!

On a cloudy Monday morning, Community Manager Jess tore her away from her busy life as a business owner, and got to know a little more about what drives and sustains her. Here is that wonderful chat with Brenna.

Welcome the hot seat! To get us started could you please tell us a little bit about your local story and what brought you to the South Coast?

Before moving here, I was living in Melbourne working for a really small design studio that operated in the music industry. I loved my job. It was my dream job that I’d wanted to do since I was a teenager, but found that living in the city was not for me, I’m from a small country town and missed the wide open spaces. So during COVID, when we all went to remote working I was given the opportunity to move with my partner to Kiama, and we just jumped at it

What cosmic alignment led you to work with us here at WorkLife?

You know what I definitely left my first meeting with Kate feeling like it was cosmic alignment. I quit that job that I was working remotely from in Melbourne and decided to start my own graphic design studio. But after working for so long, remotely at home, I realised that I needed to get out of the house, and I needed to meet people and become part of the local community. So I booked a tour to come and check out the berry co working space here at WorkLife. Upon meeting Kate, she proposed to me the idea of becoming the Brand Manager for WorkLife and working on some in house graphic design work while I got started with my own business. This also meant being able to run my business, Summer Lands from WorkLife for the rest of the week, and integrate doing design work for WorkLife.

Your position here is designed to compliment your main business or life role, can you tell me a little bit about what that may be?

My business, Summer Lands Studio is a small graphic design studio. I specialise in creating branding for small local businesses to help them look their best, feel their best, and achieve their goals through visual materials. My offerings also expands to building Squarespace sites for clients and designing whatever collateral that businesses may require in their field. Summer Lands also focuses on the educational side of design. It’s important to me to teach business owners how to put their branding and design collateral to best use so that they get the most out of their investment.

Starting your own small business is pretty daunting and going in cold turkey on making all of your own income is pretty stressful. So often, when people start their own small businesses, they try to complement it with a casual job to keep income coming in. By working as the internal brand manager for work life, it means that I get to roll my casual job into my business very smoothly. It’s still in the same industry, and I get to work with a business that I love, which is what I do with Summer Lands anyway, so it’s really just an extension of running my own business working with WorkLife.

Although I know you’re very busy with work, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have a side hustle or a hobby?

That is a tricky question. I like Cooking. Cooking is a random hobby that popped up for me during COVID that I was never really into before but I’m really into cooking and gardening. I have a small veggie patch that I potter around a lot. Just those kinds of slow living hobbies fill me with a lot of joy and really fit into this new kind of coastal lifestyle. 

The effect of the South Coast, I love it! Do you have any community events or organisations that you’re involved in or passionate about?

Looking internally at my own needs as a new business owner, and as a young female small business owner in a fairly small town, I started a local women’s group called ECHO Kiama, which is an acronym for Empowering Connections for Her Opportunities. It’s essentially a group of young women that all run their small businesses in the local area. We get together about once a month and hold events to bring local female founders together, to support each other, share business opportunities and to build social and business connections.

What is your best productivity hack that you would recommend to our members?

I feel like I very much had to learn a lot of productivity hacks when I became my own boss. But my best one is, first thing every Monday morning, I set aside an hour at 9am and I plot out what I think my calendar is going to look like for the rest of the week. Whenever I’m having brain fog that just always gives me an idea of what I should be doing. It helps me schedule and make sure I’ve got enough time to fit in all the jobs that I’ve taken on. But now my Google Calendar is my life and I would cry without it haha.

I like all those little hacks you can do with Google Calendar like instead of having 24 hours on your screen, you can make it go from 6am to like, 8pm. So I feel like I’m not forgetting things anymore or holding as much information in my brain at all times.

When people come to visit you, what is the one place you recommend they eat at locally?

My favourite is Stocked in Kiama. I don’t drink coffee, I run on pure day to day excitement. So I always go for a chai latte a few times a week, but they also do the best fresh sandwiches in the world. I really wish they had one Berry close to work but then I’d never actually be at work I’d just be chatting to the amazing people that work there all the time!

Looking at your bookshelf at home, what’s the one book you suggest people read?

I feel like I should be name dropping a work or productivity related books, but I love a good fiction book. I always feel like a more well rounded human when I’ve got a book on the go that I’m actually working my way through, and it’s nice because instead of going home and watching TV, I’ll go read my book instead. I love everything written by Holly Ringland. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, and The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding. They’re good Australian-based fiction books about women. Strong women are always the main characters which is amazing!

I know you’re in the middle of moving so you’re probably cursing every item in your household, but usually what’s your favourite piece of furniture in your home?

I have this big beautiful mid century bed made out of solid timber that I picked up from Facebook marketplace for like $150 and it barely fits in the car. It’s so hard to take apart. But it is the most beautiful hunk of timber. It’s so beautiful and it just matches my little linen bedspread perfectly. 

What is your favourite part about working for WorkLife?

That is very easy. I love all the different people that come in. So obviously we have our regulars that it has been so nice to be able to build a rapport and a friendship with. They get me inspired and amped during the day to get work done! After working at home for so long, I’m definitely an extrovert, so I get so energised from spending time around nice people. I also love when we get day passes or a holiday hot desker coming in and getting to meet brand new people that do all sorts of different things around the area. It just fully energises me, spending time around people and talking to folks about what they do, about them, and what’s brought them into WorkLife.

If you were to wake up tomorrow and live your perfect local day, what would it look like?

So it wouldn’t be winter anymore. The water would be 25 degrees. I’d go for a swim at the rock pool and then get a chai latte at Stocked during the day. A day is a long amount of time, so I would probably just have a beach day with friends and take a solid picnic down. Ideally the farmers markets would also be on that day. I would go to the Kiama Farmers Markets, pick up some Vietnamese food, eat that on the beach and then go to bed early because I’d be so tuckered out. I love those summer days when you are so tired because you’ve been salty and in the sun swimming all day and gassed by 6pm. That is the perfect day

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