Hi, I’m Mim! I’m a planning-obsessed, Award-Winning Online Business Owner, Author and 5-Star Planner Sticker Seller.
I help new sticker makers create planner stickers from scratch that stand out and sell … even if you’ve never made a sticker before!

TPP #72 – Make Money in Surface Pattern Design with Bonnie Christine


Welcome to Episode #72 of The Planner Podcast.

In this episode, I chat with Bonnie Christine – one of my creative inspirations and mentors – about how you could make money in Surface Pattern Design!

In this conversation, Bonnie shares:

  • What is surface pattern design and the opportunities it can bring
  • How everyone can create surface pattern designs, no artistic experience necessary
  • How to get started – whether you’re a curious creative, side hustler or want to be a full-time designer
  • The potential to make money and unlock your hidden potential
  • How 10 seconds of courage is all you need to transform your life
  • Why there is room for YOU in this wonderfully creative niche
  • How you can take the next step and join IMMERSION with Bonnie Christine.

If you have any questions or comments after listening, do send me a message on Instagram here @mimjenkinson.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, this is Mim Jenkinson, and you’re listening to The Planner Podcast.

I’m so very excited to share this conversation with Bonnie Christine with you today. Bonnie Christine is an artist, a surface pattern designer, and a creative, and she has such a huge heart and passion for helping other creatives at all levels dive into their own journey. And Bonnie has been a really huge inspiration for me for the past few years.

And I joined her program myself over a year ago and have just immersed myself into her fabulous creative world. She really has shown me that it only takes a couple of things. That first thing is 10 seconds of courage to get started or to keep going. And that second thing is just really feeling confident that there is room for me.

Now, they are just a couple of things that we’re going to be chatting about today. Bonnie is also going to share with you how you can join her fantastic program. [00:01:00] The same program that I have taken to get started in surface pattern design. And the program that I’ve rejoined again, because it’s that good.

So you can stay tuned to the end and you can also jot down now the link to go to www.mimjenkinson.com/bonnie B O N N I E. www.mimjenkinson.com/bonnie. That is my partner link so that you can also immerse yourself into the wonderfully creative world of surface pattern design with Bonnie Christine.

Okay, let’s get started and I’ll share this conversation with you right now. I am here with one of my most inspirational creative mentors Bonnie Christine and I’m so excited Bonnie to chat with you today and to have this conversation and to share it with all of the members and all of my students because we talk so much about where we get our creative inspiration from.

For me, you are such a huge part of that. So first of all, thank you. And [00:02:00] secondly, welcome, and please share. Some more about you so that everyone else who is following this and watching can find out more about you too. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. I love your world. I love what you’re doing.

So it’s an honor. My name is Bonnie. I am a surface pattern designer. So I get to design fabric and wallpaper and gift wrap and stationery and all of these things. Products that have artwork on them. I am also a mom to two littles. I live with, I live in my little tiny town in the mountains of North Carolina.

My husband and I here raise our children. And so, it’s, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to do something so creative for your life and for your living. And then I’m also an educator for creatives. And so, so excited to be here. Oh, I have just loved following your journey over the past [00:03:00] few years, and you really do infuse that creativity into all aspects of your life and business but your home and your motherhood to and your relationship and so I can’t wait to dive into this chat today so thank you again for being here.

Now, surface pattern design is something that I I knew what it was a few years ago, but I didn’t know what it was called. So I’ve seen surface pattern design everywhere. And you’ve mentioned a few of those places already, but I had no idea that it was a thing that was created specifically for that reason.

You know, you don’t know what you don’t know. So for those people out there who are unfamiliar with the term surface pattern design, can you break it down a little bit for us? Yes, I love this moment because I had a moment where I really realized what this was and it changed, just changed my life. And so I think everyone kind of has that moment of like, oh, oh.

So surface pattern [00:04:00] design is actually a part of a much larger industry called surface design. So surface design is any design, any artwork that goes on any surface. And so if you think about Walking into your favorite store, like maybe you’re walking into anthropology and you see artwork on the clothing, on the mugs, on the rugs, on the bedding, on the stickers, on the packaging, on all of the things, right?

That is all part of this industry called surface design. Now, a part of that industry is surface pattern design, which is for any product that requires a seamlessly repeating pattern. So fabric, Wallpaper, gift wrap, lots of stationery, things like tape. So it’s a lot of ours favorite, part of the industry because it is so satisfying to work in that repetition and the repeat and see your work put in repetition.

But of course the sky’s the limit. And once you understand how to work in [00:05:00] surface design, you can really do any of those things that you want. Well, I think that your, your description of how satisfying it is relates so much. So for those of you who don’t already know, I joined Bonnie’s immersion course last year and it immersion couldn’t be a more fitting name for it.

It’s almost like captivation, mesmerizing addiction, and it really is so satisfying to create a pat, not just a pattern, but a pattern that repeats, which sounds like such a simple throwaway thing to say, but when you actually see how you can create something, I mean, it’s the most perfect. example on paper on screen on fabric of the limitless possibility of where your creativity can take you.

And the metaphor was just, it was it came at the exact right time for me in my own creative journey. And once you realize, as you have described so eloquently what surface pattern design is. You can’t unsee it. You now see that like the patterns everywhere, don’t you? And the potential everywhere. [00:06:00] It’s so, I mean, I walk around daily life, like I could make a sticker for that.

And it’s exactly the same, don’t you think? Absolutely. I call that like your pattern goggles. Once you put them on, you can’t take them off. It is literally everywhere. I had a student, a couple Of years ago, go to Target just with a notebook to jot down the things that she saw to get ideas, and she had to leave before she was even halfway through the store, because hundreds and hundreds and hundreds you think about tissue boxes and diapers and chapstick and it’s just everywhere.

Everywhere, everywhere. Now, in my world, I mainly am interested in surface pattern design for making stickers. So, whether that’s a small decorative box to decorate my planner, or a gift tag, or something that’s bigger at scale, it can be, I mean, We can use the patterns in so many different ways. And I’m often asked, you know, where can people source patterns?

And of course I know where people are selling some fantastic [00:07:00] patterns online. I can direct them that way. And thanks to your skills, myself and my husband and my team can now design patterns too. I don’t know if I told you this Bonnie, but my, my members actually get bonus patterns that we have designed.

Almost every month. So it really has translated in so many different ways, but a lot of them want to create them themselves. Now I’ve shared with you, I’m not the person who can, who can really teach in a succinct way, nor would I try to pretend to be an expert. But a lot of the questions I get is I can’t do that because.

So I can’t do it because I’m not creative enough. I’m not arty enough. I don’t have the right software. Or the kind of things that I know they can break through. And of course, you know that, but when you don’t know what you don’t know, it feels big. So who can create a surface pattern and who can become a surface pattern designer?

Well, my goodness, my eight year old creates, patterns. So if she can do it, you [00:08:00] can absolutely do it. Also my 67 year old. Mom also creates patterns, and also cut files for her, because she has a glowforge and also a silhouette, so anybody can do it. And if you already have that kind of creativity, you’ve really, so My story is that I wasn’t an artist, I didn’t have, I wouldn’t have said I was an artist, I didn’t have a sketching practice, I still, I do draw, I kind of sketch out ideas, but I still don’t really do, work in a sketchbook that I would really show as artist work.

They’re more like rough ideas that I kind of work on, just like you would with a sticker, right? rough idea and then you get it into the design phase. And so some of the simplest things can become some of the most beautiful patterns. And it is so fun to be able to see your work in that way. And so you don’t have to be an artist per se, especially because that word just feels [00:09:00] like it comes with a lot with it.

Right. But you Just need to be creative. Actually, one of our probably probably our biggest like kind of student base are just curious creatives, people who like to be crafty or creative. They have an eye for arranging things. They definitely have an eye for using their hands to create something that they kind of bring to life in the world.

And this is the perfect opportunity to really take that desire and just really have fun with it. Oh, I relate to that so much on behalf of myself and my members and students too. It’s like they and we, we know when something works artistically, but would that mean that we’re an artist or do we know specifically how and why it works?

Not always. But we have an idea and an eye for these kinds of things. In fact, that’s something that when I am immersed into your immersion course, I found really helpful to kind of start to figure out even [00:10:00] those, like you say, those really simple designs that I would have probably I’ve been too embarrassed to even put on a page for me let alone anybody else, but even taking those really simple designs, whether it’s a line, a design, a quick sketch, a quick scan, the way that you can put those together and create a design that is so cohesive and beautiful.

And then of course, at scale, if you want to, that blew my mind. And I know it’s where a lot of my beautiful members are too, that I, I see the creativity in them. I see that there’s an artist already there, but they probably wouldn’t put their hands up and say that that’s what they are. And they wouldn’t truly own that right now.

And I think that that’s another reason why it’s, it’s, it’s just such a privilege to be able to guide people, not only to upscale, but also to release what’s inside them that you can see, but maybe they can’t quite see yet. Yeah. Combine that with your students and members too. Absolutely. I think it’s so much easier for us to say that we’re creative.

And I don’t know, I don’t [00:11:00] think anybody who’s listening to us right now would deny that they’re creative. We have this calling to, to create, to create something out of nothing, to see our vision kind of come to life. And that’s really all that it, all that it requires. I’ve got some examples of very simple things that I’ve done.

I’ll show it to you. So this is so incredibly simple. So all of my examples are going to be, all of my examples are going to be fabric, but it can’t translate to so many different things. But I want you to just see how simple this is just a stripe. Yeah. And you license this, if that’s something that you want to do or you can just create it super easily.

So this is a plaid, incredibly easy. This one is nothing but a bunch of doodles, right? Doodles on paper. But this one I think is especially interesting because I didn’t draw [00:12:00] this one at all. I know exactly how you did that one. I know you do . This is just a little fern from my yard that I plucked one day and put.

On my scanner. I could have also just taken a photo of it and I turned it into a repeat pattern and then I licensed all over the world. So you don’t really have to draw if you don’t want to draw so many fun ways to to work. I’m also a big, a big fan of working off of photographs. photographs that you take.

So if you go out in the world and you start photographing things that you love, for me, this is almost always flowers. And if I can photograph some flowers, then I can, here, this is an example. So this print. This is like a little, a little, beaver print, but all of these flowers down here are, are, is from a picture [00:13:00] that I took from my yard of a flower that I traced over.

So the beaver, the little beaver is from a sketch, but so many of the flowers are just tracing. And so. We can do that, right? Like you can absolutely just creative, kind of itch and joy and arranging things and be incredibly successful. And there are so many different avenues then to be able to get that final pattern to go from nothing to there.

Like you say, whether it’s sketching something yourself, if you feel like inclined and you’d have the skills to do that, or going out to your garden, taking a photograph, I have. photographers in my audience. Linda, I’m talking to you if you are listening and watching. He has beautiful, beautiful photographs.

So funny though. So I am, and in the immersion course, there is a class where I learned how to take the fern like you did and turn it into a beautiful pattern. So I went out into my garden and I’m like, this is not Bonnie’s garden. And honestly, I started [00:14:00] judging myself for the poor array of plants and flowers I had in my.

I just got a collection of different leaves and little flowers. I had no idea what they are. You’ll be ashamed to know. But I did get to bring them in. I scanned them. I took photographs of some of them. And I ended up with a pattern from the things that I found in my garden. I wouldn’t have even considered that.

My husband, he’s very used to me saying like, Oh, we’re in the car! Because it’s wildflowers on the side of the road that I must go, pick or take photos of or whatever. So, you don’t have to garden, you don’t have to have a yard. You can just go. You can even permission to order yourself a bouquet of flowers.

Oh, that’s a great idea. You know? Yeah. And it’s, it’s Valentine’s Day today here in Australia, so even more permission to go and do that. That’s right. That’s coming for us tomorrow. Tomorrow. I’m in the future. It’s a great day, just so you know, I can’t wait. I love it. So what [00:15:00] inspired you? And I’m so grateful that you did.

I, I mean, again, as so many of my members, we consider ourselves, you know, the term lifelong learner, like always looking for ways to upscale, to be inspired. And of course we take that in different directions, but what really inspired you to, to start to share your immense knowledge with other people? Yeah, I am.

I am absolutely a lifelong learner. And I think today I just really, to my core, believe that part of our duty is to learn and become better and then teach that to someone else who’s not, you know, who is an earlier version of ourselves, but Yeah, so my big goal was to become a fabric designer. That’s what I wanted.

That was my biggest dream. It was audacious. It was vulnerable. I was embarrassed to even say it. And that settled in for me back in 2009, 2010. And at the time there was just no information about [00:16:00] this. It was, not being called surface design. I was very much trying to learn how to be a fabric designer and then through that I kind of discovered this grand industry of surface pattern design.

But I really set out almost, almost went back to school. I almost went back to go to art school and all of the stuff and I thought, what if I just try my best to learn on my own? So I spent two years consistently, every single day focused on learning this and it was messy and it was hard and it took a really long time.

Back, back then, there were, there were no courses on it. There were no classes. The whole industry felt very kind of. Held close to the chest. And so I just very much kind of piecemealed or cobblestone my entire education together. And at the end, like I just that meant that I wasted a lot of time. I wasted so much time [00:17:00] trying to figure out what I needed to learn.

I wasted a lot of time learning things that I, in hindsight, didn’t need to learn, but I didn’t know better at the time. Um And so it took two years. And at the end of that, I signed my first licensing contract as a fabric designer. I’m still doing that to this day. I have a new collection coming out in just a month or so.

And in that moment, just my biggest life stream came true and it just changed everything for me. And I never, teaching was not on my radar at all. Yeah, that would have been super nerve wracking for me to even think about. But I did kind of come out of that with a heart for trying to make it easier for, for anyone else.

And so if I learned the hard way, if I could kind of turn around and pave the way for anyone else or say, like, this is the way or, or this is a simpler way to do that, then I kind of wanted, I kind of wanted to break open that industry. So it was a couple of [00:18:00] years after that that I got an opportunity to teach, and it just kind of came to me.

It wasn’t on my radar. I was super nervous. It was a live class in front of, yeah, thousands of people. I taught illustrator live. So super nerve wracking. But from that experience, I kind of went back home and thought, okay, like now I get to go back to just designing. And it was from that experience that really slowly I started to hear from students who had really Just unveiled something in them that they never had before, like permission to really follow their creative goals and dreams.

And then eventually I started hearing from people who got to quit their day job that they hated or wanted to stay at home with their children or retire their spouse or just create income from something that they loved. So pretty slowly it really, became. My greater calling [00:19:00] to help creatives earn a living, or just at least do something that they absolutely adore.

Oh, and I mean the, the flow on effects from that very first time where you’ve had the courage to be able to teach to now. The thousands and thousands and thousands of people that you’ve helped now to begin their own creative dream or to supercharge it or to take that even a tiny next step. And if you hadn’t have made that decision, none of that would have happened and it just shows the importance of Of leaping sometimes.

And I know that you refer to this as the 10 seconds of courage. Yes. Tell us a little bit more about that. I have used this concept so many times. So I first heard about 10 seconds of courage from Craig Rochelle. He was teaching on it and It just resonated with me. So at the time that I first heard it, I was in the [00:20:00] midst of sharing my work for the first time, showing it to potential companies and art directors.

And I, I don’t even like calling in takeout. Like I don’t want to call and talk to someone on the phone. And so I was calling companies, telling them that I was an artist, which I didn’t really believe yet. And then also asking to speak to their creative director. And it was just the most nerve wracking time of my life.

And I use this 10 seconds of courage to just count down from 10 and do the thing. Once 10 seconds is up, you know, someone’s answered the phone. The conversation has started and everything is rolling. And so I’ve used it time and time again for those moments when you just need to make a big decision.

It’s almost like a just, like the action in and of itself is creates inertia, like you’ll just keep going if you just start. And so it’s those 10 seconds of courage to just start, introduce yourself, make the phone [00:21:00] call, walk into the whatever, like, just do the thing that is so Scary in the moment and know that after 10 seconds, the inertia will keep you going and it will absolutely be worth it.

Oh, I can feel that to my core and I can give you countless examples of when i’ve employed that Method since having learned it from you in every aspect of of the creativity even when it’s just you Doing something for you at home whether it’s making a start with this whether it’s 10 seconds to go out into the garden to see if there’s some potential Out there that you could bring into the house and make into something beautiful.

I mean, it really is. It’s an, it’s an ever going journey, isn’t it? Of needing that 10 seconds of courage when we need to take the next step. And often the thing that’s scaring us most is the thing that we should probably leap into the fastest. If it’s feeling scary, that’s a pretty good indicator of that.

It’s something big. That’s calling you. Yeah. Oh, yes. I took 10 seconds of [00:22:00] courage before I contacted you a year or so ago to say, please let me into immersion. Is it for me? I want to come in. And I’m so glad that I did. I’m so glad that I did. I don’t know whether I told you but Miles who’s my husband so he isn’t.

He’s an artist he used to be an artist for Disney, and he. He is a bit of a technophobe, Bonnie. So not, not so great with the, with the, with illustrator, with anything, even email, but he’s an amazing hand drawn artist. And to be able to take his beautiful artwork and to use my skills now in illustrator, to turn it into a fantastic pattern, it’s changed a lot for us.

He now works in my business too. And the, as you know, like the opportunities for. Our family alone are immense, but now the opportunities that we can help create for all of the other, women, men, mothers, grandmothers, teenagers, everyone who’s joined my program and membership to be able to have that knock on effect too is fantastic.

So it really does. I keep on coming [00:23:00] back to this metaphor of how this, this, you know, what could be a small design skill. can be scaled to just endless possibilities. And I’ve really enjoyed being part of your program so much. Now, I know that a lot of the, a lot of the wonderful people in my membership and my student community, one of the biggest questions they have is the same question I had before I contacted you.

Is this for me? And it’s kind of, am I for it? You know, and they worry about is, do they have enough skills? Is it already too many people out there? Is it too late? Should they have done this 20, 30, even 40 years ago? Is, is there a space for them? Is it too late? Have they missed their chance or is it the right time?

So how would you, and I’m sure that you have people coming to you with those same concerns. How would you help them make a decision to see if this is the right thing for them? Yeah, well, I think that, first of all, you have to, you have to trust and [00:24:00] believe that you are right where you are for a reason, meaning, if you had learned about this five years ago, it wouldn’t have been the right time and it wouldn’t have been the right opportunity.

And that’s just imposter syndrome knocking at your door. I, I get this as well. Especially when I’m doing something like I just started a podcast about a year ago and I thought I should have done this 10 years ago. I wish you had. I love it. Oh, and I just had to kind of Sweep it away and say, I’m this time for a reason 10 years ago or one year ago, it wouldn’t have been the right time.

So love everything that has gotten you to where you are today. Love it for what it is. Know that you’re here for a reason. And then I would say you’ve got to really look at it. And does it make you excited? If it makes you excited, then you’ve You’ve got to take a chance on yourself. You have to take a bet on this, because you’re worth that.

And it’s so [00:25:00] incredibly, it’s so incredibly fulfilling. There’s absolutely room for you. So I think that this industry is so undiscovered. Just based on the fact that I had to begin our conversation with a definition of surface pattern design means that it is still so incredibly undiscovered. And what we do for a living is create artwork for products.

And so there are industries and brands and products and companies all over the world in every industry, in every country, and there’s new ones every day. And so there’s absolutely like so much opportunity that it’s really immense. It’s really incredible. So there’s an incredible opportunity for you to use, Your knowledge and your skills to create.

I always say create the beauty that you want to see come live in the world because, yeah, it doesn’t matter what anybody else [00:26:00] is doing. It matters what you want to see come alive. Like, how do you want to impact this space? And then when you start thinking about Really infusing your own inspiration into your work.

My goodness. It really becomes part of your story and it actually becomes like, like legacy work like you’re really leaving work, with a story attached to it forever. And that’s It’s pretty incredible. Oh, it’s so incredible. I mean, legacy is something that myself and my husband talk about so very much and I hadn’t really thought about how this is a part of that journey too, but you are so, you’re so right.

It really is. Whether it’s a fabric on paper, a sticker, it’s potential for your creativity to be seen by so many for so long. So how can you not begin the journey? And for those who do, I know that the doors have opened to your course, Immersion, the course that changed so much for me. So can you share more about Immersion?

Yes. Okay, so Surface Design Immersion [00:27:00] is a course we teach once a year. It’s open February 13th through the 20th, and it’s an eight week course and you can really come in. With no prerequisites, no knowledge, no working knowledge of illustrator or art practice or anything. And in eight weeks, you can leave with everything you need to be a professional in this industry.

And Adobe illustrator is the program that I teach and, really create any, you can, you can create for the fun of creating, you can create a side hustle, you can create an entire career if that’s what you want to do as well. And so. Modules are how to gather inspiration, which we kind of talked about at the very beginning and then an introduction to illustrator and then illustrator advanced.

So again, we really open this program together and I teach you how to use illustrator specifically for surface design. And so you’ll just learn this program. You’ll fall in love with this program. You’ll be able to use it for the rest [00:28:00] of your life. Then we work on repeat patterns and developing collections of patterns, and then a portfolio, and then we move on to income from your artwork.

So things like, licensing, POD, wholesale manufacturing, and then we wrap up this course with the module on creative entrepreneurship. So I think that that’s probably what makes this so different is That it’s not just art or creativity, it’s also the business. So once you know how to create, how do you establish a business, we talk about marketing and email lists and social media and all of that kind of messaging and building of an online business just to set you up for success.

Oh, and it really is. A journey that you go on within immersion too. I found, I mean, I tinkered a little with Illustrator by tinkering. I mean, I’d opened it a few times, clicked a couple of buttons and said, no, I don’t think this is for me and quickly left. But the way that [00:29:00] you break down Illustrator and specifically because, well, two things you’re focusing only on those essentials.

This is not like an, I’m going to teach you everything about Illustrator and most things you’ll never use again, like maths at school. It was really key to the things that I needed to know for design and for surface pattern design. And then the second thing was the repetition. And I find that you, some, sometimes when I’ve signed up to things in the past, it’s been a, well, you have to master these things in the beginning because I’m not going to refer back to them again.

And what I love is the way that you’re constantly repeating. So I feel like my knowledge is really solidifying as I go, but I’ve been able to use what you have taught. I mean in so many far reaching ways beyond surface pattern design too. But for me, and for those of us who are listening, who know that we have a flair for creativity, maybe we wouldn’t call ourselves an artist, but we’re just looking for a safe place to land where we can actually Go on this adventure in a really safe place in a supportive place to, I [00:30:00] fully recommend immersion.

I’ve, I’ve, I love immersion so much that I’ve signed up again for this. And I can’t wait. I just can’t wait to go on the journey again. It was such a great year. What I didn’t mention is that it’s entirely new. So 2024 expanded, newly recorded. It’s amazing. We’re so proud of it and we can’t wait for things to get it.

And it’s so supportive too. I mean, you have the most amazing and talented and supportive team. So I think at every turn, any gap that you feel like you have will be filled somehow by something or someone. And it’s such a beautiful, holistic experience. Well, I have just really thoroughly loved chatting to you today, Bonnie, you are, as mentioned in the beginning, you are a great inspiration.

You continue to be, and, and the knock on effects of what I’ve been able to learn from you. That translated to opportunities for my family and for those who are in my community too, has been immense. And, I’m going to really think more, even about the legacy that we talked about [00:31:00] earlier, because this is just a wonderful opportunity and I’m excited to see who jumps on and joins in with us this year too.

So thank you so much for chatting today. Thank you for having me. It’s so good to be here. Isn’t Bonnie just an absolute delight and such an inspiration. I shared earlier she has been such a fantastic motivator, inspirer, mentor from afar for me when it comes to creativity, being a professional in this space.

Becoming an artist when for such a long time, I would never have dreamt of calling myself an artist. And I love continuing to learn from Bonnie. One of the very best decisions I ever made was joining Bonnie’s immersion course. And as she mentioned, the doors are open right now. So I will link it in the show notes, but you can also head to www.mimjenkinson.com/bonnie B O N N I E. And that’s my partner link so that you can check out immersion too, because I would so very much love to embark on this creative journey with you too. Thank you so [00:32:00] much for listening and I will see you in the next episode.

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I hope you enjoy learning how to make planner stickers or how to start a sticker business!

I’ve been making and selling stickers for journals and planners since 2016 and it’s become a wonderful and creative way to turn my hobby into a side hustle, then full-time online business.

Whether you want to make Cricut stickers, Silhouette stickers or you’re starting from complete scratch, you’re in the right place. Making planner stickers can be for you, or to start an Etsy sticker shop and sell stickers online and you don’t need any previous experience to get started.

Want to make planner stickers from home? Check out my sticker making courses, eBooks and other products here!

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.