There are certain instagram feeds that capture your eye, and The Darling Assembly was 1000% a feed that stopped me in my tracks. Erin is a mum of 3 and a business owner with stunning work in graphics and photography. Erin creates beautiful, fun, light hearted, yet sophisticated designs that make you want everything in sight. But it's the mixing in of her beautiful family onto her feed that make her brand so personal and relatable. Erins brand is a hit of inspiration that we love having on daily rotation.
Join us below as we learn more about Erin from the @thedarlingassembly and her journey to where she is today.
Tell us a bit about you? Where are you from? Who’s in your family?
Hello! My name is Erin, and I am the owner/founder of the business The Darling Assembly. I usually describe myself as a part time graphic designer / photo taker, full time dachshund enthusiast and mum of 3.
I live in Wollongong, a beautiful coastal area south of Sydney with my husband, our boys - Leo, Pace & Alfie, and my OG baby - our sausage dog Harley.
What is your background and how did you get to where you are today?
I studied Marketing & Communications at Uni and have over 15 years experience working in various marketing roles. I have a Certificate IV in Graphic Design, and have also done a few photography courses which I’ve really enjoyed. I think I’ve gotten to where I am today by really just giving the things that interest me a go, saying yes to creative challenges, investing in continued learning, practising / working on passion projects to hone my skills, and sharing my work through my various platforms.
Can you tell us a little about The Darling Assembly, how it started and the philosophy behind the business?
I started The Darling Assembly back in 2014 when I was studying graphic design. I was working in marketing but always had a love of design and visual arts - so decided to learn some creative skills. Back then I just had an Instagram page that I created as a place to share some of my hand lettering. Shortly after I was getting enquiries for design work - mainly lettering and logos - and everything just grew from there. I now offer a range of services from graphic design to content creation, custom lettering, illustration work, product styling and photography. I also published a children's book called The Very Silly Sausage. Along the way TDA has evolved into an umbrella brand for all of my creative endeavours.
Hand lettering by Erin over at The Darling Assembly
How has your career changed since becoming a mum?
I am now much more selective about the client work I take on. Time is just a bit limited these days, so I need to be really focussed on what work I truly want to be doing, and only say yes to the projects that I can make time for. I am pretty strict on how many jobs I can take on each month, and really force myself to stick to that. I don’t want to look back at these days with my young kids and wish I had have made more time for them. I look at everything through a very different lens now.
With all the services you offer, which is your favourite to be a part of?
I can’t pick any one favourite thing! I think that’s why I dabble in a few different creative areas, because I love creating bespoke hand lettered logos, but I also love photography and creating beautiful imagery of people and products, I also love illustrating and creating designs for products - I always love seeing my work out in the world, it makes me so proud to see my designs being a part of someone’s life. A brief that comes with a bit of a creative challenge always excites me.
What is do you find the hardest part about motherhood/ motherhood in business?
The constant juggle and feeling like you are always having to sacrifice something - the guilt is real. Whether its time with the kids I’m giving up to finish a project, turning down a really lucrative job because I can’t make the timing work, or just sometimes not having any actual down time to myself - there’s a lot of tricky balancing required for me in making everything work.
What inspires you?
So many things.
Instagram and Pinterest are obviously amazing for visual inspiration, I try to follow people who inspire me in different ways - artists, designers, illustrators, people with great/interesting style, but I also find inspiration all over the place. I have a weird love of packaging - I’m always saving beautiful swing tags and cute brand collateral, I love a beautiful tactile card stock. My husband has learnt to ask first before he throws anything out!
"Just do what works for you and your family. Everyone gives their advice (often unsolicited), and as well-meaning as it can be, not everything that works for one family will work for yours."
If you could offer new mamas one piece of advice it would be...?
Just do what works for you and your family. Everyone gives their advice (often unsolicited), and as well-meaning as it can be, not everything that works for one family will work for yours. Each family, and each child, is different. There’s so much information out there these days that is easily accessible to parents, which can be great - but can also lead to you feeling overwhelmed, shamed about your choices, or confused because everything is conflicting. So just figure out what works for you and try not to worry too much about everyone else.
Erin wearing our Dawn dress
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a small business and what shouldn’t they compromise on?
I learnt early on to really focus on my WHY. In every business decision I reflect back on that - WHY did I start my business and does this fit into that? For me, I started TDA essentially to give myself a creative outlet that I really enjoyed doing - so making sure it stays that way for me is really important. If it becomes too stressful, too much, or I am not enjoying the process anymore I know it’s time to reassess and make some changes.
What are four things you can’t live without?
Coffee, my camera, pasta, and I should probably say my family right? (Joking, they’re obviously no.1!)
What’s on your manifest board?
Home renovations. I absolutely love our little house, and for right now it’s perfect for us - but we have dreams of extending, especially for when the kids are a bit older and will likely all want their own bedrooms. And I’d love to have a proper little studio space for work.
Thank you so much for sharing your answers Erin, absolutely loved getting to know you better.
Follow Erin on her Instagram @thedarlingasssembly
Or to check out Erin's amazing work head to her website.