Millie Clarke

BFA Graphic Design 2015

Digital Marketing Manager, Kowtow

Millie Clarke

Can you talk to me a bit about what led you to choose Fine Arts at UC?

Art class was always one of my favourite subjects at school and I was always immersed in arts in and out of school. I'm lucky and very grateful for my parents who always encouraged me to do what I loved and supported me by fostering my creativity.

When it came to choosing an undergraduate degree, it was an easy choice to go with Arts. What sold me were the amazing alumni and I was ecstatic when I was accepted into the program. Having no idea what I wanted to specialise in, I really valued that first year when we tried out each subject.

What was your experience moving to Christchurch from Southland for your studies? Do you have any advice for future UC students doing the same?

I think the most important lesson I learned from moving away for uni was how to be an adult. I learned how to manage my time and relationships, and develop self-awareness, decision making and resilience (my first year was the year of the Feb earthquakes). Growing that self-awareness meant that I began to recognise my own privilege and made me consider for the first time what I wanted to contribute to this world and how I could make a difference.

My advice would be to move into one of the halls as it was the best bridging year between home and flatting and getting into the club culture. My friends and I were the founders of OpSoc as we recognised the need for the sustainability driven club, celebrating secondhand treasures.

You've worked for yourself as a freelance designer since graduating (alongside your corporate roles) - how do you fit this all in and what inspires you?

Yes, I specialised in graphic design within my BFA and I initially used that skill set to freelance in design and illustration between jobs. I now have my own e-print store where I sell my own prints designed to bring joy to every interior style. I've also found a niche for drawing people's homes and creating something sentimental in return. I love that I made this idea a reality.

I often find it hard to get the balance between work and illustrating right. It's important to me that I have the weekend free for downtime to unwind so generally schedule a couple hours a week for my own work.

Last year you joined ethical Kiwi label Kowtow as their Digital Marketing Manager - can you tell us about that?

I have always been drivento work for sustainability lead companies. It's become even more important to me as I become more and more aware of the climate crisis. Making sure the business purpose aligns with my personal values is something I consider hughley important for my career. Kowtow has the approach of leaving whatever we touch in a better place than how we found have the transparency and authenticity to constantly evolve and refine their business to become fully circular.

What does your day to day look like in that role?

Working remotely in Auckland, I split my time between my spare room and a shared working space. Our team is responsible for all client-facing comms and advertising, including daily content to drive sales and bring awareness to the mission of the brand. Another huge part of my job is the reporting (aka the not so glamourous side of marketing!) as data helps us shape all marketing, content, and even product design decisions.

What goals do you have set for the next few years?

A personal goal is to grow the sales for my Emelia Alice prnts, and professionally I want to make sure I am constantly upskilling and develop my leadership skills. I would also love to find a mentor who can champion me and challenge my way of thinking.

Check out Millie's illustration store here!