Subject: Meet Claire, Flat lay Stylist and Brand Consultant
Name: Claire Mueller
Location: between the UK and Australia - currently London.
Job Title: Flatlay Stylist and Brand Consultant
and what does that involve? Putting a lot of things on the floor neatly! I'm a specialist product stylist/photographer and creative communications consultant, so I'm either running around finding props, building sets and moving objects 3mm to the left to get the shot just right, or helping brands and businesses refine their messages to better communicate their stories.
How did you get into freelancing? and what drew you to this style of working? I've always had broad interests and like new challenges, so was always working three different jobs, plus a few projects, plus a side hustle, plus helping friends on their creative ventures...when I realised you can make it work making your own work I committed to the cause, then suddenly I was a 'freelancer' rather than a part-time-this-that-and-the-other. It's amazing being able to work on varied projects with different clients and be able to direct my own schedule (to a point - a deadline is a deadline!).
How do you approach brands to work with? Politely. Any work is a partnership - just because you 'love' a brand doesn't mean that they have the bandwidth or resources to work with you. It's important to be clear about what you offer them, and what value that will add to their current projects,
Whats the toughest part of working as a freelancer? The reality is that when it rains it pours, but you won't be busy 100% of the time which can make the anxiety skyrocket - but I've learned to ride through this because if you work hard, are reliable and passionate there will be more work. Not having superannuation and insurance covered automatically is a challenge, and it sucks when clients don't pay and you have to chase them. Depending on what you do it can be quite isolating, so it's important to have good networks and mentors to be able to talk to about the tough bits!
Career highlight? Yet to come I hope! But I've worked on a lot of interesting projects that I'm really proud of. Having my photography on the front page of the Australia Post website was pretty cool as it's a brand that all Australians connect with, and developing creative concepts for print editorial with STM (The Sunday Times Magazine) was always super fun
What advice would you give to your younger self-starting out?
1. Time management is everything. You need to be organised.
2. Never stop working on your folio - the second you think you know it all is the second you become redundant. Make time for personal projects that develop and show off your skills.
3. Get your accounting system sorted early! It's not hard, you just need to commit to the process so your invoicing and expense recording becomes a habit, not an afterthought. I use Wave, which is free and really user-friendly.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Running my own agency, specialising in creative product presentation and brand storytelling, for clients who are committed to doing things better.
Where can people stalk you?
Social: @clairemueller / @onthisday.flatlay