Handle is an award-winning design agency built on determination, teamwork, and passion. Based at the Western Sydney Startup Hub, it has been operating over nine years and specialises in government and corporate design. The name itself was inspired by their philosophy of "Opening Hearts & Minds through Creative Outcomes."
Before starting Handle, Georgina specialised in graphic communication, working for a large retailer on large-scale buildup projects. Her husband, Michael is also a graphic designer with extensive agency experience.
“Michael and I were trying to balance demanding work roles and a new baby” Georgina shared.
From there, their business journey began when Georgina returned from maternity leave with her first child.
“Balancing a full-time job and caring for a child who was in and out of childcare with sickness became challenging, and we realised that something needed to change. We made the decision for Michael to take a break and focus on freelancing while becoming the main caregiver for our then one-year-old daughter, which was going to allow me to continue growing my career.”
Georgina continued, “the freelancing started picking up momentum unexpectedly, and Michael found himself flooded with design projects. The demand for our services continued to grow, and at this time, we found out we were expecting our second daughter, adding another dimension to the juggling act.”
When Georgina went on her second maternity leave, she had more time to focus on the business and Handle began to flourish.
“This is when we decided I would not return to my corporate role after my maternity leave. Instead, we invested both of our efforts into our business venture full-time, granting Michael more creative freedom and me the flexibility to manage both family and business.”
During the early years of business, Handle won a pitch to develop a brand vertical for the Western Sydney Local Health District. This pivotal moment opened doors to numerous opportunities and set the stage for many more exciting projects to come.
“It was a moment of pride and excitement, knowing that our team had the capability to deliver exceptional design solutions that made a real impact and a validation of our hard work and dedication.”
In the startup phase, the business was located within a hot desk environment, before moving into a private office for six years. During this time, Georgina shared that they began to feel a sense of isolation.
“We began missing the valuable interactions and networking. The Spacecubed environment allowed us to recapture that collaborative spirit. We have been able to engage with a diverse group of professionals and entrepreneurs, sparking new ideas along with forming collaborations and partnerships with other members.”
Relocating to the Western Sydney Startup Hub has allowed them to better understand the needs and growth of the area, leading to more tailored and impactful design solutions.
When asked what her biggest achievements are, Georgina shared the following.
“Through my journey of starting our business, I have managed to make positive changes that have allowed me to be more present and flexible for my family. It does require determination, hard work, and sometimes challenging choices, but it has been well worth it.”
“Knowing that I can now balance my professional aspirations with being a mom brings me a sense of fulfilment and contentment that I could not have imagined before.” She continued.
When asked if there’s anything else she’d like to share, Georgina shared the following.
“Being a service-based business, we do like to share the work we do and, most importantly, the people behind the work. For those who would like to work with us, we are always more than happy to have that chat!” Georgina concluded.
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