Life of the Party!
WORDS —Liv Williams
IMAGES — Meaghan Coles
Cue the glitter cannons, friends, it’s time to celebrate good time party vibes; all things joyful, jubilant and thoroughly day brightening! Things that make us smile and whistle as we walk, things that give us the best kind of feels, through colour, glitter and all-round frolicsome fun!
This is the kind of infectious energy Alexis Teasdale; founder of The Festive Co. brings to everyone she meets, and every event she has a hand in. It might be a rainbow ribbon wall or a big-time balloon installation, or even a cheeky DIY photo-booth prop; if there’s a unique, show stopping, conversation starting party idea, Alexis is probably behind it. She is creative, vivacious and just an all-round bright spark of a human being, and also happens to have years of impressive media experience within glossy magazines in Sydney under her belt. Having recently returned to Adelaide, Alexis has launched The Festive Co, an event design business with a focus on making life’s milestones more awesome, one glitter drop at a time.
We talk with Alexis about returning to Adelaide and launching The Festive Co, and how having children has sparked a whole new level of creativity in her world.
Tell us about your career journey thus far!
I was studying media at Adelaide Uni when I got it into my head that I should try and get some work experience at glossy mags in Sydney. Then I was lucky enough to be offered a job on my work experience week at Cosmo. My whole life changed, and the following 15 years were a mix of fun, hard work and more fun. I learnt to jump at any exciting opportunity that would present itself, and it took me on a pretty amazing rollercoaster ride in publishing.
What are some of your career highlights?
I started on the front desk of Cosmo Bride magazine and about 10 years later I returned to be the managing editor which was a real thrill. During my time there, we did some ‘Cosmo Pride’ activations during Australia’s Same Sex marriage vote, that I’m really proud of. Some of the team and I got to walk in the 50th anniversary Mardi Gras parade which was an unforgettable experience.
Being told I had the Beauty Editor role at DOLLY was one of the exciting moments I’d ever experienced. To work on that iconic title when so many teens looked to it for advice was really special.
But mostly, the highlights were a series of less glamorous, but equally amazing things. Like the women I met and worked with. Publishing was a very female-driven industry then, and still is now. That makes it a really inspiring and empowering place to learn and work, especially as a young woman.
What was it like coming back to Adelaide and what brought you back?
Our move back to Adelaide was actually a pretty quick decision after a few things aligned beautifully. My husband and I had been thinking about it for ages, especially with our sons getting bigger and we had to think about schools. Then he was offered a job transfer to my awesome home town and it felt like a sign! It’s been a complete joy moving back. It felt right from the first minute we arrived.
What have you rediscovered about Adelaide since returning?
SO much! I’ve literally created a page on my website called #rediscoveringradelaide because we were finding so many amazing things to see and do. I left Adelaide when I was 20, so in a way I never really lived here as a ‘grown up’. It’s been absolutely awesome seeing the city through my husband and kids eyes; they love it here! How much they love their new city is probably my favourite thing. I treasure taking them to do things I did, like going to The Magic Cave, drives to Victor Harbor, eating fish and chips for dinner on the beach and buying them my favourite treat: Balfours Frog Cakes.
Tell us about The Festive Co and how it all started.
I was working at SHOP ‘Til You Drop magazine when I got married, and in that particular job I did a lot of lifestyle styling. We would do these wild set-ups and lots of faux party shoots with elaborate styling, so I was having a ball doing that, as well as writing. Then after our (Big Fat Greek) wedding, I was getting a lot of requests to hire all the props from the big day. There were a LOT of props. So, I started The Festive Co website mostly just to hire them out and tinker away with some stories about weddings and events when I had time. But instead of people wanting to hire the props, most requests were to hire me! So, I started doing some parties and putting photos up on the site, and it all snowballed from there.
How do you manage being a busy mum of three and running your own business? How do you fit it all in?!
I don’t! Ha! I think that’s the key. Managing expectations. Both your own and other peoples. It took me until baby number 3 to realise that I actually can’t do everything, there simply aren’t enough hours in a day. I took on a job recently and about half-way through was finding myself up in the middle of the night crafting and thinking, “I actually might not sleep tonight”. CRAZY! It was a great wake up call for me, because I love to say yes to opportunities. I still try to, I’m just very realistic up front about how long something will take to create. That’s been a game-changer.
How has having kids given you a whole new perspective on creativity and putting together events?
Kids open your mind to a whole new level of creativity!! They see the world, and even just ordinary objects, in a magical way. A cardboard toilet roll is a ‘super power laser beamer’ and a piece of bark in the garden is a ‘fairy surfboard’. For someone creative like me, it’s been a dream and that’s a big part of why I started to think about leaving magazines to work on The Festive Co full time.
Also, with the state of the world at the moment, I think it’s still really important to find joy and celebrate things. Our children should see us be joyful, sing and create and for their world to be colourful. It’s not about spending loads of money. There are so many ways to celebrate and make memories without expensive props. Having the kids choose their cake, and lovingly make it (whether it’s from scratch, a packet or pre-made supermarket spongecakes, who cares!) is a time honoured tradition that children will remember for years to come.
What are you working on at the moment and what’s coming up for The Festive Co?
Every day is really varied which is so much fun! Some days I’ll hop on a podcast and talk about kids and craft, others will be full-on creative prep days making streamer walls and pinwheels, and then others are consulting with brands on how to make their content sing!
I’ve got a whole confetti cannon of cool things coming including some more workshops, e-books and even some party wares! Like so many mums can relate, the ideas are all there but it’s about finding the time to make them come to life, without sacrificing time with the tiny, joyful humans!