Writer, Stylist, Founder / The Festive Co
If you’re an Australian babe that has ever brought or borrowed a Dolly, InStyle or any other fashion, or beauty publication, you’ll have chanced upon Alexis Teasdale glorious smile and experienced her work.
The self confessed book worm and notably editorial over-achiever is also a mumma and founder of The Festive Co that is hell bent on making the world…
More cheerful and jovial, full of jubilation and rollicking good times!
Alexis makes you want to roll into a puddle of glitter, throw on your most fabulous party shoes, slap on a bright lip and LIVE. She is also my personal Instagram stalk and the leader of the Ex-Mag It Girl Brigade. I could actually scream with excitement that you get to read this interview. Her #careerstory is literally bursting at the seams and so is her jam packed list of tips for any girls wanting a similar career. Honestly, the best yet!
Meet your next girl crush, Alexis Teasdale.
Hi there, can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in beautiful Adelaide, South Australia. I didn’t appreciate it until I lived interstate for a long time. Now looking back I can see just how lucky I was to have all that room to run around, the beach just nearby, my grandparents around the corner. When I think about how my childhood shaped me, it’s definitely reflective of my parents. They didn’t have many (if any) of the opportunities that I’ve had. They wanted my brother and I to have great schooling, lots of extra-curricular options, all of those amazing things that we take for granted when we we’re little.
I remember specifically in junior school – around year 4ish – we had this class where we would get a catalogue of books to take home and go through with our parents. My dad and I would pore over it and he always said ‘choose another one, choose another one!’ He was so encouraging of my reading. Now, I’m the ultimate book worm. No matter how tired I am, I always have a book on the go. Even when my kids were newborns I started downloading them on my phone and would read in the night while I was breastfeeding. I still think about that year 4 catalogue and the feeling I got when the pile of juicy new books would arrive on my desk. That definitely nourished my love of words and communicating.
When it comes to parties, I know who is responsible for how much I love them. My mum! She used to throw us the best, best birthday parties. I’m half-Greek, so all my cousins would be there and it always had a theme. Her best ever was my Australiana themed 7th birthday complete with all sorts of awesome Aussie decorations. My dad – the worlds craftiest man – made me into a massive jar of Vegemite. I’ve worn a lot of costumes in my life, but that one is still the best. Thanks to them, it’s really no wonder I love events and making things.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Seymour College in Adelaide and absolutely loved school. My teachers would probably say I should have spent less time talking and more time learning. They’d be right! I must admit, I was really, really lucky to have such great friends at school. We looked after each other and navigated all the tricky parts of that age and time together.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I found my love of writing and communicating there, but I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do when I was at school. That all came later.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I actually had an internship with a florist as part of my business studies class, but they ditched me at the last minute! The only placement I could get in time was at a kindergarten. It was more fun than I thought. It didn’t end up serving my career much, but it was a great lesson in patience.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I went to the University of Adelaide and did a Bachelor of Media. It was the Uni’s first year offering that degree so we didn’t know the TER score needed (back then you needed a number out of 100). Say to get into law or medicine, you’d need a number in the high 90’s. This one was a mystery and I was hoping against hope I would get in.
The Adelaide newspaper The Advertiser would print the course you were accepted into so you could go to their office at midnight and grab one of the first issues to find out. My besties and I rushed down and flipped to the pages. I had gotten into the Bachelor of Media by one point! I did that for about a year and then accidentally landed a job in Sydney (more on that in a minute.) I finished the degree online via Macquarie University, back when doing Uni online was pretty new. It took ages because the credit point system almost doubled the subjects I had to do, but I’d started and I wanted to finish no matter how long it took.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
While I was at Uni my dad started saying to me
‘What are you going to do? You need to think about your career!’
I’m sure lots of you have heard this right?
I was reading a novel at the time, Pants On Fire by Maggie Alderson. It’s a tale of an English journalist who goes to work for a magazine in Sydney. We’d just done a subject at Uni about magazines too so it was fresh in my mind. I said to dad,’ I think I’ll work in magazines!’ I just plucked it out of the blue, mostly so I had an answer. Then I had to figure out how to follow through.
I went onto the Cosmopolitan website and at the time they had these little bios of the staff that rolled so it was a different one all the time. By pure chance the bio I saw was Sarah Tarca’s*. Sarah is from Adelaide, had done a similar degree and she had a quote in her bio saying Adelaide girls shouldn’t feel like they can’t get media jobs in Sydney. Bingo! I emailed ‘her’ (it was actually a generic email address) and because she is awesome, she responded and booked me in for work experience six months later. When I finally got there Sarah had been promoted and a girl called Emma Vidgen* was on the front desk. The two of them really looked after me that week and when an editorial coordinator role came up the following week on the Cosmo Extensions division (Cosmo Bride, Pregnancy and Hair and Beauty) they put me forward… and I got the job!
After Cosmo I went on to be the beauty editor of DOLLY magazine (so.much.fun), I was on the launch team of Glamour magazine in Australia which sadly didn’t end up going into production, then the Beauty Editor role at InStyle Magazine, the Beauty and Lifestyle Director/Deputy Editor of SHOP Til You Drop Magazine, then back to where it all started as Beauty and Lifestyle Director at Cosmo and Managing Editor of Cosmo Bride. *Sarah went on to be the editor of Girlfriend amongst other amazing jobs, and Emma was most recently the editor of Real Living. Both so talented and big names in publishing.
How lucky was I to meet them!?
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
Just a couple of months ago I made the change from magazine publishing into the world of events and all things creative.
Back in 2014 I started a website called The Festive Co, to house all the parties I was styling for myself and friends. I was getting a lot of requests from people to hire props from my own wedding, so I figured I would start a site to house it all. It was always just a fun outlet for me to be creative and over the years I’ve done all sorts of things from making giant perfume piñatas for a big beauty brand, to helping Justine Cullen style her 40th and most recently making custom party hats for Zoe Foster Blake’s bub Rudy.
As my kids started getting bigger, the idea of moving back to Adelaide was becoming more and more tempting. Then my husband was offered a job transfer and it was like a sign from the universe. So after a festival of farewell fun, I said goodbye to gorgeous Sydney and moved back to The City of Churches to work full-time on The Festive Co styling events, making crazy things and doing lots of writing.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Juggling all the different elements. Next week I have two custom TFC pieces to send off, a really fun party editorial to style for a charity and lots of copy to write. More than ever time management is going to be my biggest challenge.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
After getting the kids organised and off to daycare, I grab a coffee on the way home then check the calendar and to do list. I have a love/hate relationship with lists. If I get too busy and stressed, I get scared to make the list because I know it will be long. But if I stay on top of the list, there’s nothing handier. Once I check that, I map out the day around meetings, scouting locations for events and SPOTLIGHT runs for any DIY I need to do. I can’t WAIT to get my office up and running. I have the most fantastic studio out the back of our house, but I think it will be a few months until it’s really finished.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
I have so many! Close to home, my dad is an amazing business man and has always been the first call for anything work related. Whether it’s going for jobs, navigating something tricky or even just general business advice. He actually has an answer for everything.
I went for a job right back at the beginning of my career that I missed out on. Dad said to me “The deal you missed out on today, is the best deal you’ve done.” At the time I was like, ‘HUH? I wanted that job!!’ but of course now get it. Not everything is meant to be. Something else will come along. It’s not always about getting what you want. The next opportunity may not seem as good but you could meet someone that will change your career. Or learn something that will be a game changer!
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
A career in media is ever-changing. If you want to hang in that space you need to be multi-skilled. I learnt pretty much everything on the job, and thanks to always saying yes to every opportunity. I am trained in writing, styling, editing, social media, marketing, TV presenting and more. It’s an industry that tends to throw you in the deep end.
To digress for a sec with a funny example: when I was at DOLLY for say 4 or so months, the editor Bronwyn McCahon popped over to my desk with Lisa Wilkinson (former editor of DOLLY and at the time) plus a camera crew. NO WARNING.
She said, ‘Oh hey, Lisa is going to film this funny segment where she pretends she’s your intern and she’ll clean out the beauty cupboard!’ Right that second. Off we went to the cupboard and started filming. I was so scared, but that’s the job. Everything is a chance to up-skill. If you’re lucky enough to study media, do lots of extra short courses and intern, intern, intern. If I could list the number of incredible interns I saw come through offices and go on to MAJOR jobs, I would be here all day*. And I’ll give you a tip, the interns that got the jobs had an awesome attitude where nothing was too hard or too menial.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration?
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: @elsielarson – if you want to get the warm and fuzzies, go back and read all about her daughter Nova’s adoption. Inspiring. Plus she is my ultimate house and office goals. I also love @houseofwhite_ – she has the best attitude towards life and motherhood and seriously peps me up; @imakestagram is epic craft goals and it makes me so happy to scroll through her feed plus @ohjoy and @ohhappyday I’ve been following for years and years. Love them.
- Favourite Podcast: I’m new to podcasts! Until now I was either in a car with my kids (too noisy) or at work (I can’t write with music or talking) then when I’m in bed I’m reading. But my new life is going to be Podcast friendly.
- Favourite Netflix Series: Ok, there’s no way I can name just one. Queer Eye (Jonathan is life), The Staircase (I did actually listen to a podcast about that after I watched it because I’m SO INTRIGUED), The Sinner, The Crown, Grace and Frankie and Rise on Stan.
- Favourite all time book/s: Ooh now this is hard. Anybody Out There (and every other book written by) Marian Keyes, The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simmons, Pants On Fire (and every other book by) Maggie Alderson, everything by Liane Moriarty, The Harry Potter series and a million more.
- People: Amy Starr is my soul sister. We met at a Toni & Guy beauty function circa 2006-ish when I was at DOLLY and she was at SHOP. Sometimes you just find someone who knows you, you know? When you find those people you link for life. She’s a constant rock for me both in my career and in life. The wave of women I worked with as beauty editors are an incredibly inspiring and talented bunch. Some are still kicking ass in publishing, some are in media (like @leighacampbell, executive editor of Mamamia) and one, Yasemin, is even now a funeral director @riteofpassagefunerals who I am blown away by. These women make up a big part of my Sydney family and we’ve stuck by each other through new jobs, break ups, marriages, babies, the lot. Nourishing your work friendships can lead to important relationships for life. Women who gave me incredible opportunities in my career include Bronwyn McCahon and Justine Cullen. I actually worked for Bron twice, when you connect with someone if you’re lucky the path might lead you back to them. I also had the opportunity to work with some seriously epic women for covers of Cosmo Bride, who really have a special place in my heart. Emma (Wiggle) Watkins is a complete and total ray of sunshine and anyone around her can feel her warmth. Elle Ferguson is effortlessly stylish, cool and so caring. I met Elle through her clever sister Lucie (@babyanything) who I’m also so inspired by and am wearing five of her pieces right now.
- Others: My family is crazy talented. My sister-in-law has her own event company @onthetableevents and is a wealth of knowledge for me. My aunty has a catering biz @poppyspantryadelaide so we get to collab on parties, plus she feeds me a lot. My cousin started her own restaurants including @bowlsome_au and I had fun helping with her with one of their slogans. It’s pretty cool when you get to work with your family like that.
- Other tips: Don’t worry if you don’t know what career path you’ll choose when you’re in high school. I didn’t! I had NO IDEA. What’s far more important is putting in effort. I was at Maccas the other day and the guy serving at drive-through was on the headset flicking between us and the next people in line, plus taking our money all with a smile on his face … serious multitasking! I said to my husband, ‘How great is this kid!’ He said, ‘that’s why they all end up CEO’s’. Right!? It doesn’t matter if you’re figuring out your career while you study or working at your local IGA or Boost Juice (like me!) What matters is that you grab every opportunity, that you’re a good and kind person and you put in the hard yards at whatever you do. You will be rewarded for that.