What is your professional title, purpose or passion?
I’m Esther Molyneux, a graphic designer with a background in visual merchandising and marketing, is the Founder and Creative Director of She is Found Studio. I believe a beautiful work environment filled with a purpose for faith fosters community, creativity and productivity. My passion is in design and creative problem– solving; taking a seed of an idea and turning it into reality.
With a background in design and a passion for spiritual wellbeing and growth, The Studio seeks to cultivate a space for women with common ground. The Studio provides a voice and a resource for women who desire to put their Christian faith at the forefront. The platform, through its workbooks, research and stories, celebrates the betterment of spiritual transformation. The aim is to help unravel and understand patterns, behaviours and needs. We explore spirituality, emotions, self, intellect and creativity together.
What did you want to do when you were a child and what changed?
I've always loved creativity, painting, drawing and dreaming up new ideas. It wasn't until my teens when I decided that I preferred the graphic design route instead of art. I remember spending time envisioning what my magazine would look like, or a shop where I'd sell my products that I'd created. I actually ended up going down the fashion route, and throughout that, I dabbled with graphic design. For me, fashion captured an element of creativity and shaped the need to problem-solve. However, after my maternity leave finished and circumstances changed, those early teen thoughts were a starting place to start the Studio.
What's the best career advice you've ever been given?
Not to quit. It's so easy to want to throw in the towel when things get hard or painful. There is a refinement process in sticking things out, it leads to the skill of perseverance and grit, but also clarification. We need all of these things to move forward and get the breakthroughs that we need. The other advice that I've been given is to be content. Yes, we should want to work towards more. However, sometimes it's so easy to forget what we've already been blessed with and enjoy it. The position we find ourselves in can still be used as a platform to get us to the next one, but we need to find joy and peace in the waiting.
What is the best thing about your current working environment?
It's the incredible women I get to work with to create and pursue the vision and calling placed on my heart. When you can find a like-minded, driven support system, it creates a catalyst to achieve more. I love the fact that the Studio is built upon strong and creative women who want to come together for the greater good. Not only that, they complement the skills that I lack so well. Having several sounding boards and a collaborative workspace is worth the investment and time to unfold dreams into reality.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
My biggest dream is to take 'She is Found Studio' offline. My vision is to have a studio, store and event space where women can gather and collaborate. I really believe that having a space to connect, learn and support one another is so vital. I'd run workshops, mentoring, have a space for creativity and healing.
Tell us more about a charitable organisation or project you think is great.
I love charities that make a local impact, projects that can see a need and move out of the purely profit-driven mindset to make a difference. Serving an audience is great, but when this is taken one step further in creating change outside of that is far more impactful and love drive. One of my business goals is to create a model where I can create a wave of change. I'm working on a 'Get One Give One' social project, in the hope that I can make a real tangible difference for women in need of help.
What drives you?
My mission is to serve women with a relentless attitude of love, care and kindness. It's a pleasure to wake up in the morning and think about who I can help, listen to or comfort. Design is a great way to get people engaged but at the heart of my business as a culture of community and care. Women helping women is a real thing and not just a throwaway hashtag. Intentionally remembering this allows space for stories, authenticity and vulnerability, life is all about relationships and nurturing them carefully.
Any final comments?
If you're interested to learn more about the Studio or would like to support, check-out the project and please do get in touch!
What does a normal day look like for you?
I'm a single mother, so life is a delicate balance between work and nurturing and loving my toddler. I often wake up ahead of him (5:30 am) to spend time in reflection, which is so essential to kickstart the day. You'll find me coffee-fueled to keep going, and mornings are centred around playing together. At nap time, work really begins. There's a two-hour window for admin and churning through the mundane tasks. Once I've dropped my son off, I tackle the more significant projects as there is more time to let the creativity flow. Either I'm working on product design, or rallying to form leads for my crowdfunding platform. I often work with other women on strategic planning. This is to get the word out about the Studio cleverly and authentically, so it resonates with my audience. The evenings are short due to the early start. After my son's bedtime, it's a chance to invest in learning, whether that be spiritually or a new business mindset/skill. I switch off at about 9 pm ready to start the routine again with plenty of sleep.
What have you achieved that you feel most proud of?
Starting the journey of starting my own business is something I am really proud of, it's entirely outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes managing myself is far harder than when I led a team of eight. There are so many things to learn, mistakes to be made, and being self-disciplined is tricky. Despite that, when I look at the products and resources, I've created to serve others brings me so much joy. There is something special and unique about stepping out to help others by yourself instead of under someone. You can shape it and mould it precisely in the way that you envision it. To have that, control brings so much freedom.
Tell us about a a woman who inspires you
Often, we shy away from authority when actually a leader is what is needed to break self-made or world-made boundaries. I have a fantastic mentor who opens my eyes to possibilities, refocuses my attention to look outside of myself and what I need to work on internally to impact externally. By finding someone to empower us to grow, change, make us uncomfortable and push our limitations, creates the key to honing in on healthy ambition and success.
What was your biggest failure?
This may sound cliche, but I really don't believe in failure. The failure mindset leads to shame, self-condemnation and fear to get up and try again. Instead, I think it's best to see each 'failure' as a stepping stone to where I want to get to. When we take the learnings, the next attempt creates something far better. The need to please people can often limit us attempting things again. But, from experience, the community is always supportive. I would rather experience a sense of rallying than hiding in a corner, thinking I've failed.
What do you like most about yourself?
I've had a rollercoaster of a life, from years of depression to losing everything and then walking in faith, hope and love. I think my tenacious grit has allowed me to like and love myself. The ability to keep getting up creates beautiful change internally.
How can we make the world more inclusive and accepting?
I think every woman no matter their faith, culture, race, gender and identity should be allowed to have a view and a platform. Rather than shying away, it's essential to have a safe condemnation free space, where topics can be discussed freely and in love. A woman should never be ashamed of her beliefs, there is plenty of space for everyone. Creating an environment to foster and nurture women is critical, so we all feel loved, accepted and valued. This means, opening up tough conversations, allowing authenticity and digging deeper into the lives of women rather than what is on the surface. Compassion and empathy should be at the forefront rather than apathy and judgement.
What skills have been key to your journey so far?
My design and people management skills have played a significant role. However, a powerful ability I've learnt is being able to share my story to help others find freedom. Storytelling makes situations relatable. I've learnt to open up talk about hard topics such as my faith, divorce, debt, sex, mental health and aloneness. These are all critical to building a relatable brand. I'm not perfect and acknowledging that to let people in was a pivotal moment for me.