As the founders of experience design and event production company Wildwon, Sally Hill and Yvonne Lee are helping to redefine sustainable business practices in their industry.
Certified for their efforts as an Australian B Corporation, the duo value sustainability in every aspect of their business. Thread Publishing find out how they make it a reality – and keep that reality going.
So, how do you keep the success and momentum going?
Sally: We’re proud to be a B Corporation company, but a lot of our appeal has nothing to do with being a business with purpose. Sometimes people just like to work with people they like. Professionalism is so important. We always act from a position of understanding – getting to know our client’s needs before anything else.
Yvonne: We’ve also both just come back from five days away. After working non-stop, personal sustainability is key. We know the success of Wildwon should never be at the cost of our own personal sustainability, because ultimately that feeds into the sustainability of the business. It’s all intrinsically linked.
Sally: It’s definitely easier said than done when you are running your own business! The issue with doing what you love is that you don’t run out of energy for it. You want to make it succeed more than anything so you always have that tug back to work.
After working non-stop, personal sustainability is key. We know the success of Wildwon should never be at the cost of our own personal sustainability, because ultimately that feeds into the sustainability of the business. It’s all intrinsically linked. Yvonne Lee
How do you strike the balance?
Sally: Even though things seem like they’re going a million miles an hour, you can’t forget to take the time to pause and reflect. In the first one to two years of starting up, especially, the act of pausing and reflecting is crucial to learning. Sure, it’s also about appreciating how far you’ve come, but when you’re starting up you cannot afford to make the same mistake twice.
We’re working on the philosophy of achieving more but doing less: being exceptional at a few things rather than trying to do everything. We want to do things well, grow slowly and get very good at what we do. Then we want to reflect and pass on the things that we did and didn’t do so well.
What’s the hardest part of that?
You’ve got to be honest with yourself. It’s the only way you can see how to do better next time.
Yvonne: And you’ve got to implement those learnings to sustain your growth. It’s likely you’ll be learning, course correcting, learning, course correcting, going forward, and taking a few steps back. Learning can be really iterative.
Do you have advice for companies of the future?
Sally: For any business with purpose – or any business wanting to create positive change – you have to ensure that purpose is the core of your business. It can’t be retrofitted as a layer on top.
My advice would be to find that thing that is part of your core as a person (and by extension, your company) and will drive your business always – no matter how big you get. The companies of the future are going to be the ones that solve problems in the world – that’s real problems, not First World problems.
For any business with purpose – or any business wanting to create positive change – you have to ensure that purpose is the core of your business. It can’t be retrofitted as a layer on top. Sally Hill
Sally: Find the issue that you find the most grating … anger and frustration can be good sources of energy. If something doesn’t sit well with you there’s a big chance it doesn’t sit well with someone else. And if you’re truly solving a problem, your work will be very valuable.
Wildwon Projects is an event design and production company. Founded in 2012, Sally Hill and Yvonne Lee manage less than ten employees across up to twenty projects, from festivals to launch events to foodie feasts. They work only on projects that have a net positive social impact.
For more information check out Wildwon’s website at www.wildwon.com.au
Photos of Sally Hill and Yvonne Lee by Wildwon. All rights reserved
Other photos: Unsplash