The saying “keep it in the family” certainly rings true for The Creative Collective, a multi-award winning creative services agency with offices in Newcastle, NSW & Sunshine Coast, QLD; who now have two sets of sisters on the payroll!
Founded by Yvette Adams in 2007 on the Sunshine Coast, during her first year in business, Yvette met Uni student Katrina Lees who was studying a Bachelor of Arts (Design & Communication) at the University of the Sunshine Coast after putting a call out for work experience students to aid her with her fledgling business. The rest as they say is history.
The pair loved working together so much; Katrina went on to complete an internship with the company, and within months became a paid contractor. In 2009 when family reasons took her back to Newcastle, NSW; she became the company’s first ever franchisee. In the same year, Yvette hired her younger sister Penny, and moved into a larger home which would allow the business of now 4 staff to work downstairs, while Yvette Adams continued to fulfil family commitments upstairs.
Katrina continued to operate the successful Newcastle franchise, and as business grew, so did the team’s families. Penny has had two kids whilst working for the company – Taine (2010) and Marlee (2012); and Katrina had her first child, Ozzy in 2013. Yvette’s children were aged just 3 years and 7 weeks old when Katrina started out, but are now aged 10 (Rio) and 7 (Matisse).
Due to the vigour of running a fast growth and demanding company around growing families, on 1 January 2014, Yvette and Katrina decided to take their working relationship to the next level when they canned the franchise model, and became business partners.
This move has proved to be a good one. During 2014, The Creative Collective has experienced 20% growth in its revenue, and has recently expanded its team of 4 staff and 30 contractors by hiring another sister, this time Katrina’s older sister Mel Lees, who started with the company this week. Mel has several years experience working at agency level in Newcastle.
“Not everybody could work with their siblings, but it works for us,” says Yvette Adams. “You know at the end of the day that they care about the company as much you do, and that there is a huge amount of trust, loyalty and appreciation both ways,” she says.
Penny agrees: “I really appreciate how I’ve been able to have two kids whilst working for my big sister. She’s always been flexible about my needs when I’ve taken parental leave and time off if the kids are sick. I also appreciate that the company continue to offer me professional development opportunities and career progression. Recently I attended a three-day all experiences paid social media conference and whilst my role has historically been to look after accounts. Katrina and Yvette believe I have shown some good skills and are now looking to give me more social media related work, which is a fast growing area of the business.”
Katrina says that even though Mel is a sibling, she knows she can work with her, having had a three-month stint in 2012 when Mel did an internship with her while she was studying.
“We were both surprised at how well we could work together. We’re really very close friends and sisters — we work very similarly but yet we have some differing skill sets which we bring to the party that compliment each other’s. We also communicate really well which saves time in just getting a job done. I think it comes down to the both of us being mature enough to separate the business hat from the sister hat.”
The proposition of working at a company that includes two sets of sisters is a new thing to Mel, but she says she is excited about what the future holds.
“I know Katrina and Yvette are both very ambitious who will drive the company to new heights. I know they are growing fast and I want to be a part of that continued expansion.”
To arrange interviews or photos of the sisters at The Creative Collective, contact Yvette Adams on 0405 022 977 or [email protected].