Regular readers may know that I stumbled upon Miss Kish’s blog a couple of months ago and developed a huge blog crush. Then when I met the lovely Karishma of Miss Kish in real life, I developed a bit of a crush on her too. We’re now working on an exciting new project together! Read on for my latest HOT Chat.


Karishma, tell me a bit more about your background in design and how you started Miss Kish?

I was actually always intimidated by art – especially when I moved to New Zealand in 2000. It was only because a friend saw my doodles and told me that I should try graphic design that I decided to take my distraction in physics and chemistry classes to another level!

Since then, it’s been a Bachelor in Art & Design at Auckland University of Technology, a semester on exchange at University of Creative Arts in the UK and a Masters in Art & Design at Monash University in Melbourne.

I started my design company Miss Kish in 2008. It was just after the recession had hit – and I had found myself miserable in a brand new job. I was terrified of quitting – and I knew how hard it would be to find a new job within Melbourne’s tightly knit design community.

I don’t know why – but my husband V kept saying “Just quit and everything will work out – you can do it on your own.”

And so one day I had a full time job, secure income – absolute minimal satisfaction. The next day I had no job, was terrified because I couldn’t see ahead – but for some reason, I was deliriously happy.

I also had an epic mentor – Ross – from Floate Design Partners – who would get my annoying progress updates and always managed to respond supportively.

What’s a typical work day for you?

I’m going to use yesterday!

7am – check emails, toast with marmite & avocado with chai

9am – get to the office, flip through books on identity design which leads me to work on the branding for a company which retails snowboarding products.

10:30am – check accounts and reply through emails.

11am – around this time I start to get a bit overactive on Twitter, so today I’ve caught up with Rach from the Nutritious Catering Company to discuss her website and current promotional collateral.

NCC12pm – I get hungry at 11:45. Often I’ll have a homemade lunch, but when things are crazy at work, I keep some Pitango soup – the Leek & Spinach is my favourite.

During my lunch break – I catch up on blogs; Sea of Shoes, Brand New, Eye Blog, Garance Doré and of course MEL: HOT OR NOT.

1pm – back to the grind. I worked on wedding invitations for a sweet couple who wanted something simple and gorgeous.

2pm – collating files and organising chunks of text for an extensive website for a multinational company which sells fertilizers to the Australian market.

4:30pm – popped out to Readings for a break. I love to browse through their books, feel tempted, then walk through to the back and have an iced coffee with V.

7pm– catch up with Jess for dinner at a cool place we found online. Which of course, I then proceed to blog about!

10:30pm – pack in a bit of Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 before collapse.

What are some of the most interesting or challenging projects that you’ve worked on?

I’m a vegetarian and I was asked by Top Cut Meats to work on them with their promotional collateral. Looking at what they initially started with (lots and lots of meat imagery – straight from the butcher) and where their collateral is now at, you can see an extensive difference. It was a fun series of briefs where I would have to ask stupid questions like “why is it called sausage kransky?” and try and convince my client to try mock meat. Epic.TopCut

Kristina Holdorf from Urban Fresh is working on Forest Stewardship Council certified wrapping paper. Last year she requested me to start working on a series of wraps which customers can also purchase as art pieces. Being more a fine art brief involving graphic design technicalities – I was super excited. It was a very, very open brief and after much research and discussion – I showed Kristina the first series and she loved it.


What are your next plans for Miss Kish?

Urgent Plans:
Hire a junior! [NOW DONE! YAY]

Long Term Plans:

Make Miss Kish carbon neutral and offer this option for client’s print work

Have a small studio with high ceilings and designed interiors and 5-6 lovely people who hang out for drinks after work on Friday because they want to.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

Follow your gut – not everyone else’s.

Always have a theme song. Mine is ‘Shine’ – I know it’s very cheesy, but it works.

Hold on tightly to those who don’t doubt you.

AychWhere do you turn for design advice and inspiration?

Design advice – friends (V, Piper, Greer, Sash), + mentors. My hugest mentors are V and my Dad. Both are business men – something I never wanted to be, and they both give me the realistic perspective that a designer needs every now. Other great mentors have been Floate Design Partners, Ros Lawson Design and Intense Design.

I’m a huge fan of art galleries, RSS feeds, whatever I see on the streets. I also love finding new music (the one place MySpace still holds merit) and so often when I find that new song and hook it on repeat, I find the design comes smooth and fast.

Finally, what are your tips for what’s HOT in Melbourne?

Creative Women’s Circle – fantastic talks with real people.

Readings – usually I’m a huge fan of interiors – but Readings on Glenferrie Rd (701 Glenferrie Road) now feels like home to me – and they have these lovely fig muffin thingees that V & I fight over.

DOC (295 Drummond St, Carlton). They do these amazing rolls called Rotolo (Joyce….. I hope I’ve got it right) – with bocconcini and tomato and basil. Once we were really cheeky and ask them to do a takeaway and they happily obliged.

I also subscribe to the White Hat Newsletter – which I think is the hottest thing as far as markets and events go. They are super thorough and have a way of describing the events, so I can tell if it’s a Kish event or not!

Kid Sam – a Melbourne band I like muchly.

You can contact Karishma at Miss Kish, 22A Liddiard St. Hawthorn + 61 4 2274 2304

For more HOT Chats with interesting Melburnians, click here.