2014 When a dream becomes a reality | White River Design
There was so much change - and most of us are very uncomfortable with change.

When a dream becomes a reality

WRD the creative fringe

We won’t lie. 2014 was a big year for us. Understatement. It was HUGE. There was so much change – and most of us are very uncomfortable with change. The difference here is that the biggest change was us moving from our first commercial office and into our forever home.

This took the form of The Creative Fringe, the brain child of our Founder and Creative Director DebbieO. Debbie had a dream to create a space where like-minded people could work together under one roof, a one-stop-shop that doubled as a sustainable work environment. Debbie and her husband David mortgaged their home to build this dream and as coworking was relatively unheard of then, a lot of hard work, long days, long nights, tears, kids chipping in, friends chipping in, tears, so many flat-packs, more tears…

We finally launched.

The Creative Fringe launches

In February, renovations started on The Creative Fringe – our big project for 2014. The launch party was held on Wednesday the 9th of April and was a huge success! Many people came from far and wide, and we were so excited to show off the new creative space. The space has changed so much since we opened, so it’s quite fun looking back to what it was like when we opened all those years ago. To have a peek at all the photos from the evening, feel free to have a look here!

Door competition

If you have visited The Creative Fringe you would have seen all of our amazing doors – even our door wall and door roof. There is a lot of symbolism around doors. When one closes, another opens. What is on one side is not on the other. Opportunity knocks. Just to name a few. So to get us started, the WRD team held an internal “Creative Door Competition”. The doors can still be seen in The Creative Fringe today. There was a set budget put in place and once the doors were complete we posted photos of them to The Creative Fringe Facebook page and the team whose door received the most votes won movie tickets!

the creative fringe door

Change sucks

In February, I had tears in my eyes as I farewelled our Clare… little did I know by December I would be welcoming her home again. While Clare took her hiatus, we welcomed a lovely new Accounts Manager, Melissa Hickey. Melissa fitted right in during a big year of moving offices.WRD staff

LBDG networking + think tank

DebbieO started joined the national ladies networking group called LBDG which was run by Janine Garner. Janine asked Debbie to be a presenter on the LBDG Think Tank road show (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne). We began with our Brand Personalities workshop – first stop Sydney.

“I’d like to take a moment to thank Janine for the amazing network that she created. There are women who I met over the years as a member that have not only become clients, but have also become life long friends. Thank you to all of the ladies for being inspiring, cheering each other along and creating a safe space for us to all share and grow.” Debbie

LBDG DebbieO

Dedicated to client research

All in the name of work! When your boss tells you to take a flying leap, make sure it’s an iFly leap!

Debbie and James got to indoor skydive at the iFLY Downunder facility in Penrith. We were very excited to be working with this amazing company and totally thrilled that we got to fly!

WRD iFly Downunder
WRD Mentor DebbieO

Max Potential

Debbie mentored Amber, an amazing Year 11 student from Nepean Performing Arts on the Max Potential program. Amber worked on a legacy project where she encouraged fellow students to decorate tiles which were used to tile the canteen wall. Debbie & Amber still keep in contact.

Year 10 work experience

We had Lachlan from Penrith Anglican College join us for a week of work experience. Over the years we have had a number of school and university students do work experience or their required placement hours with us.
This is not an easy thing for a small business to take on, however we feel that it is one additional way that we can give back to our community.

WRD Work experience


Unsolicited advice #12

Ask for help. This can be so hard for many of us. Research in neuroscience and psychology indicates that the uncertainty of the outcome, the risk of rejection, the perception of being seen as week, or relinquishing power (after all, no one can do it like I can!) — activate the same brain regions that physical pain does. But the reality is that you cannot do everything yourself. You need to ask for help – before you hit rock bottom. You’ll be surprised at the people who put their hands up and help you out – often they aren’t the ones you were relying on.


Sydney Design Awards finalist

We were very excited to announce that our branding for The Creative Fringe co-working space in Penrith was shortlisted for a Sydney Design Awards in the category of Marketing Brand Experience.

the creative fringe Sydney Design Awards

Our ordinary is extraordinary

Sometimes you do things in business simply because it is the right thing to do. You don’t think that there is anything particularly special about it – until you find out it is…

When first starting WRD Debbie spent a lot of time finding the right type of services providers. She settled on the first (and at that time) the only trade printer in Australia to offer sustainable printing, using a waterless press that produces vibrant, consistent colour throughout the entire print run. We were able to have the best quality offset print available and ‘do our bit’ for the environment.

Sustainable printing is a term used to describe the result of environmentally-friendly practices being used in the production of printing. It may involve energy efficient factories, waste minimisation, elimination of water on the press, avoiding environmentally harmful chemicals and, of course, using sustainable or recycled paper. At White River Design, we pride ourselves on implementing all these practices in our studio.


What a year!

We made it! What a year of change. We added to our team, removed from our team, had work experience helpers – including the fabulous Blake Tickna who was not only a graphic design student but a huge Creative Fringe supporter.

Written by our Creative Director & Branding Specialist Debbie O'Connor - Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Published: Feb 13th, 2023