2015 Say yes and figure the rest out later | White River Design
It was 2 days before we were due to close up for the Christmas holidays when a tweet went out that got the ball rolling on our biggest project yet.

Say yes and figure the rest out later

It was 2 days before we were due to close up for the Christmas holidays when a tweet went out that got the ball rolling on our biggest project yet. The question was, do we close for the holidays as planned or do we soldier on through and accept this job? Debbie decided to let the team go on holiday while she took the project on herself and worked through the holiday. The truth was that this one needed a bit of a Christmas miracle as the deadline was so tight. What started off as the design of a cookbook, turned into the actual publishing and logistics of getting 13,000 books to Melbourne for dispatch! Debbie decided to harness her inner Richard Branson and say “yes” while figuring the rest out later.

Cooking up a storm

michelle bridges WRD say yes

What started from a simple tweet in December from one of our co-workers at The Creative Fringe, became a 152 page recipe book in less than a month to celebrate 5 Years of 12WBT. WRD has always been willing to go the extra mile and seize opportunities. WRD can proudly say we designed the first Michelle Bridges 12WBT cookbook!

A huge thank you to Jen Brown from Sparta Chicks for the tweet that started it all!

Sydney Design award #2

Sydney Design Award WRD Say yes

We were thrilled to receive a Sydney Design Award for our publication of the 12WBT Cookbook project. You can view our entry here>>>

Awarded for innovation

WRD was proud to received the Excellence in Innovation award at the 2015  WSABE Awards. The award was in recognition of our work in the development and set up of The Creative Fringe – an innovation that had nothing to do with our core business, yet everything to do with creating a sustainable creative environment for us and many other creatives in Western Sydney.

WSABE Awards

State business awards

At the end of November Debbie and David O’Connor represented WRD at the NSW Chamber State Business Awards. Finalists in the Innovation award (after winning the WSABE), WRD was up against the likes of Luna Park! We may not have won our category, but we did get a photo with Karl Stefanovic!

State business awards
Westfield WRD

Working with Westfield

DebbieO was becoming known for creating brands with personality. She consulted to Westfield on their retailers program. In this role she helped retailers identify areas of their brand and experience that they could enhance to create a more engaging and loved brand. She also worked directly with the Parramatta Westfield team on a branding exercise.

Rotary exchange students

Paige and Anna are from a small country town called West Wyalong, located around 5 hours from Sydney. They were given the opportunity to travel to Sydney and spend the week gaining experience in their choice of profession. All this was made possible by the kind & generous people of the Nepean Rotary Club.

“Paige and I were given an AMAZING offer to come down to Sydney and work with the team at White River Design. Words cannot explain how grateful we are to be given this fantastic opportunity. I would just like to say a massive thank you to Debbie and the girls at WRD for making us feel right at home and for teaching us so many skills. The Creative Fringe (Home of WRD) would have to be the most beautiful place and I hope that one day -if I can find my way around Sydney- I will definitely be back just to admire it!” – Anna

Rotary exchange students
 Panthers on the Prowl

Students on the prowl

It’s so much fun being able to engage our younger community with a visit from Panthers on the Prowl. The Prowl students were given an insight into courses and careers in the Graphic Design sector by DebbieO, and a bit of a tour around The Creative Fringe.


Unsolicited advice #13

Celebrate your wins. Regardless of how big or small, you should always celebrate your achievements. Perhaps you’ve won a new client, achieved your quarterly goals, won an award or got paid! Celebrating gives you time to savour the moment, acknowledge your hard work and if you have a team, it’s a great way to recognise their contribution and give each other a high 5 before moving onto the next focus item. Whether you ring a victory bell (like we do at The Creative Fringe), head out for drinks or dinner or so something more elaborate, celebrating is important. And fun!



Another lofty award

WRD Team Building

As a reward for reaching our targets, the WRD team took time out to catapult (not really) to breathtaking heights. Conquering the Harbour Bridge Climb followed by dinner in The Rocks. A great way to celebrate an amazing quarter. Other rewards this year included a Harbour Boat Cabaret Show and High Tea at The Hydro Majestic.

WRD workshops

With our fancy new training room, we education to our list of services.
First up was our 3 hour WordPress Workshop for Beginners to teach participants how to manage their websites through content creation, online marketing and SEO. We also ran our very popular “How to create a brand your customer will fall in love with.” Let us know if you would like to see these run again.

WordPress Workshop Beginners

Unexpected lesson


This was one of Debbie’s pre-newsletter ambles which we felt held a message worth sharing again.

“My 9 year old daughter competed in a State competition where she was up against 50 other gymnasts. She was worried that she would fall off the beam as she had to do a handstand right near the end and had struggled with this skill in landing back on the beam.

I told her just to try her best and if she falls of, just to get back on again. This is easier said than done when you’re performing in front of hundreds of people!

On the day, the beam was her first apparatus. She was so nervous. As her mum, my heart was pounding so loudly I think the row behind me could hear. I knew how worried she was and was willing her to stay on the beam. Sadly she did fall, but she got right back up and finished the routine with her head held high.

It made me think about how much mental strength business owners have to have. We put in the hours, we “train” and prepare ourselves for the big events. Sometimes we fall down, but it’s our strength to pick ourselves back up and keep going that is the measure of a true business owner. My message to you is to keep going. It will all be worth it in the end.”


Welcome Jen

For our first 18months at The Creative Fringe we managed to get by with all of us chipping in and getting the work done. However, as we grew we knew that we needed a dedicated Community Manager who could also double as an Administration Assistant at WRD. Enter Jen. Jen was one of our co-workers so she knew all about what was needed – she was also very handy with the paint brush. Anything yellow in the space was likely painted by Jen!

The creative fringe
work experience

Doors open for Amber

In a previous newsletter we mentioned a young lady called Amber who Debbie mentored on the Max Potential program.

Amber who joined us for work experience, is an enthusiast of art in all of its forms. She decorated one of the doors here at The Creative Fringe. A beautiful mandala design which can still be seen today.

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

Published: Feb 13th, 2023