When I first met Rob, I knew a standard headshot wouldn’t fit the bill. I also knew the brief I’d been given by his partner who surprised him with the gift of a session with IPS. She wanted art for her walls. Rob just wanted a headshot to use online that fit in with his brand. Rob’s partner, Chelsea, owns Trevallan Lifestyle Centre here in Ipswich and I knew this would be the perfect backdrop for him. Chelsea has created so many pockets of perfect frames in her garden centre, it was hard to choose! I wanted to show Rob’s character – his friendliness, his professionalism and his quirks. Mostly, I wanted to feature him – comfortable and confident – and his love of flora. I think we achieved it.
You can read more about Rob below.
"A Garden Artist"
Tell me a little about what you do for a living?
I manage a botanic garden.
Why did you start your business?
There’s a family link – my grandfather farmed flowers (roses) with his brothers in the 60s. Legend has it that my uncle would deliver the roses to seller on the back of his motor bike.
What has been the biggest challenge or fear you have had to overcome in business and how did you manage it?
Criticism – deserved and otherwise. It actually fires me up to succeed though and do an even better job. I’m also a bit of a workaholic.
How do you achieve balance between relationships, work and personal needs (or kids, family and time out for yourself)?
<laughs> Thankfully, I’m partnered through industry and shop talk actually brings us back to centre. If you’re happy and you work, it’s indistinguishable between life. We see 1.5 million customers per year – it’s a freelance life and you don’t really clock off. I really enjoy the fluidity of it all.
Over-preparedness for deadlines. I work well to deadlines and I am really goals structured with a logic essence in science.
Mostly, I sit in front of a computer. It’s a lot of forms and ticks. I really love getting out to the team in the field – there’s a lot of good feedback to and fro. Honestly, I have the best office in Brisbane.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love working with true professionals. I’ve worked with a lot of horticulturists, but I’ve never worked with a more professional team than here.
Who are your biggest role models or influencers that have impacted your career?
My grandfather, my dad – the family business – my work ethic comes from my dad. Jerry Colby Williams was a great mentor and Hendrick Ferrero for my diploma.
If time, money and resources were not an issue or concern, what would you most want to offer your clients?
I’ve always championed Queensland plants and I would like to be in a position where I could offer people a bespoke collection of cultivated plants that aren’t always readily available. It’s not a look you’d find in Country Living.
Please complete this sentence for me. “I am a person who…”
is probably an over achiever.
How do you feel valued by your people around you?
I like to receive feedback which is something that’s actually difficult to come by as a freelancer – it’s a positive feedback cycle that makes me want to improve myself and my team and culture.
What do you think you need to possess or own to be viewed as successful, valued and recognised?
A passion for what you do and respect for yourself, your peers and your industry. If you’ve got that, a lot of the rest will come. I don’t believe you need to be an expert to be good – you just need a spark.
How do you think you need to be seen?
I’m not sure I need to be seen. A lot of my work is done alone and that’s where integrity comes in, because that’s what’s done when no one is looking.
How do you feel recognised by others?
It feels great to be recognised – to be at the top of your game. We need that relationship with your industry and peers to be able to take criticism that leads to reflection and improvement. Self reflection and self release makes a good professional. That’s what I tell my kids too. Be good humans.
What do you need?
Plants! Flowers, occasional solitude and rest.
What’s next for you and your business?
I’ve played with a lot of ideas but I also give my all to what I’m doing. Every 7 years, I evaluate. Do I want to continue, do I want to install gardens? I’m a career horticulturalist. I’d like to help develop other horticulturists through writing, teaching and experience based learning.
How has working with me helped you?
Confidence. That’s the first things that springs to mind, you’ve really helped me strengthen my brand.