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morgan macdonald fearless designer

TOOTS MUSE - Morgan of The Fearless Designer

Having Morgan as a Toots Muse is very special, as Morgan has been involved in the design of our new organisers!  It's the first time I've entrusted a design element to someone else. When I was developing the design I knew Morgan was the person to take it to!  With so much experience, an eye for style and her support of my brand the result was always going to be amazing!

Tell us about all things Morgan! 

Well, My name is Morgan Macdonald and this is my life… ha! I grew up on a farm just out of a small town called Stawell in the Wimmera. Yep, home to the Stawell Gift. Close to the Grampians, I had a wonderful childhood spending lots of time outdoors and playing sport. With a wonderful family who were hugely supportive of me I hit high school with a love for being creative and knowing exactly what I wanted to do when I finished school. I wanted to be a graphic designer so I attended the University of Ballarat and completed my Bachelor of Visual Arts (Graphic Design/Mulitmedia). PS. The whole multimedia section of my degree is now completely outdated, bye bye Flash.

I am very thankful to have had an amazing career in design spanning 19 years this year where I have had the opportunity to work with large and small businesses around the world. In my early 20’s I spent time working in Canada and England doing design and when I returned home to Victoria I started at Bendigo Bank in the marketing department as a designer. From there I started my own design business nearly 9 years ago and I am lucky to be still working with clients that have been on the whole 9 year journey with me.

Fast forward to now and I am mother of 2 boys, Callan (7) and Rhys (5) and live with my husband Don in Bendigo. I am so excited that this year BOTH of my boys are at school so it’s kind of a new era for me.


Favourite aspect of your job as a Graphic Designer?

Being able to express myself creatively every day, EVERY day! It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. I love perusing colours, fonts, photography and using my hands to draw and sew.

I also love helping people. Knowing that I can marry my creativeness with the ability to help people to market their businesses really ticks my boxes. 

Over the last few years you have launched not one... but two new businesses! Tell us about the family juggle and what drove you creatively to launch these

One thing I have always been is creative so it has always been the driving force of what I do. Two businesses sounds crazy I know. Throw in a CEO husband who travels a lot… pass me a wine. But the fact I get to create every day in my businesses is the reason I launched two of them. It’s like the tiny piece of ‘pre-kids Morgan’ that is left so I always enjoy my moments creating.

The juggle is a struggle though and the one thing I have always been conscious of is that my family comes first. Setting boundaries and time management have been important elements to my businesses and ensure that I am not too thinly spread. I have learnt the hard way over the years. Pushed too hard and burnt out but the creative drive that lives inside me really pushes me to keep going.


Tell us about Slightly Shirtee

Slightly Shirtee is a brand that celebrates life in all its glory. The good, bad and the ugly. When I started shirtee I was so excited to create a line of slogan tees that are bold, sassy and that bring a smile to your face. Real life tees for real life moments. I always need to pinch myself when I see customers wearing my tees in real life of in pics. It’s honestly so much fun.

What’s your favourite slogan tee?

Easy! It is definitely the ‘Awkward’ tee. It was the first tee I designed and also a sentimental fave. Being naturally awkward in ALL situations it gives the general public fair warning of any weird or awks altercations that may occur.


Tell us about The Fearless Designer

The Fearless Designer is my design agency. It extends past done-for-service design to provide education and empowerment for business owners. My mission is to empower business owners with the skills, know-how and confidence necessary to create a rock-solid brand.

I am currently working on the launch of my one-on-one coaching service and can’t wait to run some more in-person workshops after a small hiatus thanks to COVID.

The Fearless designer seems to push you out of your comfort zone. Have you had to do a lot of self work to get to this place? 

Oh yes. It has taken a good few years to get to the place I am. With my kids getting older I really wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and also learn a lot about myself. I have read books, been coached and mentored, been to therapy, made my health a priority and also really pin pointed my purpose and goals as a person and a business owner.

How do you think starting The Fearless Designer will change how you parent and guide your children in their interests/career?

It will change and shape the way I parent hugely, it already has. One massive learning for me personally since I started The Fearless Designer is that I have such a difficulty highlighting what brings me joy in my life. I know what I like but it’s like I’m scared to put it down on paper because then I’m held accountable for it (silly I know). The Fearless Designer has really made me think about being fearless about all things I am doing in my life including bringing myself massive amounts of joy. If my kids can watch me doing fearless things this paves the way for them to learn by example and lead fearless lives full of joy themselves.

You have been using our Everything Mini for a while now, what have you loved about a backpack as your every day bag?

This backpack is everything! The hands-free element was the best part for me. Not only could I carry drink bottles, band aids and snacks in my bag but I was still able to hold little hands, help at the park and not have to worry about lugging a regular bag around or remembering where I dropped it. The mini is super stylish too which was important for me. Not saying that I’m stylish but I wanted a bag to last and look timeless.

The baby days - we all find them different, did you find them a breeze or did you struggle?

I found baby days really hard. To be honesty I was pretty naive going in. After an easy first pregnancy, an emergency caesarean hit me like a truck and those early baby days were full of anxiety, stress and that feeling of not being good enough. I struggled to breastfeed my first son and this took a huge toll on my mental health. The memory of the delirium and utter exhaustion still sends a shiver up my spine. But as we progressed thought the different stages and ages I got used it and really blossomed as a mother. The birth of my second son was a lot easier and relaxed and I very grateful for that.

What was your nappy bag essential?

Wet wipes. What a fricken godsend. Sticky hand cleaners, stain removers, butt wipers, table sanitisers and everything in between. I’m pretty sure I will still be using these until my boys move out.

Were you a big bag packer or a just take the essentials?

Big packer. Still am. Everything but the kitchen sink.

What’s one thing you always take in your Mini now your kids are older? 

A basic first aid kit… honestly, it’s used more than you would think. Band aids (my boys burn through band aids), wipes, asthma inhaler, travel calm and Panadol, bandages, paw paw ointment. 

One thing a mum to be must pack in her hospital bag  

Breast feeding equipment. Think cooling packs, nipple cream and comfy feeding bras and singlets. So important early on especially if you you’re going to be in hospital for a few days.

What would you do differently with the benefit of hindsight with your babies?

I would have to say I’d relax more. If I could go back in time and and give myself a pep talk around resting, relaxing and not having to do it all I would. I was so tightly strung with my first baby that I wasn’t fully leaning into the life changing experience it was. I tried to rebel against the tiredness and exhaustion and kept telling myself to push myself harder, to put that load of washing on, to get out of the house with my baby and keep up appearances and worst of all I rarely asked for help.


Now the reason that we thought it would be so fitting to have you as a Toots Muse is that you designed the quilting pattern for our new pram caddy!! Do you love how it’s turned out, and is it exciting to see something you designed turned into a product?

Eeeek it’s awesomely so cool! I had an absolute blast working on the pattern for the quilting and am so chuffed it turned out so well. It’s one thing to design something for someone on screen but to see an actual product come to life, that you can hold in your hands… woweee!

How was the covid year for you with home schooling and juggling your work commitments?

Heck it was hard (heck wasn’t the first word that came to mind!). Thankfully I only had one kid to home-school but I found the whole experience relentless and emotional. Some days were good, some bad and we learned not to force it. The unknown was the worst. And while working hard as a full time remote learning teacher my design business was cranking too. People had found time to pivot and work on their businesses. So, for that I am thankful. I’m also thankful for red wine.

What’s your go to mum outfit?

Straight Leg Mom Jeans, sweater and cons


Favourite place to eat in Bendigo 

Harpoon Social Club. Honestly the BEST!

Favourite thing to do with the kids in Bendigo 

Exploring the Art Gallery. My boys enjoying wandering and pondering the art regularly. It’s such a vibrant and inspiring space that we are very lucky to have in Bendigo. 

What do you love about living in Bendigo?

Being a girl from the country I love how Bendigo is that perfect mix of country and regional city. We to have such a wonderful collection of small businesses in Bendigo which is so inspiring and a thriving arts scene.

Favourite way to recharge/reset

At the moment it is 20mins walking on my treadmill with super loud tunes cranking. It’s been such a good circuit breaker for me.  

Favourite book

I love to read but don’t read often. I try to keep a good mix of business books on the go and also fun books too. I don’t have a specific favourite book but loved Glennon Doyle’s Untamed.

Favourite people to follow on the gram

Ah there are SOOOO many, The Queen of Confidence for all things confidence, Christian Hull for a good belly laugh and a whole heap of Bendigo locals who are kicking goals @mindplusbodycollective @sophieokeefephoto @worldwidemamacrew @ashmoralesmakeup @stylebyashleighk @thepetalfactory @happyhandshappyheart (I could go on forever).

Shout out another Bendigo business

Shout out to the wonderful Kate aka Hardinghand (@hardinghand). Kate is a modern lettering artist and I have been so thankful to work with her on a number of projects including my Fearless Designer logo and my slang slogan range for Slightly Shirtee. Kate is such a talented artist and I am always in awe of her beautiful work. She is an awesome human and mum too!

Pregnancy... love or hate? 

Can I answer with a ‘meh’? Both my pregnancies were straightforward and lovely and I feel so thankful to have had no serious issues… but I certainly wasn’t living my best life pregnant. There were no glamorous photoshoots or feeling of wanting it to last forever. I am so proud of my body for the work it did carrying my 2 babes #twoisenough

Where are you longing to do once we can all travel again? 

ANYWHERE! Please! Fiji was booked in for 2020. It was our first international family vacay so someday it would be nice to get there. I can wait though. If you promise there is no more home schooling I can wait.

You can find out more about Morgan at The Fearless Designer

And check out her slogan tees at Slightly Shirtee

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