Side Hustles Q&A: Emilio Frank Design

Q: Describe a little about you, and what’s your side hustle?

I’m Shana Danon, an artist and surface designer. My business Emilio Frank Design creates paintings, prints and patterns inspired by my passion for Mid Century Modernism. Recent collections have been licensed for homewares, textiles, public art, fashion and wall-paper. Emilio Frank Design started as a side-hustle 3 years ago to complement my full time business – however it is now my passion and focus.

Q: Why did you start your side hustle?

An extensive career in professional organising, decluttering and styling cultivated my love for interiors and the home. After further studies in colour, design & visual arts, I established Emilio Frank Design to create artworks, homewares and textiles that bring form, function and positivity. Growing up in a family of artists nurtured me to become a maker, and the timing was right to pursue it.


Q: What’s your 9-5?

Being in a creative business, the hours are really varied. When you run your business, you are always thinking about it and I dream about colours and pattern. I work when my kids are at school as well as when they are asleep. Showcases, exhibitions and markets are often held on weekends and in the evening. My primary work is my professional organising and decluttering business Organised Clutter, which I’ve been operating since 2003.

Q: Do you see this becoming your primary source of income?

Yes absolutely. I am now stocked in retail stores as well as a cafe, have an online store and do pop ups and collaborations with other makers. The art world is competitive, challenging and exciting and it takes time to build your brand.

Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about running your own thing on the side?

The biggest misconception is that you can always fit everything in the hours you put aside. The truth is you can’t always do everything yourself and you need a good support network to rely on.


Q: What have you learnt financially?

That you need to invest in yourself and stick to a budget. The costs for setting up a business can spiral so be prepared to commit, think outside the box and work within your means.

Q: What’s been the steepest learning curve?

That results take time. I work very hard and wanted results immediately because I was so passionate about what I was doing! It takes time to prove yourself, find your niche in the market and build loyal relationships with customers and suppliers. It’s important to enjoy the process and pace yourself.


Q: What companies do you look to when running your own biz?

I admire companies that are environmentally conscious, give back to the community and support local makers.

Q: What’s the thing you couldn’t run your side hustle without? (be it a program, a mentor, a piece of technology.

As much as I love my paints, brushes and pencils, living in a digital age makes it impossible to grow the business without technology. Social media, admin, website-hosting, digital design, branding, PR and marketing are a big part of my week. Being a one woman show, I have taught myself new skills to cope with all sides of the business and am learning every day.