creative women series: the woman behind Acid Flwrs
Today as part of our creative women series, I am so humbled to introduce you to the multi-talented & skilled creative, Claire Mueller. I met Claire at RMIT in Melbourne where we both studied Fashion Design. Claire's path after university was nothing but linear, which she elaborates on below, but she has landed in a space where she works in creative styling & brand consulting. Her practice involves wearing many hats , stretching her talents in styling, marketing & fashion to solve problems in the various industries she's worked in.
We started the creative women series to amplify the stories of the amazing women that use art to inspire, and what better day to release Claire's story other than International Women's Day. We asked Claire what IWD means to her, & we couldn't agree with her sentiments more.
Read on below to find out more about Claire's story!
Photo by Cristina Moir
To start, tell us a little about yourself & what’s led you to your new creative venture Acid Flwrs?
I'm a brand creative, still life stylist and start up consultant, currently based in Sydney. At core I help develop brands and build purposeful business, which means different things on different days. Sometimes I'm researching markets, sometimes I'm planning art direction, sometimes doing data analysis, sometimes styling photoshoots. Every day is different which I'm eternally grateful for - I love the dynamic of moving between worlds to get a broader view. It means I get to work with amazing people across a huge range of fields to make cool stuff happen.
Acid.Flwrs came from a place of pure creative collaboration. My Acid.Flwrs homie RJ is a graffiti artist and we share a lot of creative energy. We were kicking around one Sunday and wanted to work on something together, and custom flowers just made sense with our combined interests. I use botanicals a lot in my styling work and giving flowers has always been an important part of my life. I love the ritual and the emotion it invokes. One of my earliest memories is sitting with my Granny, who was an avid gardener, reading landscaping books over tea at 6am, and a family birthday tradition was to pick flowers from the garden to arrange around a table setting, so there's always been a real gravity to the presence of florals. I love giving flowers - they're always well received. I gift flowers everyone including the men in my life, which is apparently extremely rare, which upsets me! Florals are something that can be enjoyed by anyone. The idea that we've put a gender lens onto something from the natural world doesn't sit well with me. This is in part why Acid.Flwrs exists. It's floral that goes beyond a hyper feminine space - a gender neutral take on flowers.
Photo by Scott Needham
You’ve studied fashion design and have since worked in a number of creative fields, tell us about this journey and what you’ve learned along the way.
The path has certainly been anything but linear - it made sense for the first few landmarks but now I tend to skim over sections as I get met with a lot of confused looks! I grew up in Perth and started my career in costuming for theatre and film, so have always been interested in visual representation and storytelling. I moved to Melbourne to get into fashion which reinforced that visual literacy, while exposing me to more commercial aspects of the industry. I was honestly a completely one-track-mind and had no intention of doing anything but fashion, but the death of my father in 2012 gave me cause to reassess my values and to be frank, the fashion industry came up very short in aligning with those. This was before the Rana Plaza Disaster and FashRev and the conversation around ethics, responsibility and sustainability was nothing like it is now. I ended up just stepping out and studied physiotherapy for a few years. This collective experience taught me the most important thing - it doesn't matter if you haven't done something before or don't look like what everyone is expecting in a situation. At the end of the day everything is about solving problems to achieve desired outcomes. Skills are transferable. You can do anything you put your mind to. This is the one consistent thought I've carried forward, through everything from physio prac to presenting Pinatex at the world's largest textile fair in Frankfurt to consulting on marketing strategy for tech product in rooms full of corporate executives. Sometimes I have to laugh at how much my focus can change in a day, I'll go from sourcing props for a photoshoot to painting flowers to helping a client with business planning. I'm completely industry agnostic now - I just want to work on good things with good people.
Claire Mueller x Acid Flwrs x Simétrie
What does your creative process look like?
That's a good question. It's permanently ticking over - I can't really turn it on and off, my mind is always problem solving in the background. There are only two ways I respond to a creative brief: I either instantly see a finished image in my head or there's NOTHING and it's about pulling together options and experimenting on the day. It's usually the former, but I still haven't worked out what makes that image appear. I have learned that I need a lot of visual stimulation from the world at large, so try to spend a lot of time outside wandering (or running) around, just taking in colours and textures.
Photo by Scott Needham
What does your creative practice mean to you?
It's about constant evolution. Identifying the things that spark excitement and leaning in to those to stay engaged. I'm something of an anomaly in the creative world as am highly analytical - my personality type is very reliant on logical reasoning, so am always trying to balance both sides of my brain. I feel most comfortable in creative flow, and conversely can be pretty anxious when I'm not, but can't exist in creative all the time. The dynamic of shifting between the two keeps it interesting.
Claire Mueller on set
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It's a reminder of where we've come from, and how far we have to go. As much as calendar events are important to draw focus for a cause I feel that we all need to take responsibility and be better in our actions on the daily. There are a lot of engrained systemic challenges to overcome before there is equality, in gender and beyond.
Photo by Cristina Moir
Tell us a bit about the next steps for Acid Flwrs.
We're currently focused on building the brand as both a unique floral product and a studio practice. As much as Acid.Flwrs is the flowers it's also how we take that vibe beyond fresh florals into other mediums. Both RJ & I have extensive careers as professional creatives so have *a lot* of ideas. We'd love to work large scale, and internationally when the global travel situation permits. My current obsession is finding the right solution for the flower packaging - as a brand specialist I really care about touchpoints and customer experience, but also have a difficult relationship with the concept of packaging in general. I don't love the idea of putting resource into something designed to be discarded, but the temporary purpose is incredibly important and need to be highly functional...it's an existential challenge I haven't solved yet. We've recently expanded our drop delivery zone to include NSW/ACT/VIC/SA/QLD so are excited to be able to share colour beyond Sydney, and are working on some less ephemeral pieces for our friends who can't get the fresh stems.
Photo by Scott Needham
Find out more about Claire Mueller, her business partner RJ & Acid.Flwrs below >