We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Van Berkum and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Before I moved to California and started my own business, there wasn’t much emphasis on having a healthy work/life balance. Reflecting back, I think that’s because I was working for someone else, at a secure, 9-5 job. As an employee, it was easy to distinguish work and life, as I only had so much involvement at the company. There were agreed upon expectations for working hours, responsibilities, etc.
When I started working for myself, there were no predetermined expectations. Technically, as my own boss, I could work any hours, do any job, and perform any task…but where’s the line? In my experience, it can be difficult to set boundaries with yourself when it comes to your own dreams, especially when society has made us believe that being busy = being successful.
BUT – there’s so much more that goes into a business besides the work. It’s the people, the culture, the customers, the service/product, the community! You can’t see or appreciate any of those things if you just have your head down grinding the whole time. It’s all about the quality of your working hours, not the quantity of hours that you spent working.
In order to give my business my all, I know I need to be my best self (especially mentally), and for me, having a work/life balance helps me do that. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely still a blurred line with vacation time when I have unlimited PTO (haha), but that’s ok!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Blonde Creative Co. is a design studio specializing in branding, web design, and marketing services. Every project is spearheaded by myself or includes a ‘custom team’ depending on your needs. I love to support freelancers, so I try to work with freelance designers and developers when I can — this way services are “a la carte” style in a way. Basically, if I can’t do it, there’s a good chance I know someone who can. This commonly comes into play when designing websites — with a custom team, we can design and develop anything from a simple informational Squarespace site to a full-blown custom ecommerce site.
Beyond that, I understand that every project/client is different. I like to say, “you wouldn’t expect a country singer to be able to rap”, and I think the same applies to a designer — you wouldn’t expect an epic UI designer to be able to whip out a whimsical illustration (but awesome if they can). Because of this, ‘we can help/work with anyone’ approach, I’ve worked with innovative start-ups, established corporate businesses, and everything in between. Sure, I have an ‘ideal client’…someone who’s in early stages of branding (or rebranding) and needs to revamp their look across the board (print, website, email, social, etc.). However, to me, as long as the client is open to the design process and eager to learn, I’m all ears. At the end of the day, I just want to work with good people with rad ideas.
Luno is the other brand I helped start back in 2017 and continue to work for. We are the first brand dedicated to car camping. All of the gear is designed in California and enables you to camp in your car comfortably and conveniently. Our signature product is the Luno Air Mattress — it’s an air mattress that fits in the back of over 1800 SUVs and hatchbacks. We also have a line of car camping accessories like a Seatback Organizer, Car Camping Fan, Car Window Screens, and more. You can find the gear on our website (LunoLife.com), Huckberry, and Backcountry.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Teddy’s Red Tacos — great cheap tacos
Sage Vegan Vistro — get the buffalo cauliflower
The Window — best fried chicken sandwich in town
Kotoya Ramen — Hidden gem in Culver City/Palms
Hinano Cafe — cash only dive bar
Jameson’s Pub on Main St — 2 for 1 (oof!)
Wabi on Rose — sushi & cocktails
Hotel Erwin — rooftop
The Venice Beach Bar & Kitchen — ah-mazing staff
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
S/O to my co-worker Allie Vaughan, who is the BEST at actually being out-of-office.