Zara Wong

A Moment in Place with Zara Wong

Physically, where are you right now? Are you at home, on holiday, in the office or elsewhere else?


Currently I'm in my home office. When I say 'home office', I mean it's a little nook by the kitchen. I could be doing more with the space, but I like to work on things slowly to make sure it's really what I want. I want to make interior choices that will last as long as possible, not just for a 'season'. 


How does your current environment inform your creative process and what is inspiring you right now? 


My home office is underneath a row of skylights and by the back door, so there's plenty of light and fresh air which I love. I love being able to look out windows, and I have started putting up framed prints. I like to give the eye a lot to look at, and sometimes when I'm having a block with work, I can let my eye wander and often solve the issue without purposely thinking about it. 


For every good idea there are many more we reject. Do you ever salvage ideas that didn’t come to fruition at a later stage or do you just move on? 


I have so many notes on my iPhone and on my computers of just 'ideas', and I have to say that it's not too often that I return to it in its original form. If there's an idea that I think really strong and works, it tends to stay with me and not leave me alone so it ends up eventuating. My roles have always been about coming ideas, whether it's partnerships for brands, marketing campaigns, visual imagery, copy, and honestly, ideas come to me so easily so when I work with other people, what impresses me most is if someone is able to come up with a strong idea *and* execute. Honestly, it's easy to sit in ivory towers and come up with ideas and not do anything. Ideas come to me so easily it's for work, my newsletter, anything, and if it's good I'll make it happen. Overall, I don't think I tend to dwell, ideas or not, and move on quite quickly. 

What have been some personal milestones that you have achieved outside the expectation or perceived expectation of others? 


I've always wanted to do some form of freelancing but was always tied to conventional views of what constitutes success -- working at a cool and high performing company, or impressive sounding job titles, and 

I'm really honoured that I've cut my teeth and learnt so much from them. I've started freelancing recently and I'm really proud of myself that I've 'bet on myself'. I'm not a natural-born hustler so I'm also really flattered that I've had so many inbound inquiries about consulting for so many brands and companies I deeply admire and have aligned values which is so incredibly exciting. 

Additionally, I started a personal newsletter, Screenshot This, in 2021 because I wanted to create something that I wanted to read. It was COVID in Melbourne and I was stuck at home and it helped count the weeks as they went by. Through not much promotion but by word-of-mouth, it's really grown and I am stunned by the impact it can have on small businesses or other Substack writers when I make recommendations. Again, it was about betting on myself. 




What have been some of your most profound personal challenges and have they ever informed your creative process or interrupted it? 


I was debilitatingly shy growing up; so shy I would burst into tears if I had to go on stage or do public speaking and would do whatever I could to not be the centre of attention. I would ask my younger brother to order for me at McDonald's as I just couldn't talk to anyone! Once I got to university, I realised I needed to consciously make a decision to not by so shy anymore so this is constantly a work-in-progress. This really showed to me that rather than just hoping something will change, you really needed to do it yourself. 


If you analysed the most important factors in your success, what would say these have been? 


I am very thorough but always keep in mind the big picture and think ahead. I am an avid researcher and really keep abreast of what's happening with consumer behaviour through my natural interest in it -- I am so naturally curious. 


I also think I have a way of communicating that is very natural and genuine whilst also trying to inform and suggest. I am a private person, so I don't do this by being transparently open about my life's personal details; others are able to do this so well but I don't really use my social media or work in a confessional way, so I am really thrilled when I get told that I still strike a communication tone that is open and informed. 


What are your personal and creative rituals, if any? 


Reading the news, novels both fiction and non-fiction, watching something different (films, television, TikTok!) and of course travel. But you could really travel through your mind through so much content in the world now, and with the internet, it is just an unlimited source of research. 


Where do you go to find creative refuge? 


While I do love travelling (who doesn't?!) having a small child and also the preceding years of COVID has made travel a bit more challenged, relatively. I also love being at home solo; there's nothing I love more than sitting in my bedroom or living room with a cup of tea and a candle. 


If you could go back in time and begin again without knowing what you do now, would you?


No! Honestly, when I was in highschool I was told I dressed like I was older (not in a cool, sexy way, but in like, a 'grown-up responsible' way) -- I am so happy at this age now and doing what I do. 


What piece of wisdom currently resonates with you and how does it inform your approach to life right now? 


Take stock, consider, and just do it. 


Zara's Edit


Wave Fire Screen


Vernier Round Side Table


Cloud II


Cono Chair