Alumni Profile: Natasa & Ilaria
Graduating from secondary education and starting university can be a big learning curve for any student, but not for our Oakleigh Grammar Alumni, Natasa & Ilaria.
After graduating from our 2018 cohort, this dynamic duo have not only kick started their tertiary education, but have also taken on the challenge of developing and starting their very own business, Reinspire Photography and Design.
The high school besties, now turned business partners, were kind enough to offer some insight into theirs lives since leaving Oakleigh Grammar, starting university and balancing a business.
Can you briefly explain your memories of Oakleigh Grammar? Favourite subjects, favourite part of the School, favourite sport or hobby at the time?
Natasa: So many good memories came out of being at this School for 14 years; growing up with friends especially with our classes being small and the teachers that made their subjects fun (or terrifying) for the duration of Year 12. So many laughs shared in my final year. I enjoyed all my subjects, but my favourite was probably Viscom with Mrs Avzangelis! Loved working in small classrooms with friends, it was a great motivator.
Ilaria: Oakleigh Grammar was like my second home, so many wonderful memories were formed over the 6 years I spent there, I gained amazing friends and learnt so much about myself. Although I would have to say my favourite memories were in Year 12, especially in Viscom with Natasa. Also having the amazing Jeany Bean as my mentor and IT/ Accounting teacher, so many laughs and memories were shared during those months and will be cherished for a lifetime.
What did you do once finishing at Oakleigh Grammar? What were you hoping to do?
Natasa: Once finishing up at OG, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. It was a close call between Veterinary Surgeon at Melbourne Uni or Interior Architecture (honours) at Swinburne Uni. I ended up chosing Interior Architecture at Swinburne, which I’m grateful for as I’m in my second year and enjoying it!
Ilaria: After graduating from Oakleigh Grammar in 2018, I spent the time off catching up with my friends and making up for lost time with my family. I was excited to start a new chapter in my education as I had been accepted into Swinburne to study a double degree in Business and Design, the course that I was hoping to get into for a while. I’m currently in my second year majoring in Communication Design and Management/Marketing, which I am enjoying very much.
You started Reinspire Photography and Design with fellow Oakleigh Grammar Alumni Ilaria, how did you two end up in business together?
Both: We would always joke around about opening up a business together during our final years at Oakleigh Grammar as we loved all kinds of photography and design work. Soon after we graduated we thought we would give it a try, and turn our shared passion into a business. there was nothing to lose, only gaining more knowledge and experience and here we are today running photo shoots and redesigning logos/websites and more, for our clients.
What is the most rewarding thing about Reinspire Photography and Design?
Natasa: The best thing about our business is how we get to work with each other everyday on something we are both passionate about. I wouldn’t have done this with anyone else! With each photo shoot or design we do, we improve our skills and gain experience, and even meet new people. Jumping straight into a business with not much experience (as we had just finished Year 12) was scary but super rewarding and something we are so grateful for.
Ilaria: The most rewarding thing about Reinspire Photography and Design would have to be working alongside my amazing friend Natasa, I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated and passionate business partner. Also, the work itself is rewarding, looking back at the process that was taken from start to end is the most rewarding thing about our work.
Whilst being highly rewarding, starting you own business can have its challenges; what advice would you have for someone who is thinking of doing the same?
Natasa: If you are passionate about something, go for it. Life is short and we have nothing to lose, who knows what great things will come from starting a business, especially with a friend! Any challenges can be overcome with your determination and will result in improving your personal skills and life experience, as well as new bonds with clients! Make sure you have a work-life balance.
Ilaria: At first, Natasa and I struggled a little being new to University and juggling a business but we learnt to manage our time and to not neglect one thing for the other. The best advice I would give to anyone thinking of starting a business would be to take it slow, settle down into whatever you are doing at the moment and slowly start to establish your business.
Would your younger self have predicted the career/life that you have now?
Natasa: Not really! I didn’t have anything planned out and just took each day as it came, and it landed me in a great course with our very own business.
Ilaria: To be honest I did not think I would be running a business with my friend at this point in time with my friend but I’m glad it turned out that way!
What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self if you could?
Both: No matter what happens, you will overcome any struggles. No matter what is happening in your life, keep your chin up high and battle through any challenges because there will always be brighter days. There are many more things to worry about than school grades, life problems, broken friendships etc. This is all part of life and will only make you stronger than ever. All you have to do is try your best and you will get to where you want to be. Be yourself, and never be afraid to keep being you. Embrace every opportunity life throws at you and enjoy your life to the fullest!
We would like to thank both ladies for the time taken with the profile. Natasa and Ilaria are a real inspiration, showing that age is just a number, and that you are never too young to start your own business and make a name for yourself in your chosen industry. We can’t wait to see how your business grows and develops in the coming years!
See Natasa’s and Ilaria’s portfolio in the links below: