5 minutes with our star contributor Stella

Ramesha Perera
Wed 13 Feb

As Founder and Creative Director of Brand For Brands, Stella Gianotto lives and breaths design. Having worked in the industry for over 15 years, she has some of Australia's biggest brands under her belt - think Sportsgirl, Sportscraft Group, Mattel and more! Stella has teamed up with the Shaker for another year to be our brand expert and agent in the field! 

For you to get to know the women behind the brand we've sat down and taken 5. 


What's your story?

I’m the daughter of immigrant parents who came from Italy and who only spoke Italian at home up until the age of 12, I was always a creative kid but my Father was keen for me to learn and go to University so I was educated and could get a good job. I did go to Uni but studied Arts not Finance or Legal (as he had hoped). I drove my Mother mad as a kid, other stealing her camera and taking photos of toys or random subjects and textures. Those days though you didn’t know what was on the camera until you had the film developed, so no edit and delete back then. I was always drawing, sketching, painting and creating something.

My Father also taught me to work hard and to earn my own money, I started selling things at a young age for pocket money, doing odd jobs etc, eventually I graduated to doing portfolio shoots for upcoming models and dancers while I was at Uni, and as I got older I bought old furniture and homewares, restored it and flipped it for cash too – today it’s called Gumtree!! Today I’m a Mum with a toddler who is 2 years old and he’s very creative himself. So I am enjoying watching him as he develops his creative talents too, now I understand what my Mum went through.


Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?

I don’t think there is any one specific accomplishment or project that is the ONE significant project to mention. I believe it is the some of all that I have created that is the achievement.

To date I have personally created over 1,000 brands personally from the initial concept through to launching the brand and I have worked on over 3,000 creative projects throughout the years. They’re impressive numbers and not many creatives can quote numbers like these in their lifetime (or their business), and I’m still going.

Who knows, maybe we can get those numbers into the tens of thousands or possibly millions…. One can keep striving!


Who is your role model, and why?

I have to admit I have a girl crush on J.Lo, she’s 49 in the best shape of her life, she’s been referred to as a ‘triple threat creative’ she can sing, dance and act. But I admire her ability to still maintain her family values (single Mum with twins) and still be a successful entrepreneur without having sold out who she is deep down. I love that she is timeless with age and shows no signs of expiry, she’s not forgotten her heritage (nor her beginnings, I mean she donated $1 million USD to the Puerto Rico appeal) and she keeps re-inventing herself too.


When have you been most satisfied in your life?

It’s an interesting question because for me I’m never truly satisfied and it’s that double edge sword that keeps me going. Yes, I do stop to celebrate my achievements, but I’m also driven towards achieving my goals and there’s always something more to do, something more to achieve or someway that I can better myself. I am happy and content with my life, I certainly don’t want to seem ungrateful or unappreciative.


If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you, what did you achieve?

The main goal for me this year is to finish my book and get it published. It will be the first solo published book (I have 3 other co-published books already) but this one will be a book focussed on helping small business and start-ups marketing themselves on the smell of an oily rag – and I go one step further by telling them step-by-step on how to do it too.


What’s the last book you read?

You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay (I’ve read this book many times before, but every so often it falls off the book shelf or I see it somewhere, and I take this as a queue to read it again.


What’s the coolest thing you’ve worked on?

When I first started out in the industry my second job was working for an agency (which has since closed) and I was asked to work on a large scaling branding project that included merchandise and collaboration from a lot of different creatives.

We worked with illustrations, designers, merchandisers, creative directors, fashion assistants, costume designers, inkers and so on. That job was for Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus which has a history dating back to the late 1800’s, it stuck in my mind because we were part of the team that help to re-launch the brand and created merchandise that they could sell to support dwindling sales – it was such an open creative brief that was really successful in my eyes.

I guess it left an impression on me, because it was a great example of seeing something that I had created come to life. And years on, I have seen some of that merchandise around today, even in movies. It’s a shame that it’s rich history some 140 years on and how they revolutionised what we knew the circus and travelling shows as is now defunct. I’ve been fortunate enough to live some of that experience again when ‘The Greatest Showman on Earth’ the movie was released, it brought back a lot of memories for me.

And whilst I have worked on some great projects and with some cool brands, none have left such a lasting impression on me as this project has.


Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?

Tim Burton – The film director, I love all his films and I especially love the collaboration that he does with Johnny Depp too, I would love to swap with him for a day and just immerse myself into his thought process behind creating his films.


What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?

Not many people know how well I can cook. I have a set of professional knives and lots of tools in my kitchen and I love making everything from scratch, no store-bought sauces or pre-made meats for me. I love searching for the fresh ingredients, to cooking and serving it up and I’m not afraid to try new recipes and creations. I would happily sit there for hours rolling out pasta sheets, filling pastries, carving up cuts of meat. But I’m not talking about your garden variety cooking I’m talking restaurant quality gourmet food. It’s just not something I share with people, it’s my ‘me’ time and I only cook for a chosen few.