Life in Colour: Cass Deller
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Choose a job you love and you will never work another day in your life!” Local artist Cass Deller
is living proof. Building a successful career around her passion for creating dreamy watercolours, while raising a young family, the clever mum of two is living the dream, as Ingrid Nelson discovers.
Cass Deller was destined to be a creative artist. Raised in Brisbane, one of her fondest childhood memories was spending the holidays with her family in Noosa, where she would while away the hours sketching and painting the coastal surrounds.
“My mum and dad took my sister and I to Noosa every January since we were five years old,” says Cass. “I would come here for three weeks and I would be so ridiculously inspired I would spend the entire holidays just painting.”
It’s the reason she and her husband Brent, owner of First Batch Coffee Roasters in Noosa, decided to relocate to the area seven years ago and they have never looked back.
“Living in Brisbane, I just didn’t feel inspired and connected to where I was,” says Cass. “My husband and I started working for ourselves and we realised we could work from anywhere so we decided to move to the Coast.
“As soon as I moved here my business just flourished. I was where I was meant to be and my work was where it was meant to be. Just being here constantly reminded me of those childhood memories and having that inspiration around me all the time.”
With a background in graphic design, Cass fell in love with the romance of the wedding industry and carved a niche for herself creating bespoke, hand-drawn wedding stationery for a number of years before expanding her business into branding and surface design.
“I was passionate about weddings,” says Cass. “It was a season of my life. I was engaged myself at the time and it was an industry that I loved being part of.
“When I started everything I created was hand-drawn and it was very unique. But then, as the years went on, hand crafted watercolour stationery became quite popular and on-trend, so I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special anymore.”
Pivoting her business to focus more on branding and surface design, Cass combined her skills in graphic design with her love of painting to create the next successful chapter in her career.
“I hand-draw and hand-paint everything. Then I scan that piece of art and turn it into a repeat pattern that companies purchase from me and take to their manufacturer to print on to a surface,” says Cass.
“That surface can be literally anything you can think of. From wallpaper to stationary; fashion and apparel; even nappies for children. In fact, 70 per cent of my clients are from the baby industry.
I never went out to pursue that, but my style of design just lends itself perfectly to that aesthetic.
“I studied graphic design but I am self-taught as an artist, so I have learnt the hard way over many years. It’s very satisfying to be able to see my artwork on so many different things.”
Extending her business to include an online print gallery, where business can purchase her pre-designed, hand-illustrated prints and patterns, Cass has also recently started a fine art collection, something she has always dreamed of.
“In the last two or three months I have created a selection of fine art watercolour reproductions on beautiful watercolour textured paper and some original canvases,” says Cass.
“It’s something I always wanted to do but never really had the time to delve into. Now that I have employed two staff members, I have managed to carve out some time for this passion project.”
As well as their businesses, the entrepreneurial couple has also grown their family over the past few years and are now proud parents to Edward, five, and sister Isla, who joined the family 14 months ago.
And although life with two young children is always busy, Cass says it’s all about embracing the imperfections.
“I am such a believer you can be a mum and have a successful career. I don’t think you have to put your dreams on hold to have children,” she says.
“I only work two days a week while the children are at day care and kindy and I’ve found a good rhythm.
“The fact that I can do this and I can spend so much time with my kids is the best part. I could be earning a million dollars and I would still do this every day. I love it so much.”
But like any good success story, the rewards haven’t come without hard work.
“The first couple of years weren’t easy. My husband launched First Batch at the same time we had our first child. We have definitely done some really hard years with lots of sacrifices, but five years on we have finally got to this nice place,” says Cass.
At the heart of her business is a passion for making her clients happy, something she says she will never get tired of.
“The client relationship is what I love the most, aside from the designing,” says Cass. “As long as I’m working with amazing clients and producing exciting work then that is what I will keep doing.”
IN Noosa Magazine Editor-in-Chief Deb Caruso said Cass’ artwork captured the bright vibe of spring perfectly for this editon’s front cover.
“We love featuring local artists on our front covers as part of our commitment to celebrating our creative community and capturing the eye of our readers,” she said.