50 Questions with lettering guru Harley Quinn & co.
When it comes to the Harley Quinn & co. Instagram account, it’s hard to choose which direction you like best. There’s the uber adorable pics of her namesake sausage dog Harley Quinn, beautifully designed lettering, flatlays, flowers, and of course pics of the accounts owner – Erin Donati. Oh, and a very clear obsession with the colour pink – a strong feature found running throughout her feed.
But with a rather sweet full-time gig as Senior National Marketing Manager in the entertainment media, Harley Quinn & co. remains just a side hustle – a part-time passion project for Erin after picking up a love for lettering amidst a graphic design course in 2014. While she began the Instagram account as a way to share her designs – it’s now morphed into a place where she can share all the pretty things crossing her path.
And if full-time and part-time gigs aren’t enough to keep her busy, we thought we’d take up a little more of her time – calling on Erin to take part in our latest Fast 50 to answer everything from favourite fashion items to early mistakes…
1. Best beauty product of all time? Sunscreen
2. Five beauty products you can’t live without? Mascara, makeup remover wipes, moisturiser, fake tan, Lucas paw paw ointment
3. Hair “done” or messy? I prefer it done – although it’s more often messy
4. Makeup or no makeup? Makeup, it’s so fun to play with
5. Favourite fragrance? Lolita Lempicka
6. Favourite item of clothing? My Bonds trackies
7. Favourite fashion brand? Alice McCall
8. Sneakers or heels? Sneakers
9. Gym or exercising outdoors? Gym when I can be motivated
10. Yoga or running? I wish I did both (or either!)
11. Healthy eating or treating yourself? Everything in moderation – life’s too short not to treat yourself
12. Can you cook? I love cooking. But my husband is a better cook than me so I am usually on wine pouring duty (which I’m also pretty good at)
13. Favourite food? Pasta + antipasto platters – it’s no surprise I married an Italian
14. Favourite drink? You can bet money that I’m ordering anything with lychees in it
15. Best place to eat out? Chin Chin in Melbourne is my all-time go-to
16. Happiest moment? I feel like I should say my wedding day… but also the day we first met Harley – our miniature dachshund – and got to take her home with us. It was love at first sight and I’ve been completely obsessed with my little saus ever since
17. Saddest moment? Realising that Harley Pup won’t be around forever – we had a scare recently where she hurt her back (really common with dachshunds) and the vet was throwing us all these statistics around sausage dogs not surviving surgery, and I had a bit of a meltdown seeing her in so much pain. I’ve been banned from attending vet visits ever since. But thankfully Harley has bounced back so she’s in the clear for now (and we’re much more careful with her around stairs and jumping on and off furniture)
18. Instagram or Snapchat? Instagram FTW
19. Blog or YouTube? Blogs. I like to write and hate hearing my own voice back on videos (also why I don’t like talking on Insta stories!)
20. Iphone or camera? Mostly iPhone
21. Type of camera? Canon EOS 700D
22. Facetune or untouched? Untouched
23. Lightroom or VSCO (or another phone app!)? Both, plus Snapseed
24. Favourite filter? I don’t usually use a filter but I am pretty fond of H1 when the occasion calls for it
25. Favourite way to edit pics? Quickly
26. 9-5 job or full-time influencer? Currently working full-time (& wishing it was only 9-5, ha!) plus running HQ&Co. on the side – weekends and nights. I love both and wouldn’t want to give up either one, so it works for me!
27. How did you first get your start in Instablogging? It wasn’t a conscious decision really, I just started posting things that I liked and it all kind of grew and developed from there. HQ&Co. started out mainly as a design studio – so I was really just intending to post design work and use Instagram to help grow my client base. But the lines between designer and blogger have all kind of blurred and now I just post photos of things I like – outfits, food, design work, holiday snaps, photos of my dog, coffee, flowers, etc.
28. How much time goes into a normal picture found on your Instagram account? That really depends on what it is – if it’s a shot of my breakfast, I’ve got it down to a swift 30 seconds for the photo (no one wants to eat cold pancakes) and a minute or so afterwards for a quick edit. But for more set-up shots – flat lays, outfit shots etc – take a bit longer. Maybe 10-15 minutes for the set-up and photos, and then another 10 minutes for editing depending on what I do (and how many times I re-edit them!)
29. What’s your top Instagram tip? Post what YOU love
30. Who takes your pics? If it’s a photo of me, then my Insta (and real life) husband has taken it (patience of a saint). All other shots are taken by me
31. Career highlight since being an influencer? Just generally all of the opportunities I’ve been given – I’ve been able to work with some really cool brands and see my content shared by some really big and famous accounts, which is always exciting. I love that my little business/side hustle gives me a creative outlet, and I’ve also met some really lovely and amazing people through Instagram, which has been wonderful
32. Career lowlight since being an influencer? I learned early on not to accept collaborations or paid agreements with brands or products that I wouldn’t be happy to pay my own money for. There was one time my husband and I went to an event and I was obliged to post a photo whilst there, and it was just the worst – being pressured to take a photo usually means it’s not going to look like a real moment and in this case the event vibe was completely different to what my usual aesthetic would be. So we spent most of the night trying to get a shot that I was happy to use. We didn’t have fun, and I’ve turned down similar opportunities since because it’s just not worth it. I’m also careful that I don’t want my Instagram feed to be made up of ads and for all of my time to be taken up doing sponsored things. So I’m not signed up to any agencies and I also try not to accept too many ‘product for post’ or sponsored arrangements, I need to really love something to post it
33. Best campaign you’ve ever worked on? I loved teaming up with Rollie Shoes and Reid Cycles for a recent campaign where I got to give away a pair of cute Rollies and a Reid Bike – giving things away is always fun
34. The best gift you’ve ever received as an influencer? My husband and I love eating out and trying new places, so if we’re invited somewhere to try a new menu – it’s a nice little date we can go on, which is always fun. I joke that that’s his payment for being my Insta-husband. But seriously, it’s his payment…
35. Last thing you googled? Accommodation in Byron Bay – hoping to go there for a cheeky long weekend soon!
36. Favourite film? ‘The Notebook’, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, ‘That Thing You Do’, ‘High School Musical’, ‘Scream’
37. Favourite book? ‘Looking for Alibrandi’
38. Favourite song? ‘Electric Blue’ – Icehouse
39. Favourite band? I’m a pop tragic. Boy bands are my jam.
40. Living in the city or living by the beach? Currently in the city. Dreaming of living by the beach…
41. Favourite travel destination? Italy. The countryside, the coast, the food, the wine, the people. All of it.
42. Going out clubbing or quiet dinner with friends? Quiet dinner every time
43. Partner or single? Married
44. Siblings? 1 bro, 1 sis
45. What city are you currently living in? Melbourne
46. Celebrity crush? Blake Lively
47. Pets? Miniature dachshund – Harley Quinn. The namesake for Harley Quinn & Co. and my BFF
48. Top five Instagram accounts to follow? @jessicavwalsh, @oohcouture, @elle_ferguson, @rachelcastleandthings, @dachshundsofinstagram
49. Favourite quote you live by? You do you boo
50. Top career tip? Success is what you define it.