Behind the Screen : Alex Cottles
To start things off, please introduce yourself to us.
My name is Alex and I am the founder of The Routine Creative.
In one sentence, describe your business.
I am a self run design studio here to help you discover your brand through brand strategy and web design.
Where in the world are you located?
Richmond, Virginia USA
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am definitely a night owl. This is when I get my best work done because everyone else is sleeping and emails aren’t constantly flowing in. Plus I get less distracted by social media since people usually post throughout the day. I honestly don’t sleep very much though haha.
What is your favorite part of the day?
Lunch time is my favorite part of the day duh! Although I am super unproductive after lunch typically.
What is your favorite day of the week and why?
Pretty much any day but Monday lol. I know it’s cliche to hate Monday’s but everyone just loves to email me on Monday’s it seems lol. Not to mention I wake up with all of this pressure I have put on myself for what I need to accomplish for the week ahead.
Where do you spend the most time during the day?
Though I love people and interaction I also do my best work when I am alone. I spend most of my day in my home office if I have conference calls, need to answer a ton of emails or if I just really need to focus without distraction. Sometimes I will do the couch and tv tray thing though if I am just designing.
What was the best thing that happened to you last week?
My husband and I just bought a travel trailer that we will be living out of in a few months so my routine will change pretty drastically I’m sure, but I am VERY excited! He is going to begin working with me and we will travel the country together!
What’s a simple way that you treat yourself?
Having coffee dates or having a random “fun day” with a friend.
How do you take care of your body and mind?
I write to take care of my mind. Usually song lyrics along side my acoustic guitar. It’s so therapeutic for me and is always a good reset when I am feeling uninspired or blocked creatively. As far as my body is concerned I love yoga but haven’t been doing it as much as I would like lately.
What does balance look like to you?
HAHA balance? What’s that? Totally kidding but in all seriousness, my business is my life. So it’s less of a balancing act and more a cohabitating of life and work. I happen to LOVE what I do though so it rarely feels like work (cliche I know.)
What are you currently reading or listening to?
Currently listening to Lewis Watson’s new album. If you haven’t listened to Lewis Watson or Noah Gundersen and you are a fan of singer songwriter type music, then you should give them both a listen. I am slightly obsessed!
Do you have a life philosophy or motto that you live by?
A couple. Practice makes perfect. It’s easy to get discouraged and do the comparison thing, but everyone started at the beginning at some point. Practice Practice Practice.
Also, remembering that everything happens for a reason. It’s something my mom instilled in me from a very young age and mom’s always right. Right? ;)
A lil’ bit o’ biz
What was your very first job?
My very first job was when I was 15. I was a gymnastics coach. I did gymnastics from 11-17yo so naturally I began coaching. It was a perfect fit at the time!
Who have been your biggest mentors?
Design wise my biggest mentors are Breanna Rose (Rowan Made) and Mike + Brittni (Station Seven). I have a tendency to crush on certain brands or businesses pretty hard but that feeling seems to come and go pretty fast. However, Rowan Made and Station Seven will always be businesses I admire. This may sound silly but I once heard Lana Del Rey say in an interview once something like “Find people whose lives you admire and find out how they got it or try to create that for yourself.” I tend to do that for my business. Admittedly I find myself being overly inspired by other creations at times. When that happens you just have to kick yourself and tell yourself “do it your way damnit.”
Life wise my mother and my husband are my biggest mentors. I would not be the person I am today without either of them and I am truly lucky to have supportive people in my life. *queue the cheesy hallmark card*
What has surprised you the most about owning your own business?
Honestly, having followers/fans/friends. I mean like I said in the previous question I certainly know what it’s like to admire others but to have other admire me or look up to me is quite surprising. Not saying I am not grateful for that or that I don’t welcome that because I do. It’s just not something I really thought about or expected. It’s nice to know that people recognize my work and see a clear style because that is a constant doubt I place on myself.
Rapid fire wrap-up
Introvert or extrovert?
I’d say I am an extrovert who enjoys his alone time.
Sweet or salty?
Definitely sweet with a hint of sarcasm.
Chocolate candy or fruity candy?
Chocolate for sure. If you have ever seen That 70’s Show I am basically FES lol
Behind the camera or in front of the camera?
What’s your go-to Starbucks order?
Iced Coffee or Mocha Frap. Oh and a blueberry muffin warmed up :)
What’s a nickname that your friends/family calls you?
Cuddles (because my last name is Cottles)
Do you have any weird phobias?
Not sure that it’s a phobia but I am one of those people that feels pain from just seeing or talking about something. If someone starts describing a surgery or something I have to close my ears lol. Also I have a fear of papercuts and I hate the word “moist.”
Name a movie you’ve watched more than 7 times.
Emperor's New Groove + Batman (The Dark Knight)
There are two types of people in the world... What are the two types?
Those who are aware of the people around them and those who aren’t.
What is something that no one would guess about you at first glance?
I’m gay. Most people don’t assume this when they first see/meet me.