Exactly one year ago, I made the decision to leave my full-time creative director job and take Luckythirteen Design from “working on design projects here and there” to a full-time graphic design business. There were so many unknowns at the time, but I had some faith and took the plunge. It’s been a great year, and I’m happy to say that officially starting my own business full-time is a decision I don’t regret. I look back on the design work of the past year, and I’m so proud of all that’s been accomplished for my clients!
I was recently asked to be interviewed by Thumbtack Spotlight, a blog that highlights business owners throughout the country. It was great to use the opportunity to reflect on the year… where I’ve been, the relationships I’ve established, the passions I’ve discovered and what’s on the horizon. The interview was posted here, but since the blog post could only consist of an (extremely) limited amount of characters, I thought I would include Ashley’s whole interview here.
Feeling so fortunate! Thanks once again to all of the clients, colleagues and friends that make it possibly for me to continue loving what I do.
INTERVIEW: Luckythirteen Design: Graphic Design for Branding, Print and Web
What/Who inspired you to start your own business?
Real-world experience and learning about myself along the way inspired me to start my own business. As a young girl, I knew that I needed a career that allowed me to be creative — and a growing love of color, typography, advertising and using both my hands and a computer to create something brand-new led me to study graphic design. But I don’t think that I (or anyone) knows what they specifically want to do within their field without real-world experience. For the decade before I started my own business full-time, I worked in small creative shops, in-house marketing offices and mid-size ad/marketing agencies across the state. Past employers had faith in me and pushed me develop my skills, realize my potential and discover the aspects of the field that I enjoy most. I had also found that helping others succeed and doing work to make my community a better, more vibrant place was very important to me. I was able to pull those rewarding, enjoyable aspects and focus on them in my own business.
How would you describe your usual clients?
My clients come from all areas of business and all sizes — corporate, small family-owned business, non-profit and even individuals. Sometimes clients know exactly what their organization needs, and sometimes we have to work out exactly what it is they need! Many times in our initial meetings, our conversation turns to branding design. Branding design incorporates not just one element (like a new logo) but a ‘brand look’ that can then be rolled out into all marketing — including print materials, business cards, social media, website and so much more. When we’ve established their brand look, that look speaks volumes about who they are and what they do — not to mention helps them stand out in the community.
What do you think is the most effective strategy to keep your customers happy and satisfied with your services?
A good mixture of quality, reliability and teamwork makes a great combination. I work hard to consistently produce unique, creative design solutions that are both on-trend, fit the brand and meet project goals. Clients can rely on me to meet deadlines and share outside-experience that will help assist in their marketing plans. I’m approachable and easy to connect with. I work one-on-one with the client in a very team-oriented process — a level of trust is developed along the way. I can be as involved in their design/marketing process as they’d like me to be. And we have a little fun along the way too!
Can you describe a recent, successful project?
This one was a great example of teamwork amongst client and designer. CTW Photography approached me about re-branding the portrait, commercial and wedding photography facets of their business. They had an existing logo, but wanted to create a brand look that would extend to all of their marketing materials including stationery, brochures, sales sheets and web presence. The challenge was that each facet of their business had a very different audience which would require a different design approaches, but the pieces all needed to fit together under the brand. I worked to design a branding board to give the client an idea of my design direction and inspiration… and they loved it! Full of motivation, we worked together to develop a marketing strategy and how each individual piece would be executed. Many pieces later, they now have a stack of marketing materials that are truly “CTW” and will make their brand stand out to potential clients. The process of creating their new brand from scratch has been an exciting journey for me and I can’t wait for our future ideas to take shape!
In a short line, how would you entice your potential consumers to book your service?
I’d like potential clients to know that design is often the first impression a client has of their business (whether it be their logo, their print materials or their web presence). Working with an experienced, well-rounded designer with a background in marketing will help them get a professional, polished look right from the start that compliments their organization and mission will set them apart from the competition.