#1 Blogger Interview Series: Stephanie Marie from Marie Branding Co.
I am so excited to kick off this series! I am a curious person, and whenever I see businesses or people, I admire I wonder how they got to that point and what drives them. I like to get to know new people especially who share the passions of mine, creativity, and blogging.
Stephanie Marie is the founder and designer of Marie Branding Co. She is a graphic and web designer and uses her company to share her passion for helping others succeed in their business with a strong and authentic brand presence, and solid business foundation. You can learn more about her story here.
What got you started in the design business?
I worked with corporate branding and marketing for several years, then went on maternity leave in 2014. I began selling decor items on Etsy, and what began as a hobby quickly turned into a lucrative business. I found myself jumping from $400 in sales to 5 figures by my 3rd month of selling. During that process, I found myself often sharing design and business advice and realized my real passion lied in helping other’s succeed in their business endeavors. Marie Branding Co. was born!
What is the biggest difference in your business now compared to when you started?
The biggest difference for me is being able to be apart of the whole process with the client vs. corporate branding. I become their #1 cheerleader along the way and am just as excited as they are on their launch day!
When you first started Marie Branding how did you reach new clients?
I utilized social media, joined Facebook groups that were full of my ideal clients. After designing for a few small businesses, word of mouth referrals began piling into my inbox and business has been fantastic since!
What is your best tip to sellers on Etsy who want to grow their sales?
My number one tip would be to know who your target audience is and hunt them down on social media.
What’s your favorite project or brand design you’ve worked on?
My favorite branding project to date is for a current client: her branding and website is very floral and feminine, but different from the recently trending watercolors. I just love it! My husband and I also shot her styled photography for the website, and I cannot wait to see everything pulled together.
If someone was looking to create a new brand or refresh their brand on a tight budget, what would you suggest?
I would suggest either utilize a premade brand template (like The Brand Stand that I’m launching next month!), or for those who like to DIY, I would start off with something very clean and simple until you can afford professional branding later on.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
My toddler and I are both early risers. I start a pot of coffee (dark roast) and get breakfast going. I set work blocks throughout the day around my little one’s schedule. Blog writing is in the morning. Design work in the afternoon and emails/social media at the end of the day. I do a lot of bulk working, like posting a week’s worth of social media in one block.Right now this works great for our family schedule, and I’m able to balance work and home life without becoming overwhelmed.
What is your design process?
When working on a client’s project, I start the design process by creating a shared private board on Pinterest. I ask the client to pin images that inspire them and fit their vision for their brand. From there I create the client’s mood board, pulling colors and textures for their brand. Next I work on sketching the designs (always on paper first!); then I incorporate my rough draft idea into a design created in Adobe Illustrator. I typically create 3 logos with two versions each and send these for review and approval to the client. Once approved, I work on the collateral designs and then the website if they chose my full package. Once the designing process is complete, I help the client celebrate with a launch day to generate a little buzz on their social media. The whole process takes around three weeks now that I only commit to working with one client at a time.
Where do you go or what do you do to gain inspiration?
I find my inspiration everywhere! Just last week we were staying with family, and there was a beautiful wreath hanging in the guest room that inspired a whole new brand collection for the upcoming Brand Stand!
What’s your biggest business goal you want to accomplish for 2016?
Launch The Brand Stand, a semi-custom premade brand collection shop for those just starting out in their business journey that cannot afford my custom branding services.
If there was one thing you wish someone would have told when starting out, what would it have been?
Find balance! I was working every chance I could for months and months, and while it may have gotten me ahead quickly, it wasn’t worth the stress (and under eye bags) that it brought with it. I know my business is headed in a great direction, and I’m now completely okay with taking it at a “medium” pace 😉
What actress would you cast as yourself in a movie about your life?
Julia Roberts; she’s sweet, goofy and just all around lovely!
What TV shows are you watching right now or are excited about?
Downton Abbey (they make tea look so good!) and House Of Cards.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Running several businesses with my husband, traveling more and enjoy life with my family.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
That I’m a good mother, always the best compliment.
Describe yourself in four words.
Thoughtful, optimistic, ambitious, and a touch nerdy.
If you weren’t in the design business what career would you choose?
Stock market – working on the trade floor yelling like a mad woman!
If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be and why?
Well, I just turned 30 (Jan 10th), and I’m in a fantastic place in my life so I may just say 30! (but I do miss the flawless skin of 25)
If you had to live without one of your five senses, which one would you give up? Why?
Hmmm..I would choose smell. Mostly because I have terrible allergies!
What is your greatest failure and how did you overcome it?
In my Etsy business, we had a significant financial loss one from a lost order of shipments that we had to replace out of our pockets. All because I accidentally tossed a receipt…shipping receipts are GOLD, always keep them!
What is something that you are still learning?
When you own a business, you learn something new daily.
Our next Blogger Interview Series will be posted Monday, January 18, 2016.