Yesterday I was wearing a NASA tee. Today I'm wearing a Shield one.
I'm a nerd.
I'm obsessed with curation. Maybe that's the designer in me, or the Type-A, or the little kid that was freaked out by clutter and obsessed with museums, but I love to observe curation.
Today I'm entertained by how my wardrobe has evolved over the years. As I've gotten older, and had complete say-so in what I wear, my wardrobe has morphed from careful utilitarianism (hello black and gray) to a little quirky. But, with plenty of that careful utilitarianism, still.
While freaking out over Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales recently, David weirdly asked me if I could go on an unlimited shopping spree, but had to choose between Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, which would it be. I was weirded out by the question, and the ultimatum!, but totally chose Urban Outfitters, I'll choose wild and quirky over refined and quirky any day.
And then I think about the nerd in me. The one who's obsessed with Doctor Who, won't miss an episode of Agents of Shield, kinda wants to get into reading actual comics, oh – and the part of me that delights in staying up until the wee hours of the morning writing code for websites, and I get so entertained at the person I have become.
Wild and quirky. Like my crazy-ass hair, my weird wardrobe, and my neglect to give up shorts just because it's cold outside.
If I had met my now-self ten years ago, I totally would have walked away a little appalled. But, I'm obviously wiser now, because I'll take nerd. It's much more fun.
T-Shirt - Target
Shorts - Gap
Tights - Gap
Boots - Steve Madden
Bracelet - Target
A little over a year ago I launched the Braid Creative ECourses site for Braid Creative and Consulting. At that point (and maybe still so now) it was the biggest, most involved project I had ever completed. There are registrations systems, secure zones, full email marketing campaigns, and a monthly cycle of all of the above.
After managing the first few ECourses, Braid officially asked me to become their ESales Manager, pretty much meaning that it's my job to make sure the ECourses run super smoothly every single month. It's kinda like a little part time job, and it's one that I love.
And now that we're over a year in, I wanted to have a little chat with Kathleen about where launching the Braid ECourses has taken the branding business that she shares with her sister Tara.
1. Tell me/us a little about yourself and your business.
Braid Creative & Consulting does branding, business visioning, and coaching for creative entrepreneurs. That means we design brand identities but we also help creatives narrow in on their niche, embrace their expertise, get really clear on their dream customers, blend their personal brand with the professional, and package their process in a way that closes more deals.
Our business is made up of me (hi! I'm Kathleen), my sister Tara, and our two full-time designers.
2. When you came to me to have your website developed you were embarking on a journey to turn your genius into a series of eCourses. Tell me about your decision to launch the Braid Creative eCourses:
You and I were already crossing paths and becoming friends via blogging. I think we were having a Skype conversation when you said to me "ECourses are where it's at!" So really, it was you who planted the seed of scalability via online courses.
NOTE FROM EMILY: This is totally true. I had just went through the Braid Method myself, and was envisioning Braid turning their method/expertise into bit-size chunked eCourses for creatives. I told this to Kathleen in passing, and within weeks we were planning and building a whole online experience, and loading up three eCourses. These ladies are workhorses. Pretty ones, of course, but hardworking ladies nonetheless.
3. What was the most exciting part about launching your eCourse website?
I think our first ECourse had something like 15 students. Since then each class has grown to an average of about 50-60 students. It's been really fun to watch the courses themselves gain momentum over the past year.
4. What was the scariest/hardest part about launching your eCourse website?
The scariest is just that fear of rejection. "What if nobody signs up!?" You definitely have to make marketing and promoting your ECourse a priority to find any traction upon launch.
The hardest part was developing the content. Our team at Braid spent countless hours writing, designing, shooting & editing video, and developing worksheets for the ECourse. On top of that we were still servicing our normal workload of clients. But content is key!
5. The biggest challenge we tackled with your development was blueprinting the workflow for your students and for having changing content, as each course is hidden each month to make room for the next month’s content. What was your thought process for making it all work?
Honestly, I completely relied on your expertise, Emily, to help me figure out the customer flow and user experience – and how that would work with all the backend logistics. The best decision I ever made was bringing you on to manage our Esales. It's really allowed me to focus on promoting and marketing the ECourses (vs. dealing with all the technical logistics) which has in turn doubled our ECourse sales. In the meantime, you've really been able to refine and tweak the customer intake process so that our students are well taken care of from registration and payment, through enrollment and while the actual course is in-session.
I love that you and I continue to work together to implement strategies, such as the affiliate program, payment processing, and email / newsletter systems to continue to make the ECourse run bigger and better each month.
NOTE FROM EMILY: True that. Managing an ECourse empire is definitely a part-time job in itself, and not for the faint of heart. And, there was a good deal of trial and error on the end of what will work best for your team, me, and – most importantly – the students. In the end we have developed a system that works really well from month-to-month, leaving you the ability to market, and I handle all the tech.
6. Finally, what changes have you seen in your business since the launch of your eCourse website?
As we grow our business at Braid we've found that going from doing to teaching is a great way to establish our expertise. This kind of teaching translates as consulting, coaching, and even blogging. But our ECourses have allowed our content to have even more reach and impact on the creative entrepreneur community – not to mention passive income!
From there, the success of our ECourses have got us thinking about how we can continue to scale and expand our business model into EBooks and other digital products.
7. Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes! We're now migrating our entire site over to Adobe Business Catalyst to be under the management of Emily and the Indie Shopography team. I'm really excited about streamlining and integrating our entire site under one platform. I imagine this investment will see big returns and allow us to grow while also becoming much more efficient in our own business processes.
Creating the capability for Braid Creative to share their expertise with the creative entrepreneur world has definitely been one of my favorite projects to date, and, luckily, it's one that I get to be a part of every month. And now, with integrating both of their websites into the same platform (which I sent off for review yesterday!), I'm completely smitten with the attention to detail and all-around awesomeness that the Braid ladies put into everything they do.
And to be asked to be a part of it, on multiple and on-going occasions and by these utterly dreamy clients, is the highlight of doing what I do. Every. Day.
If you're ready to launch your own inter web-y awesomeness, whether you're looking for a simple website or a complex eCourse solution, give me a shout. I'm now taking projects for early 2014. Contact now >>
I have been working on some of the coolest projects lately. As I'm positioning myself in the local community, I'm getting the opportunity to work with some seriously dreamy clients. I've been working with a brewery, a chef, a videographer, a trio of ice cream magicians, and just booked a coffee roaster.
I'm definitely seeing my foodie theme here, save for the videographer, and I'm perfectly ok with that. Actually, I'm super ok with that. My research has included drinking beer, eating the best chicken salad on the planet, having never-too-many spoonfuls of ice cream, and even some sips of coffee. I think this tea girl is won over; it's good.
So, while I have all these really awesome branding and brand expansion projects going on, I'm finding myself creating some really inspiring moodboards. And so, I've decided to share some. This first is for the videographer, which is a project I'll expand on much more at the beginning of next week.
And, of course, now I'm totally in the throws of wanderlust. Paris, anyone?
(I'll post sources as soon as Pinterest is back up and running.)
Last weekend I was on a mission for a Christmas tree for the studio. I hit up a couple of hardware stores, Target, then – my arch nemesis – Hobby Lobby. I have never bought myself a faux Christmas tree, so when I read a box that said a tree had 961 points, I thought – sarcastically, "Great! Because I've always wished my Christmas tree had just 11 more points on it."
See, living in the mountains spoiled us when it comes to Christmas trees. You simply go out, pick your own out of a field, some country-fied high schooler picks up a chain saw and goes out to cut it down for you. You cram it in your car (not on top, because David freaks out) and you drive it home, where you fill your house with needles as you push it around the house. There's lots of hot cider and mulled wine involved in the entire process, and your car and house smells good for weeks and it's amazing. (2010, 2011)
Now that we're in Alabama you have fake trees. Or, for the weird folks (like we'll be for our home tree) you go out to some sketchy stand in some parking lot around town and you get a pre-picked-out, pre-cut tree.
Honestly, I'm pissed off about the whole thing.
But, for the studio tree I didn't want to lug in a pine needle mess, and I wanted something a little non-traditional. We tend to be pretty traditional with our home tree, so I wanted something kind of funky.
My first thought was to get a white tree, but knew it would get lost in the white-ness that is the new studio. I didn't want silver, but I did find a champaign one that I loved. But, since gold isn't usually a color that I go for, I was afraid I would hate it next year.
So, that left traditional green and, well, black.
I stood in the aisle at Hobby Lobby for a good half hour, staring that sucker down. I asked David multiple times if I could pull off a black Christmas tree. I mean, it could go three different ways.
1.) It could have looked cold and icky. I mean, it's a black freakin' tree.
2.) It could have looked a little trashy. In my head I kept picturing it covered in leopard print ornaments, or standing in a scene from Beetle Juice or Drop Dead Fred (which I do love, don't get me wrong) looking like another bad idea from the 80s.
3.) It could have looked exactly how I wanted it too. A little cheeky, but still reminiscent of tradition. Just with a touch of sass.
I decided to just go for it. I mean, I don't know anyone who could rock a black tree like I could. I had to go with my gut and give the damn thing a try.
As Cute Kid and I were decorating it, we found ourselves singing "Monster Mash" for no obvious reason. In my head I noted how hilarious that was, and went and turned on my very favorite Louis Armstrong Christmas album. Monster Mash soon disappeared, and we finished up a kraft paper chain and hung the white ornaments.
The results were exactly what I wanted it to be. It even – dare I say it – is totally in line with my brand image. Don't tell Santa I said that.
And there you have it: a rocked-out black Christmas tree. Just bringing the holiday spirit to our new studio home, and maybe a little bit of the Monster Mash while we're at it.
Today is a big day at the studio. I'm working with Armosa Studios to film my new brand video. So stoked.
And, I'm taking the opportunity before and after the shoot to finally get my photos together of the new studio space. Again, so stoked.
But, to hold you over, a photo of the outside will have to suffice for now. I'm in love with our little juniper trees. And so much more.
Can't wait to share the rest!
Now that the big parts of the new studio are ready, I'm really excited to turn my focus away from lighting, paint, and floor plans and focus on adding personality to our space.
My workspace came together the easiest. As a designer, I obviously found it pretty easy to take myself and turn it into a curated little corner of things. However, when it comes to David and Corey, and what they wanted in their workspace, they took such non-designer man approaches. David just wanted succulents and Corey wanted Legos. Sure, fab ideas all around, but not in the studio. (Ok, that's a lie. There are tons of succulents here, and I love Legos, but I needed more.)
I'll be sharing the plans for David's workspace soon, but today I want to focus on Corey.
Corey is – in a word – a nut. If I had to pick another, it would be nerd. It's ok, he likes that word.
We actually literally spent 20 minutes one day last week googling the difference between geek and nerd. I'm a geek; he's a nerd. We label it.
One of my favorite things about working with Corey is that he'll totally geek out with me about all my geekery. Bring up superhero movies, James Bond, or – god forbid – Doctor Who, and you'll see us both squeal with delight, and then laugh embarrassingly at how embarrassing we are, and then ramble for half an hour in a way that makes most people stare at us like we're nuts. We're ridiculous and we know it.
So, whereas Legos are a super fun option, I wanted to give Corey's workspace a little more geek imagery. My solution: minimalist movie posters. Think Iron Man, Toy Story, and – well, yes – Doctor Who.
I'm currently trying to pair it down to 4 finalists. Then, maybe adding a shelf for Legos. And pencils, or something actually useful.
Whatever it is, I'm excited. Maybe more excited than Corey. Though, maybe not.