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.)
I'm currently in the era of my business where I'm being hired by my friends and peers, and I'm loving it. I plan to do a whole big post on what that means to me, but for the moment the spotlight is going to April and Mayi from Connecting the Gaps, because these ladies are rad.
April sent me an email this summer asking me to develop a member-only site for a project she was working on with her pal Mayi. April and I have been internet buddies for a few years, so of course I didn't hesitate for a second before I had a Skype date scheduled to touch base and hear about this cool project.
The basics of the site were already developed, but were developed on Wordpress. The new awesomeness that they wanted to add to the site (member-only content and eCommerce) probably could have been done on Wordpress, but in a pieced-together kind of hope-it-works way. I told them I would take on the project – and help them rock their new awesome development – but we had to make this a legitimate site on Adobe Business Catalyst, so that piecing together their growth opportunities would be a thing of the past.
We had a couple of planning meetings to make sure everything would happen in a cohesive way, and laid out a blueprint for getting it all underway.
The first step was to uncode and recode their current site for implementation into Adobe Business Catalyst. This is always the hardest part, but with Corey on deck we got it all transferred over. Then Mayi started sending me designs for the new offering – which is adorably named League of Supers.
We got all their email subscribers transferred over, everything tested, and then launched this new baby last Tuesday, with League of Supers being the star of the show.
And just to plug their great new offering (because it's awesome-sauce), if you're a lady doing business online, Connecting the Gaps has is a fun dose of work- and life-related advice, to-dos, and practical help to getting you to online superstardom. And League of Supers has free training videos from April and Mayi, complete will full makeup and capes. I mean, they're freakin' adorable.
In all, here's what I did for Connecting the Gaps:
- Website transfer (from Wordpress to Adobe Business Catalyst)
- Launch sequence development (complete with email marketing list, video sequence, and blast emails)
- Member-only access development
- eCommerce development
- Email list transfer
And here's some tear-worthy feedback I got from the super sweet April:
I've worked with three different web developers prior to finding and snagging Emily. We even had to fire one, because she told us that she knew how to do things that she really didn't know how to do. It was a disaster--the kind of disaster that results in lots of tears and disappointment.
I thought we'd never find the 'right' person to help us with this project. We talked to some web developers that just didn't get our vision. Then, we thought of contacting Emily. Mayi didn't know Emily yet, but I assured her that she'd like her.
We set up a Skype date for the three of us. An hour before, my husband got into a car accident, so Mayi had to take over the meeting. I received an email minutes after she got done chatting with Emily that detailed how much she loved her and how she completely understood what we needed from a web developer. That's when we made the decision to hire Emily--no matter the cost.
The experience of working with her changed my outlook on what the relationship between the developer and entrepreneur could be. Emily answered all of our questions promptly and politely, never making us feel dumb for not understanding part of the technical language. She even hopped on Skype with us on more than one occasion to explain things we weren't understanding via email.
The most important thing about Emily is that she wants YOU to SUCCEED. And, working with a web developer who wants her clients to do well makes you feel cared for, understood and respected.
I highly recommend working with her. She's funny and upbeat and she's amazing at her job.
I seriously can't get enough of these girls, and am so excited to be a part of the successful launch of their new League of Supers offering.
If you're ready to rock your online biz, get in touch. I'm now booking projects for December and early 2014.
Being with a brand from the very beginning is a pretty special honor. And being able to assist a friend in growing a strong brand is also pretty doggone special. It's a place where I love being, even if it means I'm working on holidays.
Since David and I are doing Whole30, we made none of our usual plans for Labor Day. Instead, we decided to work.
In a meeting with Arron and Pat, the owners of the new Bluewater Brewing Company, a few days before Labor Day, it was brought up that they needed a sign for an upcoming event, and all upcoming events, for that matter. They tossed out the idea of getting a file for a vinyl sign and I died a little on the inside. Ok, I died a lot.
Me being the tough love guru that I am wouldn't allow it. I feel it's against the way of craft anything (craft beer included) to announce your brand with a vinyl sign. Come on, let's be crafty.
I immediately tossed around some ideas of kraft, vinyl cutouts, wood, and paint, whirling ideas of mobility, functionality, and possibility, kinda getting antsy in my seat just thinking about all that we could do. They kinda looked at me like I was nuts.
So, in true designer fashion, I realized that I just had to show them how this was going to work. We blocked out Labor Day as labor day. The day we would assemble a way-better-than-vinyl sign. I would win them over.
Our initial idea was to craft the sign from a pallet (I was very entertained by me being a pallet crafter, I like to think I have standards) but quickly realized that was a joke. Those things are impossible to disassemble.
So we found some reclaimed wood elsewhere, measured, cut, and assembled a roughly 3ft x 3ft wooden sign. Then it was my turn.
I got super geometric and practically free-handed the logo, cheating a bit with string and letter cut-outs. Regardless, my geometry teacher would be proud. Once it was all laid out in pencil, I began to paint.
David mixed up a white-wash mixture, with some unknown ratio of water to white semi-gloss paint, and I spend the next several hours painting over and over until it was the perfect shade of awesome.
99.9% of my work happens on a computer, or at least with a computer within reach. This was the best couple of hours I've spent working in months. Maybe years. What a change in creativity. Love.
Then, voilà! A sign way better than anything vinyl. Truly craft.
On Friday David and I walked into Court Street Market in our downtown for First Friday and were greeted by the fabulous Bluewater sign. A sign that was getting numerous compliments, and just the kind of good attention I wanted it to. Arron was grinning from ear to ear. Success.
(Poo poo on vinyl.)
And then, it showed up on the front page of the region section of our local paper on Sunday. Ooo!
We're working to finalize all the branding elements, at which point I'll share all the fab things I've created for the brewery. And to just get you wiggling with excitement. we've wrangled in Armosa Studios to create a video for a Kickstarter fundraising campaign we hope to launch in early October.
If you'd like to show Bluewater Brewing Company some support, go like their Facebook page. It's like a virtual hug. They'll love it.
Designing and developing premade templates is one of my favorite things to do. Every time I do it, I scold myself for not doing it more often.
When I first started my web design business almost 4 years ago, I did lots of premade templates. At the time I was working with not-so-robust platforms, so it was pretty easy for me to crank them out when I had some extra time. It was also early in my career, so my client list was small, and I had a lot of that extra time on my hands.
Almost four years later and I'm quite a bit busier, and working on a platform big enough that some serious planning and developing comes into play, but it still doesn't affect how much I love designing templates. These templates are full of possibilities, and every time someone purchases one, it takes on a new life as the headquarters of that business. It's a funny thing.
So, enough mushy gushy, let's talk about Flora Handmade.
Unlike my two previous Adobe Business Catalyst templates, this template has layers.
For starters, a biz owner looking for an eCommerce site can use this template, as it has fully build-out eCommerce functionality, with the option for accepting payments via Paypal Standard and/or credit cards (via Paypal Website Payments Pro or Authorize.net).
If eCommerce is a bit too much for your biz to handle (even at the moment), you have the option to just purchase this template as an Informational website template. This version does not come with the eCommerce functionality, but does come with everything else. And the best part: if you decide to upgrade to eCommerce later, we can do so seamlessly.
Finally, this template comes with a blog design that can act as a stand-alone blog (purchase the Informational option) or acts as simply a part of your new business website, as it's a part of both the Informational and eCommerce package.
Due to the prettiness, this template is not customizable beyond the logo. We can either put in your business name in the typeface provided, or if you already have a logo then we'll put that in for you. If you're looking for a more customizable template option, checkout the Simplicity Blog template and the Watercolor Studios eCommerce template.
The template is currently available for preorder, and will start being loaded on a first-come/first-serve basis on September 16th. If you'd like to preorder this template, use code FLORATEMPLATE to receive $100 off either version of this template. Offer expires after Friday, September 13th and is only redeemable on the Flora Handmade template. For more information on this template, and to view the full list of features, visit it's listing in my shop >>
If you're looking for a custom-designed and -built website, give me a shout! I'm currently accepting new projects for early-Fall.
One of my goals for the rest of the year was to design and develop another premade template for Adobe Business Catalyst. It has been over a year since I released the Watercolor Studios eCommerce template, and over 9 months since I released the Simplicity blog template. I've thought a lot in the last couple of months about what template would come next.
I contemplated over doing an informational site, then was pretty determined to develop an eCourse site, but finally settled on a template that was more graphically rich (and therefore less customizable) but gave the client more of an out-of-the-box identity. This new template is just that, and can be purchased as either an eCommerce template or an Informational website template.
I love doing these templates for two very big reasons: I get to design whatever I want (which I LOVE), and I get to give creative entrepreneurs the ability of having a fun, functional, and well-designed website at a fraction of the price of having a custom site built. I get contacted so often by wonderful creatives who love my designs, and are ready to grow their biz, but just can't foot the cost associated with the build-out of a custom website.
These templates allow those business owners to get on a snazzy platform that they can grow with at a fraction of the startup costs, allowing them to more quickly position themselves to someday be able to afford that custom online presence. It's something that I really love doing.
So, here is my next way of doing that, with Flora Handmade. It's a premade template that I'm kinda freakin' in love with, and have completely enjoyed imagining it filled with stationery, jewelry, or bath goods. I mean, it would all fit, yes?
I'll be releasing this bad boy for preorder next week, along with a full list of features and pricing info. Preorders will be offered a discount on the final price, and newsletter subscribers will get an even better one, so if you haven't signed up yet, hop to it!