I realized the other day that it has been ages since I've shared a project launch. You see, I get so into projects, literally dreaming about them at night sometimes, that once they launch I just separate myself as much as possible from them, except for regular maintenance and warranty stuff. Not to mention, I'm usually moving on to the next project with it's own set of obsessions and nighttime dream appearances.
So, I have several projects to add to my portfolio, and will be doing so over the next few weeks, as I'm really very fond of all the work I've been producing lately. Very fond, indeed.
The first project to be added to my portfolio is Sun Moon and Stars Creations, ran by Jennifer, who contacted me back in October. Jennifer was starting a business to promote her creative friends, which is an endeavor I can more than relate to. I was more than happy to help her along the way. Kindred spirits, we two.
Together, we developed a map for getting her to the launch of Sun Moon and Stars Creations. Her design package looked a little like this:
Within a few weeks we had Jennifer up and running with a shiny new website (one of my new favorites) and the ability to market and sell a curated collection of her creative friends' products.
And, even though this was one of the bigger projects that I had taken on in a while, and that we had to steer through the winter holidays and the launch of Indie Spaces, this was one of the smoothest running projects I think I've ever had the pleasure of working on. Working with Jennifer was wonderful. She's certainly one who understands how to work with creatives, and it made a ton of difference.
Here's what Jennifer had to say about the project:
I can't express how happy I am with my new website. Everything looks so happy and classic at the same time. Sometimes I thought you were reading my mind, because I couldn't always articulate what I wanted, but what you showed me was amazing every time. I really enjoyed working with you, since you were always so positive and upbeat, even when I started to feel overwhelmed by details.
I know I'm going to be using the monthly support I signed up for, because I want to have a dynamic site and be able to tweak and grow as I go along.
Happy customers make my job so honkin' worth it. And, with Jennifer already emailing me ecstatic updates on sales and growth, I can happily know that this was a job well done with a client who will rock it.
So. Honkin'. Worth it.
If you're interested in working with me on the development of your creative business online, then shoot me a request. I'm currently booking my summer slots.
A few months ago I started writing a blog post about clearly defining my dream client. I was finishing up the last of my projects under the emmarie Designs business model and was ready to embark on my newness in full force.
One of these was a vow to never work with men again.
You see, at this point in my career I have launched almost 100 websites. I have worked with almost 200 clients. These are one-on-one relationships with creative (and sometimes not-so-creative) entrepreneurs, and I've developed a type.
For me, my favorite projects come from working with clients who are 1) women, 2) have established creative businesses, and 3) are ready to commit their time and their trust to me and their project.
But, just like I've always believed that my romantic type was dark haired musicians (I ended up with a strawberry-blonde man with no hope for a beat), I found my dream client in a not-so expected place.
He was a man.
This project with Bob, the president of the 78-year old family-run business American Bronzing Company (the original baby shoe bronzers, folks), came my way via my pal Madalyn. And, because of my dream client profile I really almost didn't take the job.
But, I went with my gut, and I gave the gender another shot. And working with Bob was wonderful.
The American Bronzing project was a complete image and web presence overhaul. I worked with Bob to rebrand the business his grandmother founded. I designed and developed a new website for his products, and Madalyn is working to style his imagery and market the new American Bronzing Company.
For the rebrand, we knew that we wanted to take the company back to it's family roots. A few things popped out at us: family, traditions, preserving. These ideas are the core of the business's past successes, and will be at the core of their continued growth. We made sure the new branding image reflected this, and we carried it over to their image styling as well.
For the new website, we upgraded their system - which was a simple site with Paypal buy now buttons, requiring customers who wanted to purchase more than one item to check out separately for each item - to Adobe Business Catalyst, where all products are displayed consistently and the customer experience is much improved.
As much as I loved rebranding and growing this company's online presence, even the coolest projects are painful if the client behind it isn't amazing. And Bob was amazing. From Bob:
Just a quick note to thank you for the work you’ve done on creating and fine-tuning my new website. The work you’ve done is incredible…far beyond my expectations! As we’ve discussed, I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to what appears online…and with all my tweaks, you implemented them without any complaints at all!
I also appreciate the times you told me, “let’s not do this” and gave me a good reason…and another option. Your expertise and professionalism gave me tremendous confidence that I had made a fine choice in working with you!
Emily, thanks again for all your help! Oh…one other thing…our order count is UP substantially since we switched to the new site.
Up. Up! This is the kind of news that makes my heart sing.
All it takes is a great product, a commitment, and a desire to succeed. After 78 years, American Bronzing – with Bob at the helm - has still got it.
Now I'm antsy for Lily to grow out of her ballet slippers, because those babies are going to get bronzed. And I'm definitely updated my dream client profile. Check out American Bronzing >>
Today I am so very excited to launch a new responsive website design project.
In March I was contacted by Rosemary, a glass artist living in Hawaii. I was immediately very excited about this project for a number of reasons: 1) Rosemary lives in Hawaii (which makes me feel way more cool by association) and 2) I have never worked with glass artist before.
Together we hashed out all of her project elements and got the ball rolling. Working with Rosemary was one of those easy projects where everything just rolls through so smoothly. She was prepared to make decisions and trusted my expertise, and was ready to do her share of the heavy lifting, making this launch go perfectly and always on time.
Rosemary's project consisted of a couple of elements that will help her grow and manage her online business:
This project was my first fully-responsive project. It was a challenge that I was more than excited to take on, and am very happy with the results. I think that Rosemary was too:
The finished design is, of course, beautiful. The best part of working with you was the process. I felt like you always knew the right questions to ask and had a very clear idea of the way to get where I wanted to go. Even when I didn't know for myself. Having a project timeline and to-do for each of us was really helpful. Knowing the steps helped me to stay focused when it all felt overwhelming.
I liked working with you so much and am glad it continues with you hosting the site and offering monthly support options. Even though I've yet to take advantage of the many features that the Adobe platform offers, it is great to know that when I'm ready the tools are there. Working with you gives me the opportunity to grow my site in the future too. For example, when I want to add E-commerce..I can hire you to code it!
Yay! And I'll definitely be there to help!
Check out Rosemary's site for yourself, on your iPhone and iPad too, and you'll see the hard work we put into her informational website.
Ready to get your own website up and growing? Contact me now >>
Jessica Swift, of fabulous rain boot fame, hired me a little over a year ago to build her eCommerce website. Jessica is a client that I have stayed in almost constant contact with, doing maintenance and edits, upgrading her features, and constantly growing her site to fit her rapidly growing business.
I knew I wanted to sit down with Jessica for a case study because her business is such an inspiration to so many, and so much of her growth can be contributed to her excellent online presence. She is one of those wonderful clients who understands the importance of a consistent online presence, investing in things (like a designer, a killer platform, and a functional website) that will help her business grow, and that being an awesome person will get you a long way.
Because this chick is awesome. Introducing Jessica:
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
I’m an artist, pattern designer, graphic designer, and writer. (Whew!)
I create tons of art, which I sell on my website and in boutiques as well as licensing it to incredible companies and manufacturers, who use my work to make iPhone covers, fabric, stationery, and more. I also blog about my adventures as a paint-covered business lady, and create colorful worksheets + e-books for my readers to play with, and I have a book coming out in 2013 called The Declaration of You (with my friend Michelle Ward).
I’ve been a full-time artist for nearly 10 years, and I’m on a quest to inspire everyone on the planet to pursue their wild + colorful dreams … and never give up.
When you came to me for a website design, it was actually more of a move and expansion, as you already had a website in place. Tell me about that site.
I needed my website to have an e-commerce component, which my old site did not. That was the essential reason for rebuilding and relaunching my website. I’d built my old site by myself based on a template, and I liked how it looked, but I was limited in my abilities to create the type of site I needed, so it was time to finally hire a web designer!
Why did you get the old one in the first place?
I knew a website was a great place to showcase all of my artwork and to build an audience for my work, so I started my first (horrible!) website back in 2005. It mostly served as a portfolio site, and no one ever visited it. It was pretty ugly!
When I started my blog in 2006, I knew that I eventually wanted my website and blog to be in the same place, which prompted me to make the switch to Squarespace a couple years later. I knew having my blog and website together would help me build my audience, and having one central digital space was important to me, because my digital presence was kind-of scattered all over the place before that.
I didn’t give much thought to the fact that I’d want an online shop eventually (I was selling my work on etsy) when I first built my site, but I quickly realized that I WOULD want an online shop and that I had no idea how to make one myself!
What prompted you to embark on a relaunch?
In 2011, I raised almost $25,000 on Kickstarter to start a line of rain boots, and once the project was successful and I was obligated to make the boots, I realized I didn’t really have anywhere online to sell them! I needed to fix that asap and get my own e-commerce site up and running, so that was a huge impetus to relaunch my site.
What was your favorite part of relaunching your website presence?
My favorite part was honestly not doing everything myself! It was amazing to collaborate with a capable web designer to bring my ideas to life without my having to google anything! But seriously, it was just really fun to get exactly what I wanted in a website this time around rather than just piecing things together myself bit by bit.
What is your favorite thing about your new website?
I love the limitless potential that it holds! I can sell physical products as well as downloadable e-products, so the sky’s really the limit on what I can offer to my audience. And I think my shopping cart and checkout page are just too adorable for words!
Finally, what changes have you seen in your business since the relaunch of your website?
My sales have increased dramatically, for sure! That’s the main change I’ve seen in my business, which is great, because that’s exactly the change that I was hoping would happen by launching my own e-commerce site. So it’s a success so far!
Talk about a rockstar! Working with Jessica is always such a pleasure. This girl's got her stuff together, and has a rocking business to prove it. Talk about a dream client.
You can check out Jessica's inspiring blog and fun products on her website at jessicaswift.com.
If you're interested in rocking your own business and want to make getting a killer website a priority, then hit me up. I'd like to guide you through your own transformation, too.
Case Study: Evy Jacob
Today's project launch is both the most personal and the most professional project that I've ever worked on.
David, as in my David, graduated with his MA in Geography in June. Since his first publication over two years ago, we have chatted several times about putting him a website together. Now that he's graduated and job hunting, it felt like more than the perfect time to finally do it.
But, as holds true with having a creative partner, it hardly stopped at a website. In fact, it ended with a website.
After David graduated he went on a job-applying frenzy. We were lingering in the mountains, knowing we needed to move forward, and willing to grasp at anything within reach.
Soon we realized this was a fruitless exercise. David was one in a million. Every natural scientist/GIS analyst/geographer in the country was applying for the same exact jobs. All of them had the same qualifications he did. We needed to set David apart.
One day David and I sat down together and chatted very candidly about what we both wanted from his career search. David wanted to be able to educate others, work more towards preservation, and get away from research science to work in applied science. I wanted to make sure he didn't sell himself short by taking a job he was hideously over-qualified for or get a desk job that would make him grumpy.
Being a geographer comes with a massive amount of possibilities. We were determined to play off his strengths (physical geography and forest dynamics) while still keeping in touch with the really marketable traits of his education (GIS certificate and field work), and really keeping to the roots of what he wants to do (educate others and natural resource conservation).
This is the mission statement that was developed:
As a physical geographer trained in geospatial and dendroecological techniques, with a passion for research and fieldwork, I want to use my geographic perspective to work in the natural resource field. I hope to use my skills to gain a position that will allow me to educate the public and landowners of natural resource management, conservation, and restoration, develop effective land management practices, and promote environmental stewardship.
That is David, and that's what he wants to do.
Obviously, designing was my favorite part. There were two key items that had to be created: a website and a résumé. We also did a business card.
To pull them all together I created a very simple type-based logo giving a quick who-I-am introduction.
Hello, I'm David. I'm a geographer and natural resource scientist.
The résumé was definitely the most important part of the whole project. David's previous résumé was a regular little Word doc with absolutely no personality. White, black, Times New Roman. Painful.
I took control of the résumé giving it a dose of awesomeness. Information was put into a need-to-know hierarchy. I ditched the traditional one-pager for a two page résumé, which is still just front and back when printed. David is an impressive guy on paper, and I wasn't about to ditch any of that set-you-apart goodness. (Though I did ditch some; can't go on to a five page one.) I even added a little cheeky 'tude, because, if you know David, you know he has some cheek to spare.
The business card was kept basic, and will be used in combination with his résumé. Simple and to the point.
The website is a business card site (meaning it's only a single page). In the event that David just hands out a business card, anyone will be able to get online, see his mission statement, and download a PDF of his CV/résumé. We also hope to use this area to put PDFs of his thesis and publications. It will most likely grow as his career does.
All projects have a purpose. Usually the purposes of my projects are to get products online, to share a business' story and hard work. The purpose of this one is to position David as an expert in his field, and separate him from his peers. And also, to get the guy hired.
It's a bit different from my norm, but it was fun to work with David (most of the time, ha!), and very gratifying to do something for someone I know so well, and with it's outcome being so connected to myself.
Knock 'em dead, dude. See David's website >>