Posts Tagged ‘creative business owners’
Our Creatives Near You Series is seriously becoming one of my favorites. Month to month I continue to be inspired and blown away by creatives that are doing what they love and going after their dreams. They are everyday people that I get to call friends and can’t wait to introduce you too!
I have secretly been hoping and praying to feature Krysta for quite some time now. When she instantly replied to my email request I was super stoked! Krysta and I met years ago in Wichita, Kansas. I can’t quite remember if it was through our Church, University, or the fact that she was dating a good friend of mine at the time, but either way we became friends. From the very beginning I remember Krysta as a go getter. She might be tiny in stature, but I promise she makes up for it in wit and drive! Right after college I remember her still struggling to find her creative nitch. She always put her whole self into her work, but it just never seemed like enough. Something was missing. It was at that time Krysta decided to throw all caution to the wind, sell most of her possesions, and jump into a new life in Los Angeles! She went in with both feet and no real plan (at least that is what it seemed like to me!) other then a hunger for change and a willingness to do whatever it took.
Krysta’s been in LA for several years now and thanks to the internet I’ve been able to follow along as she’s met new friends, gotten married, and become the CEO of a branding agency called B!G DEAL BRANDING. Through her blog Stilettos On The Rocks I’ve been able to watch her develop her balls to the walls creative voice (which I love), grow as a business owner and a wife, and become the truly confident woman that you see today.
She’s the real deal folks and I’m really excited to share with you some of her story, her process, how she balances life with a husband who freelances in the film industry, and a few lessons she’s learned along the way.
Q1) What was is it about marketing and businesses strategies that made you want to pursue it as a career?
It never seemed right to say, “I’ve been doing branding since I was a kid.” It’s not like singing or dancing. What I can tell you is that I have a journal entry from middle school where I wrote “What they’re saying isn’t what I’m experiencing. Shouldn’t there be some consisistency?” (Yes, I’ve always been this critical and nerdy.) From that point forward, I would dream about being in the center of the action, driving cultural conversation and finding the most compelling way to get them to the right audience. When I got to college and realized I could actually be graded on strategic thinking and talking, I knew this was the right field for me. That was just the beginning of what would evolve into my absolute love for building stronger brands through leadership development.
Q2) What are the most challenging, and the most rewarding parts about being your own boss?
The most rewarding is meeting the people who are attracted to our company. My team is so kick ass and the culture we’ve created brings in a certain kind of clientele that makes my job so much more stimulating. Quite a few of my client relationships turn into close friendships. I love that. The nature of what we do is so personal that it’s easy to pick up at the end of the process with plans to meet in person and just hang out. The challenging piece is being patient. I fully believe in elbow grease and sweat equity. There are just days when I wish I could snap my fingers and be on the cover of Forbes… that’s normal right?
Q3) How has your “no BS approach” toward life shaped the way you run your business?
Well, I can tell you it serves as a great filter. There isn’t a single person in my life who doesn’t challenge me. That goes for my team as well. I never wonder what they’re thinking and am proud that, as a culture, we are honest with one another on what’s working and what isn’t. I think that openness has attributed to our success.
Q4) You work with clients of all shapes and sizes. What advice do you have for networking and building a consistent client base?
For networking, we started with where we had the most connections and chose strategic aliances with leaders in that industry. Doing trades with them in the early days was a win-win. We not only got goods we couldn’t afford, but also exposure on their platform with our ideal audience that filled our docket quickly.
As we’ve matured, we’ve been more intentional about investing in clients who have networks that will take us to the next level. We’ll do in-person meetings instead of Skype and do what we can to go above and beyond. The more time we spend in their space, the more apt we are to meet their friends. I usually offer to do a free workshop for a handful of their industry colleagues to add value. This is such a natural crowd to step into since our common denominator is my client. They’ve already heard about the process from someone they trust and have seen the transformation first hand. Our clients are great at filtering who they introduce us to, so I’m always honored to be a part of their community. It may be a slow way to fill the pipeline, but we get to be more selective and I feel the experience overall is more transformational.
Q5) You and your husband both work for yourselves. How do you balance running two separate businesses while maintaining a healthy and happy home life?
Uhhh. Great question. I’m pretty good at not checking email or answering the phone outside of business hours. I’m terrible at letting my phone be a distraction though. Hellllooo Instagram! Vince’s career is a little more tricky. If he’s working for a network on a tv show, then he has to use nights and weekends for his other projects. I can say that having scheduled date nights have been so helpful. All of our friends know that Fridays are off the table. That’s a sacred time slot for us. Right now, our motto is quality over quantity when it comes to time spent together.
Q6) How does Vince’s career in film influence yours?
I think it greatly influences the way I think and perceive the world around me. He is highly creative and strategic which helps me see things in an entirely new way. I appreciate his feedback and love the opportunity to get his input on how to craft our message with more clarity. His expertise in that area overlaps what we do in such an interesting way. The unique perspective keeps me from getting tunnel vision and challenges me to the point of ugly crying. True statement.
Q7) How does your business culture and your lifestyle tie you to your home city of LA?
It has been said that L.A. has a way of bringing out who you really are. I never thought I was the entrepreneur type. Disgruntled employee constantly fighting the status quo … totally. Run-my-own-business? Never. I like complaining too much. This city … man … it gets you. There’s a scrappy nature to it that I really connect with. People are constantly hustling and pushing themselves in ways they never anticipated. What I think makes this city different than say, NYC, is that people here know how to relax. The hustle is met with some sort of outdoor activity: beach time, hiking, running, eating at an outdoor café, etc. I’ve come to appreciate that cultural value for balance in this town.
Q8) List 3-5 ways you keep creativity alive in your day to day?
Running is huge for me. It helps clear my brain and lets me go uninterupted for a chunk of time (at least until I get the iWatch!). I also love exploring new parts of the city. I have a colleague I meet with once a month to set goals and explore a new parts of town that we’ve never been to. It’s often centered around architecture, food, coffee and/or some kind of physical outdoor activity. For Vince and I, we absolutely love to travel. Both of us are fueled by weekend getaways. The best combination is a trip to NYC for work and play. It’s a sweet spot of ours.
Q9) What is your favorite leisurely activity you do at home as a family?
When Vince is working for a network, we love our mornings. We get out and run together and then come home and have coffee on the couch with our pups while we catch up on the news. Surprise lunch dates are super awesome when our schedules permit. And when we’re both working from home we shut down at 6, have happy hour and cook dinner together. If it’s not too hot, you’ll find us in the jacuzzi after dinner; Vince with a cigar and whiskey and me with an Old Fashioned.
I love that even with Krysta’s kick ass and take names approach toward life she’s still found a man that can make her “ugly cry”. It just goes to show that there is a piece of realness and vulnerability in us all! Even those so called “tough gals”.
Krysta, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story, advice, and piece of your life with us. Keep it up girl!
From The Farm
For the last few years we’ve crossed paths with Allison Bailey as we’ve dropped off product at Shop Good and other places around OKC. As a retail consultant we’ve seen first hand some of the projects and shops she’s been involved with and we can honestly say that she’s been an intricate part in planning some of the biggest community centered events for the local districts around town. If Allison is not the brains behind the operation and organizing the entire event, you’ll also find her volunteering her time when it’s something she truly believes in.
What I love about Allison’s perspective is that she’s not just a girl who likes to “shop” (don’t let those blonde curly cues fool you) but everything she does is smart and strategic. Her passion is to truly support local retail shops by helping them establish a shop philosophy that they can continue to grow from and create a shopping community like culture that customers want to be a part of again and again. What originally started as a love for supporting local retail in the form of the blog Shopcrawlr has now become Allison Barta Bailey a full fledged retail consultant business for independent shops and districts.
Q1) How does one become a retail consultant?
A1) Honestly, I’ve only met one other retail consultant that works with independent retailers. We both took different routes to our careers. She started as a shop owner. Although I did work retail, I started from a completely different angle. I began recruiting shops to my start-up website, Shopcrawlr.com and gradually transitioned into managing marketing efforts, events and promotions for some of the shops that I became familiar with.
After consulting on weekends and evenings while I worked a corporate job, I had a revelation and decided to quit my full time job and jump into consulting for small shops full time. That was over two years ago and I still get excited thinking about that moment.
Q2) When a potential customer walks into a store what are the three key elements that can make or break their purchase?
- Environment: Does a customer feel welcome in the shop space? Is a shop owner friendly without acting like a salesperson? Candles, music, wall color, walkway space… all add to the initial perception. For example, Black Optical (in the image featured above) pays close attention to detail and makes it easy for a customer to feel comfortable trying on dozens of pairs of glasses.
- Product Rhythm: Product arrangement, how do the products’ prices and purposes translate to a customer’s path through the shop? How is the shop philosophy shared?
- Although this actually occurs before they enter the shop… Availability: Is your shop open when customers want to shop? If you aren’t open, does your window indicate the next time that you will be open?
“What you need to do is get clear about the life that you want. Then you need to re-focus your priorities until you can see that life and then you just run like hell at it! You just go for it!”- Susan Petersen with Freshly Picked
We couldn’t agree more!
From the Farm
This video makes us happy and although it’s very simple we’re pretty sure it took a lot more work than it shows! Today, push that idea… FURTHER!
From the Farm
Have you ever met one of those artists who’s work just reaches out and grabs you… we’ll, that’s Hailey. We were first introduced to Hailey when Cale purchased a handmade gift for me through her shop, Ozetta. He didn’t realize until later that he was ordering a cowl from someone right here in Oklahoma! We we’re so impressed with Hailey’s handywork we decided to order several of her pieces for gifts last Christmas. They were of course all hits and since then we’ve been Ozetta addicts.
Get ready to fall in love with Hailey and everything in her shop.
Q1) How did you get started knitting?
A1) I started crocheting when I was ten years old, but took a long break from it and picked up knitting. However, I have found that both are equally important in this industry. So, I do both. This art form appeals to me because you start with yarn and needles. That’s it. And with great care and process I begin to create something. It’s amazing what you can create with so little and make something so extraordinary. When I work on an order, I like to look at it as something entirely different than just an order. It means so much more to me than that. Each piece I create is full of meaning, love, and high attention to detail. According to my father-in-law I am building a piece. And I guess in reality, I really am.
Q2) Define what makes a great knitted piece?
A2) The definition of a great knitted piece depends on what you are trying to create. Each piece I envision I sketch, create a swatch, and then start on the bigger piece. When creating a specific look, it comes natural to me what stitch I should use. When the piece is finished I test all of them by wearing them out and about, I like to know how it will feel and if something is not perfect, I start over. It is a process of trial and error. My favorite material is a chunky super soft blend, this combination creates the most perfect scarf.
Q3) What is the inspiration behind your shop name?
A3) Ozetta is the middle name of my great grandmother. What’s surprising is the name was never really an issue; I always knew my shop was going to be Ozetta. My Memaw was the brightest person in any room. She had the best advice, was so very patient, and dropped subtle hints of what she knew you could become. She would always say “little Hailey, you can do anything”. I would sometimes stay for weeks with her in the summer months. We would wake up early to cook a huge breakfast for the two of us, watch movies, curl up in her handmade quilts while crocheting and talking talking talking. I think she always knew what I could become with my creative abilities. I wish she could see the skill that she alone taught me from just a chain stitch, has grown into something bigger than maybe even she imagined. Well, maybe she knew all along.
We first ran into the Smith’s when their loft apartment was featured on a little blog known as Apartment Therapy (no big deal!). Cale and I ooed and awed at a do-it-yourself modern home renovation right here in Oklahoma! After that we were hooked. We started stalking er, umm following the Smith’s blog and found ourselves enjoying their love for family and self-employment so much that we had to use our latest Creatives Near You interview to get to know them a little bit better.
Meridith is a stay-at-home mom who runs Smitty Baby, an online Baby shop. She does pretty much everything, from dreaming up product ideas to actually making them come to life while Jason helps out on the marketing and business side. Jason dabbles in just about anything he drums up in that ginger head of his—but right now he pays the bills mainly from writing bail bonds/bounty hunting, freelance video and music (recording, editing, marketing) via HOLY CLAP! and printing/publishing independent authors.
Q1. How are your personalities alike and how they are different?
A1) For the most part, Jason’s the type A guy and I’m more type B. While he’s busy drawing up plans for his next project, you can find me out on the back deck watching the kid’s swim listening to Kings of Convenience Pandora radio. However, we are both very flexible and low maintenance and tend to enjoy the same things…mainly creating.
Q2) How do you balance a healthy home and running your own business?
A2) Still trying to figure that out. Usually, we just make sure to play catch up with things that got left off last week’s agenda, weather that’s SB orders, time at the park with the kids, or swapping stories with each other.
I have to be honest and say since the first time I visited Jeremy & Kathleen’s blog I was hooked! Kathleen is a freelance art director, design and lifestyle blogger while Jeremy is an electronics engineer. The perfect left-brain/right-brain combo Jeremy & Kathleen are young dreamers who love family and all it’s annoying quirks, appreciate the ideas of simple living and love design in every form and fashion.
I know this might sound juvenile but they are honestly the type of people that just by knowing them you somehow feel cooler! I (Meg) was never in the “cool” group in high school so it’s exciting to get to introduce you to some of our “cool” friends…
Have you ever met a couple or maybe you know someone that never seems to realize just how talented and creative they are? This is the Hunt household, they are some of those people that seem to live life in a completely awesome way and still give you the “well our life is just nuts” line all the time. Don’t get me wrong they are real, very real, and that’s what makes them so much fun. Meg and I are so proud to introduce to you Christopher; Creative Director at Midwestmedia & Marketing, Jess; Hunt household “CEO”, and their two sons Sullivan, and Sawyer. Get ready for some oohs and ahh’s because these kids are cute!
Q) How do you balance a healthy home and running your own business?
A) When you run your own business you don’t have to be at the office by a certain time. This allows me (Christopher) to help Jess with breakfast and other “dad duties” in the morning. Even if I am busy with work I try to pause in the evening and make time for dinner, baths, bedtime books, etc.
There are times when I get into a real creative zone and I appreciate the fact Jess lets me do my work. It means a lot to me to have that kind of support at home. Self-employment has it’s own set of stresses, but the opportunity to create work that truly represents me is something that I just really believe in.
Q) How are your personalities alike and how are they different?
A) Christopher tends to be focused on the big picture, what is the long term plan while I (Jess) am much more focused on the day to day (due to the kids). I am an extremely independent person and a realist while he tends to be the worrier.
In the end we both like the same types of shows, same music, enjoy the same type of events, etc. We are both fun, carefree, and fairly easy going people.
Q) In what ways does your approach to life and work complement each other?
A) We both have the same values and our big picture is the same. Family comes first. We only work to live. I’m not going to take away from life, to work.
Q) Chris, has becoming a dad changed the way you look at film and your creative process?
A) I have a lot more patience when I am shooting kids than before, obviously that comes from being a dad. Another weird thing is that when I am watching a movie or TV show I find myself relating to parents now, which kinda freaks me out. Now if there is a film or TV show that features violence with kids I can’t get past it and I have to just turn it off. I’m sure one day I’ll be able to watch a movie again.
On a little side street in down town Oklahoma City is a wonderful little community of restaurants and one SHOP GOOD, no really that’s it’s name SHOP GOOD. You may have never heard of the 9th Street District in OKC, or the little shop called SHOP GOOD, but it’s home for these two justice minded shop owners with a passion for good quality products with good quality values.
Meet Justin & Audrey, a husband and wife team and co-creators of SHOP GOOD. With a heart to provide their city with an accessible, eclectic and fun outlet for thoughtful shopping there store is a place where every purchase benefits a deserving community development project. From screen printing their own T’s to fun accessories SHOP GOOD is the place where every purchase truly counts.
We are so pleased to introduce our good friends and FIRST Creatives Near You couple!