Kind of a short one for now, because I’ll probably give some other insights in later posts. This one will mostly just be about my disc cases for now.
When I first started considering running a business, I overloaded myself on the business side of photography. Maybe not overloaded, because now it all mostly makes sense, but there for a while I felt like I was sort of drowning. I kept reading information and suggestions saying that in order to come across professionally… you basically have to have everything professionally done for you. So I started signing up for newsletters and coupons from all sorts of smaller businesses specializing in branding and printing and the sort. I bookmarked graphic designers to later contact for logo design, printers that specialize in custom bulk orders, and ran color combinations through my head endlessly. I was stressed,
One day I came across a video from a boutique photography studio where the owner was demonstrating the way they package their orders. She discussed the fact that they always stick to a straight black and white color scheme, but package their products in all different sizes and prints and designs. She also said that she never packages two different print sizes together, because she likes her clients to walk out of her boutique with many packages, so they feel like they’re receiving… well, as much as they are. Since it was a video, she had a display of what any given client would walk out of their boutique carrying, and yep. It looked high end. She didn’t stick with specifically branded packaging, but by sticking to a color scheme she drove her branding home.
That very day, I read another blog post that challenged the mindset of having every.single.paper.item. branded with your logo. The point was- especially during business startup, a business owner may want to rebrand a few times before he or she is completely satisfied with the overall feel of the brand. No one gets something perfect on the first try. So why would you want to spend the hundreds of dollars required to order bulk paper products- because most of these specialty printers require a minimum number- only to have 200 outdated paper products lying around two months later? And since a business in startup is generally losing more money than it’s making, why waste so much money on something so arbitrary when that money could be put to much better (and more permanent) use?
This made me really take a step back and take a look at myself and my business. True, I am surprised at how many clients I’ve had within my first year, but even that amount isn’t enough to actually cover the cost of all of the printing for bulk paper products AND the rest of business startup. Not to mention- I’ve NEVER NEVER NEVER been the “strictly polished and professional” type. I’ve never been the kind of person who PAYS someone to do something for me, especially when it’s something craft-related. DIY CONSUMES ME. It always has. So I started thinking- I’m currently not working under THAT heavy of a work load.. in fact, I find myself MUCH more relaxed and able to focus on life outside of work than I’ve EVER been able to while working for someone else. I have so much more time to create the things I want to create, so why not spend a little bit of my free time to form my business branding into more of myself- a hand-made type feel.
I still paid someone to make my logo. Quite frankly, graphic design and digital artwork are two creative venues that boggle my mind. I can absolutely work with Lightroom to edit, and I’ve started dabbling in Photoshop, but beyond that, I’m clueless. So I paid $50 to contact a lovely lady on Etsy, and she had a perfect design for me within 2 days. The icon she included in my logo was fairly simple (as I’d requested) and I found it quite easy to cut out the shapes needed to create my own version of the icon for my disc cases and gift card envelopes (yes, I make my own gift cards and envelopes too). And if you’d like to talk to Maria about getting your own one of a kind logo made… here’s where you can find her! https://www.etsy.com/shop/StyleGraphicDesign
I’m currently happy with this method. I still haven’t had the funds to invest in a printer capable of printing cds (I don’t want to go the label route. I’ve heard horror stories about them getting stuck in disc readers and causing all sorts of problems) so I still have ugly discs. But my jewel cases are a bit prettier than before!
All of this is obviously a work in progress. Ideally, I’d like to switch over to usb drives or even strictly online sharing through galleries, but I haven’t quite worked that far into things yet. I’ve got some structuring plans for my slow winter months, so we’ll get to that later.
Another thing I’m planning on doing with my logo. I’d checked into having a stamp made, and they’re not too pricy. However, I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to aesthetics, so I wasn’t happy with the options I found. My husband still has his lithography tools from high school/college, and I’ve dabbled in carving and etching before, so I decided to purchase a litho block and try my hand at carving out my logo. It was just a $4 investment, so we’ll see how that goes. No photo examples for now, because I haven’t even gotten the block out of the package yet ;D
So, I guess this wasn’t quite as short as I’d planned… go figure. I definitely talk too much. But anyway, there it is! The beginning of my branding. Can’t wait to see where it goes from here 🙂