Defining Your Niche & Being Vulnerable with @CremeBrands
Bringing you the third #desIGnLIVE all the way from Bali, Indonesia! This episode’s guest: Kathryn Joachim of Creme Brands. Kathryn is an incredibly talented brand designer for Wedding Industry professionals, and creative small business owners, and we got REALLY real on this desIGn Live talking about our own creative struggles. I’m not kidding when I say I think this was the best live yet!
Q: How long have you been doing a brand design and what is your background in?
A: I have been doing brand design and strategy for wedding professionals and creative small businesses for about 6 years now. I’ve been a designer for about 10 years. Before that, I was in the publishing industry where I did a lot of book cover design and branding for small imprints.
Q: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
A: No! I did not always want to be an entrepreneur. When I was graduating from school, I wanted to get a job with benefits, something that was a 9 to 5, something very secure and stable. I would have never imagined that I would find security and stability working for myself!
What I’ve found by creating a niche for yourself as a business owner is that you can create even more stability for yourself in terms of income because you get to decide what industry you want to work in and you get to really build something that is sustainable around a specific group of people.
Q: How did you start designing brands?
A: I was working in publishing at the time and I had this background in first impressions, basically. When you’re trying to promote a book for an author, you have a very short amount of time to capture a reader’s attention, to make a statement about what’s in all those 300 pages. I think branding is very, very similar. I was in a totally different industry that was pretty corporate, pretty old school in a lot ways, so honestly, aesthetically, I wasn’t a great fit for it. I wanted to do flat design where that wasn’t a thing [at my previous position].
Q: You’ve really niched to wedding professionals and creatives… did you know you wanted this to be your niche? Or did you fall into it?
A: I wasn’t aware that there was this whole creative world out there. I did some photos with an amazing fine art photographer, Jennifer Blair. She was doing a styled shoot at the time and I was new and just moved and thought that it would be fun to do something totally out of my wheelhouse. So I offered to create the paper goods for her shoot. I was my gateway drug to the creative space. I was very intrigued that there were creatives out there who make a living by getting to tell the story for couples. I didn’t know anything about the wedding industry, but the more I learned and the more I saw people doing what they loved, the more intrigued I was and I really wanted to be a part of that.
Q: What’s something you think you do particularly well in business, and what’s one thing you’d like to be better at?
A: Both of these questions are very vulnerable. It feels very vulnerable to say, “I think I’m particularly good at this part of my job!” It’s like how many of us have trouble looking ourselves in the eyes and saying, “I AM good at this.” I do have a lot of trouble with that, but I’m trying to get better about the uncomfortable side.
I’m a good listener, and I think that comes into play with design, so I’m really good at understanding my clients, then translating that into something. For me, to understand someone’s business, who they’re trying to reach, and what their business is and translating all of that is where listening is key!
The thing I want to be better at is anything to do with routine. I’m actually interviewing for an assistant position because this is not what comes naturally to me. I’m a very big picture person, so anything routine and logistics is something that I’d like to be better at.
Q: What have you learned or gained from sharing personal struggles/anecdotes with your audience via instagram live?
A: I wish I could give you a summary where I had already absorbed all those life lessons already! But I would just say that the one thing that I touched on is staying balanced outside of work. It’s a conversation about identity, creativity, and productivity and I think identity is at the root of it and that struggle.
Another thing to think about is to not just call yourself a ‘creative’. Make creativity something you hunt for, that you search for. There’s a book that I recommend by Carol Dweck called Mindset. It’s a fantastic read and has really helped me to shift into a growth mindset.
But honestly, I think that’s something I’ll always struggle with the rest of my life. It’s been a crazy couple of years for me, but it’s forced to look at how am I responding to my circumstances because I think that’s what really creates where you’re at. It’s a hard thing to accept.
Q: Where can everyone connect with you on social, and what are your plans for 2019?
A: You can find me at @cremebrands. If you go to my profile on instagram and click on the link in my bio, you’ll see I have a free PDF for you guys. It’s 7 site tweaks to get you more dream clients, so we’re talking a lot about niching your brand and your business and as you’re on that journey of figuring out what the niche is, it’s important that you tailor your website around that. That guide has some of my very best tips and tricks, so be sure to grab that!
In terms of 2019, that’s a big question! I’m bringing on an assistant, which I’m really excited about. That person is going to be able to help me do more content, more free tools for people, so I’m very excited about that. I’ve just been realizing that I’m spread way too thin and my focus is always going to be on the client work, which I love, but at the same time, I still want to be able to impact and serve other people that aren’t necessarily working with me. So that’s my big bucket list item!
To sum this all up, I had a WONDERFUL and so so real conversation with Kathryn, and I so hope you enjoyed sitting in on it! Let’s continue the convo below in the comments… What do you struggle with as a creative? As an entrepreneur? How can we support one another? Where can we go when we are feeling ‘less than’? How can I provide a space for you to feel heard, seen, and validated in this crazy world of small business? Seriously, let me know!