Getting to do something I love when I wake up everyday is a joy I cannot describe. I’ve been designing or creating websites in some capacity since I was 12 years old and it has not gotten old even a little (in large part to ever-changing technology, it’s hard to keep up sometimes!). But when I began freelancing in 2014 and that evolved into my business, I knew this was the path for me and I haven’t looked back. Through many launches and transformations, I’m finally at a place of clarity. And that’s where we begin with the launch of Stefani Jessica this year.
No entrepreneurial journey is perfect and without twists and turns. Mine looks almost like a film anthology, with very distinct seasons and themes for each year of my business.
2014 was the year of birth and missteps. I somehow went from no official business when beginning to freelance in March to 4 websites, names, and lots of never-see-the-light-of-day business cards. I was just getting my feet wet in an industry I knew little about except for following other amazing brand designers but learning more and more about branding to enhance my website design skills opened a new world to me. I fell in love with visually and strategically creating an experience for a client or customer. I was hooked!
2015 was the sequel (and an exception to the rule that sequels are worse than the original). This was the year I finally took myself seriously (thanks in large part to attending Creative at Heart in March) and I began to see the potential in the work I was creating. I scaled back my many websites and put more focus on my design studio.
Last year was the year of epic battles and climactic revelations. 2016 was an insane year for my business. Not only did I change my name again but I really started to seek out clients that I could truly help transform their business. I was the most busy this year than any other and also the most fragmented. Through referrals and some amazingly kind clients, 2016 was my most successful yet!
But towards the end of the year, my brand and website felt far from the message I wanted to send to potential clients. My purpose and the basics were there, like my color palette and mission. But I wasn’t conveying the type of heartfelt and layered brand and website designs I wanted to create. I was lucky enough to take Lauren of Elle & Company’s course Freelance Academy and that set me on the path to self confidence, a foundation for my business to sit upon, and a solid plan for 2017 to be the year of the reboot in my business. I felt refreshed and ready to take on the world.
And that’s what brings us here today. A new name (but the last for my design studio) that is my own so I can really shine within my brand and business as the face of my client’s brand solutions and a leveled-up brand that kept all the heart but made it more beautiful.
Today, for my blog launch post, I’m here to share a behind-the-scenes look at exactly what made my brand and website what it is and where I’m going from here. As I said before, my mission and color palette were already the perfect representation of who I was and who I wanted to work with. My description words I chose for my brand came very easily to me: fresh, genuine, airy, timeless, comforting, calm, authentic, confident, warm, quirky, and connected. With those words in mind, I created an inspiration board that reflected not only the colors I wanted to use but the feelings I wanted people landing on my site to feel as soon as they saw it.
After some Pinterest surfing (I’m definitely guilty of being a tad bit obsessed with Pinterest), I came up with my moodboard.
There were a lot of layers, texture, and artistic elements to the board and I think I embodied the feeling I was aiming for. I absolutely love this part of the process because it sets the standard for the rest of the project and it’s so fun to pull in elements of interior design, photography, art, typography, and color to create a board that speaks to what your business looks like when the mission is visualized. I just love branding for this reason.
Once I had a visual direction, I contacted the amazing team at Char Co. to create custom stock photography for my website and marketing. Not only did they blow me away with the stunning images they delivered, but they made me feel so much more confident when I launched my website (thank you ladies!). The photos they delivered gave me the last piece of the puzzle I needed to tweak my logo (which, let’s have an honest moment here, I may be changing soon. I’m still learning in the world of hand-lettering and I’ve already learned so many new things I want to implement) and to build a layered, interactive, and uniquely beautiful site using Showit5. Between them and Squarespace, I know my clients this year will receive not only top notch support and a drag and drop website that’s easy to manage, but I can really design some special layouts and features into their website to help them stand out in their industry.
I hope you have fun exploring and checking out my new website (portfolio is launching Monday!) and I look forward to growing this blog with more posts on branding and sharing some awesome tips and tricks I’ve learned while using Showit5 and Squarespace that I think can really help you have a business website that is uniquely you. Comment below with your favorite part of the site!
Make sure to follow along on Instagram to hear about new blog posts (like the next one on Friday) and to see more of my work.