I used to call my business Key Design by Kasey. I did not create/design keys. I created this “brand” for myself back when I designed vinyl decals on etsy, didn’t have a full-time job and knew very little about how best to represent myself. I freelanced whatever I could get my hands on: logos, decals, t-shirts, I even created free printable calendars every month that no-one ever downloaded.
It wasn’t great. In fact, it was probably one of the biggest, best mistakes I’ve made for my business.
I was all over the place, I jumped at any opportunity to design ANYthing for ANYbody. I was your go-to-get-it-done-gal, and I was burnt out before I even started. I was desperately trying to land a job with a marketing company, and designing tribal elephant laptop stickers between job applications.
My biggest hindrance was that no-one would take me seriously, because I was all over the place. The general idea when you start out as a designer is to design as much as you can for anyone who asks. This exposes you to many different clients and personalities and styles of design, but it doesn’t exactly help you find your style as a designer or value your work.
Most of my designs during this time were low budget or pro-bono (read: free). No one valued my work, because I didn’t either. I created logos for 3 different start up companies for nothing more than the promise of a paycheck after they made money (it didn’t happen).
I began to shift my focus. I knew I had a passion for event stationery. I knew I had solid experience in it as well. I targeted my efforts and promoted these services to the right people (engaged women). One took me up on it, and then another and another, and suddenly I was forced to not only create a structure for how I managed my clients, but also how the workflow, contracts, and invoices would work. I began my journey as a business owner rather than a freelance designer.
When I began to zero in on my skills, people began to take me seriously. Think about going to a diner versus a restaurant known for signature dishes. You can’t do chicken parm and burgers and stir fry and do them all well.
My etsy shop still exists with stationery designs for brides and grooms who want semi-custom work, but my studio is where I flourish. Completely custom stationery is where my passion lies. I believe in the value of what I create for couples that can’t be offered anywhere else. I have found my niche, and as much as I love tribal elephants and corgi stickers, I don’t plan on creating more vinyl decals any time soon.