Flair |fler| 1. A special or instinctive aptitude or ability for doing something well.
TGIF Everyone! To end the week on a high note I have Shauna from Nubby Twiglet/Branch/The Blogcademy - a mouthful, I know. This girl just won't quit! I'm super excited to feature her today since she's a #bosslady idol of mine :) Plus, she has a squirrel for a pet and all the shoes a girl can dream of... Such a treat to have her flair on the blog today :D
In a few sentences describe yourself and what you do.
Hi! I’m Shauna, a graphic designer, blogger and creative entrepreneur from Portland, Oregon. I spend my days working with a variety of small business at my design studio, and when I have free time, blogging is a huge passion of mine, along with traveling as much as possible!
How did you first get into graphic design + marketing? What’s your favorite part about it?
I started Nubby Twiglet back in 2001 and it allowed me to explore my creativity with no boundaries. I originally earned a degree in business with a minor in marketing and it gave me a firm foundation but in my heart, I was always a creative person and I needed an outlet that allowed for self-expression. After building my own design layouts for years in each of my blog posts, I enrolled in a design program so I could gain some professional training. Something clicked — I realized that design was what I’d been searching for all along and it was what I wanted to do with my life.
Do you have any creative heroes that you admire & have inspired you? Who & How?
I have so many! A few that immediately come to mind are Michael Jackson for his kindness and sense of style, Andy Warhol for thinking big when it came to art, Marilyn Manson for pushing boundaries, Madonna for constantly evolving, Diana Vreeland for making fashion fun and Siegfried and Roy for their flamboyance. Basically, I love people with big personalities and an over-the-top style to match!
What made you decide to embark on Branch Studio?
For years, I’d been working at design studios by day, designing for my freelance clients by night and then waking up early to blog. It all became too much and I couldn’t keep juggling so many things any longer. I felt the constant pressure that I was letting someone down because there just weren’t enough hours in a day.
On top of that, I knew I’d never have the time to grow my business to what it was truly capable of unless I let go of some things. Once I gave up my day job, I had the time to take on larger projects, travel more and live a more balanced existence.
Now, I’m a lot happier working with clients I adore and setting my own hours. Running a design studio is both the hardest and most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. Watching small businesses my studio has worked with grow is the best feeling.
What is your favorite piece of work you have done and why?
That’s a tough one! I love each project for a different reason but a personal favorite is Rock n Roll Bride Magazine an alternative wedding magazine based in the U.K. My friend Kat Williams started her business as a blog and it grew into an annual magazine a few years later. Now, my studio designs it bi-monthly and it has distribution across the U.K. It’s amazing watching the growth of something that started out as a hobby and demonstrates what hard work can accomplish!
Tell us about The Blogcademy.
The Blogcademy is a strategy-based workshop for female entrepreneurs and bloggers and teaches you the ropes of how to grow your online presence in two days flat. We have a fantastic online program that allows you to rewind and re-watch the content as many times as you’d like. You can learn more about Blogcademy Online right here.
Do you have a dream/goal that you wish to aspire?
My new goal is to launch a series of digital products that will help creative entrepreneurs succeed. I’m currently working on four different offerings that will launch in 2016. Teaching is a passion of mine, so I’m trying to incorporate more of that focus moving forward.
Any advice for those wanting to follow in your footsteps and start a new design business?
Be ready to work really, really hard. It’s not enough to just be a great designer — you have to want to do your own thing more than you want anything else because it takes a lot of time to get noticed and then, to grow to a point that you’re self-sustaining.
I would recommend working for a few design studios / agencies first before going out on your own so you can get a better idea of structure, processes and company culture. It’s also important to get out and meet your peers face-to-face so you’re more memorable when they’re thinking of someone to refer potential clients to.
Finally, perseverance pays off. Working for yourself has constant ups and downs but over time, you’ll find a sense of routine and stability. It’s all about the long haul.
If you could live and work anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
There are so many places I love including Portland, Rome and New York City but visually, Palm Springs holds a special spot in my heart. I love the sunlight, the variety of cacti, the massive palm trees and of course, the midcentury modern aesthetic. It really influences the style of my design studio, Branch.
Early bird or night owl?
Definitely an early bird! I feel like I think more clearly and can get the most done when I get an early start to the day.