In 2004 you started your own agency, Brand It Marketing Communications (Brand It). What was that like?
Both exciting and scary! I’ve always had my own business with freelance work. At the time, I had been working at a local university instructing all the graphic design classes. I truly enjoyed sharing my graphic knowledge with my students and thought I’d probably make it my career. As in life, things change and I found myself starting my own agency alongside my husband. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work, but had faith that it would. Well, it had to work. My husband left his commercial printing job of 20 years and I walked away from my instructing… our three sons were used to eating.
Tell me about your first projects?
Starting out, we did a lot of Ag and economic development type projects. We live in a rural area where Ag marketing is a natural fit and economic growth is always a big topic. We had opportunities to create logos and websites in both of those areas. With my husband’s print/marketing knowledge, Ag-business degree, and firsthand farm knowledge, as well as me growing up on a farm, it just seemed like a good place to start. I remember the excitement when we received our first request for proposal (RFP).
Today Brand It has grown to employ a handful of creative individuals. What have been some of the challenges?
Hiring the right people has been a challenge. I have had good people come before I was ready to hire them full time. The group that makes up Brand It now is a great team. Everyone here contributes to our success. I know I’m really fortunate to have them. We’re in a rural setting and most young talent gravitates toward the larger cities or agencies for inspiration and careers, so I feel very blessed to have some of the most talented and hard-working individuals in this area as a part of the Brand It team.
So, who or what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from walking out my backdoor. I love gardening and making my home my haven. I’m inspired by both nature and people. I enjoy reading about other designers and seeing their work. Nothing sets a fire under me more than seeing good work that challenges my own creative abilities. Designing makes me happy.
What does designing with happiness mean?
To me it means I truly like what I do. I don’t dread work or projects. I can still get excited about the simplest challenges and enjoy finding design and marketing solutions for each of our clients. Designing with happiness means finding positive solutions that not only work, but satisfy.
What is different about Brand It?
We’re located in a farmhouse on our family’s Sesquicentennial Farm established in 1865. This is where my husband and I started out as a married couple. We brought all three of our sons home to this house as newborn babies. We eventually built a new house on the same farm and turned the old farmhouse into Brand It’s studio space. There are a lot of firsts in this location. We enjoy working in this old, but new environment.
Our team also has an intensive print, digital, social and marketing background. Our client base has grown to be very diverse. Coming from a long-standing background of family farmers, our knowledge in agriculture and marketing have lead us down a unique ag-client path. We feel it’s pretty cool that we do agri-marketing in our farmhouse. That’s unique to us, but our story and work goes beyond agriculture. Our values, character and work ethic are rooted in that tradition, but our finished projects more than meet the needs of our diverse client base with fresh and creative ideas.