Today has been a long time coming; nearly a year in the making! Last March, after we brought Ione home from the hospital, I started in on a new course from my classes by The International Academy of Wedding Photographers. I was afraid of this course. Everyone talked about how it was a huge and hard one for them. But I knew it would be amazing. It was the “Branding for Wedding Photographers” by Katelyn James. Gulp.
At the time I had no weddings booked and had only done a couple the year before. I knew I was going to need to step up the game and make changes, but with a new baby and no shoots on the horizon, my branding all needed to be homemade to fit in our nonexistent budget. So I buckled down and pushed through the first few modules of her class. Through those I came out with half way decent brand. But I knew it was temporary. It worked. But it felt like the next step up in travel trailers. It would get me by quite comfortably, but I didn’t want to live in it forever.
And then summer hit and amazing couples came into my life. They helped me see who my ideal client is. They gave me courage. They helped refine the idea behind this business. And finally it was time to graduate Marquette LaRee from travel trailer status. Gulp Gulp.
I’d been following a number of graphic designers and branding consultants for a while and by then I had my first choice all picked out. I loved what she wrote. I loved her posts. I loved the work I saw her put out. So one night in early September when my courage was up I filled out the Contact Me form and sent off an email to Amanda with Aloe Creative (who has now rebranded as Brand Epiphany and this rebrand is AMAZING!)
From that first point of contact, Amanda has been the perfect person to work with for me. She made me feel like she’s my biggest fan and that I was her number one client. I’m sure her other clients all feel the same way, which is one of the amazing things about Amanda! But the feeling is genuine and real. She’s so positive and sweet!
There is always the fear of “What if they just don’t get me?!” But after reading some of Amanda’s blog posts (especially this one and this one) I saw the care, thought, and research that she put into every single client. I knew she’d work hard to understand me, my business, and my clients. And she did! 110%!
I had a working picture of my brand identity and my ideal client. But the homework and articles Amanda gave me to work through made everything crystal clear. She helped buoy up and design the brand from the inside out, making sure we knew the heart of it before building the outer casing of the visuals. So many people think of branding as the logo and design, but it goes so so so much deeper! I thought I knew how deep. I didn’t. And I’m guessing even though I have a much better idea now, I still don’t fully grasp it all. However, I can’t tell you how much I love both the inner workings she helped me clarify and the visuals she put together!! She helped me see the reasons behind everything, the thought behind the design, and why each step and part mattered. I could go on and on and make this post way longer than anyone will ever read (I’m worried I’m getting to that point already!), there is not enough I could say about my experience with Amanda!
Once the branding was done, it was time to really move into a home with a permanent foundation. I knew it was time to graduate from Blogger and Wix and find a big girl home. One that was easy for people to navigate, one that didn’t take jumping through 7 hoops at varying heights just to leave a blog comment, and one that didn’t load slow and lose people. I thought about a number of sites, but knew in the long run I wanted to move to Showit5, so finally I decided if that was where I wanted to end up anyway I might as well find a way to make it work and jump straight over.
And seriously, I’m already completely sold! They had a great selection of great free templates, and a fabulous selection of templates to buy, all customizable. I looked through every single one, narrowed down my choices (I knew I wanted one with a more static homepage rather than a scrolling page…those make me dizzy!), and I LOVE the one I got by The Design Space Co! The main part of the website took me 2 days to put together! 2 days! Showit5 is that user friendly and happy!! There’s been a week and some change of tweaks, integrating the blog, fixing links, adapting the mobile site, etc., but I couldn’t believe how fast the site came together. I attribute that to the amazing combination of Showit5 and my experience with Aloe Creative.
I have plans of more features to add and ways to expand and a whole list of blog posts to write, but I am so excited to say that this is finally home base. No more temporary travel trailers. So grab some root beer and a cookie, pop your shoes off, and plop on the couch…because finally this is home!