It’s been a little while since I’ve written a personal blog post. To be honest, it’s been pretty crazy around here with the rebrand, weddings, senior mentor program, and still trying to live a somewhat normal life on top of all that. I tell you one thing, when you own a business, it’s your everything that is for sure! Speaking of it being your everything, that is what I am writing about today. This post is all about the WHY behind my rebrand and the process that I went through with my INCREDIBLE CAN’T SING HER ENOUGH PRAISES, Katie Durski, of Ribbon & Ink.
Most of you who have been following me for a little while know that I just had a new website made last year, by my crazy talented friend, Christina Knapp. I needed something functional and thought “this will work” and it did. It was beautiful. I am sure a lot of people, including myself for a little while, where like “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS AGAIN?!” Well, I didn’t do it again, actually. Believe it or not, I have never actually had a BRAND all of my own. Which is funny considering my history of being a graphic designer.
You know what I did? When we were building my website last year, I sat down and went through every single photographer I admired that was a “successful industry leader” and picked everything I loved about what they did. I incorporated it into my own website, and what felt like my own being. I pretended it would work for me because if it worked for them, then that meant it would provide me that same success too.
Nope. I couldn’t be more wrong. When I went completely full time last July after leaving that graphic design job, I felt so FREE!!! I could do things that I wanted to do. I could build my business more. I could finally be “successful” and before I knew it, December was here and I was in a depression of feeling lost in my business ONCE AGAIN. I was frustrated and angry.
Was there a specific moment? Oh you better believe there was, and if you’ve been following my little journey you already know what that was, but I’ll say it again. I got into this phase of worshiping the very ground the photographer’s I wanted so badly to be “successful” just like they were. I remember just like it was yesterday. I hopped on to Instagram and clicked through my Instastories for the day. I saw someone I admired say “I have SO many 2018 brides emailing me right now and wanting to book”…something like that…whatever. You can read more of that specific post here, I don’t really need to go too far into making you read a story book here on this post.
The point is, I was envious for no good reason, but why did I feel that way? Where did I go wrong? I actually am a pretty confident person for the most part. Something was broken. Something wasn’t working. I should NEVER feel like I am not worthy enough, or that the clients I had at the time didn’t matter because I didn’t have “X-amount of brides emailing me to book for 2018.” You guessed it. I realized over the time I built my business, I never built a BRAND. I kept building someone else’s look. It was broken. It didn’t work, because it wasn’t ME! Sure, I had something that LOOKED good, but I didn’t have something that SCREAMED “…this is HEATHER CHIPPS PHOTOGRAPHY!”
So what is a brand?
Brand: Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value.
I wanted to start over. I wanted to find someone who knew nothing about me, but knew the industry I was in and could create something from scratch that completely and utterly screamed. ME. I searched for THREE months y’all. THREE MONTHS. I asked friends. I used Google (LOL), but I kept coming up short. I would find someone who was an *almost* match, but something wasn’t hitting the mark that I was looking to fill. Finally, one day I was scrolling through Instagram and BOOM. I was already following Katie actually! Funny, right? I had followed her as a part of the Rising Tide Society at some point over the passed couple of years. I just had NO idea she did FULL BRANDING!!!
After seeing a post of hers about a “mood board” for one of her clients, I clicked through to her website…and there she was. My wedding dress of full branding designers and it was a PERFECT FIT. I knew immediately that I had to work with her. She was the ONE.
I was SO freaking excited that I found Katie you guys, and I immediately emailed her a story book of all the craziness that had been swirling around in my brain. She responded almost instantly. Now, being that it was now the end of February and I knew going into March, then hitting the BUSY season of April, that realistically I knew I couldn’t FULLY be invested until August, because I didn’t want to rush the process. She was totally ok with that. You see, Katie is unique in that she has a STREAMLINED process. She get’s everything and I mean EVERYTHING DONE in 4 weeks. Logo. Stationery. Website. EVERYTHING. She’s a one stop shop, and she’s fast…and ACCURATE.
So, thus started the pinning on a secret board of just pinning away whatever I felt I LOVED and what I liked so that when the time came, I could give it to Katie and she could get a real feel for me. It didn’t really matter what it was, just that it spoke to me. You can view that board here. The craziest thing started to happen. I started to see something. I started to see myself in these little clusters of images I had collected. It was a feeling I had never felt before to be honest.
Ideal Client Board
The funniest thing happened. I sent Katie this Pinterest board, and she never actually saw it before creating this ideal client board for me. ISN’T THAT NUTS?! Just from my questionnaires and one-on-one brand coaching session she just KNEW. It was like she was inside of my head. Now granted, not all of my clients fit this mold, and it’s not really a mold. It’s more or less bits and pieces of who my brand will speak to over time, and honestly, I have to say that LITERALLY all of my brides are DOG LOVERS. Katie hit the NAIL on the head with that one. BLOWN. AWAY.
Mood Board Inspiration
Next she sent me the mood board. This was the overall feel for how the new Heather Chipps Photography brand would look. The colors. The feel. The vibe. Again, it couldn’t be more perfect and accurate to who I am and the feels I just adore.
Katie sent me SEVERAL logos, even more than what you see here of potential looks for my logo. Of course it was 100% up to me what I wanted to go with. Naturally, I couldn’t choose between two of them, ha! With Katie being the genius she is, she combined the two I LOVED and made them the current logos I am using now.
The Full Brand Board
After I chose my logos, Katie pieced together this full brand board to give me a look into what the overall brand would look like. Including branding elements and icons, like my PRECIOUS hand drawn by Script and Vine dogwood flowers that I LOVE so much. They have so much sentimental value you to me. It’s not because they are pretty, it’s because they remind me so much of my late Grandma Chipps, and the state I grew up in. It speaks to my soul and being so much more than just buying a logo or a look. It means something, and I am so glad I can finally say that.
This one seems pretty self explanatory, but HOLY COW!!! I really didn’t think how stationery also means SO much when it comes to the overall branding experience. You want your brand to look consistent in every corner of your business so when people see these things related to your business. They see it, they remember and immediately think of YOU.
Social Media Kit
One REALLY unique thing about working with Katie, is she provides flat lays for your BRAND!!! HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?! No one else has them, because she goes out and hand picks these items and FRESH flowers to create something unique to you and your brand so that you can use for your social media announcements.
Website Design and Launch
And here it is!!! The WEBSITE!!! Katie made this so easy for me. She sent me mock ups of every page and we changed a few things here and there before she created the actual website. Once the actual website was built, we went through together and literally I barely had any changes that’s how ON POINT she was with her designing and how BEAUTIFULLY amazing ShowIt5 is. INSANE. Remember I said I was crazy OCD and have to have things a certain way or no way at all? Katie made my OCD dreams come true.
There you have it!
If you’re still reading this far, THANK YOU. This process was something that I put SO much of my heart and soul into. To have Katie bring my vision to life has honestly been something I can’t even put words how thankful and grateful I am that I found her. So, I hope you’ll take a look around through out the entire website and see all the fun we had putting every little piece together!
Now, if you’re a photographer and/or someone who owns a business that is STILL reading and has felt like I have. Friend, stop, because you don’t have to! Sit down and ask yourself what is broken. Maybe it’s a bunch of little things that keep piling up, or maybe you’re like me and it’s finally time to give yourself and your business an identity. Whatever the case, you are in control and don’t loose sight of that.