Meet Kelly and Andra of With Grace and Gold, a Minneapolis-based branding boutique dedicated to creating purposeful and authentic branding for small businesses. We love everything about the ladies' blooming business – if you're looking to take the leap into creative entrepreneurship, this one's for you!
Q: When did your idea for With Grace and Gold first “click”? When you decided to officially launch, what were some of the hurdles and achievements that occurred within the first three months?
A: When our friendship began in 2013, we realized that both of us had a strong passion for faith, friendship, and serving women in business. Andra is an experienced business owner, and Kelly is an experienced Career Counselor - so we wanted to find a way to serve women through a business that was all our own.
One day, we met at a coffee shop for an ordinary catch-up, when Andra shared her business plan. We spent all of Summer 2014 developing our brand and deciding all that we wanted our business to be. We knew we needed to do something unique, so we focused on creating a boutique experience for each Client we serve. Although we do small business branding and business consulting, we wanted the experience to be very personal and meaningful.
We prepared to launch our business in October 2014, and it was so exciting! Our biggest obstacle was balancing our careers with our growing business; we needed quite a bit of time to refine and perfect each process once we got started and began booking clients consistently. Our greatest achievements include: breaking even within our first month of business, receiving touching messages and e-mails from women who are impacted by our blog and newsletter, and being able to resign from a full-time career to become a full-time business owner (Kelly).
Q: Where do you look to for inspiration when designing for a new client?
A: Our design process is something we feel so proud of, because our goal is to help each Client to be as involved in the design process as possible. We have worked with several Clients who have said, "It seemed like my previous Designer had a vision all their own, and I wasn't very happy with the final product."
With our process, we begin with the Client in mind: What is their goal? What is their personality? What is in their heart? Then, we begin the design process with an Inspiration Board. Everything we send on to the Client must be approved by the Client; we never move forward in the process until the Client is 110% happy with what we've created or designed!
When seeking inspiration, we believe that inspiration can be found everywhere. We love Pinterest - but we also love exploring our city, going to the farmers market... and finding inspiration in the everyday!
Q: With Grace and Gold also has a blog component tied to the business. Do you think that blogging aids in landing new business for creative entrepreneurs, and if so, how do you keep your blog content fresh and exciting?
We do believe that having a blog has aided in landing new business! We often share that having a blog is a great way to build a meaningful connection with people in your industry and business community. Because we serve people all over the country, it is a great opportunity to share our "voice" - to connect with each reader.
Our blog content is something we are constantly working on and developing! One way that we keep the content fresh and exciting is by having two people to bounce ideas and thoughts off of; having a business partner is a wonderful blessing! At the beginning of every month, we sit down and organize what we'd like to write about and create an Editorial Calendar. We aim to provide variety along the way! We often ask ourselves, "What question are we answering? What problem are we solving?" and that helps us to write content that is meaningful to each reader!
Q: Walk us through what a typical days is like for the ladies of With Grace and Gold!
A: A typical day for With Grace and Gold begins at 9:00 AM. Andra is located in Minneapolis, and Kelly is located in Western Wisconsin – so sometimes we meet at a coffee shop at the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin to work side-by-side!
When we're not working side-by-side, we begin each day with a Strategy Call - a Google Hangout. We sip on tea, delegate each task for the day, and decide which project is highest priority that day. We spend the rest of the day 10 AM - 5 PM working on design projects, blog posts, social media marketing, and networking. We do our best to wrap up at 5 PM each day - but when you love what you do - it is tough to put work away!
Q: For other women looking to embark on a career in design or creative entrepreneurship, what would your best advice be? When did you know that it was the “jumping off” point for you to launch your business, and how did you overcome any fear or apprehension that you may have felt at the time?
A: For other women who are hoping to embark on a journey in business ownership, our advice is:
• Ask yourself what the heart of your business is. What are you most passionate about? What do you want to contribute? When you begin with your heart and passion in mind, you will have a great foundation to build a business upon.
• Be organized. Organization really is the key to success. As a business owner, you own and manage every detail - big and small. Staying organized can help you to work efficiently.
We did not experience any fear when it came to launching - but we attribute that to our business being rooted so strongly in faith. From our chance meeting to our business growth, we believe that everything has fallen into place as it should. We believe that, if we keep working hard, leading with faith, and staying true to the heart of our business - we won't go wrong! We knew it was time to launch, because we couldn't imagine not launching! Since saying 'Yes' to business ownership, our world has opened up in every way!