Hello, Working Girl: Rebecca Schley Brinton of Rose's Arsenal
Meet Rebecca, owner of Denver-based creative design studio Rose's Arsenal. Learn more about Rebecca's journey to creative entrepreneurship, as well as the heartfelt meaning behind the name of her brand.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to launch Rose’s Arsenal, and what is your background in design and events? When you did decide to start your own business, what were some of the hurdles you faced during the first 3 months on the job?
I actually fell into designing for events at my old job back in DC where I was the in-house graphic designer for a government building. I mainly designed collateral and signage but the building is also a big event venue and every once in a while I got asked to design for client appreciation events to showcase the space. I loved how creative I got to be with these projects and event planners started asking for my name and it grew from there.
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit and had a desire to build my own dreams, so once my client list started growing I knew this is what I was meant to do. Now I'm focusing on building the branding for small businesses part of my company as I'm also passionate about fellow entrepreneurs and helping them stylishly communicate their mission.
The hardest hurdle I faced in the beginning was feeling isolated working at home alone and building a routine. I learned I needed human interaction more than I realized so now I'm more intentional about scheduling coffee dates and Skype chats with other creatives. I'm a huge believer in building a creative community and to not look at anyone as competition.
Q: Where do you look to for inspiration when designing for a brand-new client?
Anywhere and everywhere! I usually start with image searches and creating a mood board. Of course pinterest plays a huge role in gathering inspiration these days though I will also do google image searches of various phrases to get my creative juices flowing.
My grandmother, who I named my company after, was an artist and she always kept boxes and boxes of cards and magazine clippings we'd go through together when starting a project. I also keep my own boxes of inspiration so I love to get back to basics and get away from the computer when I can.
I'll also take a step away and visit one of my favorite stores like Anthropologie or a local boutique as they always have such inspiring displays. Used bookstores are also a great spot for inspiration and I love an excuse to look through old books as you never know what you will find that will strike you for an idea.
Q: As a part of running Rose’s Arsenal, you also run a blog component to your business. How do you think blogging aids creative entrepreneurs in landing new clients and generating a buzz about their services?
I think blogging is a great tool to share your work and knowledge as well as let people get to know your personality behind the business. I definitely believe quality is better than quantity though and you should be providing valuable content to your readers instead of posting as often as possible.
Q: Walk us through what a day in the life is like for Rose’s Arsenal is like – client calls, lots of emails, lots of coffee?
Honestly no two days are alike and I'm still trying to nail down a good routine! One thing that is always consistent is I start the day off with a huge cup of coffee and spend some time on Pinterest and Instagram to get my creative juices going.
My weeks have been getting pretty crazy lately with meetings and events so I've been trying to keep Mondays free of anything so I can focus and start the week off right. This is my day to check in on all my ongoing projects and get as much uninterrupted working time in as I can.
The rest of the week I try to schedule at least a few Skype or coffee dates with fellow creatives. They are like my coworkers and we talk about business issues, projects we are working on, and share resources with each other. I also do a few client calls a week which I try to do in the early morning or end of day so I have a chunk of time in the middle of the day to design.
Emailing/Project Management takes up a lot more time than I'd like and I usually catch up in the evening. Last thing I do before going to bed is brain dump my to do list and prioritize my top three tasks for the next day.
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?
I'd say you will never feel completely ready to take the jump and I honestly still struggle with fear at times. But I spent time building up my client base while working my full time job and I finally just had to trust that I was ready. It is good to lay the groundwork for your business before you make the jump if you can but you also just have to trust in yourself and your work ethic.
My other piece of advice would be to just start. As a creative it is so easy to get paralyzed in wanting everything to be perfect and you often stall out or get stuck this way. You have to embrace that you are going to make mistakes and learn along the way and it is the way you move forward from those mistakes that matters.
And lastly, you can't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. Building a successful business takes a lot of hard work and it does not happen over night. You don't always know what goes on behind the scenes of someone else's business or how long it took them to be a huge success.
Looking back I don't think there was anything I could have done to make myself feel completely ready. At some point you just have to make the leap and I honestly still have moments of fear or apprehension. It is something you just have to continually keep pushing past and I can say it is so worth it to be pursuing my dreams.