THE BIG BANG – How Here + Now Creative Co. Came To Be
If you’d asked either of us what we wanted to be when we grew up you would’ve heard anything from tattoo artist to veterinarian. Nothing close to entrepreneur, businesswoman, and definitely not a business owner. Neither of us ever saw ourselves working a 9 – 5 in a cubicle to climb a corporate ladder. We were creative and passionate kids, there’s no doubt about that, but the idea of becoming entrepreneurs of a creative business didn’t sprout until later. To be honest we never really liked the term ‘entrepreneur’ it has always felt very ingenuine and money motivated. Even now it feels a little strange referring to ourselves as ‘entrepreneurs’. The way we look at it, we’re just going after a dream and working hard to design a life we love.
Sam and I both grew up as creative kids, which we carried through college, where we studied design. I suppose we should’ve prefaced this with the fact that we’re cousins, so you could say we’ve known each other for a while. After we graduated we found ourselves designing for the man. Glued at a desk from 9-5 wondering how the heck we were supposed to find creativity in such an uncreative life. I don’t remember exactly how the idea came about, but I do recall sitting in the dark grey windowless office of the telecommunications company I previously worked for and texting back and forth with Sam about the idea of starting our own freelance company. We quickly came to the conclusion that if all these other people were doing it, why couldn’t we?
If this is still kind of confusing, then think of your branding as Thanksgiving dinner or any other holiday that focuses on a whole meal. I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving (for a few reasons) but I love all the food so let’s just use it as the analogy because it makes sense. Let’s say your logo is the turkey. It’s the main show, yes indeed. But the whole thing? No.
Some time went by, and talking turned into planning. Ideas turned into actions. We were really going to do this thing.
When it came time to build our own brand, we faced a bit of a challenge. Designing for yourself is always hard because you are your own worst client. Talk about never-ending revisions, we’re still making tweaks.
Deciding on a name took about 2 weeks. It started first with us making a list of words we felt represented the brand we were trying to create. Unrefined, organic, and minimal were a few that made the list.
From there we each came up with several potential names. After some deliberation, we landed on Here + Now Creative Co. It felt right. From there I think our logo took us a couple of months to finalize. We knew we needed it to be a representation of who we are, but with a partnership of 2 people, this was no easy feat. It had to authentically feel like both of us. We had to determine our similarities and interests and turn them into the brand that is Here + Now Creative Co. Equal parts Meghan. Equal parts Sam.
We were far from getting our brand perfect on day one. Our visual identity was complete, but that’s just one piece. From there the real work happens.
Narrowing our niche down to ethical businesses happened about 4 months after we officially launched our business. We started trying to determine where our little spot in the market was. Beyond that, we took a look at what kinds of clients really fired us up. And dove even deeper to determine what clients were we equally as excited about their success as we were our own. Truthfully, this took some soul searching on our end. Identifying our own interests, and since there’s two of us, our similar interests. We found that when we worked with clients who were trying to positively impact the world around us, their successes felt like ours. And that, in turn, gave our work more meaning and more magic. Not to mention we share similar interests and values with these clients so we are able to connect with them much deeper, and create brands that truly represent who they are.
The thing about your brand that you have to
remember is that it has to change and adapt to your business.
We are constantly evaluating our branding, and making small modifications to our voice, to our imagery, to the content we talk about, and to all of these minute but vastly important details that make up our brand. Figuring out how we can best reach and connect with our audience one day at a time by trial and error.
When creating your own brand try to remember that your brand should really represent you. It takes work and time to get it right, and then once you get it right, you’ll probably have to tweak it again. Just try to stay in tune with what feels like you. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable in your own brand. Remember why you started. It’s said a lot, but it’s a big part of your brand. Dig deep and put yourself on paper, define your interests, your passions, and your values. These are key to creating an authentic brand.
A few things we’ve learned thus far from being in business:
- You’re going to have to be a jack of all trades… and at least a master of one.
- We’re lucky enough to live in a world where information and knowledge are literally at our fingertips. Take advantage of it. Never stop learning and never stop perfecting your craft.
- Seize every opportunity. Say yes, and figure it out later.
- Swallow your pride and ask for help. Rejection is not your enemy and it never hurts to ask.
- Your current clients/customers are your number one priority. Always. No exceptions.
- Stop making excuses. If you want the results, put in the work.
- Positive thinking. Focus on where you are going, and as hard as it is, don’t compare yourself. Instagram can be your best friend and your worst enemy. But remember that it only shows the shine, not the elbow grease.
- Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn. Know that there is no such thing as failure, only a lesson you needed to learn.