I’m the founder and creative director of SHION studio. A concept studio, specializing in branding and design for startups and small businesses.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
My career has allowed me to travel and experience a lot of new things over the past decade. After graduating from Pratt Institute for communication design, I worked in advertising as an art director for a number of years. I started out in New York, then moved to Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, and recently back to Brooklyn.
I hustled pretty hard and worked some long hours, but it wasn’t until I stepped away from advertising and started focusing on digital design for companies like Apple, Google, and Verizon that I felt fulfilled. Founding my own company has been a monumental change, and the step that’s really brought it altogether for me. I’ve found I’m the happiest when working for myself, directly with the client. SHION has allowed me to establish a schedule without wasting hours, sitting through unnecessary meetings, or having to sift through layers of hierarchy to present my work. It’s the most exciting and challenging thing I’ve done yet.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
90% of selling through your work is being convinced you have the right answer, and convincing everyone else as well. Everything you make will be questioned, and every thought you have needs to be backed up by a fact or an insight. If you have solid reasoning for everything that you do, then there’s no reason to doubt your work. Sometimes that means speaking up when you don’t want to, or maybe having an uncomfortable disagreement with someone whose challenging you. As a woman in the industry, it’s even more important to make sure you’re heard.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I”m working on a brand called Portland Sangria. It’s a canned sangria startup, made with all-natural ingredients from the northwest. The campaign we made lets the world look inside every can to see the good ingredients inside.
Also, a branding and web design project for a luxury hardware and fabrication studio. I’m developing an identity, product photography, and content as well as the site.
On top of all that, the SHION site is set to officially launch January 15th!
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I think it’s important to try to be as undefined as possible in terms of style when I’m designing. Each client is unique, and their specific needs are really what I’m trying to solve for. So while I’m drawn to certain aesthetics, I try not to reflect my personal taste on the clients’ target audience or users.
That said, I’d call my personal style a combination of fun abstraction and casual luxury. My “fun abstraction” is best represented by the daily #computerdoodle illustration series I created and the “casual luxury” is more the Cuyana, SayYes, and LuxHoldups work I’ve done, along with my oil paintings.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
Painting and dancing. I guess you’d call both of these things my hobbies, but the busier I get with my company the less time I seem to have for them. I try to go to ballet once or twice a week, but lately my paintings have been sitting unfinished on my easel.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Self promotion. Starting a business is pretty daunting, and trying get myself out there while also focusing on client work is a huge challenge. Trying to figure out where and how to find new clients and being aggressive enough to promote my business is constantly stressful.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
All the administrative work. Accounting, scheduling, checking up on invoices and looking into networking events to attend.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I wish I told myself: You’ll figure it out.
Just after college, when I was working at different agencies it would have been nice to feel confident that I’d figure out what I wanted to do. I remember thinking that agency life wasn’t a fit for me. I didn’t like the schedules, the unhealthy habits, and the overcomplicated ways of working in general. I spent a lot of time doubting I’d find a job that would really make me happy.
When I started freelancing, and now working for myself, I feel like I’ve finally figured it out. I can make great work, have time to get groceries and workout, and be myself. It’s not easy by any means, but it’s exactly what I want.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Financial advice. From both a personal and business perspective. I’d like to learn more about investing, tax deductions, and best practices for maintaining a successful business.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’m looking for startups and small business who are in need of branding, design (product, website, or collateral) or ad campaigns. Our studio takes a modular approach, so we bring in the right people for the right job at the right time. We can handle full projects from research through execution, and want to help build new brands.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
I love working with emerging brands who are finding their place in the market, and looking for a way to stand out.
One recent client, Portland Sangria, was a great example. The client had some initial strategy work done, but came to us for the creative execution. They wanted some strategic headlines and design featuring their product as a hero. Upon talking to them, we suggested taking a step back. The idea has to come before the execution. They were open to our suggestion, and we started by thinking of some concepts and showing moodboards. They picked their favorite concept, and we comped up some ads, eventually shot and art directed the campaign imagery, and their first real campaign was born. This client was great to work with, open to our ideas, and wanted to make the work that was right for their brand.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how we work, check out our studio page.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Projects range in cost depending on workload, schedule, and other factors. We determine project rates after talking to the client about what they’re looking for and coming up with a statement of work. We keep rates lower than large agencies because we don’t have a lot of overhead or wasted hours.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
You can get in touch with SHION studio by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you happen to know your budget and have defined a scope of work, all of this information is both helpful and appreciated. If you need help figuring these things out, please reach out with a general inquiry and we can chat about the technical stuff.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Listen to jazz and go outside.
This member profile was originally published in December 2017.