Behind the Scenes: A Styled Shoot for Marie Mae Co

Styled shoots have been one of my favorite projects lately. I love talking through the product and brand story with the client. Finding props, and then making shot lists and story boards - it's this magical combination of planning and treasure hunting.

For this shoot with Marie Mae Co., I teamed up with the lovely Angie Webb. She took care of photos and lighting, which allowed me to be all in when it came to styling. We had 4-5 major "scenes" for this shoot and about 10 products all together. 

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We shot the entire session at Ember Hot Yoga in Downtown Woodstock. Amazing natural light and white walls made for photo shoot heaven. 

One under appreciated skill is how to drop things beautifully. I think it's something I learned in art school. Styling photos is so similar to painting - laying out the composition, considering colors - it's all there.

Product photos have to tell the story for customers who are too busy to read your product descriptions (i.e. everyone). Like most visuals, product photos work as the receptionist. Good photography is like a warm welcome to your audience. It should say, "You're in the right place. This is for you."

Hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek! You can see the final pieces on this page. If you're interested in a photo shoot for your company, don't hesitate to reach out. Contact us to get a list of current rates in your inbox.

Hugs!
Madison

How Do I Know if I've Found the Right Designer?

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It is kind of like dating. You don't need to play the field, but you want to make sure it's a good fit.

So, how many designers should you date before you know she/he's the one?!

Our happiest clients have done a little research before hand. They have probably looked into two or three, maybe had a call with another. It doesn't hurt our feelings. We want to make sure that you feel comfortable in your choice!

Personality, over all style, and the technical details are a few good things to think on as you consider your designer.

Personality

Would you and your designer enjoy spending time together? Long walks on the beach, anyone?! Ha. But in seriousness - would you look forward to meetings and calls? Do they seem trustworthy and honest? Usually you can answer these questions within the first 10 minutes of a call. Most of our work comes from referrals, so you might have the added bonus of talking with a current/past client. This one is generally not something you have to think through deeply - it's more of an unconscious feeling. You know when you know, you know?

Style

Do you like your prospective designers portfolio? More importantly - would your audience like it? I love when clients come to us with a Pinterest board or collection of images. It helps us establish a visual preference and find some common definitions for words like words like "traditional," "modern," and "classical." You don't want the designer's portfolio to be all over the place, but you also don't want to see 10 pink watercolor logos in a row. You should be looking for a focused "look," with some room for flexibility. 

Budget / Timing

I listed these two last because these are generally the most flexible parts of any project. You want to make sure your budget aligns with the designers rate sheet. As far as timing - it's very common for designers to be booked out into the future by 1 or 2 months. (The onboarding process can take a few weeks in some cases, so the wait time is definitely not wasted.) After talking with you, they will be able to give you a loose timeline and may ask for a deposit to hold your spot.

Oh! Bonus: One question I love to hear from prospective clients - "What sort of personal projects are you working on?" I love it for 2 reasons. Number 1 - I love sharing about my product line and daily sketches. Number 2 - When you hear about someone's personal projects, you see where their head is at and the direction they are leaning in. If that aligns with your business, you know you're in for some fun. I think we've had a soft spot for makers lately because Dusty and I are both working through the challenges of launching our own products.

This is one of those rare areas in life where you get to pick who you work with. Have fun with it! Don't be afraid to date a few designers before deciding they are the one. 

If you'd like to check out our rate sheet and learn a little bit more about our process, head to the contact page and drop us a line! Can't wait to here from you! 

Hugs!
Madison

Home Page Redesign for Rebecca Schoneveld

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Every once in a while we get to work on a super sweet home page redesign. For this project, we teamed up with Bethany Tran, founder of Weft & Warp. Bethany took the lead on strategy, brand storytelling and copywriting. We jumped in and brought her thoughts and ideas to life with visuals. 

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Check out the live site and view Rebecca's incredibly beautiful bridal collection here. Chat with Bethany on strategy and telling your brand story here

5 Best Design Resources for Non Designers

This is a semi-followup from last week's post on slowing down. Many of our clients work with us for branding and web to get their brand off the ground. Then armed with their brand guide and some consulting, they are able to handle most of the day to day marketing stuff in house. (Go team!) Then we get to work with them again on bigger projects like line sheets, annual reports and bigger marketing efforts. It's been a really nice flow for us!

Here's a few of the resources I find myself recommending time and time again:

Free Stock Photo Sites

Images are everything. At some point you will want your own branded photography, but for now you might be able to get away with free stock photos. There are some wonderful stock photo sites out there, and this article, Stock Photos That Don't Suck, has a bunch. Our personal favorites are Unsplash and Death to Stock

Canva

Canva is an online graphic design tool. It can be a little testy, but it's perfect for putting text over an image for a social post or resizing/reformatting images. They have templates for all sorts of different items. We have several clients using it for those small day to day items!! 

Skillshare

I have used Skillshare to learn so much! Lots of hand lettering, but also how to optimize my Etsy, and a course on Email Marketing. 

If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over, why not search Skillshare and find a class that may teach you how to do it better/faster? I recently made myself a mini chart of new short codes to learn for Illustrator. My thinking is - when you run your own business, lessons come to you. Why not seek some learning out and get ahead? Haha.  

Mailchimp

Hands down, Mailchimp is the easiest and most beautiful email marketing software. (Bonus points for being located right here in Atlanta!) (And they just launched free automation for everyone! Yay!)

Squarespace

If you don't have a site yet, or are considering switching, we recommend Squarespace. It's a template site builder, but miles above Wix and the other guys. Their customer service is top notch. (To me that is such a huge selling point.) It also has Gmail and domains built right in. They have so many gorgeous templates to choose from. (This chart can help you spot the differences.) Then you can change out photos and text and reorder pages. Later down the line if you want something more custom, you can team up with a designer.

These have really helped us and our clients grow in marketing and design.

If you feel good about your ability to create what you need, but want help with a game plan - we now offer personalized consulting sessions! We can talk through anything from branding, company naming, web layout, how to tell your brand story, products and customer experience. If that sounds fun, hit us up for a free intro call!

P.S. If you want even more resources, check out this post! It's a mega post!


Top photo of the most amazing pair of boots you will ever wear from The Root Collective / Photo taken by Molly Stillman

Where is Your Water?

“Where is your water? Know your garden.”
Hopi Teaching

Self care doesn't come easy in the small business world. Dusty and I recently took some time to think about the things we love about our business and how we could do more of it. 80 hour work weeks are the norm, but not the goal. If our business is our garden, our water is working closely and collaboratively with a few clients at a time. One at a time ideally - but no more that 3, for sure. Our water is taking time to experiment, play, push boundaries and adventure.

The last 6 months have been busy. At one point we had almost 20 active projects in various stages. That wasn't our water. That almost washed our soil out. 

We're working to move towards a more slow and deliberate pace with our design work. At first, it was hard saying "No," or "Not yet," or "We can't make your deadline and do our best work, so sorry." Now I think I'm finally in a good place with it. I woke up to an email this morning about a project that we couldn't complete within the client's deadline and I happily sent a list of brilliant designers who may have more availability. There was so much peace in that.

It's easy to get sucked into the trap where you feel like you need to take on all the work - that work is scarce and hard to find - that you'll never get "there" if you don't hustle 24/7. That's not our water. I want to be a designer for a long time. That will take a lot of water, and sunlight, and time, and laughter, and joy. Growing slow is okay with us. 


photography by Angie Webb, styled by Madison, for Marie Mae Company
succulents on loan from Brenda's House of Flowers, thank you! :)