We're super excited to feature Kelly of Kelly Elliott Creative on the blog today. She's a talented graphic designer and photographer and we're super envious of all of her savvy skill. Kelly knows just how important first impressions are so the best surprise of today is the design discount she's offering exclusively to Midwest Bloggers. This is HUGE people!
Name: Kelly Elliott
Location: My office is based out of my home in Nevada, Iowa but I work with clients from all over the state. Actually, I have been fortunate enough to work with clients from all over the United States and even abroad.
Hobbies: I try to travel with any free days I can manage to find, gardening, reading and finding unique home decor is also high on my list. Although nothing trumps spending time with my uber loveable mutt, Max.
I couldn’t live without my…. Camera. I'm constantly thinking in "photo frames" almost every moment of everyday.
What is Kelly Elliott Creative?
I am a print graphic designer and offer any print design service that one could possibly need. From brand design to magazine layout to collaborating with brides over their perfect wedding invitation. I do definitely favor a boutique custom style in my design and could never say no to creating something as simple as a custom note card set. I also am a portrait photographer who works with everyone from brand new little babes to engaged couples.
Of all the creative aspects of your job, which part is your favorite?
When a client gives me full and unlimited creative control. That is when I do my best work and when a true custom piece is created. I love a good challenge and delivering that final product to a client.
Are you a full-time, one-woman show?
I am! I am the designer, the photographer, the receipt keeper, the secretary, the lone drinker of unhealthy amounts of coffee, the sole creative force and the list could go on. While I often dream about having a partner who is crazy enough to take on this venture with me it's been really great for me to take the plunge of being a business owner and having to figure everything out from taxes to work flow all on my own. While it may not just be me forever, I'm embracing it for the time being and feel empowered by the obstacles I've navigated on my own.
When & why did you start Kelly Elliott Creative?
I softly started my business 5 years ago without really knowing if it would be what I would do full time or not. However, it quickly became 10 hour plus days so I made things official in 2011. I always pictured myself owning my own business - even in high school before I even knew what it would ever be. I've been a creative sole from the start and definitely dreamed of supporting myself by selling whatever I was creating, I just didn't know it would be as a graphic designer. I'm the type that puts my whole being into anything that I'm doing and have always had the feeling that if I'm going to pour myself into my work I wanted to be doing it for me. Working 15 hour days is a whole lot more rewarding (and bearable) when I'm doing it to make my own business a success rather than for the big man/woman who is never in his office. It's definitely not the easy way out but it's the only way for me to never feel like I really have to go to work because I absolutely love what I do.
What's some advice you can give to those who want to start their own business?
To expect to work harder than you can ever imagine but at the same time you will be rewarded and surprised and what each day brings. There is nothing comparable to being contacted by new (and old) clients because of the work you do and the product you produce. Expect to have your fair share of days when you wonder what you go yourself into or think that it'd be much easier to have a big company name backing you up but, you'll quickly look back and realize that the worst days or experiences are what pushed you through to success. It certainly isn't easy and it's not for everyone but just one positive experience or client praise can put you on cloud nine and then all of those big obstacles or failed moments are quickly forgotten. Now matter how busy or behind you are it's easy to put yourself on the back burner as a business owner but, you really have to carve out time for yourself and get away from emails and deadlines for a bit each week just enjoy the small things and to still really have a life. Otherwise you won't ultimately be happy and you will lose your drive to make your business a success. And remember, when all else fails a nap is usually the answer - I resort to this...more times than most adults would find acceptable. :)
What kind of degree do you have?
I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Iowa State University. I still miss long nights at the College of Design building, it was the best decision I could have made to apply to that program.
What’s your favorite thing about Kelly Elliott Creative?
That I get to put my creative stamp on so many pieces big and little. Getting to work with my clients and providing them with high quality, unique design and photography gives me the ultimate satisfaction. I love people and getting to talk with them, collaborate with them and ultimately dream big with them, is the best part of any design job or photo session.
When you’re not working on design, what can you be found doing?
Flying on a plane somewhere near or far or researching about my next trip or... just staring at my computer screen drooling over travel images and blogs wondering how I'm ever going to go everywhere I want to in one lifetime. Finding time to meet over coffee or indulging in a long dinner with good conversation and ridiculous amounts of laughter with my dearest friends is always a top priority. Napping in the sunshine and planning my next interior decor redesign are things I love. Giving back or doing something to make someonelse's day are two things I don't ever have enough extra time for.
What’s the best piece of design advice you can offer a blogger?
To always stay current and ahead of the next trend. As a designer reading blogs is a part of my daily routine, they fill me full of inspiration and often motivate me to do something a little more unique or unexpected. The blogs I quickly lose interest in are those that don't have their own personality or that are filled with ideas, inspiration or design that I can find anywhere. I go to blogs to find vendors and new designs that I've never heard of before or to be inspired to think about an upcoming project just a little differently.
What other tips + tricks do blogger need to know?
To reach out and network all that you can. Small business owners especially love these kind of relationships and are often times willing to collaborate or help with styling sessions, creating a solid brand and promoting your blog to their clients, etc.
What is the biggest mistake people make in design? How can they fix this?
Making the the decision to work with a professional but not allowing them to really use their creative knowledge or full potential. A true designer doesn't just make something to have it be pretty. There is a reason for every little detail of a professionally designed piece. No matter the size of the project from the color palette to the font pairings to the page layout, everything is carefully decided and executed based on principles and experience.
What’s your website?
www.kellyelliottcreative.com—it's currently down for some updates but almost ready for a relaunch within the next month.
What’s the best way to contact you? Emails are great - firstname.lastname@example.org is where I can be reached almost any time of any day. However, a phone call is always welcomed too! 515-460-8899
We hear you’re offering one heck of a Midwest Blogger’s design deal…25% off business cards with an order of 100 cards. Offer ends May 31st, 2014.