SWEET 16

This month marks my sweet 16th anniversary of my business. Wow! If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be a successful she-preneur, I would not have believed them.

I rounded up what I could find in my archives [I lost a lot of files one year before Time Machine existed] to showcase how my brand evolved over the 16 years.

Here’s a recap of these years plus the brand images below:

Actually, I started freelancing in 2001 when I moved from Tampa, FL – where I worked at one of the largest ad agencies in the Southeast [best job ever] – to Pasadena, CA. The ad agency that eventually hired me FT had me freelance for about 2 months, so I had to create a DBA business and brand identity for myself - basically just for the invoices. Thus dezinegirl was born! [all lowercase, one-word, thank you very much] However, I don’t count this time in my business history since it was short-lived.

After 9-11 hit and I lost my job [I worked on United Airlines account - do the math], I moved to San Diego. I had visited someone there in 2002, he showed me Torrey Pines/Del Mar and I KNEW right away that this was my home. What I didn’t expect was the advertising/design market here - the lack thereof, how many small businesses there were who were mainly focused on branding and design.

I did not fit in. I was either too experienced for one kind of position or not experienced enough for another kind of position. I ended up freelancing here and there, taking one gig after another – sometimes working from home. Until 2013 when I met my creative business coach who changed my life, my career, my business to where it is today in 2018.

Back in 2002 it was still trendy to have an illustration or photo of yourself on your resume. I was very much into pinks and greens! But in 2006, when I was working from home more than I was out at other studios, I realized I needed to look more professional. I designed my first website and had someone code it for me.

Greens and blues were always my favorite color from whenever I could remember, and my desired niche was working with Spas, Healthcare, Nutrition, and Fitness so those colors worked well for that.

In late 2007 I attended a MYOB [Mind Your Own Business] conference for creatives. I was so inspired and wanted to become a small studio. Business was good, so I added Creative Studio to my business name so I sounded bigger. I had realized I needed a more targeted niche and came up with the tagline of The Lifestyle Branding Source. It was WE not I or ME in my messaging. I was also learning Dreamweaver so I could build and manage my own website, PLUS there was a demand for website design and development, and I needed that source of income to sustain the changing trend from print to web. 

By 2011-2012, I wanted a change in my logo and brand identity because I was evolving. My business was evolving. My focus was even more refined and honed in on Lifestyle Branding thanks to my creative business coach I started working with in 2013. Each year I was working on more and more projects in the lifestyle niche. It was time for a new website! Luckily Adobe Muse [website dev for designers who don’t code] came out at the time I was struggling trying to keep up with the ever-changing HTML/coding. Once again I created a new website, and built it in Muse. I loved my new look, and was confident and pleased to promote it.

That didn’t last very long! Ha ha! In 2015, I updated my logo and branding again! I think that is normal for a designer, so give me some slack. We are perfectionists. I felt like my business name was too juvenile for where I was at in my career. One person at the 2007 MYOB conference told me the name was a disconnect because while I was mature and professional, dezinegirl was so youthful. Those words haunted me, but the consensus was more in favor of keeping dezinegirl. So I did. Besides I had personal equity in it.

Imagery became more dominant in my branding as it helped evoke the vibe I wanted to get across. The coffee obsession media craze was just starting and I was onboard that train! I still loved my greens and blues, but to make it more professional I swapped the blue for gray. The design of all my promo and business materials was so easy and felt like it all clicked so well. I loved it all the most ever! But in the back of my mind, the name dezinegirl felt like it needed to go.

In 2016 my personal style evolved, refined and became more upscale, classic, chic due to the influence of Instagram posts. By end of that year I told my coach that I wanted to change my business name, something that represented luxury and design. She laughed and said she saw this coming.

It took a few weeks of brainstorming to come up with the name, the branding and the logo fell into place easily. I knew who I was now!! JOIE LUXE DESIGN. But by March of 2017, I was stuck. How do I create my website? Adobe Muse kept upgrading and old coding didn’t work in the new. I didn’t want to deal with that hassle. After much research it came down to Squarespace. 

So once again! I rebuilt my website from scratch. My messaging went from a WE to a ME. My business name was more personal so my messaging had to be. I needed to be authentic. I own my own business with my own clients. I am not a freelancer bebopping around from gig to gig offsite. Nor am I a big studio with employees. I am a boutique studio focused on brand image design for lifestyle businesses.

Here we are today, almost one year later since my re-launch in June 2017. I have to say this has been the best year of my career. I’m working on a huge dream project I never imagined I would ever get. I feel SO confident and happy with my name and branding. People get it. And they all concur it was the right change… it is so me. Now, desirable clients get it and dream projects are flowing to me. The vibe is out there working for me. It is indeed a Sweet 16!