Once a month, I like to get out of my studio and immerse myself into a creative atmosphere. A few years back, I found that by only looking at my work, I was not expanding my mind or learning from the creativity of others. There are such amazing minds in this world—it would be a shame to not tap into their artistry and challenge myself to be better at what I do for my clients, and for myself. This stems deep into the fact that I believe I need to not only stay on top of current trends, software, etc., but to also keep my creativity sharp.
We are extremely fortunate that now through May, renowned artist Dale Chihuly has a stunning exhibition "Chihuly in the Garden" at the Desert Botanical Garden. The combination of the desert landscape with Chihuly’s colorful and vibrant masterpieces, creates the perfect contrast and is extremely awe inspiring.
Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and changing people's perception of the glass medium from craft to fine art. He is acclaimed for his aspiring architectural installations, museums and gardens all around the world.
If you are in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend you visit before they close the exhibit. If you are not and have not seen his works yet—or if you have, but just want to see them again—you have a lot of options. The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of my favorite places and one I personally love. Not only is the architecture of the new wing (designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava) out of this world, the Chihuly piece they have is outstanding, just like all of his work.
Of course, there is always Las Vegas. The Bellagio has one of his public installations—just ask where it is as you enter and they will point you in the right direction. Trust me, it is worth the walk through the casino. Or, if you want to avoid the Bellagio all together, you could always go to City Center, near the Aria. These are just a few I have seen and loved. A quick Google search and you will find that you may have an option in your backyard.
Go out, be inspired.
I hope these pieces that I photographed will inspire you as well.
I hope your 2014 is off to a great start. Can you believe it's February already?
I recently finished a rather easy and straightforward project for a client: new logo, signage and business cards. Other than the printed and foil stamped elements of the logo on the business cards, this was a fairly simple undertaking—or so I thought.
When I received the cards in the mail, I went to inspect them only to find that my OCD (self-proclaimed and husband-confirmed) wasn't happy with the end product. The logo elements were slightly off…by maybe 1/16 of an inch or even less. Most likely, your lay person never would have noticed, but to my trained eyes this was a glaring error and one I couldn't dismiss.
I contacted my vendor and snapped some pictures with my iPhone (scroll down to see the before and after), so they could see what I was seeing. They were extremely nice and admitted that the cards didn't look good, and they went on to reprint the entire order at no extra cost to my client. I was very satisfied and will continue to use them in the future because of this.
I received the new cards in the mail the following week and, WOW, you could tell the difference right away. I was very happy to be dropping these off at my client's place and for her to stop using the few "not-so-perfect" ones I had given her in the interim.
The next morning, I received this note from her, "Naty, what a difference!!! Just looking over the cards again. Thank you, thank you for your great eye and demand for excellence."
I am telling you this story in hopes that—regardless of what we all do as professionals—in 2014, we will make it our personal goal to demand excellence in our lives, our businesses and, most importantly, for our clients and the services we provide them.
So let me ask you this:
Does your marketing reflect the high standards you have for your brand and your business? Are you conveying the right message? Do your clients walk away thinking, "Wow!"?
If you are ready for a creative professional that will demand excellence on your behalf, give me a shout.
I would love to be the “discerning eye” that makes your 2014 truly remarkable.
It may have appeared that I have been 'quieter than usual' this year, but in addition to helping clients with their marketing and design needs, I have been 'working' on my most precious masterpiece.
Last December, my husband and I welcomed to this world our beautiful daughter.
Some of you are probably thinking, "Congratulations, Naty, that's great, but how does this relate to me or my business?"
It's okay; I take no offense, but please allow me to elaborate. I promise I won't waste your time.
"What is it about your business that makes you smile? What gets you up every morning?"
I always ask this question to new clients during our initial consultation, and I love doing it. Some look at me funny or go silent. But most times, they simply blurt: "Making money." Needless to say, I have found myself rephrasing the question so people don't go to that automatic answer. Recently, though, I had a client who—for the very first time—answered: "No, not money." Wow, was that refreshing to hear! She continued: "I am in business because, first, I like to make things possible; I love solving my clients' problems. And secondly, because I enjoy having cocktails with them." I instantly knew I wanted to work with her (and no, not for the latter!). Yes, we all need to make money in order to survive, pay our bills and stay in business. I get it; I do, too. However, they are missing the point.
So why is "why" so important?
In life and in business, having a clear and defined "why" allows you to know why you do the things you do, and thus, attract those who share your same passion and vision. Everyone describes "what" they do: We sell real estate; I am a doctor; we own a restaurant. Then, they go onto describing "how" they do it: We offer great service; I specialize in pediatrics and we have a great staff; we use only organic ingredients. Blah, blah, blah. Don't get me wrong; those things are great and important, but imagine if they started the conversation with: Because after being homeless, I believe everyone deserves to be a homeowner; because I am a father myself, and I know how it feels to have someone you can call in the middle of the night when your child is sick; because for every meal we serve, we donate 10 percent of our revenue to a local food bank.
Do you see the difference?
Let's take this same scenario but on a bigger scale.
Your "why" could be a personal drive and conviction, like Malala Yousafzai. It could be philanthropical, like Toms shoes. Or even a statement, like Apple. They were all unknown and small at some point, but they all have that same thing in common: Their "why" was and is their big driving force; a force that created a movement and got people to believe and join in the conversation.
Now imagine doing this for your business. Do you see what I am seeing?
So what is your "why"? Go ahead, comment below. I genuinely would love to know.
If you are unsure, let me help you uncover that dormant force—and together—let's use it to guide your business (and personal life) and get others to truly follow you and become your raving fans.
P.S. In case you're curious, here's my "why"...
Having a daughter made me want to be a better woman-business owner. And no, not to prove a point of some or any sort. On the contrary, I want her to grow up knowing that she can do anything she puts her mind and heart to. I want her to see me, her mom, as one of her role models. When she grows up, I want her to follow her passion and I want her to help others—doing whatever profession she chooses to follow.
Great things always start small, but it takes patience, love and guidance (among others!) for them to grow into perfection and reach their full potential.
Photos courtesy of Terah Lake Photography.