The New and Improved
Well hello! Welcome to the new and improved Emily Elle Designs (formerly known as Kalos Designs), and to my very first blog post. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for my business for months now but honestly, I just kept making excuses and putting it off. Many of you know that I studied English in college and for a long time wanted to go into the publishing/editing industry, so adding a blog felt like a natural step in my business journey…. plus, my Instagram captions were getting way too long, and that SEO boost is a nice perk as well.
I figured that now, between taking a social media break from Instagram and Facebook and totally re-branding my business, was as good a time as any to finally do it. And since I did change my business name among a lot of other visual aspects of my business during this re-brand, I figured that a blog post explaining this change would be the perfect debut topic to re-introduce myself and my brand to the world. And to explain why I re-branded, I have to go back to the origins of my business and explained how I “branded” my business the first time.
The *very* humble beginnings of this little business When I started selling my calligraphy work back in March of 2018, I had absolutely 0 intention of turning it anything more than a side hobby that brought in a little extra spending money. It wasn't until about 6 months in, after an emotionally taxing break-up and some encouragement from a close friend that I decided to turn my hobby into something more, , and to leap into the big scary B word….. business. Although this was primarily a shift in my mindset, from “I have a side hobby” to “I am a small business owner,” there were a lot, and I mean a lot of external tasks I had to tackle as well.
Making an official logo. Picking brand colors. Creating a website. Styling and shooting product photos. Registering for bridal shows and fair booths... the list was (and still is) literally never-ending, as I'm sure most other small business others can attest. It really felt like for every one task I would cross off, two more would appear. I had no formal – or informal, for that matter – business or visual arts education, and the more information I accumulated, the more things I realized needed to be done.
It was all very overwhelming, and instead of simmering in analysis paralysis and overthinking all of my decisions, as I'm prone to do, I threw a lot of things together just to check it off my list for the time being, and to give myself baselines to work from. I tried to do so many things in the month and a half between my break-up and my first bridal show that a lot of things got half-assed in the process. But hey.. half-assing a task is better than no-assing it, right? I honestly still wasn't 100% invested in the idea of owning a business, and I figured I could switch things up further down the road if I decided to become more serious about it.
The madness continues
After the bridal show came the madness of my first holiday season, starting a new relationship, moving into an apartment, becoming an aunt, and trying to invest my post-holiday profits into products and education that would help me scale my business, all while working full time. Before I knew it, a year had passed since I started making money from my lettering. Not long after this, I started to feel down about the lack of growth in my business; but I quickly realized that despite becoming much more serious about my business and scaling it over the last few months, I had never re-organized things to reflect those intentions. I was still trying to work within my haphazardly thrown together semblance of a business structure, so it shouldn't have been a surprise when I outgrew those decisions so quickly.
The point of all this is that for way too long, my business lacked intention. I was just doing what felt right at the time without looking too far forward into the future. While it did help me get off the ground and start, which is sometimes the hardest part, I was long overdue for some serious intention-setting. Sitting down to think about exactly what I wanted out of my business, both financially and spiritually, and to start making decisions that reflected those goals rather than just winging it. And It didn't take long for me to realize that a lot of aspects about my business weren't effectively reflecting those intentions, so I decided to change them.
So what, exactly, changed around here? 5 things, to be exact, some more obvious than others.
1. The Name
The first and most obvious change was my name – from Kalos Designs to Emily Elle Designs. There’s a few reasons why I made this decision. The first reason is pretty practical – people don’t know how to say Kalos and they don’t know what it means without explanation (you can read about the name here) I realized that most of the real life conversations I had with people about my business started with “How do you pronounce that?” and “Why that name?” -- I was spending crucial first minutes of interaction with people telling them about my business name rather than about my business and myself, and I didn’t like that. And since my real last name (Loesch) is even more difficult to spell and pronounce than Kalos, I shortened it to Elle (L).
The second reason is a bit more spiritual, for lack of a better word. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of hand-lettering and invitation/stationery businesses in the world, and with the internet, it’s as easy as ever to access any of them. Some of them have decades of experience on me, so how do I stand out as a newcomer? Well, there’s definitely one thing I have that those other businesses don’t, and that’s me. It's easy to imitate little elements of others' style when you're starting out, but there comes a time when you, to steal my favorite podcast's host Todd Henry's metaphor, have to stop being a cover band and start writing your own songs.
I was also inspired by Lisa Congdon and her books Art Inc. and Find Your Artistic Voice to prioritize the idea of honing in on a distinct artistic style. The best way to do that is to highlight elements of my life and experiences that are unique to me and incorporate them into my art. And what better way to highlight those elements than sharing them intimately with my customers, clients, and peers? I figured that reflecting my own name in my business name was good first step, and a constant reminder to continue develop an artistic style that was unique to me and my brand
2. The Colors
I was SO lackadaisical about picking out brand colors when I started. I didn't fully realize how important color is when it comes to brand identity. I literally picked the colors for my website & logo based off some dark green shirts I bought and ironed logos onto for my first bridal show.
Don't get me wrong, the dark green is a great color, and I don’t think it was a bad decision for the time being, but it is just waaaay too dark. I guess that was fitting for that time period of my life, but these days I feel like a much brighter and more colorful person, at least on the inside. Lately I've been feeling a strong pull toward a sunny, yellow-orange color, so much so that it's the primary color in my home décor as you can see below.
Yellow also relates to a lot of things about my home state of Kansas; our state flower is the sunflower and they grow rampant throughout the countryside here; it's also the color of wheat and corn, our top two crops. It represents warmth and optimism, but it also signifies caution, which encourages intentional decisions, and I'm all about all of those things. So get used to seeing that color around here!
3. The Services
Not a whole lot has changed regarding the services and product I offer. Two of the largest changes were additions – invitation & stationery design and commercial lettering services! After a super awesome experience designing some invitations and stationery for a styled shoot a few months ago (blog coming shortly on this!) I decided to offer these services to clients. If you’re interested in some custom invitation designs, feel free to fill out our form to recieve a free, custom estimate.
The second is commercial lettering services. This is a service for small businesses in and around the Wichita, KS area who have chalkboard menus or special boards, or who want some window art, or any sort of hand-lettering within their establishment. I love the local scene in Wichita and I thought this would be a great way to support other local businesses. Any businesses interested in receiving a free custom estimate for a design job can inquire here.
Everything else is *mostly* the same. And as always, I still take custom orders, so if you have an idea you’re itching to bring to life, don’t hesitate to CONTACT ME
4. The Website
Obviously anytime there's a major change to a business or its services, the website gets an update. I've finally added a section for my blog and a way to subscribe to it. I've also updated some of the service pages it reflect some of my new services. If you're here reading this now than you've already seen at leas part of the website, so I won't go into two many details, but feel free to browse around for a bit and see what's new.
5. The Mindset
And last, but certainly most important, is a change in mindset. I want to run this business with more intention so that it better serves both me AND my clients. I'm not going to be doing things in my business just because I think I'm supposed to do it, and I'm going to layout clear plans for what I DO want to do so that I don't get caught up in those meaningless tasks that dont' actually serve us.
Although it's true that no matter how much you plan, things can still go wrong, it's still not a bad idea to have a general road map of things and of the future. In fact, that's kind of why you need a road map in the first place; so that when plans get de-railed and you stray off track temporarily, it's easier to find your way back to the designated path. It doesn't mean I can't switch up the destination or the route or take little detours along the way; it just forces me to be more intentional about making such decisions after spending all that time making the road map in the first place.
So thank you all for your patience and the confusion while I switch over domain and account names. I'm honored that you stuck around through this transition and that you've taken the time to read my first blog post. You da best!