Over the last year and a half, I published three volumes of interviews with independent, female designers. These women are smart, savvy, and have an incredible amount of collective knowledge to share. Though this digital magazine GLIMPSE has come to a close, I couldn't help but make it available for all. Enjoy!
"Most of my business comes from word of mouth. I’m pretty active on twitter, and gain lots of clients on there."
Can you tell us how you do that, specifically? How do you connect with new people, engage with your current followers, and do so in a way that feels authentic / inline with your values?
It helps that I'm a chronic over sharer, and that I love to chat. I approach 'networking' in a very relaxed manner, I'm just myself (goofballs and all). I don't have any ulterior motives, and I'll respond to anyone—whether they have 10 followers or 10,000. I'm not one of those 'follow me and I'll follow back' kinda tweeters, either, I openly admit that I only add twitter accounts that I can gain value from. I'd be swamped otherwise and twitter would be useless for me. In basic terms: No bullshit, I'm just 100% myself.
Doing: Decluttering and organising my house, it's #operationstorage for 2014!
Reading: I've got three books on the go at the moment:
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Toast by Nigel Slater.
Listening to: The Goldfinch on audiobook, it's gripping!
Watching: House of Cards, who isn't?!
Needing: someone to break my new Dr Marten's in for me—ouch!
"It sounds strange but being able to coach someone through how to present their work or handle a difficult client situation has made me better at doing it myself."
What's your favorite story from mentoring another designer?
I know a gal who periodically runs her design work by me and sometimes asks for advice on how to handle client situations. She called me recently, really upset because of the unclear feedback she was receiving on project and frustrated due to lack of communication from her client. I started asking her questions about how she got to where she was because it seemed so clear to me that she already had an answer to what she was asking me.
As we talked through it, it became evident that she paved the way for the relationship to get to where it was. She had been unclear in her communication from the start and had failed to establish definitive project boundaries.
I heard someone say recently that we teach people how to treat us and it is so freaking true. I’m not sure if I helped her with the advice I gave but it definitely made me hyper-aware of my own actions and how I communicate and interact with my own clients. We all make mistakes, for sure—I make them all the time—but what’s important is that we don’t keep making them. This one was a lesson I learned the easy way. Thank God!
Doing: Trying to get back into an exercise routine and out of my fat pants.
Reading: Sadly, not much. Twitter, does that count?
Watching: The Walking Dead. It’s soooooo good!
Needing: More human contact, of the in-person kind.
"I feel comfortable at the negotiating table. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?"
How did you get to be comfortable talking numbers?
It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the interaction. There’s so much to learn about people and how they understand and handle business.
I remember the first time I presented a project in front of a large audience. Managers everywhere and me – a very nervous 18 year-old that didn't know exactly how she got there. My hands were shaking, couldn't really control my voice, forgot everything I was supposed to say (although I made a very simple structure the day before), felt overwhelmed and that I didn't really belong there.
Then something great happened: everything just fell into place. I remembered just how much I loved working on that project, every detail of it and just started talking about it. Smile on my face and enthusiasm in my jacket pocket. At the end of it all, it’s your work—learn from it, appreciate it at its true value and, most of all, pay attention to what your client wants and needs.
Doing: an insane amount of design and loving every minute of it. I'm happy to have joined the wonderful team at BrandUP. I've learned so much from them: from design to working in a team, handling negotiations with clients and improving with every step. Most important, they've never let me forget how much I love this business.
Reading: constantly. Right now, my focus is on branding.
Listening: Wax Tailor, Que sera.
Watching: House of Cards. It’s amazing how far some people go to achieve their goals and it makes you think a little. It's not the manipulation skills that impress me but how every little detail is actually a part of a strategy. Nothing is improvised, everything is well thought out.
Needing: a vacation. I love to travel and if someone would come to me with a plane ticket right now I wouldn’t hesitate a second. Hope I wake up one morning, purchase a plane ticket to Vienna, have a coffee in Stephansplatz and then come back. Just like that—small moments of pure joy.