Craigslist brought that lovely lady on the right and I together. I had quit my corporate job and was looking for something different when I found a job posting for an internship. Long story short, the internship turned into a job (but it was crazy so I left) and both Kelsey and I are fully convinced that all of that was the universe forcing us to cross paths!
Fast forward a few years and Kelsey had met Britt and started working on projects together. I was in need of a Squarespace expert to help me with a project and knew that Kelsey knew just the person to help. She connected us (Britt was freakin’ fantastic to work with) and I got to add another badass lady to my contact list!
Even though the three of us are spread out across the country (Kelsey has since moved from San Diego), these ladies are some of my best business friends and I couldn’t be more excited for this next adventure of theirs! This is our creative conversation:
What’s the story behind Launch Your Daydream? How did you end up here?
We found each other in a Facebook group in 2015 and ended up swapping services among our two separate businesses. It immediately became clear that we both found someone we loved working with and wanted to create this same experience for our clients.
At the time, Kelsey was living in California and Britt was 2,500 miles away in Ohio. That didn’t stop us from talking every day, helping each other set goals, and eventually collaborating on a regular basis. We started taking on clients and offering collaboration packages (called ‘Home Sweet Honey’ — a combination of our individual business names, Home Sweet Hyatt Studios + Honey Side Up Creative) to see how the experience would work for both us and our clients. After nearly two years of working together, we realized that it made the most sense for us to officially join forces, retire our individual businesses, and launch our daydream together.
We finally met in person in March of 2017, after we had already begun planning this new biz. We had an action-packed few days filled with hugs, wine, daydreaming, our new brand photoshoot, an in-person creative networking event, Starbucks, an Instagram stories takeover for the community that originally connected us, a 5-hour road trip to Las Vegas, champagne, meeting (and hugging) all five Backstreet Boys, more champagne, pizza together at midnight in NY/NY, and lots of laughs. It was a beautiful blur.
The following months were filled with tons of Google Docs, overloaded spreadsheet tabs, video chats, countless days spent on content creation, stressful nights, and a lot more laughs, and it was all worth it. On August 24th, two years to the day after we first connected via a Facebook message, we made it official and launched our new business together.
Do you remember the moment you decided to merge your businesses?
We started combining our services about 1.5 years before we had “the talk” about officially merging our businesses. We had set up our first #retreatyoself day, where we set aside time to focus on our individual businesses and growing them. No client work, no social media, no interruptions. We set a strict schedule and it was INCREDIBLE. Towards the end, we kind of half-laughed at the idea of “Why don’t we just make life easier on ourselves and go into business together, officially?!” — then we finally just said, “Let’s just fucking do it. Let’s go into business together…officially.” About a month after that conversation, we had our brand developed, ideas flowing like crazy, and had started our epic planning of meeting in person (seriously, we hadn’t even met in person yet!) to coordinate a few things we could check off our list that would help as we developed our new biz, together.
Who did you turn to for advice and/or resources about starting a business together?
We knew there were a lot of options. We felt so lucky we HAD options, but were also pretty overwhelmed at looking at pros/cons of each. Our goal was to make things not only easier on us as a team, but also on our clients. If it didn’t better BOTH of us as individuals (personally and professionally), AND our client experience, we knew that merging wouldn’t be the best step to take. So, we turned to a friend (who is now a member of our “Dream Team’), Shannon, on how her and her business partner have things structured “behind-the-scenes”. In addition to Shannon, we had a few heart-to-heart conversations with each other and our spouses to discuss pros/cons and how this could (and would!) be the next step to grow our businesses.
What was the biggest piece of advice you were given when you started your business?
The biggest thing that stood out in our minds was to make sure that starting Launch Your Daydream truly, truly benefitted both us and our clients. To make sure we could continue to grow as creatives + business owners. And, most importantly, make sure this business does not ever come in the way of us as BFFs.
What was your creative outlet as a kid? How about now?
Kelsey: I’m an only child, so I had to get creative in a lot of ways. I would play games like “school” where I played the role of the teacher and every single child in the classroom at once. I would play games with my cats. (You can laugh, it’s okay.) I would draw pictures a lot and fill up journal after journal. I was also in theater most of my life until college.
Now, my creative outlet is definitely my work! When I start to feel stuck or uninspired with client work, I spend time on a personal project or something that’s just for fun. Working on our premade brands also helps because I get to dream up anything I want to!
Britt: Ooooh, I used to color these triangle rocks that our neighbors had in their driveway and sell them for 5 cents. Until I started falling asleep in the driveway coloring them and people driving down the street would panic and get out of their cars to make sure I was okay. #truelifeiwasarockcolorerinmydriveway — Also, I was ALWAYS on the computer. Like, always. America Online owned me. So much so, that I used to get paid to code AOL profiles + MySpace profiles. #nowimold
I’m so lucky now to say that my creative outlet is my work! I went to college for website design and love, love, love learning new platforms and all the things in the world of design. I’m a huge fan of Pinterest (aren’t we all!?) and Behance to see other creative work that I DREAM of “being like one of those designers one day”.
How do you differentiate yourself from your peers?
There are a lot of creative business owners out there. And that’s great! But we’ve learned that it’s important to figure out what makes us unique. Here’s what we determined early on as far as differentiators for our business and overall client experience:
- Brand Strategy; Not Just Aesthetic – We focus on more than just the aesthetic side of branding; we help clients dig deep into the meaning behind their biz and ensure that these findings are reflected in their brand design.
- Client Relationships – We really try to emphasize meaningful relationships with our clients. We give them a place to feel open sharing about previous experiences in branding their business, what’s worked well/what hasn’t, and allow them to feel comfortable to share their ideas and feelings throughout the process of working with us. We keep in touch with all of our clients after our work is done, and many of them have become lifelong friends of ours!
- Our Story – We feel that our story is really unique and sets us apart. The fact that we connected online from 2,500 miles away and ended up working together and trusting each other enough to merge our businesses proves that we’re reliable in our work–even from afar. Most of our clients live in different states, so the whole process is done online. This is where our story comes in and assures them that we know what we’re doing.
- One Stop Shop – We’re not just offering one-on-one work with clients, but we’re now providing educational resources and a premade brand shop as well. These options create a choice for our clients: to either work directly with us for custom branding, to shop for a premade customizable designs/templates, and/or to get further educated on all aspects of a successful brand.
How did you create a brand that represents both of you?
This wasn’t too difficult, because we’re already a lot alike! We both love bright, bold colors and our individual brands previous to the merge were both very unique–nothing like the light & airy brands that are trending right now. Our LYD color palette was actually inspired by combining our two separate palettes and then making tweaks from there.
The only thing we struggled with a bit was knowing that our visual brand aesthetic is quite different than what so many of our clients are typically drawn to for their own brands. We didn’t want our clients, especially those in the wedding industry, to think that just because our brand aesthetic was bright/bold, that we couldn’t fulfill their dream of a brand that looked different.
Tell me about your creative process on client work?
Our process is very important to us. We emphasize educating our client on what branding is before anything else. We want them to understand that it’s more than just a pretty logo–there’s meaning behind every step of the process.
First, we start with a Discovery Phase. This is where we really get to know our client, their business, and their vision. We typically start with a consult call, then provide an online questionnaire and printable worksheets that help set a solid foundation. Through these steps, our clients are able to establish a mission statement, values, guidelines for their biz, an ideal client persona, website goals, and more. All of this helps dictate our design decisions.
Next, we move onto aesthetic inspiration. We work with our clients in Pinterest to compile visual inspiration for their brand design. We then cull down and use some of these images to create a mood board and custom color palette. This step is crucial in confirming that we’re on the same page with our client as far as aesthetic vision goes before moving forward.
After aaaalll that is done, THEN we finally start the design phase! This is where the logo design, visual brand aesthetics, brand add-ons, website design, and everything design-related comes into play. The creative ideas flow naturally from all of the foundational work we do in the early stages. It’s all about being proactive!
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?
Kelsey: Relationships are important. No, relationships are necessary. When I first started out on my own, I always said I would never work with anyone else. I would never hire contractors or employees. I was in this with me, myself and I.
I quickly learned that getting through this whole business owner thing is nearly impossible without other people.
Before Launch Your Daydream, my relationship with Britt was crucial. I 100% hands-down would have given up and gone back to hating a 9-5 job if it weren’t for her. I never expected that I’d end up with a business partner and a team of contractors, but now it makes so much sense.
Even if you do decide that you just want to work on your own, you need those collaborative relationships to keep you going. You need others in your network who understand what you’re going through, who can offer advice when you need it, and who can inspire you when you feel discouraged.
Britt: Umm, Kelsey took my answer. ;) Relationships are SO IMPORTANT. In addition to what Kelsey said, I’ll take a different spin. Not only are our collaborative relationships super important, but client relationships. I will never, EVER be a designer that simply creates something, invoices, and runs away. Never. I always want to support my clients in every way possible. Before, during, and after our work with them. Going through branding is a very vulnerable process. I feel like we learn so much more than just “here’s my biz, go make it pretty and true to me” — we hear stories of some of the hardest times in our clients’ lives that helped shape their story. Being a part of that is something I will always, always value.
What are you most proud of?
Kelsey: My adaptability. As an only child with a dad in the Army, I learned at a young age to adjust to unfamiliar settings and make the best of it. I’m not afraid to approach new people or situations and I can make new friends anywhere I live. Thanks, Dad! ;)
Britt: Building + growing a business while being a new-ish mom. This shit is tough, dude. Like, real tough. The days of little to no sleep, doctor + hospital bills, plus being creative can add up without a few naps thrown in to balance it out. ;) But, I’m so, so grateful. Being a mom is the best thing to ever happen to me. This creative biz is the awesome cherry on top!
What does the next step look like for you?
We started thinking about our next step long before even launching our business! I guess that’s just the nature of creative minds. We don’t want to give too much away, but we’re really looking forward to exploring in-person workshops next year.
Favorite coffee drink?
Kelsey: My fiancé calls it a “catpurrccino”…it’s a homemade cappuccino with a cinnamon cat paw print on top. Yes, we’re corny and I love it. Britt: Caramel macchiato with skim! Add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla. ;) Much better if it’s paid for with a Starbucks gift card!
Favorite thing in your home?
Kelsey: My office. (Just got my own home office after 2 years of working out of my bedroom.) Britt: My office, too! We have it as a combo of my office + a little play area for the kiddo.
The one thing you can’t live without?
Kelsey: Trader Joes Britt: Uhhh, naps. Yes, I’m 30 and naps need to happen on the weekends. (Probably thought we were gonna say something like friends and family, didn’t ya? haha)
The one thing you need to try?
Kelsey: Being on a podcast! Britt: Working in-person with a client on their website!
Launch Your Daydream is a team of branding experts + business owners, who totally get the love/hate relationship that comes along with running the creative biz of your dreams. Work one-on-one with them to design a completely custom brand + website, purchase a premade design in their brand shop, or get educated with their workbooks + e-courses.