Introducing Sourced Co.

I have been neglecting my own blog for the past while, but for good reason – I launched a new business! So, as you can imagine, I am thrilled to introduce you to Sourced Co.

What is Sourced Co.? 

We create the beautiful styled stock photography and graphic textures that wedding professionals need to market their businesses on social media, build stunning websites, and inspire their clients. We also create the eye-catching styled stock publications and content creators need to get readers to click through, stick around, and purchase. Here is a sample of what you can get!

Sourced Co. Styled Stock Photography

Meet the Sourced Co. Team

Started around a table with friends and a brownie to share, Sourced Co. was founded in 2018 by an experienced team of wedding professionals who decided to flip the script on stock photography. We are a team that thinks the beautiful images wedding professionals need to build their businesses and continue to help spark conversation with their ideal clients should be easy to get, work seamlessly beside their portfolio, and not break the bank.

Want to learn more about Sourced Co. styled stock photography ? Visit the website here and grab yourself 10 free images here!

As Seen On: She Creates Business Podcast

She Creates Business

I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed on the She Creates Business podcast the other week! Katherine Oyer (Director of PR at Aisle Planner) and I got to talk about what has quickly become our favorite topic – streamlining systems and business organization. (So nerdy, we know.)

“Look who it is! The incomparable Katherine and Tayler from Aisle Planner. Today’s episode is PACKED…..seriously, my cup runneth over, with pro tips on how to implement systems and efficiencies in your wedding business. These two women are organizational powerhouses and they’re dropping alllll of their best ideas and info on today’s episode. Don’t listen unless you have a pen and notebook……it’s that good! Head to your nearest podcast player to join the conversation!” – She Creates Business Founder, Kinsey  

Listen to the “Creating Systems and Efficiencies in Your Wedding Business” podcast here!

Creative Conversations | Launch Your Daydream

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:
TAYLRD Media and Designs Launch Your DaydreamWhat’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.

TAYLRD Media and Designs Launch Your Daydream

Kelsey, Co-Founder and Brand Designer

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 RelationshipsWe 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 StoryWe 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 ShopWe’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.

TAYLRD Media and Designs Launch Your Daydream

Britt, Co-Founder and Website Designer

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.

Follow them along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

The Importance of Being a Lifelong Learner

It has been a very fast first half of the year and the pace shows no signs of stopping.  But, while I thrive off of having my days oh-so-efficiently tasked with things to do, at least once I year, I clear my calendar a bit and channel some of that energy towards myself. And, more often than not, I choose to learn something.

I’m not just talking about the times that I quite literally learn a new skill (like the holiday season everyone I know got a scarf I had knit myself) but rather, the times I choose to refine or round out existing skills to become better at what I do.

My work has stretched me other the last year as more and more responsibilities have been put on my plate. Working in a start-up environment pretty much forces that on you – and it can eat you alive if you let it. So, as someone who has sought out learning opportunities their entire life, this moment is one of those where working with someone to refine my own skills is refreshing, motivating, and much needed.

So, as a practice this exercise in learning for the 1026th time, I encourage you to do the same. It might sound cheesey but investing in yourself is always worth it.

 

I Am Progress Photoshoot

We are the people who make a movement. We are the faces of change. We are progress.

This event is a celebration of our political voices, contributions, and community. The past few months have been filled with hard work so, it’s time to fill the tank up! Join us on April 20th at the Linksoul Lab in Oceanside and have your portrait taken as a symbol of your strength and our solidarity. This event is free – all you need to do is make a donation to your favorite nonprofit organization and bring the receipt.

Learn more about the event here and book your portrait session here.

Branding Your Instagram Feed

If you run a business and are marketing it on Instagram, you have probably heard the phrase “branding your Instagram” more than once. But, what exactly does that mean? Is it slapping your logo across everything? Maintaining a rigid schedule of posting content that all looks the same? Not in my book!

Branding your Instagram account means that it represents your brand as a whole; making sure that if you were to take literal snapshots of it, it would coordinate with your brand board or guide. And, when I work with each of my clients to create and curate content for their Instagram accounts, there are a couple things I keep in mind:

Color: The color palette is one of the easier things to brand. Every brand has a defined color palette so, try and keep your posts consistent with it. It will give your feed the visual consistency you are looking for.

Composition: This one can be a bit harder. But, as you can see from the examples below, To La Lune’s Instagram feed slants more minimalistic than the others and that is because her brand and creative identity are defintely that! Isari’s feed tends to be more lush since it is pretty much all flowers but I shoot all of the arrangments on the same table and background to keep the compostition consistent.

Content: The content that you share says a lot about your brand. It should visually tell people who your customers are, what industry you are in, and something about your product or business. Aisle Planner is a product in the wedding space but one that is geared towards wedding professionals. So, the images that we share need to tell a broader story than To La Lune’s (who is a wedding planner trying to attract couples as clients).

TAYLRD Media and Designs Branding Your Instagram Account

Client Account: Aisle Planner

 

TAYLRD Media and Designs Branding Your Instagram Account

Client Account: Isari Flower Studio

 

TAYLRD Media and Designs Branding Your Instagram Account

Client Account: To La Lune

It is generally pretty easy to brand your Instagram feed from my perspective, if you are willing to put some effort into content creation. So, my advice is to take a snapshot of your current feed and ask yourself if there are things you could change about the color, composition, and content that would bring it closer to your brand ideal.

Have questions about how to go about it? Feel free to get in touch!

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

2016 is rounding out to be a fantastic year for lots of reasons but, over the next couple of months, I am honored to be hitting the speaking circuit on behalf of my client Aisle Planner!
TAYLRD Media and Designs Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I’ll be heading to Maui in December for ISSE! Aside from spending three days learning from some of the industry’s most creative and successful professionals, I will be speaking on the topic of marketing and advertising in a start-up environment.

Want to learn more about the event? You can read my interview with the event organizers about what I’m most excited about on their blog.

TAYLRD Media and Designs Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I am also really excited to be working with the ladies of LVL Weddings and Events and speaking at LVL Academy for the third time! Designed for aspiring wedding planners by a team with more than 1500 weddings underneath their belt, students leave the 2 day academy with all of the foundational knowledge they need to start their careers as professional wedding planners.

As always, I am very fortunate to have such amazing clients who give me the opportunity to be involved in such wonderful events! Excited for the rest of 2016 and can’t wait for what 2017 will bring!

Branding Project : Fitz Consulting

I recently wrapped up a branding project for Fitz Nonprofit Consulting – a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in fundraising, board development, and strategic planning.

When President, Renee Fitzgerald, reached out to me in need of a rebrand, I was excited to take on this project. Renee is an extremely talented business women working in the nonprofit space and she deserved a brand that reflected that. So, we started by putting together a mood board that captured her Jackie-O meets Kate Spade style.

TAYLRD Media and Designs Fitz Nonprofit Consulting

Renee wanted a logo that was professional and stylish, and that had some movement to it. (When we started the project, she was in the process of changing her business name from RCH Nonprofit Consulting, hence the lack of “Fitz” in the first design round.)

TAYLRD Media and Designs Fitz Nonprofit Consulting

Being a fashion forward woman, Renee was drawn to option number 4 (it was inspired by the fictional business “About the Fit” one of her favorite movies, The Intern). So armed with her feedback, I worked the design to be more refined and colorful.

TAYLRD Media and Designs Fitz Nonprofit Consulting

As we were finalizing the design (she chose design number 5), Renee had settled on a new business name – Fitz Nonprofit Consulting. So, my challenge for the last design round was to translate the RCF logo she loved to reflect the new name. I finished up by creating a few branded icons for Renee to use when updating her website, new business cards for herself and her team, as well as a branded cover page for all of her project proposals.

TAYLRD Media and Designs Fitz Nonprofit Consulting

In the end, Renee ended up with a sophisticated brand that is as professional as it is fun. I am so excited about how this turned out and am even more excited for Fitz Nonprofit Consulting to continue to impact the nonprofit world – with even more style!

TAYLRD Media and Designs Fitz Nonprofit Consulting

Styled Shoot Published on Ruffled Blog

I have had the pleasure of working behind the scenes on a lot of photoshoots over the past year but, I finally got to take the lead on one for Aisle Planner! I worked closely with Aisle Planner’s Director of Public Relations to style and plan this shoot back in April and it is so cool to see it up on Ruffled!

We designed this shoot for a couple reasons: a) because who doesn’t want a fun creative project?, b) we wanted to style images for upcoming changes to the Aisle Planner website, and c) we wanted to design our own wedding inspiration to pitch out for publication. Mission accomplished? Check, check, and check!TAYLRD Media and Designs Aisle Planner Photoshoot

And because styled shoots are a huge team effort, THANK YOU to all of the vendors who lent their time and creativity!

PHOTOGRAPHY | CAVIN ELIZABETH PHOTOGRAPHY

STYLING | TAYLER HOLLMAN AND KATHERINE OYER, AISLE PLANNER

FLORAL DESIGN | AMY SAMUEL, THE FLOWER SHOP

VENUE | THE ROMANTIK STUDIO

WEDDING DRESS | THE DRESS THEORY

CATERING | WATERS CATERING & FINE FOODS

WEDDING CAKE | JENNY WENNY CAKES

RENTALS | FOLKLORE RENTALS

PAPER GOODS | LUCKY TO BE IN LOVE

Want to see the full feature? Check it out on Ruffled  here!

How to Create a Content Strategy

TAYRLD Media and Designs How to Create a Content Strategy

Creating content on regular basis is one of the top stressors for the small business owners we work with and it is often why they reach out to us. With so many daily responsibilities, finding the time to write copy, curate images, and create all of the assets you need to share that content on all of your social channels often feels like a) a time suck, b) overwhelming or c) not worth the effort.

After working with clients in a range of industries, there is one thing that stands out as an indiscriminatory fatal flaw – thinking that you don’t have to plan ahead and that you can just come up with content when you need to post. (Hence why it feels like a) a time suck, b) overwhelming or c) not worth the effort!) But rather than throwing your hands in the air and giving up on the possibility of consistently marketing your business via your blog or social media, you can decide – right now – to change how you approach things.

When it comes to creating content for your business, you should always have a game plan in mind. So here are my tips on how to go about building a content strategy for you business that is going to keep you on track and of sane mind.

PLAN WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO POST

Step one is to create a schedule for yourself. People get overwhelmed because they do things on the fly and put pressure on themselves to come up with something to post in that exact moment. Take the stress out of social media by planning ahead and giving yourself some structure. And whether you are mapping out what to share on your Instagram account for the week or planning out three months of blog posts, put things down on a calendar so you know when deadlines are coming your way.

To-do: Give it a try! Map out the next few days of social sharing in advance and gather your images to see how planning ahead feels.

CREATE (RE)PURPOSEFUL CONTENT

It’s not enough to post for posting sake; you have to create content that serves a purpose. Know what your goals are and build your content strategy around them. Be sure to create content that is native to each platform (i.e. visually driven on Instagram, 300+ words for blogs, etc.) and that shows off your work and expertise. And always be sure to do a little keyword research on the front end to make sure that your content is optimized.

The other time-saver is creating content that you can repurpose to work on all of your social channels. I usually build my content strategy around my blog calendar with the purpose of driving traffic back to the website, so I always make sure that I have the assets I need to share that content on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Linkedin.

To-do: Create a master plan that you can execute on a monthly basis. Repurpose content when appropriate and be sure to create a “backlog” of images for future sharing when you can!

EVALUATE SO YOU KNOW WHAT WORKS 

It’s not the sexiest thing but taking the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t is an important piece of creating an effective content strategy. You don’t want to be spending time creating content or on strategies that aren’t getting you closer to your goals, so it’s time to run some numbers! Be sure to set measureable goals for each piece of content and monitor the results on a regular basis.

To-do: Use Facebook Insights, Iconosquare, and Google Analytics to see what parts of your strategy are working, what needs to be tweaked, and what needs to be scrapped.

Creating a content strategy is one of those things that can be a game changer for a small business owner. With so much to do on a daily basis, being able to make the best use of your time is always key! Need help creating a content strategy? Give us a buzz!