the joy of a distinctive creative style

In my last post we explored an alternative to the hustle. I wanted to show you that there is another way. That you don’t need to be all things to all people. You don’t need to throw yourself miles outside your comfort zone with every project just to keep your business afloat. That actually, the more you build on what you’re truly, uniquely good at, the more successful your business will be.

It doesn’t matter what your trade is, if you’re running a creative business, it’s essential that you showcase your style if you’re to realise your true potential.

In my experience, there are two very distinct sorts of client. The ones who want to tick something off their list, and the ones who will cross continents to have the pleasure of working with you. Guess who’s nicer to work for? Guess who’s more inspirational? Guess who allows you to grow and develop as a creative?

Ahead of the Creative Flair workshop in June, I wanted to share a few examples of creatives who do this really well. I hope you’ll find them as inspiring as I do!

Fiona Pickles, Firenza Floral Design

Images:  Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography

Three years ago we had the absolute pleasure of working with Fiona Pickles on the Branding for Florists workshop I ran for Flowerona. At the time, Fiona’s business was very much stuck in the hustle. She had no clear creative style. Her website was outdated (which, to be fair, she was only too painfully aware of) and work was a challenge.

Following that workshop Fiona worked hard at finding and honing her style. She invested in her skills as a floral designer and she launched a beautiful new website. This weekend Fiona was hosting an event for Jo Malone. A few months back, she had a pop-up shop in And Other Stories. She runs incredible workshops and has had some truly high profile collaborations including the creative direction of Castle Howard’s Flower Festival. Her business is flying and she’s inspired and empowered as a creative.

Now people see me as a designer rather than just someone to ‘do the flowers’

Fiona Pickles, Firenza Floral Design

Fiona was recently interviewed for Botanical Brouhaha and you can listen to more about her journey on the podcast. You can find a whole heap more beautiful floral inspiration on Fiona’s website: Firenza Flowers.

 

We are Branch

Shauna Haider is the immensely talented creative behind We are Branch, a bold, stylish and sophisticated design agency based in Portland, Oregon. Shauna is the absolute epitome of someone who gets it. She lives and breathes her work. Her style reflects who she is as a person and her taste and aesthetic run through everything she does.

Follow her on Instagram and you’ll see a consistent and compelling theme to the work she shares. Skip over to her Pinterest feed and you’ll see that her inspirations absolutely tie in with her aesthetic. And of course, her portfolio is incredible.

When I was rebranding The Brand Stylist, Branch were my first and only choice. I adored everything Shauna put out and I couldn’t wait to see what she could do with my brand. Her elegant touch, eye for balance and passion for iconic, minimal design was thoroughly captivating. I knew she could deliver what I was looking for and I wasn’t disappointed.

Shauna makes it easy for me to recommend my clients to her. I don’t recommend everyone, because not everyone needs that style, but for those who do, it’s a no brainer.

Have you made it a no brainer for people to recommend to you? Have you streamlined your portfolio? Have you curated your inspirations? Have you had the confidence to clearly define the work you want to do and where you add the most value? Honestly, I think it’s essential.

 

Sophie Robinson

Lovely Sophie is well known to many of you in the UK for her appearances on shows like DIY SOS and The Great Interior Design Challenge. Sophie is an absolute champion of colour and clashes pattern and hues with absolute aplomb, She is confident in her style and utterly irresistible for it.

Sophie has carved herself a thoroughly unique niche which opens up many doors for her to grow and stretch as a creative. What’s more, when people work with Sophie, they do so because they want a piece of her style, her aesthetic, her taste. It’s compelling. She’s compelling. And her work is utterly fabulous.

You’ll find Sophie’s Instagram here and her website right here. Pack your sunglasses!

I realise that you might think ‘oh, well that’s all very well for the one man bands, but I have overheads, I can’t be that picky’. I’d suggest that if you have overheads, you need to focus even more! Because when you’re in a position of strength, when you have clients queuing up to work with you because they just can’t wait to see what you’ll be able to do for them, that’s when business will start to become a joy.

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4 Comments

Shauna Haider

Fiona, thanks so much for the mention! Working with you (and being featured in your wonderful books!) has been such a career highlight. Your eye for brand styling and color is unparalleled.

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Susanne Geert

Dear Fiona

I love this little series! So inspiring and mind-off-kicking 😉

I would like to know if you are going to write a bit about the challenge that the ones completely new to business are facing when choosing a path?

Personally, I struggle tremendously with this. It’s like it’s a step backwards from the example of Fiona Pickles: She has chosen to design flowers. I am one step before that and try to decide what I would be perfect working with starting a one-woman business.

I was dropped from an airplane and landed somewhere in the middle of communication, brand strategy, photography and empowering others – feeling a hard time choosing where I should put my focus and also not able to see my skills and talents in the form of a business someone wants to buy into.

Maybe it sounds like a silly question that it is tempting to answer with something like “just follow your heart and start;-) You can always change or narrow in” I hear this often and somehow it just doesn’t work for me (yet).

Maybe there are others out there like me who knows that they have skills and talents to offer but somehow just can’t make the puzzle and see a good bite-sized offer that is a great match of their own talents and the needs of someone who will buy into it.

My question (sorry it took me so long to get here…) is if you don’t feel that you are in the situation like Fiona Pickles who have already chosen a lane (more or less) and started and where the challenge is to hone in and find your very best work and clients – but instead are struggling with getting started and deciding *what kind of business am I capable of starting and running – at all…?* – would you like to share some of your insights with us?

I have, of course, read your books – and am very grateful for the insights they both gave me. I keep coming back to you because you resonate so well with me (thank you!). Yet, I keep struggling with finding the right question to ask myself that will help me take the next step and deciding on a lane (or a perfect mix-lane) Maybe I am not the only one;-)?

Thanks in advance, if you can help – and looking forward to the upcoming posts on starting with the magic.

Kind regards,

Susanne

Reply
Fiona Humberstone

Just start.

Honestly. Just start, notice what works, what doesn’t and where you add the most value. Then you can start to refine.

There’s a temptation to wait until everything is ‘perfect’ before launching a business. That can be paralysing. Start. Get a few things wrong. Enjoy the experience of learning and the clarity that comes with having clients to focus on.

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