Now that I know better, I'm ashamed to say that I used to be one of those people that thought a brand was something you could buy out of a box. For years, I played around with Showit and branding kits until I got something that looked great (and because Showit is so awesome, I had some seriously legit versions of my website that I created from scratch) but there was always something missing. Every time I finished, I felt like it was never “complete” and I'd start changing things up again a couple of months later. I felt like a hippie on a tour bus making one stop after another but never really going anywhere.
I wish, now, that I'd spent the money earlier for a custom experience. But maybe the timing was just right, and I feel like it was. My style had evolved from generic to something uniquely me over the last year and suddenly, out of the box style groups and branding kits no longer fit. It was as if my images were always a square peg trying to fit into a round hole of someone else's pegboard. That's when I reached out to Melissa. Showit has so many amazing designers, and it was so hard to pick which one was right for me, but when I looked at Mel's work, I felt a connection between her style and my style. I felt like she'd get my quirkiness. I just KNEW in my gut that I had to have her. That's when I emailed her asking about how much this would cost and such. And then I started saving.
It's amazing what our creative little minds can tell us we can do. Even up to the point when we were about to begin, I still thought, “Cassie — you can so do this yourself.” Um, self, you totes lied to me. From the very minute Melissa started dissecting my Pinterest board, I knew. I knew there was a reason she did this for a living and I didn't. She saw things in my pin board I didn't even know were defining me. Like this, for example:
I adore succulents. Give me the choice between succulents and flowers and I'll choose those little green goobers any day of the week. Because they're a statement. They're classy. They're beautiful and so unique. When I pinned one, Melissa instantly saw what I never could connect and always tried to force. My icon was right before me for years and I never even realized it. When she suggested it for our logo, I seriously nearly died. Why on earth didn't I think of that? Again. It's because she's like, a genius. I knew I wanted something different. But I also wanted something that could last for years and years. It was important that the thing that represented my brand be able to be incorporated into client gifting, branding everywhere. I wanted an icon that people would associate with my brand often. I want my clients to walk by my icon and immediately think of my business just like I see that certain shade and call it “Tiffany Blue” instead of it's real color. She mentioned it and suddenly I saw visions of letter pressed cards and small potted succulents as gifts. I love everything that they represent : they're full of life, tender and full of goodness. It's funny, because that's exactly how I would describe my work. Tender, romantic and so very full of love.
After we nailed down the logo, we started on the website. Well, SHE started on the website. I really did nothing except for enjoy Skype sessions. I think that was my favorite part. Watching Melissa work was honestly one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen. We would Skype and screen share during the process and it was like watching a painter paint. It was almost mesmerizing the things she can create on a screen. She built a website like I construct a photograph. There's a system to my madness in my work that no one else can replicate and she has the exact same spirit about what she creates as well. She took a mess of an online presence and created a very personal and non-generic brand. It's beyond gorgeous, but most importantly, it's creates a consistent proclamation of what my business is about. Its high end, its luxury and its personal. It's romantic, timeless, and creative. It compliments my love for bold, statement images and it's perfect for my market — Brides who love creativity, who love their man and who, most of all, trust my “quirkiness” to give them a very “out of the ordinary” memory collection of their wedding day.
The pages came together nicely, we did a few revisions and re-works of a few of them, if something felt off, Melissa was dedicated to getting it right. When the website was finished, I was already dying and then she went and topped it all off with a brand new blog. First, we worked in conjunction with the Showit Support Studs to move my blog over to the new Showit hosting. They did a great job and had me moved over in just a couple of days. Melissa built my new blog using Divi, a drag and drop WordPress theme, that is really easy to use. We based the layout on one of her Divi designs, but added lots of custom tweaks to match my Showit site. And when I saw it, I melted into a puddle in the floor. My web presence has never looked so fly.
The great thing about Divi, is that you can ask the Support guys to install it for free if you use Showit for your WordPress hosting. You can find out more about Divi at HERE.
To put into words how amazing the experience was is difficult. Melissa is top notch, and I have a new found respect for designers and what they do for us creatives who love everything and try to mesh everything we love together. They truly have a gift for dissecting the mess of our heads and putting into reality what our heads can't fully wrap themselves around. Design is a gift. One that I don't possess…and I'm totally okay with that. Melissa's just going to have to put up with me for life.
To see the all new Cassie Jones Photography, thanks to the talented Melissa Love, you can follow these links
If you're interested in a full branding experience — or if you already have an established brand and just need a facelift in the form of a style group or blog theme, go check out Mel's work at The Design Space.
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