With two separate businesses, Kelly and Andra both had successful small enterprises on their own. Despite both being introverts, they both knew they wanted to add a member to their team by having a joint venture. After some brainstorming, and evaluating their skill sets, a new design and branding company, With Grace and Gold, was founded in 2014. Together, the two creatives have aligned their vision to help women entrepreneurs connect to their ideal clients. Andra and Kelly work together “to serve over 300 creative women in business, many of whom double — and even triple — their revenue following their experience.” Thankfully, they are sharing more about how they manage a successful female-driven business while juggling life and working remotely.
When did you first feel the creative itch?
- Kelly: For as long as I can remember, I've always loved being creative and I've always loved art. I sang in choir from first grade through my senior year in college – and I was even a vocal performance major in college! Singing, creating, and being around other creative people is something I've always loved and appreciated so much. I think creativity is what makes life so wonderful!
- Andra: Creativity has always been a part of my life! Growing up, I was always ‘the creative one' of my family, and now I'm so thankful I can use my natural gifts to serve others! In college, I almost majored in Chemistry (what was I thinking?), but couldn't help but go back to my ‘creative roots,' by earning my degree in Graphic Design. I wouldn't trade the ‘creative life' for anything!
Was there anyone in your life that helped stoke that creative fire that was growing in you? Is there anything you do today to help you to stay creative?
- Kelly: My husband is definitely my biggest supporter and encourager. He is always so giving and ensures I have everything I need in order to do my best work. To stay creative, we love to go hiking, biking, or kayaking – or just have fun conversations about business over dinner. It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes, the best way to serve and grow your business is to live wholeheartedly outside of your business.
- Andra: Growing up, my family was very supportive of my creative ‘endeavors,' by always encouraging me to try new things, think outside of the box, etc! Today, they continue to encourage and support me daily, alongside my husband. To help stay creative, I love to step away from my computer! My husband and I love exploring Minneapolis with our son, Ellis – trying new restaurants, hanging with ‘non-business' friends, and investing in our home life. I agree with Kelly – living outside of our business helps me to stay creative!
When did you realize you wanted to (or could) pursue a creative career?
- Kelly: When I was younger, I knew I wanted to sing professionally, so when I was in high school and learned musical theater was a career, I knew I wanted that as my creative career path. After a few of life's twists and turns, I started a lifestyle blog – which became my new passion. I saw others growing awesome online friendships and communities, and my creative career path changed. I've always known I wanted a creative career – but what that career has looked like has changed over time, and continues to evolve every day!
- Andra: My entire life I thought I would pursue a medical career, as it's the path of both my mom and dad. Entering college as a Chemistry major felt ‘safe,' but it was never my true passion. When I learned I could make a living doing something I loved (art and design!), I knew it was the path for me. The path of entrepreneurship didn't ‘spark' in me until later in my college career, when I interned for a few business owners. They helped encourage me to pursue my own business, and I'm so thankful I took the path of entrepreneurship!
Did you two start separate businesses and come together, or get together and then decide to pursue a small business?
- Kelly: With Grace and Gold began when I was pursuing my blog independently, and Andra was pursuing her wedding stationery design independently. Then, together, we decided we wanted to start a business together. We brainstormed ideas, names, services, and all of the details of With Grace and Gold – and launched our business on October 1, 2014!
How did adding a babe to the mix change things?
- Andra: For me, having a baby added a new level of ‘purpose' to our business! It's always been about serving my family the best I can, and I love having a business that offers that flexibility. I'm also very blessed (and recognize this isn't ‘normal') with a husband that works in morning radio. This means he's home by 11am most days, so I can still have a super balanced work and mom life!
Your hours are Monday through Thursday. Does this mean you are only working these hours, or are you hustling on the weekend, too?
- Kelly: Usually, we passionately stick to our business hours of Monday through Thursday from 7 AM – 3 PM because we want to bring our most balanced, healthiest selves to our business. However, there are seasons which require us to do a little bit of extra work which may spill over to the weekend.
We know you have set social media limits for your business. Why did you initiate these? Were they hard to adjust to? Do you feel your business has grown bc of them, in spite of them, or there is no change at all?
- Kelly: That's a great question! Although we are a team of 2, we both have very “full” plates on most days. We share all of the responsibilities of running our business – and there is always so much we are blessed to do. We created boundaries for social media because we needed to ensure we were spending a majority of our time serving our clients wholeheartedly, without feeling distracted by social media. For this reason, we intentionally plan our social media ahead of time – which helps us to post with purpose every day. We believe our business has grown in spite of them, since it definitely is a non-traditional path!
When you start a new project/working with a new client, what's your process?
- Kelly: To begin, we send along a Brand Discovery Questionnaire to learn about our clients' vision, goals, and more. Then, we also send along a Shared Folder to gather our clients' content – photography and copywriting. Once received, we schedule a Brand Discovery Meeting to meet with our client and to present a proposal to them for their review and approval. With this proposal in mind, we begin the design process from a strong, purposeful foundation.
What is your normal work space like? Do you have any favorite places to go when to mix things up?
- Kelly: My workspace is a corner in our guest bedroom! This past summer, we renovated and furnished our guest bedroom, so it's a really bright, welcoming space with my favorite types of decor. When I'm not working from home – which is actually fairly rare – I love working from a local coffee shop!
- Andra: I'm definitely a work-from-home gal! I work best when I'm comfortable (even if it means leggings and a sweatshirt), and I love being close to my family. If I do need a change of scenery, I'll head to a local coffee shop!
When creating a website, most people focus on _____, when it's more helpful to focus on _____.
- Andra: When creating a website, most people focus on ‘others,' when it's more helpful to focus on ‘yourself.' It's difficult as an entrepreneur to not look at others in your industry, and think, ‘She did this on her website, so I should too!' The best gift you can give your brand and website is to focus wholeheartedly on your success. This allows the most creativity to happen, and therefore, the most growth and success for you!
What's a skill you used to use all the time but don't use anymore?
- Kelly: The skills I use in business always ebb and flow. I find myself rotating between short-term thinking and long-term thinking on a daily basis – thinking strategically about what can be done well today, but also how what we do today can impact the long-term success of our business.
Conversely, what's a skill you never thought you'd need to use but can't work without?
- Andra: Kelly and I joke around about this a lot, but we used to have to talk to people more! 😛 Our day to day lives involve a lot of introverted time behind a computer, with our heads down and focusing on our work. It's funny to need to make ‘small talk' with others outside of our business, since it almost feels foreign at times!
How does the Showit app and community fit in your creative life?
- Andra: We love working with Showit! Showit has allowed us to have a ‘sky's the limit' mindset when it comes to designing, since there is so much flexibility and freedom that comes with it. When we designed using other platforms previously, we would often get stuck within our own creative limits – coming up with a creative idea, and realizing we couldn't pursue it because there were limitations within the platform itself. In regards to the Showit community, we love that it's engaging and so supportive – we wouldn't trade it for anything!
Do you have a specific design style or client?
- Andra: One way we love staying creative, is by working with all kinds of styles and clients! We specifically work with women within the creative industry (photographers, planners, designers, etc.), but love when our clients have a variety of styles. It keeps us excited about what we do everyday, and thinking outside of the box!
You can view their designs and stay in touch with Andra and Kelly through their website – withgraceandgold.com Or follow along with their journey via Instagram – @withgraceandgold.
And, this is very recent news, but Andra and Kelly were awarded as ‘Designers of the Year' this past week at Showit United! Congratulations!