Showiteers have a knack for jumping online and chatting each other's day away. I was able to have that same privilege with Rachael Earl, the Owner and Lead Editor for Earl & Layne. She isn't just any Showiteer- Rachael is actually one of the Showit Design Smiths and has probably been designing the longest with Showit. Earl & Layne has been around for 3 years, but Rachael has been designing with Showit since 2009! Residing in Gilbert, AZ means you probably can't top her sweltering summers, unless perhaps you live on an active volcano.
You probably can't top her sweltering summers, unless perhaps you live on an active volcano.
I asked her a few questions about starting up her business along with some of the challenges she has faced along the way. We also talked about fun stuff too, and you can find that a bit further down.
[J.T.] - Tell me how you got started designing with Showit?
[R.E.] – I started using Showit for my own photography business back in about 2008 and loved it so much better than the other platforms I had been using. From there, I started working for one of the original Showit designers back in about 2009-ish, and have designed for creative businesses using Showit ever since.
[J.T.] - What has been the biggest design challenge you have faced? How did you overcome that challenge?
[R.E.] - Pre-Showit, it was always the design platform, and having a vision that was so difficult to interpret into the website I wanted. I was so used to designing in layers that to have a platform that supported layering was amazing, so I guess Showit in itself helped me to overcome that challenge!
[J.T.] - What do you specialize in your business today? What has that journey been like?
[R.E.] - My specialty is custom Showit websites. We do other things such as branding and blogs, but typically they are in complement to a custom Showit site. Working within the program day in and day out for about five years, I feel like I know the ins and outs of it really well and that I can create almost anything within the program. I have loved the journey of being able to transition my vision into a functional website for my clients to really showcase their business in a dynamic way. I have gone from working for a company to working with a partner to working on my own, and have loved and learned from every step along the way, and just try to strive to serve my clients and deliver no matter what dynamic I am working within.
[J.T.] - Do you remember what you charged for your very first site? How much do you charge now?
[R.E.] – My very first site was designed as a designer for another business, so I am not entirely sure what the rates were back then, but in moving to my own business, I had to rebuild my portfolio, so I approached a few photographers that I knew locally and designed their sites for free as portfolio builders for the new company, much like a photographer would build their profile. Right now, our custom sites start at $3500, and we try to be all inclusive by including a plus site design and blog customizations for a cohesive web presence overall. It’s so important that all aspects of your brand mesh together, so we try to give our clients the ability to update in one fell swoop.
[J.T.] - What are 3 of your favorite sites that you have built in Showit?
[R.E.] - Oooh…narrowing to three is hard! I love the site I built for Olimb Photography. It’s the second site I was able to build for Cassie over a 5-year period, and this one reflects so much of who she is and I can see her growth as a photographer over that time. Another favorite is the site I built for Jessica Lewis Photography. Her site is unique in that it is very dainty and allows her work to really shine. It feels very high-end and suits her brand very well. Another one that I really love is Courtney Helton Photography’s site . I love the quirkiness to it and it has lots of really fun movement that was just a blast to bring to life.
Above: Earl & Layne's design for Olimb Photography.
Above: Earl & Layne's design for Jessica Lewis Photography.
Above: Earl & Layne's design for Courtney Helton Photography.
Here is the fun part you have been waiting for! Rachael's hidden talents, bucket-list items, and family!
[J.T.] - What are some things on your bucket list?
[R.E.] – I am a roller-coaster junkie (or theme park junkie in general!), so while I don’t feel that I have particular ones on my bucket list, I would love to go on a roller-coaster tour – is that a thing? Driving around the country riding roller-coasters? I haven’t done too many, so I know I am missing out! For my kids, I would love to take them to Disney World since we love Disneyland so much.
[J.T.] - Do you have a hidden (weird) talent that you don’t get to show off much?
[R.E.] - I don’t know if it could be considered a talent, but I spout movie quotes into regular conversation like crazy. It’s like I have a specific area of my brain that really remembers them and they just come out, sometimes in inappropriate scenarios.
[J.T.] - Do you have a family? What are they like?
[R.E.] - Yes, I've been married to my husband since 2000, so we just hit 14 years! We have four amazing kids who are 9, 6, 3, and 6 months old. All girls except our youngest, who is going to be spoiled as the baby AND only boy. His sisters love him to pieces. They are the loves of my life.
[J.T.] - What is a childhood memory you wish you had a picture or video of?
[R.E.] - I don’t have a ton of photos or videos from my childhood, so maybe I am overcompensating by being a photographer myself! I guess in general having more memories captured would have been great. It’s amazing how photos can jog your memory of events and things long forgotten. I hope that my obsession with documenting my own children will be appreciated when they are older.
[J.T.] - What would be a nickname you have been given in that past?
[R.E.] – My husband calls me “Bug,” and I just clarified with him that it isn't because I bug him (although I am sure I do that sometimes), but he thinks I’m cute as a bug, so hopefully bugs are cute? We have scorpions out here, so I am suspect of that explanation! LOL
You can see we had a lot of fun chatting over Google Hangout! If you want to brag on your design skills or your designer don't forget about Featured Site Fridays and how to get involved!
What do you think Rachael should add to her bucket list?
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