Designer Virginia Johnson created her brand with her point of view

I was so so thrilled to interview the amazing Virginia Johnson because not only is she a fabulous creative entrepreneur, she is also a fabulous watercolorist. OH! And she designs scarves!!!!  Hello, if you know me, you know I am in heaven about now.

If you don’t know Virginia, she is a Canadian born designer who owns a lifestyle company. Her colorful prints decorate clothing, shawls, stationery, and home furnishings and are carried in more than 100 stores worldwide, including Barneys, Liberty’s, and Holt Renfrew.

She has also collaborated with Anthropologie, J.Crew and Chronicle books. Total yum, right?

If that isn’t enough Virginia has illustrated several books, including Deborah Needleman’s The Perfectly Imperfect Home, Teddy Jam’s This New Baby, and Kate Spade’s Occasions, Manners and Style.

She has the art career I dream of, so I LOVED doing this interview!

Quick take away for you: Listen to how she receives  collaboration information from brands like Free People and J.Crew. Each brand has their specific approach and they are hiring Virginia for her unique aesthetic.  I love that these brands trust Virginia’s creative style.

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Can you tell, I adore her work? I can’t get enough of her style expressed in different ways on different products!

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The perfectly imperfect Home

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Ch-Ch-Changes help you move forward: Alt Recap

Here is my combo post video and written about some of the things I learned last week at ALT NYC!

If you were to ask what my overarching lesson was, I would have to say it was to think strategically about your business. I realize that is not rocket science but let me explain why I needed to hear it. When you are working very hard to have an authentic voice online and in your business sometimes using the word “strategy” can feel a bit well, strategic. It can take on a scheme-y feeling. With all the talk of “organic growth” having a serious plan of action, which is the real definition of strategy, didn’t feel like it went hand in hand. What I learned was to get over myself and understand that today’s most creative businesses have a balanced mix of authenticity and strategy.

1) Grace Bonney’s talk on “surviving the internet” was just what I need to hear. She discussed adapting to technology and on how diversity is so essential in today’s online climate. She thinks it is important to follow BIG PICTURE trends and how important it is to have a mission statement  so you are able to decide whether or not a new trend fits into your business mission.

2) Kathleen King from Tate’s Bake Shop has such an interesting story of losing her business and then rebuilding it. She said it is so important to have a goal, that you need to go from point A to point B. That owning a business is like driving a car, you wouldn’t get in one and drive without knowing where you were going. She also added, “Really love your business because it will test you.”

3) The panel titled “What the Coolest Brands are Doing with Social Media” was chock full of info. John Januzzi from Lucky Magazine told us to ask ourselves what experience we where giving people and encouraged us to be completely unapologetically ourselves. It was really interesting to see how Warby Parker (Jennifer Rubio is one smart cookie) has involved community to build their brands. They sometimes answer customers questions via You Tube. Strategic and authentic.

It was ll so interesting! I will give you a  second installment later this week!!

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9123400486_83969ccc0a Photos by Justin Hackworth

 

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A little bit of travel goes a long way

Photo by Justin Hackworth

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I am headed to NYC for the one day ALT conference at Martha Stewarts place. Yup. Martha and I are hangin’now. I’ll hit her roof top party yet again this year. Seriously, going out meeting people face to face and bringing them back here to interview is what I simply love to do! I freaked out  when I hear that Grace Bonney and Garance Dore where speaking. I am sure their are so many fabulous women contributing. I promise to share, share, share on FB and Instagram. As a side note the ALT blog has quite a bit of good info on it, if I do say so myself. You can read a recent post I contributed here.

If you have not caught my talk with Khali Whatley  then scroll down, you don’t want to miss it! We are talking about your style and your brand!

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Branding Your Creative Style with Khali Whatley


Today is a special episode! Don’t miss this!!!

Join me as I make a quick introduction to Khali Whatley! Khali is the branding and marketing expert who is coming on board for the Smart Creative Style course. We are so excited to be able to bring you this course and in this video we get more detailed about what you will learn. We know that you have a vision for your business and that it might not be moving forward at the pace that you like. We believe that this course can provide a foundation to help find your creative style and then give you practical strategies to propel you and your business forward.

From my creative perspective, the exploration aspect of this course is going to be SO MUCH FUN. You’ll hear me talk about some of my personal breakthroughs as I have implemented the exercises from the course. After the exploration phase, the develop part becomes crystal clear and once these pieces are in place, the delivery aspect becomes seamless. You will discover what your creative style truly is, what your brand looks and feels like and who are you really marketing to.

Tune into to this video, it explains a core philosophy that  I have learned since I started Smart Creative Women. It is getting pulled together in one giant CLEAR (and fun!) course for you. I am thrilled, nervous and excited (as in jumping up and down on the inside.)

Pricing will be announced next week. Tell us what you think in the commmmmmments. Oops, jumping up and down may be happening on the outside too!

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Who and What I am into this Week: My dad

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I had heard the Family Search was offering a free ticket to ALT summit  if you did a post related to Father’s.They may have been thinking of  a DIY and craft post.  Does crafting a blog post count?  When I went through photos of my own father, Ron Moerbe,  I surprised myself by seeing in a him different light. I started with this young farm photo of him and his dog, who is rumored to have saved him from drowning at one point. Then I found the hot shot athlete photo of him in his football uniform and I was struck that my own son is about the same age as this photo. Full of himself and full of promise. I think sometimes we forget to look at out parents and at their lives in their entirety. Naturally we are disconnected from their younger selves but if you allow yourself to see your father you might appreciate and love him even more than you thought you could. Did my father meet his hopes and dreams? Has his life been better than he planned as a young man?

He didn’t have a the easiest childhood but I do know (through the family rumor mill) that he was always up for fun and and serious high jinx!  He left a farm in west Texas, went on to get a college education, became a highly decorated career Army officer, traveled all over the world, experienced  and embraced new things before eventually settling back down in Texas. I am immensely proud of everything he has done for his country and for our family. What in your father’s history makes you proud? Read More »

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Need Press? Amy Flurry has some ideas for you!

Artist, editor and author Amy Flurry has got some things to share with you!! You don’t want to miss this episode. Amy unlocks some  secrets for you on how to gain press for you and your brand. Can’t afford a PR team? That’s okay, she says you can do it yourself.  I had to know how! Amy’s experience as an editor and freelance writer gave her insights that she is sharing with you. She has been featured in Lucky, InStyle, Country Living,  Daily Candy and Design Sponge, the list goes on!   Now she wants to help you get good press. She says editors, online magazines and bloggers are looking for you and your product to feature and that there are a  just few things you need to know. Tune into the interview to find out. You can also check out Amy’s book, Recipe For Press. In it she shares real life examples of creative entrepreneurs who have garnered their own press that has helped grow their businesses. Amy breaks it down for us!

She also talks about getting her own stylish paper sculptures national press. It led to some pretty sweet collaborations.  She’s smart, she’s talented and you need to get to know her!

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How about these paper sculptures?! Incredible, right??

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Unsure of the next step?

I have an exercise that might just help you out! Sometimes we force ourselves to make big decisions under deadlines, sometimes we just simply TALK a decision to death. I know because I have done it ALL! My poor family!  In this video, I am sharing a method that I have used  to make hard choices that really worked for me. I call it the “index card method.” I wish I had something more sophisticated to call it! What I have realized is that some of my biggest breakthroughs have come when I don’t get obsessive. I have learned to trust myself (and God!) to know what is right for me as an individual. This method doesn’t have to be relegated to big business turning points. It can work on anything where you might have several options and are unsure of which one to choose. Go into the exercise with peace, calm and a little bit of time.

What do you think? Tell me how you have gone about making tricky decisions in the comments!

 

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