Eleven + West


Creative Business Tips

My SHOP!! | Holiday 2015

Creative Shop, Creative Business TipsGina PaulsonComment

I'm scared! 

First off, HAPPY MONDAY! Let me just take a second to say that I've been really nervous to write this for literally no reason.  But today, I'm SHARING my shop with you guys. It's just a baby, no literally, there's like 10 things. BUT they are a handful of extremely special, magical, heart-filled things that I'm really excited to share with you guys. 

I'm going to be doing a few highlight posts in the next couple of weeks to give you a better look at some of the items I'm so passionate about, but in the meantime, feel free to look around and see what's up. I started working on these around the end of August, just doodling christmas songs and sayings. I've slowly been turning them into products and photographing them and putting them online here but now that its NOVEMBER, I want to broadcast this goodness. Also, Starbucks released their new red cups yesterday so basically this is TOTALLY okay. So, HERE IT IS!! 

I'd love to hear what you guys think and if there is anything you're looking for let me know! I do have a small handful of items that are still on their way and will get added as soon as possible so please do check back in the next 7 weeks! AND- in an all too real and vulnerable moment, I'm going to be honest with you here, the thought of this "shop" has me terrified for some reason. The funny thing is I've been making these kind of things for people for awhile now but when you deem something a "shop" it becomes super real?! I don't know if it's because I've actually put so much time into something or because it's something I'm genuinely excited about it, but even though it's just a little baby shop with a few items, it's terrifying! There was no instruction manual that came with this, and I'll probably make a few errors but this is something I've found so much enjoyment in over the past couple of months and I am just really excited to share it with you guys. I hope you enjoy it ALMOST as much as I have enjoyed creating it. Any thoughts or questions, PLEAAAAASEEE shoot me a message! I would LOVE to hear from you! 

I'm also going to be giving away a few FREE goodies over the next SEVEN weekends but they're going to be sent out to those who are signed up on my NEWSLETTER. So, if you haven't already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar or at the top of my site to receive free goodies + product announcements. I promise not to flood your inbox, share your email, & you can unsubscribe at any time! :) Cheers! 

My Branding Process

Creative Business Tips, Creative Lifestyle, Blogging Tips, CreativityGina PaulsonComment

As a creative designer, BRAND matters. It's about giving your business a personality, telling a story, and giving you the ability to captivate your clients and move towards your business dreams. Yeah, that's how important a brand is. So it's no surprise that it can be just a whirlwind for people, especially when you're trying to brand yourself. I've branded, and rebranded, and rebranded again and felt like I was stuck in this endless cycle of indecisive creation. But today I am happy to finally share my brand board and share a few tips on how you can determine your own personal brand board. 


One of the biggest reasons I wasn't getting anywhere with my brand was because I didn't have a clear vision of where I wanted to take it and couldn't sum up what exactly Eleven and West was besides a creative outlet turned into side hustle. I knew I wanted to eventually turn this into something more and I wanted my brand to communicate that with intention. I literally defined what Eleven and West was, as clear and distinct as possible. If you're still unclear of your own business branding, try writing out what you think Webster's would put next to your business if it were to put you in the Dictionary. I also found it helpful to define the values of my business and set a clear intention for it. 


Once you have a clearer definition of what your brand is, it's time to get even more specific. This part was actually pretty easy once I had a defined business statement. Pick THREE words that would describe your brand- everything from intention, to values to look and feel. That's a lot to encompass in three words so think of words that are broad but meaningful. For example, I chose the words natural, creative and sincere. A quick way to kickstart this list is to grab a piece of paper and a pen and start a time for 30 seconds. Write down as many words as you can that you feel describe your brand. Don't think too hard on any one word and write down everything. Once you have a bigger list you can go in and look for similar words and patterns and narrow it down from there.


The fun part! Luckily we have Pinterest now and are able to draw a lot of inspiration from that but it's also helpful to look at mail, magazines and catalogues, book, and your surroundings. I started a secret Pinterest board and anytime I saw something that felt like my brand, I pinned it. I also found inspiration from some email marketing I received and some of my Instagram followers, so I would take a screenshot and then pin that screenshot to save it. The longer I pinned the more clear the vision, look and style became. 


Another trick that happened organically for me during this branding process was my workflow. During the branding process, work life went on, with or without a clear brand in place. I started to notice patterns in my workspace that I was able to incorporate into my branding. For example, I package up a lot of my work with kraft paper and I work a lot with chalkboards and black ink on white paper. I noticed this trend on my Instagram as I looked back through old photos of my workspace as well. Maybe you always write in a certain color ink? Or always carry a certain pattern binder? These colors and patterns that you unknowingly infused into your workspace can also become part of your brand. 

Instagram / @ginahagerty

Instagram / @ginahagerty


My last piece of advice is to not rush it. I tried to crank out a brand for myself multiple times and it never felt right because I hadn't given it the time and thought that it required. Give yourself and your business the time it needs to authentically evolve into its own brand. Allow yourself time to find your customers and truly understand them. Over time, and with patience, your branding will begin to naturally evolve and it will become easier and easier to create a clear branding vision for yourself.