#BossBabeChats: B is for Bonnie Design

Women who run their own business is empowering and inspirational. Whenever I stumble across a new business, the first thing I do is click on their "About" page. I love to learn more about their business and why they started it and a peak more into their personal life. I am starting a new blog series call #BossBabeChats where you will get to learn more about a specific women run business! This week, we have Bonnie from B is for Bonnie Design. She is truly the sweetest and I am excited for you to learn more about her successful design studio. 

Image via website

Image via website

My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, writer, wife and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon. I'm blessed to share life with my college sweetheart, and together, we're wholeheartedly pursuing a life filled with more joy and adventure in our renovated 1940's bungalow in Waco, Texas. I believe in giving others grace like it's going out of style, that handwritten thank you notes are always a good idea, and that loving people fiercely is what this little heart of mine was made for. I have a weakness for a good shade of blush, soy lattes and Tex-Mex, although preferably not together!

Why did you start your business?

I actually started my business the Spring semester of my graduating year during my undergrad in 2012. I was preparing to graduate from college, move halfway across the country to a new state, and marry my college sweetheart so I had a lot going on at the time! But I knew that in that season of so much joyful newness, I wanted to be able to pour into a passion project that was wholly mine no matter where life took me and my soon-to-be-husband. So with my college laptop in hand and a self-taught passion for graphic design, I launched a little website and a humble Etsy shop to sell printable wedding invitations and pre-made branding templates. It's been incredible to see how things have changed since then!

Is where your business is now, originally where you thought it would be? (example, did you always want to mentor other business owners)

Like I said, I actually started b is for bonnie design as an online storefront for printable wedding invitations. It wasn't until I was asked to create logos for industry friends that I realized how my degree in Journalism and my experience with PR & Marketing could marry with my graphic design skills to help creatives tell their stories well through strong brand identities. After launching in 2012, I quickly nixed wedding invitations from my line of services and I leaned full force into brand design and strategy. Since then, I've been able to add on services like one-on-one mentoring for fellow creatives and speaking. I'm passionate about equipping others in the industry to build intentional businesses, and whether that's through custom brand design or one-on-one education, it's a joy to be able to pour into others to watch their businesses flourish. 

Image via instagram

Image via instagram

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think my first dream was to be a princess (Disney style), but when I realized that glass slippers and fairy godmothers aren't exactly easy to find, I set my sights on journalism. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, and I loved the idea of telling others' stories with a commitment to truth and diligence. Once I found a way to marry my journalism experience with graphic design, I leapt at the chance to build my own career as a brand designer and strategist!

What was the best business advice you've received?

That's tough to answer! I've received some incredible advice over the years, but one truth that's been on my mind lately is "Action breeds clarity." Instead of sitting on the sidelines, analyzing what can be or which path to take, there comes a point where you must take action. Only when we choose to bravely put one foot in front of the other can we recognize what works, what doesn't work, and how we can continue to move forward with true clarity. 

What is your advice for other women who are launching a business?

Be courageous! Starting a business takes gumption, hard work and a willingness to do the work. It can be terrifying to put it all out on the line and dive headfirst into making your dreams happen. But your dreams are absolutely worth the risk. Insecurity and fear will only keep you in the planning phase indefinitely, and the joy that comes from creating your life's best work far outweighs the temporary feelings of self-doubt or nervousness. 

Is there anything you wish you would have done sooner in your business?

If I could go back in time, I’d let myself know that balance is key to running a healthy and sustainable business. I’d encourage myself to build a life, not an entrepreneurial legacy. Over the years that I've been in business, I've found that life is too short to chase after dollar bills and miss out on sharing your days with those you cherish. Creating realistic office hours, setting clear boundaries with client work, and protecting my personal time so I can recharge at the end of the workday were actionable strategies that transformed the way I worked. I implemented this approach in my second year of business, but if I could have built a business with this structure from the start, I can only imagine how much happier and healthier I would have been during my first year as an entrepreneur. 

Cutest office space ever! Image via instagram

Cutest office space ever! Image via instagram

What other women in business do you admire & why?

I look up to my sweet friends Katie O. Selvidge, Shanna Skidmore, and Jenna Kutcher so much. They each navigate entrepreneurship with such determination, grace, and intentionality. After any conversation with one of these women, I feel like I walk away feeling more encouraged, capable, and just a little bit smarter, too!

Is there a business book (or any book!) that you have read that changed your outlook on things? 

Start with Why by Simon Sinek is one of my all-time favorites! As a brand designer, I think of it as required reading for my clients who are ready to dig deep into the heart of their brands and operate their businesses from a clearly defined place of Why. 

You can stalk Bonnie here! website : instagram

 

The Big Fake Wedding NYC

I was so excited when I heard I was going to be a vendor at The Big Fake Wedding in NYC. The whole aspect of the wedding expo is what drew me to it; it is not your average expo! The "bride and groom" are a couple that are actually renewing their vows. The “wedding guests” are those who buy a ticket to the event. They get to see all the vendors in action. As a planner, I designed three reception tables along with the entrance area.

We were given an inspiration board, which was titled European Sky.  This was a very feminine theme, with blush pink and champagne colors, beautiful flowers, and all things girly. 

european sky

Table 5. I wanted to do a table that had completely no flowers. Not everyone wants flowers as main centerpieces so I decided to do a whole table runner with pillar candles and blue tulle. The menu's were designed by the awesome ladies at Engaging Papers

Photographer: Laura Lee Photography

Photographer: Laura Lee Photography

Table 7. I used a lot of brown and copper tones for this table and had one big centerpiece with roses, eucalyptus, and branches. A lace table runner added a feminine touch with tea lights and candle sticks. The calligraphy was done by Cariad Lane Calligraphy who is extremely talented!

Photographer: Laura Lee Photography

Photographer: Laura Lee Photography

I swear I was having more fun than this picture says :) Photographer: Samantha Lauren Photographie

I swear I was having more fun than this picture says :) Photographer: Samantha Lauren Photographie

Table 9. I always love seeing hanging floral installations and I figured why not try and do it. Hanging it was a challenge and pretty hysterical but with the help from the ladies from East Coast Entertainment it was successful! I wanted this table to have a lot of greenery and flowers. All white flowers in bud vases and green leaves covered the table. 

Photographer: Laura Lee Photography

Photographer: Laura Lee Photography

Overall, this was an amazing experience. I met with awesome couples and made connections with amazing and talented vendors! Check out the video from First Take Filmworks by clicking here!

Also check out the features on Ruffled and Yahoo!

Fall Apple Cider Mimosas

I have decided to start a series of #APcocktails, so be on the lookout for a new cocktail to try, as if you didn’t need a reason to drink..

I am a big fan of champagne.  And mimosas with brunch make my heart sing. September is the start of my favorite season, Fall! And although it doesn’t feel like it yet, we just hit a record high heat in NYC!, we are getting into apple picking, pumpkin spiced lattes, football games and tailgating, and my new favorite mimosa, Apple Cider Mimosa. This recipe is really a no brainer, you mix champagne and apple cider. But, this twist on the classic really will make you look like a genius at your next brunch gathering.

Ingredients:

Champagne

Apple Cider

Cinnamon & Sugar mixture for rim (optional)

Apple wedges for garnish

Recipe:

Wet the rim of the champagne glass and dip in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar

Pour champagne glass ½ full of apple cider

Top it off with champagne

Add an apple wedge for garnish to look fancy

CHEERS!!

Can't wait to hear if you like it as much as I do!

The Struggle is Real

I feel as though when you launch a business, all you think of is the rainbows and butterflies. No one really lets you in on the ugly side. There have been days when I feel like I have hit a wall and everything I try to do, I simply can’t break it down. It’s sometimes hard to take a step back and realize that all this hard work that you are putting in, will pay off. All the sleepless nights, all the anxiety, worries, dead ends will all miraculously form into something beautiful.  These are little things that I do to stop myself before I ugly cry and hit a breakdown.

Journal

Write your thoughts down! Being able to get everything out on paper or a computer can feel like a rush of relief. You can write down your thoughts, fears and dreams, completely judgment free. Afterwards you can go back and reflect, which will help you to see things more clearly.

Get out and move

I have always said that I think best when I’m out walking. Especially when living in New York City where you walk everywhere, I get a lot of things hashed out. Just taking a break from what you are doing and get out to breathe in some fresh air will help more than you realize. I also love squeezing in a yoga session when possible. Letting yourself focus on you and your breath for an hour can really reset your mind.

Talk it out

In this post I talked about how networking is key to a successful business. These are also the people that will understand when you are struggling and help you through it. They will help you at your lowest and praise you at your highest, truly the best support system.

What things do you do when you feel like you are hitting a wall that has helped you to reset and think more clearly? 

Something Blue Photo Shoot

Back in April, (yes this post is a tad bit delayed) I planned a styled shoot with some incredibly talented ladies. The theme I had in mind was a very soft and romantic shoot with subtle masculine touches. After I had my design aspect down, I set out to find the perfect vendors to pull off this vision.

tablescapesomethingblue

I reached out to Ingrid from Tin Can Studios after stalking her instagram and becoming instantly obsessed. Her arrangements are breathtaking and she has such an incredible design eye. She created a jaw dropping bouquet and table scape that fit my vision perfectly. I am so honored to have been able to work for Ingrid, she is extremely talented and took a chance on me that I am still so humbled by. 

Bouquetsomethingblue

I met Twah of Twah Doughtery over coffee one Sunday morning to chat. After 10 minutes of chatting, she truly helped me to have a more clear vision and direction of where exactly I wanted my business to move. I expressed to her my idea of the styled shoot and she was totally on board! Her style is really romantic and airy which was exactly how I wanted to photos to look. She did an unbelievable job and is someone that believed in me for which I am forever grateful!

couplesomethingblue

Jillian from Bella Carta Boutique designed the wedding suite. She used wood for the envelope liner, her talent is unreal!

stationarysomethingblue

To add to the vintage aspect, vintage china is a must. Lauren from Borrowed has the most beautiful inventory! 

The stunning yet simple cake was done by Erica O'Brien Cake Design

cakesomethingblue

I secured two wedding gowns, and seriously I can't decide which one is more stunning! The floral gown from Elizabeth Fillmore, or the blue tulle gown from Johanna Johnson

Seriously the dream team on this shoot was unreal, and to blow my mind even more it got featured on 100 Layer Cake! I can now die happy. Hope you are swooning over these pictures as much as I did! 

Design & Styling: Ashley Peraino | Photographer: Twah Dougherty | Florist: Tin Can Studios | Stationary: Bella Carta Boutique | Vintage China Rentals: Borrowed | Cake: Erica O'Brien | Decor Rentals: Rent Patina | Model: Sydney Bakich | Bridal Gowns: Gabriella New York Bridal Salon, Elizabeth Fillmore & Johanna Johnson | Venue: Gran Electrica 

Launching A New Business

When starting my own business and being a girl BOSS, I had a crazy whirlwind of emotions. Some days I was crying because I am so overwhelmed to other days feeling like I am on cloud nine dancing around with champagne. And I came to realize that this is totally normal. This crazy mix of emotions that changes every week to every day is something that everyone who is following their dreams and launching a business is feeling.

There will never be the perfect time to launch your business. You will never have enough money, enough time, enough resources; you just have to do it. You can’t wait for everything to line up flawlessly because it won’t, and this is not something to be stressed about! If you know what you want to do, have done your research, then go for it. If you feel that strongly about your business, you will do everything in your power to make it a success. And that feeling of success is absolutely truly without a doubt the most amazing feeling you will ever experience.  Here are some tips that were crucial for launching my business! 

Networking

After I had my dream in mind of starting my wedding planning business, the first thing I did was network. I still believe that this is the most important aspect of starting a business. Some of these connections end up turning into friendships! These are the friends that will understand your true feelings and struggles because they have been there and gone through it before or they are going through it now. They are going to be an amazing support system for you. The Rising Tide Society that sparked the “community over competition” campaign speaks to my soul. This group of amazing small business owners that have rallied together to help others out makes me speechless. This is what the world needs, more women helping each other out in making their dreams a reality. 

Visualization

You really need to have a clear-cut idea of what your dream client is. This will help you in so many ways from your branding design to marketing and advertising. Do you want to focus on just weddings or events as well? Do you want to do wedding suite but also do brand designs for small businesses? Not to say that this can't change down the road, but in the beginning it's important to have a focus on what your business is going to be about! My ideal client is a couple who is more on the non traditional side, who love life and having a fun and want their wedding to celebrate their love and their friends and family while leaving them all is awe. Words that I use to describe them are whimsical, creative, non traditional and airy. Visualizing your dream client will help to make it happen! 

Invest in yourself!

I truly believe in the saying “you can’t make money, if you don’t spend money”.  There are so many classes and conferences out there that can help you improve your skills, learn different aspects of business, and overall learn new things! Although my business is about planning and design, I recently got a DSLR camera and took a photography class. This is something I enjoy and also will help improve my business aesthetic. I also took the Laura Hopper Calligraphy beginners class and LOVED it! Do some research; even if you have to travel it will be worth your time! I am headed to the Creative At Heart Conference in Charlotte that I am beyond excited for! 

These are just a few tips that I have found extremely helpful, but you have to remember that every business is different and one thing that works for one, won’t for another. But I believe in you and your dreams to make your business a success story!

bizlaunch