I finally got to get away from LA for a bit this past weekend and spend a little time with my family. We took an awesome trip up to the mountains and to visit Lake Arrowhead, which is about 3 hours outside of LA. I’ve been wanting to visit a few locations in the mountains…
In this day and age, hardly none of us are without some sort of social media account. Being that I am a creative and entrepreneur, this immediately gave me an opportunity and platform for my work and talents to be seen. However, it took me a minute to find my wave and really connect with how to showcase my work and style.
If you’ve been following me for awhile, then you know that I’ve done a full 360 and re-brand. Below you’ll find a couple reasons why your social media should reflect who you are, your business and why it’s important to your branding.
Future Clients and / Business Partners
If you have a business, you have to keep in mind who your target market is. When you post on social media, if it is a public account, be mindful of what you post and be sure it ties in to what YOU stand for and/or represent as a business.
Once upon a time, I used to post….let’s use “medication” , for lack of words. One of my clients pointed it out and criticized me about it and I immediately took offense. My mindset at the time was, “fuck the world, I do what I want!”. After thinking about it and replaying the situation in my mind, it caused me to reevaluate a few things. I thought about the stereotypes surrounding medication, the way it is perceived professionally and the effects it could have on a lot of my major goals.
You have to remember to keep your personal and business separate. Some things are just not meant for social media. Especially if you are in the professional world and looking to do work mainstream. Due to what is posted on social media we’ve seen people lose their jobs, lose endorsements and much more, it is wise to keep that in mind when sharing online.
Who are your followers?
What you post is going to have a reflection on your following, If you’ve built a following based on your body, more than likely that’s what people want to continue seeing. It’s hard to turn those followers into making money if what you’re posting is not relevant to what you are selling. Say for instance, you always post shoes, but you’re a florist. It’s going to be really hard to get people to buy flowers from you if you only post shoes.
Build your brand so that you create a genuine following of people that share common interests.
It’s not about how many followers you have, but the quality of your following. If you have 1 million followers but can’t market and sell to at least 100 people, you may need to reevaluate what you’re doing and how you are going about your branding.
Be sure that you are prepared for the feedback you receive for what you are posting. For instance, you can’t post a half nude photo and not be prepared for crude, rude and sexual comments from men AND women. You just can’t; it comes with the territory once you put something out for the world to see and give their opinions on. I can’t say I haven’t been there, but i’ve come to a place where I know that’s not the feedback I want.
There used to be a day where if a corporation wanted to work with me and asked to see my Instagram it wouldn’t have reflected things relevant to my actual design and style. Recently, I went into an office for a freelance position and when they asked to see my social media pages they were blown away and I was immediately hired for the next project. That’s something I am proud of because I made a conscious decision that I wanted my social media to reflect my branding and style as well as what I have to offer the world aside from what you see on the outside.
Keep your long term goals in mind when sharing on social media. Remember that you must be the energy you want to attract and be prepared for the criticize you may / may not receive for what you post.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to check out the D’USSE Day Party in Santa Monica. The venue was so cute and I had a really great time! The ladies of C Luxe curated the perfect day party vibes. This was my first time trying D’USSE and honestly…truly, I like that it’s a change from the norm. Don’t get me wrong, Hennessy I feel is the old-time fave, but D’USSE, it’s really smooth and the drinks I got the chance to try were really tasty ( open bar at the event, perfect lol ). My fave was the D’USSE lemonade, not too sweet, which is my kind of drink. C Luxe did a great job hosting this event and I can’t wait to attend the next. Check out some pics from my event experience below.
Time and time again, I used to find myself in the situation where I’m working on 12 projects with 14 open and 2 pending. Not sure how I thought I could do that much alone….well, actually I wasn’t. I would take on so many jobs at once, all due around the same time, some low in pay and non-paid, all because I was afraid to say, ‘No.’ Saying no in business does not equate to being mean. As a true business person, you have to know your boundaries, stand your ground firm and try not to overwork / overextend yourself because, what good are you to your business or clients then? Below I’ll cover a few situations in business where you may be hesitant to say ‘no’.
Family & Friends – This Sh*t Ain’t Free
It seems like the most difficult thing to do sometimes, especially when it comes to friends or family. Some people try to give you the guilt trip or make you feel like you owe them something, when the reality is, you DON’T. This is YOUR BUSINESS and how you make a living and you deserve to get paid your worth. It’s cool to be nice and giving sometimes, but you can’t give so much of you that you become drained or stressed out. Some people may not understand the aspect or your business and want you to just, “do this real quick”, however time is something you can’t get back and the worst feeling is getting behind on your actual work and neglecting your clients to do something for free, that the person most likely won’t appreciate or understand the true value of . To avoid stressing yourself out, don’t feel bad about it, just say ‘no’. Business is business at the end of the day and you’ve got to take your business serious if you want them to respect it and if they are true friends and family, they’ll be down to pay for and support you in your endeavors.
Discounts Are For Dollar Tree
You have those people that claim to support you, but always want a little hook up. -_- It’s perfectly fine to offer a discount from time to time for those people you’ve built a relationship with, however, don’t make it a habit. Ever heard, “give em an inch they’ll take a mile”? Yeah, it’s bound to happen. Don’t feel bad, communicate. It’s okay to tell this person ‘no’, as well. If you’re working hard and giving them great service and great work, they should be willing to pay you your standard rate for what they are getting. Don’t shortchange yourself.
HELP! It’s an emergency!
Yikes. There’s always that one person that needs something and they need it in a flash. It feels good to help out when you can, however, sometimes you simply CAN’T. Maybe what they are asking for is beyond the scope of what you can provide or possibly they aren’t willing to provide the resources for what they are asking for. Whatever the case may be, this is another situation where it’s okay to say , ‘No’.
Many times in these situations where you are doing someone a favor, these are the same people that will talk bad about you if you don’t meet their free or discounted unrealistic needs and standards. Save each party the stress and don’t be afraid to express yourself and communicate if it’s something in business you are unable or don’t want to do. A good way to ease the bad news is to provide them with an alternate resource for what they are looking for or requesting.
Remember to never be afraid to speak up for yourself if there is something you disagree with and value your time. In business, you have to look out for yourself and if you don’t respect your business, no one else will. You can’t always be nice and you won’t be everyone’s friend.
“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble .” – Mahatma Gandhi
Often people want to know other ways to promote their business outside of social media and I always recommend one of the easiest places to begin is to build and email list. You can use this list to connect with your supporters in a more personal manner and engage with them on another level.
To begin building your email list, if you have an e-commerce platform, that’s a good place to start! You can start building your email / subscription list based on those who have already made purchases. Another way to begin building your email list is by adding a newsletter pop up to your website. This is a quick addition that shouldn’t take much time to implicate into your website. Many of these plugins for your website will also have you connect to a third party to manage your list. Hands down, I say sign up with Mailchimp to handle your newsletter. They are the most user friendly and easiest to design and maintain.
As for the content that should be in your newsletter, you want to start off with the DONT’s, which would include not sending newsletters too often, SPAM trigger words and staying genuine and not getting too automated with your emails. You can read a bit more in depth on Do’s & Donts When Emailing by clicking here, but I’m going to go ahead and dive into the eblast design portion 🙂
When designing your newsletter it’s important to adhere to your brand style guidelines to keep consistency and keep your customers engaged. Most commonly you’ll want your header to include your logo design and keep the header simple. In the body, it’s good to mix text and images that you feel will be appreciated and grasp your customers attention. You’ll want to include special announcements ( new arrivals, restock of a personal style, new blog feature, new product feature etc ) and make them unique to those receiving the newsletter and not the same thing they have seen on your social media everyday. make sure the body of the email includes active links so that your readers can also click and engage with what you are sharing with them.
For your newsletter footer, include ways for your readers to engage with you. Be sure there are links to all social media and a direct email address for questions, concerns etc.
A well put together email can result in acquiring a larger loyal customer / reader base, generate higher sales and reader engagement and much more. We also have to remember a) not everyone has every social media platform b) not everyone gets on social media everyday and c) often, our posts may go unseen, so that super big sale or great feature you had wasn’t even seen by a large portion of your target market.
Below are 2 newsletters that I have designed that proved to be really effective for my clients, click each image to see the full newsletter design.
That’s pretty much it for newsletters. The basics on what you need to know to get you started and how they can be effective. Use what you have to your advantage. There are so many easy and free ways to market and grow your business!
If anyone knows me, you’ll know that I am totally obsessed with fonts. As a designer, typography has been one of my favorite things to study aside from color. Fonts are very important in design ranging from use in marketing material and even more important, logo design and branding material. Below you will find 5 of my current favorites along with where to find them 🙂 Some are free and some not so much, but they shouldn’t break your pockets and are worth the investment. Just click on the font names to download and as always, Happy Designing!
C H A V E Z logo, inspired by C H A N E L, was achieved using this font. This ones free too 🙂
I love the uniqueness of this font. It’s got a personal touch and puts me in a spring / summer mood. I think it can be put to good use this season. Another freebie 😀
Discovered this handwritten font not too long ago and geeeeeeez this is my FAVORITE of all 5 right now. It’s so perfect for so many things i’ve been wanting to achieve. There are 3 different styles / variations to choose from and gives you some alternate options to play around with.
Welp, there’s my list. Feel free to comment below for any questions on fonts and let me know a few of your favorites!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about what to do when you’re in need of a website, but simply have no budget for it. In addition, in the past I have often dealt with inquiries where people may be looking for websites and simply do not have the budget to do so.
I am a firm believer that pricing and quality are closely connected. It’s important to invest in yourself and your business. A good website IS GOING TO COST YOU, and not just a couple hundred dollars. If you aren’t prepared to spend upwards of $1000, here are a few tips to get you started.
First things first, purchase a domain name for your business. This is a cheap way to start the process. You don’t want to have your website domain ending in .wordpress or .blogspot. For me, it simply screams, “this website is not important to me and I just needed to throw something together”. Get an actual domain name. You can find these available at GoDaddy for 99 cents, so there’s no excuse.
I am NOT a fan of DIY, however sometimes this deems to be the best solution for a beginner’s website, so let’s dive right on into it.
My top recommendations for building your first website would be to start out with Shopify or Squarespace. You can easily create a good looking website with either of these platforms and you can link your domain name with both of these.
If you are looking to create a platform for shopping I would choose Shopify. Personally, Shopify is great because it is easy to follow and track orders along with the flexibility of design. You get several good looking templates to choose from that are easy to customize and maintain. Starting out Shopify is going to charge you a monthly fee based on the amount of products you are selling. There is pretty much no platform out there that is going to be totally free, so you just have to suck it up and pay the monthly charge. Look at it like this, $20 a month is likely 2 sells or less. So, if you can sell 2 products, this covers the cost of your website to be live so that you can make money. Not much right? RIGHT 🙂
For a personal website and/or portfolio, I love Squarespace! Squarespace has great functionality, easy to maintain and you can create a beautiful user friendly website. Designing on Squarespace is exactly like it sounds, you use squares to set up your website exactly how you want it. You start off by choosing a template and you can customize that template through the use of square shaped elements. It won’t be free monthly, but considering you will be using the website to advertise for your business and to get bookings, at less than $20 a month it will pay for itself. You can also link your personal domain name here are well.
Okay so, back to the domain name thing really quick: both of these websites offer the option to purchase your domain name with them. You can go this route, however it will be more expensive. The reason it is more expensive is because of the convenience. You will likely have to know a little bit about web or be able to follow directions really well if you go through a 3rd party to purchase and link your domain with Squarespace and Shopify. It’s really easy, but sometimes not everyone wants to take the extra time to figure it all out so you’ll just spend a couple extra dollars.
Last but not least, when creating your own website, there is no need to play designer. Keep things simple, crisp and clean. As soon as your budget allows, look into getting a designer to get some proper design and maybe a few more elements added to your website that were on your wish list. As stated before cost and quality are closely intertwined so don’t go cheap so that you don’t waste your money. It is better to wait and save, so that the end result is more beneficial.
I hope this helps for some out there looking to start your business and get your first website up and running. Feel free to ask any questions below as I know the process of it all can be strenuous but don’t worry girl you got this!
I met Ashlay during my first year in L.A. We had a few associates in common and I later found out that she was an amazing creative and also a fellow Cancerian woman ( June 26th, the day after mine 🙂 ! Her style and just overall aura sets her apart from others, in short she’s just too fresh! Not always on the scene but definitely doing her thing. Read more below to get to know Ashlay!
When did you first discover your love for photography / film?
I began my creative pursuits within music and along the way while working in front of the camera I took a liking to working behind the camera as well.
My earliest memory of being truly intrigued by photography and film i’d have to say there was a point as a child when I lived with my grandfather and he would only allow me to watch oldie sitcoms (I love Lucy, The Addams Family, Gilligan’s Island etc.) I believe thats one reason I will always have an infinite amount of love for black and white images through film work because that was sort of my first introduction to it. Whenever i feel uninspired I alway revert back to shooting b/w. Whats crazy is years later after my portfolio began to grow extensively I found out my grandfather use to shoot b/w film images for the military during his days of service.
How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been on a creative pursuit for a solid 10 years now. collectively the years have been divided between creating audio, visuals, as well as creative consulting.
What obstacles have you faced in the creative industry as a woman?
One in particular moment which I think I’ll forever use as motivation.. I was told directly from someone that Id have to pick
between being a “pretty” woman or “smart” woman.
Thankfully my values correlate to being all I can be but to someone who has yet to gain that wisdom telling a woman to pick one or the other automatically instills that we are less than equals and only capable of being one or the other. when truthfully we can be both and so much more. In fact,
I personally know quite a few very extremely intelligent, beautiful, talented Renaissance women that I aspire to be as well as inspire to be.
If you could choose one of your favorite shoots, which would it be and why?
I have a ton of memorable moments and still taking part in many so it’s hard to pick just one.. I will say I find some of my favorite images have been improv shoots.. sometimes if something is too planned out I find myself not liking the outcome as much as I do with improv, spur of the moment shoots. Lifestyle photography will always be my favorite to shoot outside of b/w photography for sure!
Your style is so fly! Who/What are some of your current inspirations?
Honestly as I kid I grew up mostly in the inner city, I believe thats the sole reason I’ll always be inspired by street style and everyday people.
Now days I spend a lot of time on La Brea people watching as well as being on set. I’m blessed to be able to work with peers with an incredible sense of style!
Usually, I’m inspired and first attracted to pairing of color ways later on that lead me to be more attentive to silhouettes, cut , and textures of fabric. When pairing items I keep those factors in mind as I decide what will make me FEEL good for the day + ill add a touch of vintage / signature piece whether it be a thrift find or an old pair of kicks and I’m good to go! Its all about a “ feeling” for me.
How did the name ‘No Subliminals’ come about? I love that everything about you has some mystique to it 🙂
Thank you! =)
The name No Subliminals is a bit of subliminal in itself.
I’m big on word play so to me it’s like… take shots/ send shots / direct / be direct / no subs
and cc: NO SUB LIMINALS.
What are 3 must haves during your creative process?
I’m already creatively scattered brained so above all a clean workspace, great music to score the session.
and last but not least a ‘spark of di spliff.
Bonus* You are such an insp-her-ation! Could you share some projects you may be working on that we can expect to see from you soon?
Within the relaunch of my site(s) I’m releasing an audio/visual collection of short stories entitled ‘HAVE UR WAYYY’.
This project for me is super personal and the first of my own passion projects thats allowed me to collectively showcase my artistry as a whole. I’ve envisioned this moment since the start of my creative pursuits so it’s an extremely good feeling to finally be able to release and set free. =)
co | firstnameash.co
www | nosubliminals.com
Shabby & Chic is like totally my thing right now. I’m seriously in love with the style. Which, I feel like I’ve come a long way from feeling like Z Gallerie and all mirrored everything was the end all to home decor lol although I do love them and they have some amazing pieces!
Anywho, since I’m loving this style I decided to put together a home office that’s affordable and super ca-ute!