Spruce Rd. is expanding!
Happy November! It has been 10 months since I started this crazy journey of a business, and I have definitely been stretched and grown tremendously. I can’t wait to share all of the juicy details in my last lunch + learn webinar of the year, where I will dive into a look at my first year of full-time freelancing. Don’t worry, I will send you an invitation to join that workshop when it gets closer to December!Since I just can’t wait that long to share what I’ve been up to, I thought I would show a glimpse at behind the scenes of Spruce Rd.
It’s no secret that I love a good collaboration: whether through partnering up with fellow creatives in my lunch + learn workshops, selling bundles of our courses together, or contributing the the Elle & Co library. I also view my design services as a collaboration of sorts, as we really journey together to create the fresh brand identity.
As I’ve grown, my studio has expanded. I have been anxiously waiting to reveal this new business model, once I tested it out and made sure it was a good fit! I am SO excited to reveal that Spruce Rd. is now partnering with other designers to collaborate on client work.
I know, I know… you’ve got lots of questions! This model seems a bit different than how traditional freelancers work, but I’ve found that I’ve got to be true to my brand, as well as uphold complete transparency. Let’s start with the initial dilemma, and how I came to the realization that I was ready to expand.
As my reach has grown, I have had several inquiries (good problem), but little availability. I found myself working so hard, as my client work plate filled up. I absolutely love client work, and creating solutions that fit their branding needs. I wasn’t ready to give that up.
While client work has been the bread & butter of Spruce Rd., I also knew that I wanted to expand and allow myself the freedom to pursue side projects. I devote one day a week solely to side projects, and wasn’t ready to give that up either. So how do I maintain client work, open up availability, and still have the freedom to explore side projects? Collaborate with other designers.
I always knew I wanted to work with a team of designers, but just wasn’t sure this was the right time just yet. My husband, however, encouraged me to go for it. Without his endless support + belief in me, I probably would not have made this leap to collaborating just yet. He reminded me that this business is not just about immediate income, but is more about investing in ourselves to create a lasting business. Burnout is never a good solution for a lasting + growing business.
For some designers, hiring other designers to work with them might not make sense. If you are a lettering artist, illustrator or painter… hiring out your specific artistic style just doesn’t seem like a good fit. And that is okay. Neither is right or wrong, it just depends on your brand.
For Spruce Rd., however, I built it intentionally with the goal of expanding. My name “Jamie” is not included in the brand name. Spruce Rd. does not center around my persona, but instead has always been an encourager of partnerships. Collaborating with other designers is a natural fit for my brand.
The biggest lesson I have learned this year is humility, and how far it can take you in business. In order for Spruce Rd. to succeed, I have to not let pride get in the way of relationships. These designer collaborations are built with a strong foundation of trust, for the designer, client and myself. I am slowly building my stellar team of designers, and have intentionally reached out to people who I know I can trust. So far, I have hardly had any revisions on my end, and it excites me to work with such talented ladies and trust them in the hands of my clients!
“The X factor of great leadership is not personality, it’s humility.” – Jim Collins
A peek behind the scenes!
Here is a glimpse at the first finalized design collaboration. For this project, Emily approached me with the need for new branding for her interior design studio. She has such great taste in design + aesthetics, I couldn’t wait to pair her up with the right designer. Yet another advantage of collaborating, I also get to expand my skill set + aesthetic, and strategically pair designers with the right client. Win win!
Immediately, I thought of Jessie as a great match for Emily. I have been following Jessie on Dribbble for a while now, and have always been such a fan of her work. Her design aesthetic compliments Spruce Rd., in that it is clean, modern and refined. After my first call with Jessie, I had the last checkmark needed to pursue the collab. She is so sweet, friendly and has a thorough knowledge of branding design. Currently she holds a full time job, so side freelance projects are a great fit for her as a creative outlet (and for some extra dough!).
Emily Baker Design brand identity appeals to middle aged couples or families who have a great appreciation for design and function. Through this classic and playful visual identity we were able to bring the Emily Baker brand to life. The identity has a timeless look and feel that exudes the company’s design approach.
Above is a look at the first logo proof for Emily. Jessie did such a great job, I was smitten. She presented me with a few design directions, but the above concept was the winner in terms of visually appealing + the best fit for the client’s audience. We only show one concept to the client, so as not to provide any distractions, and to give THE solution to their branding needs.
Emily loved this concept, however felt that the type was a little too “bold” for her brand. (cue designer sigh). That typeface is gorgeous, BUT… after we listened to her feedback we totally understand. Her interior designs are more conservative and tailored, not as bold. It only made sense to revise the logoform to better fit her target client’s appeal.
The revised option maintained the integrity + mark of the original concept, yet was adapted to better fit with Emily’s interior design style. The brand is elegant, while not appearing overpowering. Jessie rounded out the brand identity design with coordinating sub-marks that tie in with the primary logo, as well as a few custom patterns for Emily. The pattern designs provide a unique component to Emily’s brand, while also nodding to interior design motifs.
Overall, the brand identity reflects the classic and sophisticated designs that all Emily Baker clients love and trust.
I absolutely LOVED what Jessie + Emily created together, and can’t wait to see Emily’s brand out in the wild :). Jessie and I already have another project in the works, and I’m sure she will knock it outta the park again!
Eck! I just found this and realized I completely missed the squarespace ecommerce Q&A. I would love the notes or anything from the time (or if there are other resources you would recommend!) Love your work and excited to see who else you collaborate with!
Hey Mary Jo! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’ll probably update the blog post at a later date, but you can view the recording here.
Congrats, Jamie! Your goals and achievements are truly an inspiration! 🙂 Keep up the great work!!
So exciting! Congratulations Jamie! I’m looking forward to seeing how Spruce Rd. continues to grow. 🙂
Thanks Angel! Love following your biz as well 🙂
Congratulations on your expand – it is such a great step forward for you – and you really deserve it!!
I have followed you for quite a while now (since Lauren at Elle & Company introduced you). I read more or less very post and every newsletter you share, and for sure I watch every Lunch & Learn you host (I am looking forward to joining the replay of the one from yesterday – in great company of a great cup of coffee – which is waiting for my attention in a few minutes).
Thanks for all the informative and very helpful insights you share with the rest of us working our way up;-)
I will also like to take this opportunity to both thank you for your post yesterday at the Collaborative + encourage everybody to visit this post and read it (it is worth the time…!!!)
I know you cannot share the post here on your site but I can definately leave a link and encourage all you guys to go and read both this post + the rest of the great posts on Elle & Company + The Collaborative.
Here is the link to a post by Jamie that I really enjoyed reading: http://www.collaborative.elleandcompanydesign.com/blog/multiple-audiences
Keep up the great work, Jamie!
Aw thanks so much for sharing Susanne — you are so kind!
This is such a beautiful brand, Jamie. Absolutely gorgeous. Jessie did a great job.
Congratulations on expanding your business. It sounds very exciting. You’re certainly off to a great start.
May I ask how you tell a client that it’s actually not you who’s working on their project? How do you go about telling them and taking away any doubts or fears they might have about a set up like this?
Thanks so much Katha! I’ve only had a couple instances where a potential client was weary of this approach, and I chalk it up to me not explaining my studio well :). The most effective technique I’ve had is to mention it from the very beginning — the first inquiry they send, I reply back with a note “About Spruce Rd.” that sets the expectations. I am still the creative director, so clients who trust my brand, have had no problem trusting who I work with. It is the same situation as if you were to work with a larger design studio — naturally they need more talented hands on board, but you trust that the experience is the same and that they hired only the best 🙂
Congrats, Jamie! This is so awesome! I love, love, love seeing your business expand like this. 🙂
Aw thanks Kercia! I’m so grateful this approach has been welcomed by my clients & designer friends! I was definitely nervous about this leap, but it just felt so right :). Thanks for your encouragement!
WOW! This is too awesome, congrats on expanding! Of-course now it’s definitely on my wish-list to one day be able to partner and work with you. Love the project that Jessie did. Such great work. I can’t wait to see all that’s ahead with the new expansion.
Thanks Shae! So thankful for your constant encouragement and support :). Jessie definitely nailed this project, and it was so fun to work together!
Yay!!! Collaboration is the best! I love Jessie’s work, and her take on this project. I love the direction you’re taking Spruce Rd. Excited to see where you continue to go in the future!
Thanks Bri! Pretty pumped about this new direction!! Agreed: Collaboration just makes my heart warm 🙂