Tell us your story: when, why and how did your business get started?
After working as a freelance graphic designer for a couple years, I had this gut feeling that there was something more for me. I wanted more control and creative fulfillment. In the summer of 2013 I took a trip to Italy, which marked my first time in Europe and only third time outside of the country. When we stepped back into our lives in the US, I knew it was time to make the jump. I spent the rest of that summer planning and drawing so that by November, I could finally launch my dream: Light Rust Studio.
Tell us about your business today.
Light Rust began as a paper goods company, but throughout its first year it caught the eye of people needing custom work and gained momentum on that front. After being open for only half a year, I slowly started to transition it more that way as I realized my unique style had a place in the design world. Now Light Rust is a full-fledged handmade design studio. Everything we create we put our hand into. It is not your typical digital design. Our focus remains on the story of a brand and there is no better way than to use our hands to tell the authentic story.
What’s at the core of your brand? What are your core qualities, mission, vision and values?
On a surface level we believe in helping other small businesses create branding and designs that tell a story by involving the hand in the process. Digging deeper, the core of Light Rust is our heart. We believe by putting your heart and soul into your brand, you can connect on a deeper level with your followers, fans, and clients. To have truth and authenticity with a unique story pulls people in and we believe in creating a positive environment to foster those connections. We want people to own their stories, stop looking around at what everyone else is doing, and do what is right for your own journey.
How do you embody your brand in your business every day?
We lead by example by sharing our personal stories and lives with our followers. Our brand is about getting out there to explore, being open and honest with yourself, and pushing the limits to what you can accomplish. We write about our adventures on our blog so we can help inspire others to go places and chase their own dreams.
How do you communicate your brand visually?
We do all our own design work—it is only right if that is what we are offering others. The logo and lettering we feature on our social media sites are all hand done by me. The photography is done by me or, more recently, my husband who has been taking an interest in it. We communicate with our actions, by showing people what we do or where we go. Most of our imagery is earthy and we stick to organic colors. We want everything to reflect realness.
Tell us about the process of crafting your brand.
We created our own branding. We have gone through the process twice, and both times we have done it all by hand. Our first logo was fine but as time went on and the studio evolved, we saw it necessary for a refresh. When I reflect back on it, I see our first logo as kind of shy. It had lighter lines and the lettering wasn’t as complex. When we decided to re-do the logo a few months ago, there was more emotion, thought, and confidence behind it. When you look at it, there are thick lines and depth to it. It all grew so organically that we didn’t realize why those changes were made until we had the benefit of hindsight.
How do you expect your brand to grow and evolve? How do you stay true to your original core?
We hope to continue down the path of a handmade design studio. I love that we are able to help bring other people’s dreams to realty by working with them to make freshly unique branding and designs. We would really like to see some growth in our blog. We hope to rebrand it this year and make it a more prominent part of our site and business. With our consistent need to travel, those trips will continue to become new inspirations for us and hopefully our followers as well, so we want to make sure we are sharing them in the best way possible. Our stories are important to us and we want them to be the core of what the studio is so that we can help others bring out their own stories and adventures.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your business and as a brand?
My biggest challenge is making sure I have structure in my business in every aspect. It is easy to get caught up in the work and the fun part of the job while pushing aside things for your own business. I tend to always put my clients first but there needs to be a balance so that the studio stays up to date and clear.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a young entrepreneur?
There are going to be hard parts, but use those hard parts to drive and challenge you instead of push you away. Let those challenges be a part of your story and share them with others. The path of an entrepreneur isn’t easy but it's real, so be real with it.