I snapped this picture last evening after returning home from a full day of creativity at its finest. Fall has settled in and I find myself embracing it more than I have in years past. My husband and I went out on the water after a Sunday spent working to drink in some salt air. The ocean was so quiet and visually intoxicating it practically seeped into my soul. Here’s to more of these moments, fall & beyond!
There are so many reasons Lindsay Fair of WOMA Design is on the C&C Short List. Lindsay is a talented web developer and graphic designer (based in Rhode Island just a skip away from Newport), and also just plain cool. It is rare to find “the whole package” when it comes to identifying and presenting a trusted partner to a client (as I discuss here), and she is all that and more.
Lindsay and I have partnered on various projects since the inception of C&C, from email marketing campaigns, brand identity projects, web development, packaging… the list goes on. As we have continued to partner on client projects together, my trust and faith in her capabilities has only deepened. But it’s not always serious business. We are in the creative industry, after all! We’ve celebrated many milestones together with a drink, healthy laughter and a mutual desire to keep the magic going. There is often an inexplicable energy that lends to success, and I find that energy often with Lindsay.
I invite you to get to know Lindsay with a little Q&A while peeking at some highlights from our work together:
Share with us a little bit about WOMA Design…
I began doing freelance graphic design and web development work in 2007, after a stint serving as an in-house web designer for a luxury floral and event production company in Newport, RI. Working amongst the mansions and estates in Newport, I suppose my eye and appreciation for luxury interiors, gardens and entertaining began with that job and is where I’ve found a niche to this day.
The most important thing for a web design client to understand from the outset of said project is...
Who the target user is, what their needs are, and how they want/expect to use your site.
How did you keep busy this summer?
This summer has been an extremely busy one for me. Between fulfilling some exciting client work, and keeping the weeds down in my sizable fruit & veggie garden, I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible with my husband and two little girls (10 mos. & 3.5 years). We try to get in the ocean, either from the beach or from our boat, every day! We’ve certainly made precious memories, but I must admit that I’m looking forward to a slower paced fall.
What would you identify as one of the more gratifying WOMA Design client projects?
A gratifying project for me is one that I can be completely involved with, from conceptualizing the brand, building out collateral suites and web properties, to continual strategic check-ins. I love forging long-term relationships where I can actually watch and help the business grow over time.
What are the magic ingredients to a successful creative project?
Good communication, trust in the process, and shared a passion.
Mint or Basil?
What does it mean to you to run a business in Rhode Island?
It means that chances are, if you also live/work in RI, we know some of the same people and instantly can find commonalities. I find that aspect very helpful when networking. It also means that you can quickly feel like a big fish in a small pond, especially compared to our neighbors in New York and Boston.
What are three Instagram accounts you're loving lately?
We just returned from a quick trip to Paris to celebrate our wedding anniversary. There is truly so much to see and do, eat and explore, but we definitely made the most of it. I’m wanting to muse on many topics, but work is calling! Briefly, one highlight was certainly the Musée National Picasso which has been on my list for quite some time. I was bummed that we missed the Calder-Picasso Exhibition, but perhaps another time! Follow along the museum’s happenings, here.
A great deal of C&C’s business model relies on the talent and diligence of our project partners. Those partners range from web developers, artists, stylists, packaging gurus, calligraphers, videographers - you name it. One could argue that without them, C&C would not exist! They are part of the secret sauce.
It pains me to say, finding talent that checks all of the boxes is HARD, which is why I’m very selective with the company C&C keeps. High standards are just plain necessary when it comes to a service-based business. What are those boxes, (apart from sheer ability to perform the hired function), you ask? Dare I say, very simple things. In our modern world, skill only gets you so far. Our clients’ best interests are the single most important thing, which means anyone interacting with them must have the same value system as C&C.
Here are a few of those simplistic “boxes” we aim to check when it comes to qualifying a potential project partner…
You wouldn’t believe how many people still send “quotes” in the body of an email. I wouldn’t forward this on to clients as it looks lazy and lacks thoughtfulness. This is perhaps one of the first opportunities to set the tone for how you operate. Send your proposal and quote in a properly formatted document. Outline your payment terms. Be as clear as possible. Just do it.
I strongly believe in the 24-48 hour rule. If you can’t respond to an email or phone call within that timeframe, I consider it problematic. Our work is thoughtful and methodical, but we also work swiftly and can’t babysit others. Effective and timely communication is paramount. That also means care should be taken when corresponding. Proofread your emails!
CAN SET & MANAGE EXPECTATIONS:
Most of our creative endeavors are longer term initiatives. Having a keen sense of timeline and deliverables is critical to a successful project roadmap. Project partners should be able to scribe important milestones and dates (and meet those deadlines). If there is a potential variable that will prohibit us from reaching those goals (it happens!), expectations should be clearly articulated. Transparency pays dividends.
SEAMLESS BILLING PRACTICES:
If you want to get paid, make it easy. Right? Invoicing should be seamless, while offering a few payment options. Offering Venmo and Paypal as the only forms of payment does not help legitimize your business. It just doesn’t. Clients don’t want this process to be a headache anymore than you do.
You bend over backwards. You stay up late dreaming about a project element. You call me just to check-in or to brainstorm…yet, you don’t take things too seriously - after all, this is a creative space! This is the type of person I want to call a partner. The client always, always, always comes first. If something goes wrong (and it will happen!), you offer solutions. You make it right. The white-glove mentality is top of mind and always practiced. You harness positive energy. You are there to guide, please and deliver.
Having a portfolio that is easy to share and consume is important for so many reasons. Some form of this should be digital. You’re able to visually and verbally articulate your value proposition and speak to your aesthetic and approach.
While we’re all human, and do things differently, the above is meant to serve as a baseline for expectations. If you have a unique trade, refined skill or innovative approach to your business, and identify with these practices, I’d love to hear from you. Send a note to email@example.com.
My life seems to be a series of projects, both professionally and personally. Though most of my work is spent guiding others through creative endeavors, often, when it comes to my own personal projects, it can be easy to flit around from one idea to the next. I find that my mind can quickly get cluttered with a sea of ideas - and with Pinterest, Instagram and a plethora of other visually-driven platforms, those inspirational images can be stored in a million places. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I harness the back to basics approach: a good old fashioned mood board. A mood board doesn’t need to be an editorial masterpiece - as evidenced below - a “copy & paste”, or “upload & place” does the trick!
Well, not quite “high hats and narrow collars” as they say, but I’m trying to step up my summer game with the time we have left. That means, more dinners at home under soft candlelight, evening swims at the beach with my husband, and early wake-ups to squeeze the juice out of each day.
I’ve just returned from the west coast and with September on the horizon, it’s time to relish in the time we have left. I’m looking forward to sharing more glimpses behind the C&C curtain in the coming weeks. Our August C&C COMMUNIQUÉ was indeed well received and I look forward to our September COMMUNIQUÉ (sign-up here!).
The C&C summer is in full swing. While it’s very much been full throttle in and out of the office (I thrive on chaos!), there have also been necessary moments for pause along the way. We’ve buttoned up several initiatives that will soon advance to new phases and scopes of work. New endeavors are on the horizon for fall & winter. It’s all happening at every angle! Yet, each milestone is a moment for reflection and celebration. They are also opportunities to re-energize creatively. I’m doing my best to do just that. I’m trying to harness my inner book worm by reading Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend (am I the last person to read this book?!), carve out time to visit my favorite farm stands and putter around in the garden.
So while I do my darnedest to take a breath and let the good times roll both professionally and personally, I invite you to join me. Life is short, summer is delicious…make it #candcapproved.
Here’s to creativity and squeezing the juice out of summer!
It seems every time we drive up north to our little country abode, I’m schlepping some sort of box, bag, lamp or item that has an intended purpose in our home away from home. This weekend we’re bringing our wicker furniture we’ve spray painted dark green for the porch, in addition to some carpet and wallcovering samples. Our renovation for the most part, has been a DIY (thanks to my handy Hubby), and as much as the process continues to drag on, it’s been nice to go at it bit by bit to ensure each decision has been thoughtfully considered.
Summer is heating up and with it has come a great deal of exciting client endeavors which I’m particularly excited about. However, one of the challenges with running your own business is finding the “off” button from time to time. Professionally, I’ve been programmed to always be “on” for as long as I can remember, which I know has taken a toll on my mental (and physical!) health. (Even years later, I still have visions of the red light flashing under my pillowcase from my Blackberry - yes, Blackberry, while my then boss was in Asia). And while my work will always be one of my biggest priorities, I am also trying to find that switch and create distractions that will help enforce this philosophy. For me, that distraction is the garden. Scheming up summer parties, tending to my herbs, and experimenting with my new crop of nasturtiums that will make for fun party garnishes.
It was such a treat to explore Miami’s Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club. It opened in 1930 and today, oozes with such a distinct spirit and legendary style - hollywood glamour meets chic old Florida. It’s as if you could see Sophia Loren dazzling in her diamonds in a booth next to you while the DJ spins Frank Sinatra nearby and the dim table lighting visually seduces. The highlight, was The Champagne Bar, where I had the most delectable cocktail. I had ordered the “Sole” with Grappa, Mezcal (a favorite), bitters, lemon juice, tomato shrub, Yellow Chartreuse and soda. The taste was extraordinary, inventive but delicate and the presentation of course, a true medal of honor for Valentino, the bar’s infamous mixologist. I highly recommend a visit.