Life, Babies, Business & Design
Before you start reading, let me warn you this post is long, so to keep you entertained we’ll be adding some fun pictures.
Here’s the thing. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that we do not practise what we preach, which is quite unfair to you all. You see, we’ve been telling you that we’re all about design and how great design is what we’re all about whether in our work, our home, or anywhere in fact, great design is something we love. Yet it dawned on me that our blog, the site where we showcase all the wonderful designs we find and make, looks a little …ho-hum!
It’s not that it’s terrible, it’s just that it doesn’t feel like us. Which is one thing we always tell our clients is that you’re brand needs to be an extension of you. If it’s not your never going to embrace it with the passion and enthusiasm that you should; your brand should give you the same feeling as when you step out in a perfectly fitting outfit that makes you feel like nothing can stop you because you are fabulous. If you’re branding does not give you a WOW moment, then you need to go back to the drawing board.
Since recently changing the direction of Quirk, more on that a little later, we’ve also been updating our own brand image to tie in with some of these changes. As this also meant some of our company stationary would need updating, which also got me looking at our Quirk website along with the Blog and I can safely say that they weren’t saying ‘hello we’re quirk’ in fact we felt they weren’t saying much at all.
With this in mind we’ve started the enjoyable-frustrating-challenging and of course rewarding task of updating our websites (Quirk, Shop & Blog) along with everything else with our name on it including business cards, letterheads, invoices, etc. You may need to bear with us while things are changing, especially since this also involves finally changing over our domain to .net instead of .co.uk since we are no longer based in the UK.
The New Direction
Quirk Design has changed a lot in it’s 15 years (Yikes! 15 years when did that happen). It’s first seven years were spent being used as a way to invoice for contracting work. That’s the way things were done in the day, european companies preferred to pay their contractors as a company rather than an individual. In 2006, we got married, moved to Sweden and decided that since we have so many product ideas of our own, why don’t we start using this company and actually make a go of it. With Matthew still working for other companies at the time, I took my strengths and love of graphic design and was asked by a few friends to design some things for them and so Quirk Design became more than just a monthly invoice. At this time we never really thought about expanding things or really pushing for design work, we were just happy doing bits and pieces especially when you’re moving from country to country, this makes establishing a business quite tricky.
Given all the moving, we changed direction and decided that things on the blog were going well, we loved writing posts, finding new design and just generally being bloggers, so our focus became more on our blog than the graphic/product design side of the business. For quite a while we focused on the blog and it’s been very rewarding but we’ve always known that we wanted to get back to the designing aspect of the business.
In 2011 when we moved back to Melbourne and we were back in a thriving city with design at its heart, we knew this was the time to get things back on track. We continued to blog whilst both working full-time for other companies while spending any free time working on our own products.
Finally in July 2013 I went on maternity (I know it’s cliche, so many businesses get their boost while on maternity leave), Matt and I both knew that this was the time to get things moving.
After sitting down and writing a bullet point “business plan” here’s what we’ve decided:
- More focus on designing and showing our own products and getting them out into the marketplace.
- Continue to grow the customer designs side of the business by continuing to provide an all round branding solution, our slogan “We design brands not logos”.
- Blog, blog and more blog : We’ve been a little slack on the blog over the last year, it’s time to pick up our game and get back to showing off and finding designs we love and want to share.
- Networking : Time for me in particular to get out of my comfort shell and meet new people, designers, bloggers, etc
- As always, spend more time with the family.
What are we doing to make these things happen?
- We’ve just recently launched out online store, where you can purchase our unique art prints. We aim to have one new print added every two weeks, so make sure you keep coming back. We’re busy working on a few top secret projects at the moment which we can’t release until all the legal stuff (IP, copyright, trademarks, etc) have been completed but these will also be available for purchase online once released.
- If you follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you’ll know that we’ve been working with a new cafe (#EspressoCollingwood) on their branding including logo, business cards, window signage, etc and with a few more clients lined up and working on, things are going well in this are too but still plenty of room to grow.
- We’re aiming to get back to two posts a day but at the moment our back end and front for that matter need a bit of work so for now we’re focused on getting the site working and running smoothly before we start amping up the posting. More information below about the changes to the blog.
- Networking is something I can either be really good at or absolutely terrible. Matt, seems to have a natural ability to talk to anyone, stranger or not and tell them what he does, and more importantly what he can do for them, this is something I am envious of. It is not a skill I have however, I do find that once I have the guts to start talking to people about what I do I generally “make the sale”. I guess for me it’s just working on the first bit, having the guts to step up and be proud of what I do. I have been very busy working on this, talking to other designers and bloggers recently and I’ve even got a couple of events lined up that are specifically for me to work on my networking skills and stop being the wallflower in the room.
- One of the hardest parts about having a blog and your own business, especially when you are still working a full time job, is breaking the work 24/7 curse. For a while before the little man was born, both Matthew and I were on our computers constantly, even in the car one would be driving and the other would be on the iPhone or iPad typing, designing, etc. A new policy, if you will, that we are trying to implement, is that we have the weekend as a family, no work and in the evenings, we both (if we’re both working from home) switch off our computers at 5. this way we can have playtime, dinner, bath time (best time ever) and put the little man to sleep, leaving some time for Matt and I to be together. Sure some nights things are crazy or we’ve got a deadline but we’re trying not to make it a habit to be constantly working.
How is the blog changing?
We will still be posting about all things design, but there are some little things that will change.
As you can see is the design and layout. It was starting to feel like the sidebar was taking over the whole blog rather than the main content which is not a good thing. So we’ve scaled back the sidebar to something that’s user-friendly, has the relevant information but doesn’t intrude on the main content which is what you’ve come to see.
Unlike a lot of blogs who have added advertising, we’ve actually removed ours completely. No google ads, no sponsors, nothing. We have no problem with advertising, in fact we think it’s a wonderful thing and we’ll most likely put adverts back on the site at some stage, but for now while were making changes to the site, and focusing more on the Quirk side of things, we feel that we aren’t going to be providing a constant enough service to ask people to pay good money to advertise on. So for the meantime, we’ll be keeping the site ad free.
That’s the two main changes of the blog, others will be small, like larger better quality images, more content, going back to having some of our regular features such as Friday Happy Hour, Seasonal Delights and Inspired By series. These are the posts we loved putting together and you guys loved reading (from our stats).
Over 1600 words later, I think I’ve keep you long enough. Can’t wait to see what the future brings us and to see what you think of it all. We’d also love to hear what you think of the new sites and layouts, are you a fan of the smaller sidebar, do you think the larger header is better, we’d love to hear what you think, so post a comment below.