PEP Brand Launch
If you’ve been following me for more than a couple of weeks on social media, chances are you saw my new brand launch, since I can’t seem to stop posting about it. 😂This brand has been 3 years in the making, and so I wanted to share more of it with you, the inspiration behind it, and why it took me 3 years to bring it to life.
When you first start a business, there are about a million things you need to do. And a million more pressures out there from social media or your business community to get them all done as fast a possible. Every new business owner has to decide what is an immediate priority to them, and what they can take their time on. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take my time on developing my brand. (Disclaimer: I am not saying this is the “best” or “right” process, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a brand designed before you launch your business. In lots of cases that’s necessary! I am just saying this is what worked best for me and explaining my mindset behind it!)
When I started photography I was coming from another wedding business I owned that, at the time, I wasn’t sure I was going to continue with. I was so unsure of so many things, but I was extremely sure of how much I loved photography and how determined I was to succeed at it. I decided I wanted to focus my immediate priority on growing my technical skills, and taking my time to figure out what I wanted my brand to truly look and feel like as I developed my philosophy and approach to photography.
Fast forward 3 years to where we are now. I’m about to start my 4th year as a wedding photographer and I just finished my 1st year as a full-time photographer. I’ve grown and changed a lot in the last year, both personally and professionally; I feel like I not only know myself better, but know my business better than I’ve ever known it before. I knew I was finally ready to bring together the cohesive and distinctive brand I’d been dreaming of for 3 years.
This is where Ajla (pronounced “eye-la”) of Palm and Poplar comes into play. I’d been casually on the lookout for a designer for several months, taking a peek here and there when I came across one on Instagram or Pinterest that caught my eye, but not actively searching. It wasn’t until the end of February/beginning of March that I started reaching out to designers and posting on forums in search for the perfect designer to help bring my brand to life. Ajla stuck out from the rest not only by her unique and beautiful work, but by her sincere and wonderful customer service. She was always quick to respond, and was excited and confident she could help me.
Having a logo and brand vision designed was always super intimidating to me because how on earth am I supposed to take the mashup of ideas and visions in my head and channel it into one cohesive vision? Lucky for me, Ajla is a pro at channeling ~all the things~ into a cohesive brand, which is exactly what she did for me.
Ajla sent me a brand questionnaire that had all the questions she needed to help me bring my vision to life. These weren’t easy questions; had she asked me these questions a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer half of them because I didn’t have a clear idea of what my brand truly was at the time. It made me feel even better that I took the time to wait until I was truly ready to make this leap. My favorite question was “where would your brand hang out?” and I got to describe my dream space that would house PEP, if only I had unlimited resources to make that reality, ha!
Ajla used these questions to put together a mood board (pictured above) that would serve as a base for inspiration on the ~vibe~ we were going for. This took us a few rounds of edits, but the end result is a board that I honestly want to print and frame because it is so “me”! It’s a mix of images I sent to her for inspo, and ones she sourced and found herself!
After the mood board, Ajla got to designing. I actually got my full brand package back in just 2 weeks, and I nearly passed out when I opened the package. Not only was it JAM PACKED with way more than I was expecting, but it exceeded all my expectations for what my brand would be.
Growing up as a bit of an artist myself, I am pretty picky when it comes to design, and I was fully expecting to have to have a couple of rounds of edits before we reached the final product. Not because of lack of confidence in Ajla, simply because I know how nit-picky I can be (lol). So imagine my surprise when I realized there wasn’t a single thing I wanted changed on what Ajla had created!
She had designed me the most perfect full logo and simplified logo with a beautiful custom font, and several sub-marks (which are the very tiny logos you see). The mark you see above my full logo, that looks like a sort of cross or square, is my absolute favorite. At first that’s all you see. You kind of wonder what the purpose of that mark is. Until you look closely. Then you notice, it’s made fully of my brand initials: PEP. MIND. BLOWN. It’s like I’ve got my own secret club logo!! HOW COOL IS THAT.
Ajla made this process so seamless and enjoyable for me, and now I have a brand that feels nothing short of perfect. I’m so excited every time I get a glimpse of my logo or website. It’s been a long time coming, and was a labor of love that (God willing) will live on with this business for many years to come.
I also hired Ajla to custom design some artwork that I could have printed into stickers! I wanted them to be designs that incorporated well into who I am and my brand, and Ajla DELIVERED once again. Check out the different designs in this gallery below and keep reading to see the meaning behind each one.
I have a group of 8 stickers that Ajla designed (pictured above), and each one of these holds great significance to me and my business:
Luna: My luna bug! For obvious reasons, my dog is now a sticker and my life is complete.
Jer. 29:11: This bible verse has quickly become a favorite after my therapist shared it with me a few months ago. It reminds me every day of the path I am on and who is really guiding me.
Grateful: I have this tattooed on my left arm. Focusing on gratitude and all I have to be grateful for is a big factor in my life. Fun fact: I did not even tell Ajla this, and somehow, the font she chose is almost identical to that of my tattoo!
Educate Yo Self: A play on the “Treat Yo Self” line from one of my favorite shows, Parks and Rec, this is something I said a lot in my first couple of years of photography when asked how I “became a photographer so fast”. It speaks to my encouragement to all to spend time and hard work practicing and continuously educating themselves on their crafts or passions!
Polaroids: I love Polaroid cameras and have several! My favorite is the one that my Dad took with him overseas during Desert Storm. This sticker features my logo, brand colors, and an image from our mood board!
Texas + Maryland: The two states I call “home”! While Maryland is currently my actual home and where I am from, the other 50% of PEP lives in Texas. My sister and Executive Assistant, Sarah Anne, lives in Texas full time, and PEP is partially based there. These stickers have a little dot over my home bases in each state. Salisbury, MD and McKinney, TX. The states are filled in with my brand colors!
Camera: This is a Fuji X-T3 camera, which is the latest addition to my camera family. Her name is Bradley (after Bradley Jackson on the Apple TV series, The Morning Show) and she has quickly become a favorite of mine. Bradley (the camera) made me fall in love with photography in a whole new way; she’s so tiny she fits in my purse, and I take her everywhere and try to document as much as I can. It’s encouraged me to take photos of my personal life in a way I never have before, and pushes me to shoot more documentary/candid style moments. They’ve quickly become some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.
Mental Health Matters: This is something I started saying on my Instagram a lot around this time last year, not long after I started therapy. It’s my way of reminding you how important it is to take care of your mental health, and I will always and forever be a huge mental health advocate, after being a living proof of the positive affects of therapy.
Well there you have it, the full story and all the details behind my brand launch and sticker line. Coming soon: SUMMER MERCH LINE! That’s right, very soon I’ll be launching my first ever clothing line. We’ll be doing them in seasonal collections, and I cannot wait to share my first collection with you soon! Want to be the first to know when the line drops? Click here to join my mailing list!
If you’ve read this far, thank you for your time and support. This business baby of mine is my dream, and I’m constantly reminded how lucky I am to get to do this as my career.