What I Wore: A Tattooed Dress In The Desert

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is about a 40 minute drive from Palm Springs and is named named after the Joshua trees (yucca brevifolia) that cover the park. It’s a popular destination for camping, hiking and climbing but I’m happy to keep it simple and drive on through, stopping along the way to admire the otherworldly landscape.

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

Ever since I visited Joshua Tree last year for the first time, it has been on my mind constantly.

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

I probably couldn’t stop thinking about it for two reasons: 1. It seems to be popping up in every fashion brand’s lookbooks and plenty of magazine spreads right now so it’s hard to avoid. 2. It was like no other place I’ve ever seen. I totally get the allure and why so many creatives feel inspired to create after visiting.

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

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Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

I stopped by a few days ago, wearing my favorite new dress embroidered with tattoo-inspired patterns paired with these gray platform boots that feel like the right balance between goth and Stormtrooper.

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

I wore: Nasty Gal tattoo dress, Anita K rose gold collar, The Horse rose gold watch and Vic Matie platform boots.

Nubby Twiglet | Joshua Tree

P.S. I just posted this little video to show you what Joshua Tree is like and you can learn more about the history and all the great things you can do when you visit here. Enjoy!

Creative Chronicles: The Battle for Quality Over Quantity

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Today I want to talk about something we face constantly as designers in a fast-paced world: making the choice between quality and quantity.

Every single week, I get inquiries from potential new clients who need something done right away. More like yesterday. And trust me, I get the urgency. The online world is evolving fast and small businesses are doing everything they can to stay ahead of the curve. Updated branding, marketing materials and websites help project the right image. The sooner they can implement updates, the sooner they can potentially book up and sell more.

Even though I get it (I run small businesses myself), I won’t bend my processes or timelines to make it happen. In this world, being the cheapest and / or fastest is a race to the bottom because there’s always someone who can slice margins even thinner. It’s best not to compete on those principles. A few sloppy jobs to appease clients or make a quick buck will do nothing for your image and hurt your bottom line in the long run.

What you do have is the quality of work you put into the world, your ethics, your process, your unbeatable customer service and your personal story. Use these things to convey your worth instead.

Hold Your Ground

Breaking processes and bending ethics to make a quick buck is never a good idea. Things will go bad. Every time I have made an exception, I’ve learned the lesson again. It’s painful when you end up with a disappointed client and it’s your fault because you caved.

A few weeks ago, I was on a call with a client I really wanted to work with and after explaining my branding process, they mentioned they’d already done most of the steps before with another designer. Couldn’t we just skip ahead and use that content, they wondered?

While I explained that it would be helpful to see what they had, we still needed to go through my process in order to get the best results. We’re now a few steps into my process and making some major tweaks to the outcome of their new branding based on things I learned from their questionnaire and pins that weren’t immediately obvious during our original call. If I’d skipped the steps, we would be at a much different outcome (and not necessarily a happy one).

Red Flags

If you’ve explained your process and why it works but a potential customer is adamant that you change it for them, it’s usually a red flag that they’re not an ideal fit. And that’s totally okay — keep a list of referrals on hand for these situations so they can find a better suited partner.

Always remember that you’re a professional. You’ve done this before. There’s a reason for why you do what you do. You have the proven results to back it up. For a project to run smoothly, there has to be a level of mutual respect and a process in place.

I know how tempting it can be to stack on more work, bend your ethics and skip steps in processes to make more money but is it worth it? Does it make you feel good? That’s the only answer you need.

Quality over quantity, always.

P.S. If you need some help with your client process, I created Project Prescription with Paul Jarvis to make it easier.


Check out even more Creative Chronicles posts here.

The Week + Links: 4.2.16

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE WEEK

Hello from Palm Springs! It’s been a whirlwind of a trip since we arrived Wednesday. We made a visit to Joshua Tree, spent a few days at The Avalon, squeezed in plenty of cruising around town to try new restaurants and bars, toured a bunch of condos and drove past some of our favorite midcentury modern marvels including the most famous of the Swiss Miss houses. *insert heart eyes emoji here*

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Being here after six months away has me reimagining what day-to-day life will be like when we finally put down roots since it will probably be an even split between here and Portland. The contrast feels like a nice balance.

We spent yesterday touring places and may have found “the one” which sounds quick but behind the scenes, Joey has put in months of nonstop research. We’ve been mulling it over and it has nearly everything we want (close to downtown, private patio, lower level, ample storage space, plenty of pools on the property). Miraculously, our top pick came in under budget which makes me very happy. I always get nervous with big changes but we’re leaning towards YES. And if that doesn’t work out, I’m staying positive since we’ll be back down here next month, continuing the hunt. I’ll let you know what happens!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

I hope you had a good week and are enjoying the longer days. Since the beginning of the year, I’d been cooped up in my office so feels good to get out on long walks in warmer weather, excitedly exploring and snapping photos. It’s such a nice change of pace and a good reminder that life needs to be lived. We all deserve a break here and there — not everything we do has to be defined by work and accomplishments.

And with that, I’m off to do some more exploring. See you back here next week!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE LINKS

• How Palm Springs became hipster central. Haha!

• Virgin just pulled off a hilarious prank with their April Fool’s logo redesign.

• I love this guy’s account of what it’s like to work in a startup.

• The recent Instagram change is the symptom of a much bigger problem with the free internet.

• This is a great reminder that you have to start somewhere, even if you’re the Beatles.

• My friend Sian just released a rad bundle of products aimed at rookie creative entrepreneurs at a value price. If you need some inspiration to push your new business forward, this may be the perfect fit.

• It’s crazy to think about how many Instagram photos are being posted each day.

• Totally up my alley: things organized neatly.

• The New York Times shares classic dishes you should master. I love that it includes simple crowd pleasers like chocolate chip cookies, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

• Apple just turned 40.

• A great reminder that staying in a relationship that makes you unhappy doesn’t make you a good person.

• Traveling with a group of friends can have a huge benefit.

• The Wall Street Journal asked a photographer to re-shoot the same scenes in New York 80 years later and seeing the contrast is pretty amazing.

Latest & Greatest: Rose Gold

Nubby Twiglet | Rose Gold

I used to cringe at gold anything, especially during my teenage goth years. I associated it with being glitzy, gaudy and old fashioned. Silver was cool, calm and collected.

That all changed little by little a few years ago. I bought a pair of black Zara motorcycle boots with gold zippers, then a purse with gold hardware and softened my stance, realizing black and gold had a nice contrast.

Over the last year, the rose gold trend has been picking up major steam and I can’t get enough. For Christmas, Joey surprised me with my dream watch from The Horse and I just picked up the Anita K choker to match. These are my go-to daily jewelry pieces and now I’m seeing rose gold popping up in housewares, footwear, nail polish and more.

Nubby Twiglet | Rose Gold

These are a few of my favorite rose gold things: 1. Acne boots, 2. Adidas shirt, 3. Paperchase paperclips, 4. Le Cord cable, 5. Via side table, 6. Anita K choker, 7. Essie polish, 8. Adidas Superstars and 9. The Horse watch.

What’s your take on the rose gold trend? Love it or hate it?


Top photo: Superfront.

The Week + Links: 3.26.16

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THE WEEK

What a crazy, crazy week it’s been. Since the year started, I’ve been trying to get things super organized with my businesses, finances and taxes because next week, Joey and I are starting our Palm Springs vacation home hunt.

It wasn’t fun getting 3 separate sets of taxes filed early, taking on extra projects and sometimes staying at the office until 3 am but it’s all a little easier when you have a goal in mind. Yesterday night, I finally got the call I’d been hoping for after sitting on the phone with my bank all week…we’re pre-approved and I have an offer letter in-hand!

Getting the call was a massive sigh of relief because I’d waged all my bets 3 years ago, leaving a well-paying, stable agency job to start over on my own. In the beginning, I had plenty of ups and downs and bad days where I questioned what I was doing because it’s so much easier to just show up to someone else’s company and collect a steady check every 2 weeks.

I knew I wasn’t cut out for that path, though so I kept showing up to my office, doing the work, sharing stories about that transition on the blog and knowing that if I gave it my all, everything would eventually come together.

Working for yourself and getting pre-approved for any loan isn’t a cake walk so making it through the first few hoops on our path to buying our PS pad feels like a huge victory.

Starting next week, we’ll be touring places, getting an idea of locations we like and of course, I’ll be taking plenty of photos to put the finishing touches on my PS travel guide (so much stuff has opened since I was last there that I felt like it would be a disservice to post it now — I’ve got a list of new, rad places to visit and show you like Customs Coffee!)

Three years ago, when I decided it was time to go out on my own, I had plenty of people close to me show concern and I get it because it’s hard. They wondered, wouldn’t it be easier for me to hang on a little longer? The thing is, if you give into that mentality, you’ll be “hanging on” forever.

You do have what it takes and if you’re looking for excuses to transition into doing what you think you’re meant to do, you don’t need them. You get one shot at life and there is no magic switch that suddenly flips, making you ready. You just have to take the leap.

I’m sitting in my office, staring out the window as the sun is shining and feeling so excited that Joey, Rocky, Chubs and I are going to be opening a new chapter of life soon. Whether we find a place next week, a few months from now or at the end of the year, I’m looking forward to the adventure that comes along with it and bringing you along for the ride.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” —Unknown

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Photos of Caliente Tropics and Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs, October in 2015 taken by me.


THE LINKS

• This is such a great read about the most important part of building your business.

Do you need that extra push to go after what you want in life? Go Get It! maybe what you need. The premise is simple: after enrolling, you select one career, business, or income-related goal and you pursue that goal with total commitment for 6 weeks in a row.

15 ways to delight your clients!

What typeface are you?

• Tim Ferriss explains how to get busy influencers to share your stuff.

• If you need to say no to past clients you no longer want to work with, give these 3 scripts a try.

Here’s what you can learn after spending 36 hours with a group of the world’s most powerful women.

• 42 great free handwriting fonts.

• One place in Palm Springs that I’m dying to visit is Korakia Pensione. So beautiful!

7 ways to stop feeling overwhelmed and get things done.

• Feeling bored? Change up your face with the Masquerade app. Haha!

• We’re more honest with our phones than we are with our doctors.

• Build your knowledge quickly with Design Facts.

• If your elevator pitch is falling flat, read this.

Creative Chronicles: If You Build It, They Will Come

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There are easily thousands of articles scattered across the internet that dish out the advice that your portfolio should be specialized. The thought process is that if you focus in on promoting the projects you want more of, more of the same will flow in.

Specialization and zeroing in on what you’re passionate about is great and I never disagreed with that advice because it makes complete sense. The tricky part for some of us is when exactly we should start specializing. After all, if you focus in too narrowly before building your clientele and audience, it may be harder to make a living.

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When I started freelancing 10 years ago, I cast my net really wide for a few reasons:

1. I was still building my client base and audience.
2. I was hungry for experience in a variety of areas. The best way to learn is on the job.
3. I needed the extra income since I was still in school / working retail.

Over time, I did start to specialize and drop projects from my portfolio that I didn’t want more of but really drilling down was hard because I still wasn’t sure who my audience really was.

When I started Branch, I’d just ended a stint working on a branding team at a large agency so I was still trying to find my design style away from heavy art direction. I admired the work they did and their clean, crisp style felt familiar so I used that as inspiration when I built out my own brand.

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That was fine because in the first year of business, it’s best to not overthink things. Just go with what you know and start moving forward. Everyone says you should just launch and learn and I agree because you may think you know who your audience is — but it could be completely different than you expect.

Over time, your audience will subtly let you know what it wants. Certain projects will bring in tons of new inquiries while others fall flat. It’s hard to say what that mix is and the only true way to figure it out is through trial and error. Also, your aesthetic and interests will change and that style tends to be present in the work you produce. The more work you do, the more your style comes through.

Going into my third year of business, I finally feel like it’s time to fine-tune the look of my design studio and be more picky about the projects I choose to share. I’m now asking myself what I love and focusing in on that mix — creative businesses with a heavy focus on lifestyle and beauty brands. It’s good to get specific about what you want.

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As a creative, what kinds of brands, services and products are you naturally drawn to? What brands share your aesthetics? Once you figure that out, your brand will naturally start to evolve. Once I’d decided what niches were my focus going forward, I felt comfortable softening up our overall look because I now had a customer in mind. The orange went from 100% opacity to 80%. Blacks and dark grays were replaced with creamy carrara marble. Hard geometric patterns were replaced with a halftone image of an orange tree I’d photographed over the summer.

The truth is, things are still a work in progress. Business has literally doubled over the last year and it’s been harder to get all our content switched out. If you’re struggling with the same thing, I feel ya. Treat your own brand as you would a client. Make changes in manageable phases.

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After I started implementing changes in the brand and what we shared earlier this year, the impact was near-immediate. The kinds of brands that I’d coveted for a long time started reaching out. As this has been happening, it reminded me of some simple truths:

Your brand is up to you to define.

It’s your job to decide exactly what you stand for.

Ask yourself, “What do I want more of?”

Ask yourself, “What do I want less of?”

Once you know where you stand, you can make changes. As I’ve gotten more focused on what I want and have seen the positive shifts happening in my own business, it’s been a great reminder that anything is possible; you just have to be willing to step up and be clear about who you are and what you want.


Check out even more Creative Chronicles posts here.