Project Spotlight: Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

Branch | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

This week, the new issue of Rock n Roll Bride Magazine is hitting newsstands and I wanted to let you know now because this baby sells out fast!

Branch | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

This project was a huge labor of love at Branch over the late Summer / early Fall and this issue is packed full of awesome content. You can see more sneak peeks here.

Branch | Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Issue #5

Oh, and you can bet I dedicated a full page to a squirrel cake — gotta make Chubs proud! Seriously. Sooooo epic.

I hope you enjoy the issue and thanks for your continued support!

Creative Chronicles #3: Making Time To Do The Work Plus 5 Tips For Staying Accountable

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“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” —Earl Nightingale

Nothing happens by accident. If you want to work on your dream project, you have to make the time. If you’re ready to counter with, “I just don’t have the time!,” then it’s simply a matter of priorities.

I get asked all the time how I manage to get so much done and I’ve been a bit afraid to tackle this question because the truth is, I don’t have all the answers. All I can say is that if something is important enough to you, you will find a way.

As you carve out time to reach your goals, there will be plenty of downers along the way. You might have to give up a few things like your favorite TV shows. I unplugged my TV a year ago when I remodeled my room and have purposely left it that way. Sorry, Dr. Phil! Hear me out, though. If what you wanted was easy to achieve, everyone would be doing it.

And with that, after close to a decade of being a designer and blogger (both of which are extremely time consuming!), I’ve developed a few techniques to squeeze the most out of my days. Here we go…

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5 Tips For Staying Accountable

1. Treat yourself as a client. Set aside chunks of time and write clear cut deadlines. You may have to get up an hour earlier every day, stay up later or spend your Sunday inside but this is the only way that you’ll see visible results. I’ve been working on four new digital offerings that are launching in 2016 and even though these are internal projects, I schedule calls and deadlines on my calendar just as I would any client project. If the week is too hectic, I push these projects to the weekend and complete them then. Time for your personal projects should be non-negotiable.

2. Write out a daily list. More importantly, add time limits next to each item. You’re on the clock for yourself. If you don’t set limits, you’ll take 5 times as long to get something done. Write down everything, including an allotted amount of time for social media. It’s true that a task will take as much time as you give it. If you have an hour to blog before work, then you’ll find a way to push that post live in time.

3. Keep a weekly calendar. If you can only see a day at a time, it’s more likely that you’ll over schedule yourself but having the full week in front of you makes it clear where you have open chunks of time. I personally write everything out on these Kikki K planner pads (how old school!) because seeing the list in front of me and crossing out each item keeps me accountable at all times.

4. Start with a few easy wins to build momentum. I know this is counterintuitive to what a lot of the experts say but I like a bit of a warm-up to a busy day. Crossing a few things off my list right away makes me feel accomplished and gets me excited to continue on to the bigger, harder items.

5. Define what your to-do list is helping you accomplish. This is a bit abstract but just hear me out. Think hard for a second: what is your big picture goal? Is your to-do list helping you to eventually leave your full-time job and work for yourself? Is it helping you become more fit by exercising regularly? Is it helping you earn extra income by completing client work? Once you know the answer, it’s easier to give it your all.

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There you go. My 5 tips aren’t groundbreaking…but they work for me. The bottom line is that to work hard and get shit done, you have to determine what motivates you. Because really, motivation is EVERYTHING. Are you motivated to buy a new pair of shoes? Advance your career? Leave corporate America? Earn some extra money to take a swanky vacation? My motivation every day is to take great care of my clients, grow my business so that I have more stability, to carve out enough time to develop digital products so I can work less and spend more time with my family, and finally, to continually draw in my dream tribe of clients so that work feels fun and inspiring for everyone involved.

That’s a lot….but it’s what keeps me going, even on weekends when I’m sitting in my office scrolling through Instagram, feeling a severe case of #FOMO creeping in.

I’ve learned that if you can figure out what you’re working towards, the work you put in becomes worth it instead of feeling like a chore.

Okay, now it’s your turn: what are your tricks for making sure you have time to do the work?


For even more Creative Chronicles, please click here.
Photos: Erika Astrid.

The Week In Pictures: 11.6.15

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My first thought today is, “What? It’s Friday? Really?

My second thought is, “Maybe I should have left my office more. This week doesn’t look all that interesting here.”

My third thought is, “It’s okay. You’ve gotta live your life first.

How was your week? Mine was full of a lot of behind the scenes tasks that didn’t necessarily equate to pretty pictures. Business stuff is rarely photogenic but an absolute necessity. I revamped the Branch media kit and it was a good reminder that talking about your business and marketing yourself, no matter how many times you do it is still difficult. It’s one of those things that takes constant insight and practice. Once that was done, I reworked all our internal documents to match. The rest of my time was spent sending out a stack of estimates and taking a bunch of calls.

None of these moments leave room for pretty pictures…but that’s what real life often looks like. Sometimes, the things that matter just don’t translate visually to Instagram. But, getting shit done and keeping everything running smoothly is the most important.

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I have fashion issues. All the damn time. You, too? Here’s your new uniform.

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Cake stands are my new favorite office hack to get my plants grouped together. I have a ton of tiny succulents and everything was feeling a bit cluttered so this did the trick.

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It’s so crazy that it’s already been a year since I moved into this studio space. During the first six months, I was traveling constantly and had a hard time finding a rhythm so it feels good to be home for the foreseeable future, making progress. Traveling is exciting but it often forces you to put your business on hold because you have very little time to take on new things — it becomes a balancing act where you’re just trying to maintain what you have going on. The last month home has been AWESOME. Things I had on my list for two years are getting crossed off which leads to the next topic…

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I want to personally thank every one of you who signed up for the Branch Bulletin, a new monthly newsletter from my design studio. Complete disclosure here: I was scared to death to send it out. That’s completely laughable, considering that I’ve been blogging for close to 15 years. But, blog posts can be edited again and again. Mailing lists? Once you hit send, a few hundred (or more) folks have your message sitting in their inbox. There’s no going back.

I sat on that first newsletter all day, writing and re-writing. Was it good enough to send? Where was all this performance anxiety coming from? A deadline is a deadline! Finally, I pushed send.

The reason I’m telling you this story is that there are some things in life that aren’t the most fun to do. They are hard so we keep putting them off. Putting a project off for a day then turns into a week, then a year, then two years. I’d been wanting to write a newsletter for TWO WHOLE YEARS.

On Friday, after I sent the first one, I wondered why I hadn’t made the time earlier. Go do that thing you need to do. It’s not as bad as you think. Run that errand, hit send on that email, ask for that promotion, sign that lease on a creative work space, clean out your closet, publish your first blog post. You can do it!

P.S. In case you didn’t sign up in time, you can read the first one here. And if you have a mailing list of your own, let me know about it in the comments!

Happy Friday, friends. I hope it’s a good one!

Link Love: 11.5.15

Nubby Twiglet: Link Love | Alexis Jamet

• If you’re thinking of giving up on something you love, stop and read this article instead.

• You never see any of these things in offices anymore.

• I love these photos of heavily tattooed people.

• This Instagram account documents the plastic bags of New York City.

• As a brand, remember to invest in your audience.

• Wow, amazing! This guy met his doppelgänger on a flight!

• If you’re interested in podcasting, Paul Jarvis just shared his tools to make it happen.

• Are you guilty of stalking your ex online?

• Portland brand Felton & Mary’s needs your help raising money to produce their BBQ sauces! I just pledged and hope you can, too.

• I love these notepads for fictional hotels!

• Paige Powell, part of the 1980s Warhol and Interview Magazine crew, just uncovered a treasure trove of photos from under her bed. Really!

• Finding your signature style isn’t as hard as you think.

5 steps to starting your day right.

• If you need a bag that makes traveling with your million dollars in cash easy (haha), here you go!

• It’s so cool to see old buildings reinvented. This school in Amsterdam has been transformed into housing.


Image: Alexis Jamet.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Creative Chronicles #2: 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Do you offer services or advertising in your business model?

If you answered yes, then you should probably have a media kit.

The term media kit has been around for a long time but the truth is, I didn’t really understand what it meant until 2007 when a client with a print magazine approached me, asking me to design one. They sold advertising spots and needed to convey to companies why they were worth the investment.

To get me started, they sent over a bundle of media kits they’d gathered, mostly for large print publications. As I dug in and started researching the format, I began to realize that although they targeted completely different audiences, the content was basically the same.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

They all contained some form of the following:

1. Branded front cover
2. Intro / mission statement
3. Stats and / or notable accomplishments
4. Notable clients
5. Services offered
6. Rates
7. Process / how to book
8. Testimonials
9. Frequently asked questions
10. Contact info

I got to work and once the project was finished, added it to my portfolio. Soon, all sorts of businesses were booking me in for media kits. Bloggers, photographers and creative entrepreneurs from all walks of life realized that they could take that basic format and tweak it to sell their ads, sponsored content and services.

Over the last eight years, I’ve designed a few dozen media kits, including plenty for myself. And, that’s what we’re going to chat about today: how creatives can leverage media kits to grow their own businesses.

As soon as I launched Branch two years ago, the first thing I did was design a media kit and it’s become my most important selling tool. Why? Because when you’re dealing with a potentially worldwide audience, it’s not always possible to be there in person to sell in your services. A media kit is able to do that for you.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Here’s the process of sending out a media kit:

1. A potential client contacts Branch.

2. Within 48 hours, our project manager responds with an introduction and attaches a PDF media kit to the email.

3. The client follows up with which package they’re interested in and we set up a call to discuss their specific needs.

The media kit is a great tool because it essentially gives them all the information they could possibly need in one easy to navigate document while often cutting our correspondence time in half because it’s already answered most of their questions.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Five reasons why you should have a media kit

1. It does the talking for your business when you’re not able to meet in person. This is especially important for those of us who have businesses with an online following.

2. It explains packages, processes and rates in more detail. Some of this information is very in-depth or sensitive and it’s easier to format it in a nice document versus clogging up your website.

3. It builds a dialogue. If a potential client emails you for a media kit and then drops off, you can follow up to find out if they have everything they need and if the rates work for their budget. From there, you can work to meet their needs.

4. It’s easier to sell larger offerings. By showcasing a menu of services / packages, clients can compare pricing and what they receive much easier because the value is clear. For instance, instead of a logo, they may decide to invest in a brand platform when they understand the benefits.

5. It shows you care. By laying out the information a potential client needs and thinking of all the answers before they even ask a question, a media kit positions you as a pro and makes it clear that you’re invested in the best possible outcome of their project.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Media Kit

As a reminder, media kits can be formatted to market nearly any business. Whether you’re a blogger, writer, photographer or designer, a media kit is simply a way to explain what you offer in a streamlined, informative document. The easier you can make it for your clients to understand what you’re offering and how to book you, the more successful your business has the potential to be.

I hope this post has demystified the content and process of media kits a bit more and if you have any further questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments!


For even more Creative Chronicles, please click here.
Featured media kit: We Are Branch.

Latest & Greatest #33: Nuuna Notebooks

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

Who needs another notebook?

Not me.

Who wants another notebook?

Most definitely me.

Do you have a notebook addiction, too? As much as I try to stay away, another brand has just caught my eye and these are just too good not to share.

Nuuna is a German brand that’s on a mission to do away with boring notebooks. Their thought is that notebooks are meant to store our ideas and therefore, they should be creative and fun to write in.

I first spied the brand on my friend Sian’s Instagram and it was love at first sight. These aren’t just eye candy, though. The quality and attention to detail puts most brands to shame. With Swedish paper and silkscreened covers, these are pieces of art unto themselves.

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

Nubby Twiglet | Nuuna Notebooks

P.S. I love it when brands share their behind-the-scenes process and the factory photos of these being produced are so cool.


Photos: Courtesy of Nuuna.

The Week In Pictures: 10.30.15

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Hi and Happy early Halloween to you! Do you have any fun plans lined up? I’m taking it easy and hitting the town with a bunch of family including my beloved grandparents. Should be a good time!

Now that I’m not traveling as much, I’ve been making more time to explore my own city which has been AWESOME. My friend Emily from Catalyst Coffee and I made a day of adventuring around Portland. We started at the Nob Hill Barista (some of the best coffee in town), made our way down to a few shops including Back Talk (check out their site to see the AMAZING clothing racks), then onto magazine shopping at Rich’s Cigar Store and finally, lunch at Marmo (see above).

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Oh, I also finally bought some Lush products! I’ve visited their stores around the world but was always too overwhelmed by the options to even know where to start. I found a great sales lady at the Portland location who helped me pick out the best dry shampoo (no gross silicone additives like other brands) and some leave-in conditioner. Since I’m new to the brand, I’d love to hear what your favorite products are. Any recommendations of what I should try next?

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I always get a little scared when I have to visit my accountant (to the point that I wear my metallic gold sneakers for good luck) but by the end of our meetings, I’m laughing like a madwoman. I swear that he’s a part-time comedian. And, he makes understanding numbers kind of fun. Even funnier is the bike rack outside of his office!

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I finally made it to Trader Vic’s and it was everything I could have hoped for! I’ve been making the tiki bar rounds in Portland since I got back from Palm Springs and they have a fantastic happy hour. Plus, check out that swanky dining room!

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Oh, Portland. It’s been raining every day and I’m ready for a mug of apple cider and curling up with a good magazine. Have a great weekend, friends!

P.S. Today, I’m sending out the first ever Branch Bulletin — it’s my studio mailing list and I’m sharing a very personal story that most freelancers will be able to relate to big time. Hop on over to the site and sign up at the bottom of the page to receive yours! xo