How did you get your start in designing? What made you decide to go full-force and start your business?
I actually fell into graphic design quite accidentally during my sophomore year in college. I was a journalism major and part of my program involved learning basic design principles and laying out broadsheets. It all came to me quite easily and I found that I really enjoyed laying out and designing print materials! A few years later while I was designing the save the dates for my wedding, I realized this was a skill set I could turn into a viable business opportunity and so b is for bonnie design was born. Originally, I opened up an Etsy store selling customizable wedding stationery but soon noticed a niche where I could utilize my knowledge of communications and PR to work on a one-on-one basis with small businesses looking to take their brands to the next level. What originally started out as a part-time Etsy store grew into a boutique branding studio and inspirational print shop! My husband serves in the Air Force so I knew we would move quite a bit during his career. As soon as I realized that I could turn my business into a profitable, full-time endeavor, I decided to invest tons of time and energy into making it a viable option that I could take with us wherever my husband’s service called us.
Who has been a major influence or a major help along the way as you followed your passion?
As cliche as it might sound, I couldn’t have done any of this without my sweet husband’s unwavering support and encouragement. From the very beginning he has been totally invested in this crazy dream of mine, helping me balance finances, carrying giant boxes of shipping supplies and celebrating my business’s successes, both big and small. My entire family has been so supportive of my journey into small business ownership and they serve as a great sounding board for big ideas, a cheer team when things get tough and are some of my most loyal customers to date. Big dreams call for even bigger support systems, and I feel so blessed to have such a wildly loving bunch behind me!
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started you business?
If I could go back in time, I’d let myself know that balance is key to running a healthy and sustainable business. As a budding entrepreneur, I thought that if I threw all of my time and all of my energy into making my business successful, it would be. And while that mentality works in some instances, it ultimately ensures that you will waste weeks and months of your life working instead of fully living with those you love most. I’d encourage myself to build a life, not an entrepreneurial legacy. Life is too short to chase after dollar bills and miss out on sharing your days with those you cherish.
My absolute favorite item in your shop is your “Be You, Bravely” print. Seriously simple, yet inspirational! Do you have a favorite product in your shop? What do you hang on your own wall for inspiration?
Right now, I really can’t get enough of a little print trio I created that carry my own family’s mantra, “Live joyfully, give grace freely and love fiercely.” My husband and I wholeheartedly believe in pursuing an authentic life built on joy, a whole bunch of love and abundant grace. It’s such a joy to share those three prints with others and see how it encourages other families to focus on what truly matters most in life.
I created a little gallery wall in my office made up of typographic prints and watercolor paintings that really inspire me. I’m drawn to bold, vibrant hues and prints that share encourage, cheery mantras. Some of my current favorites are from Paper & Honey, Leigh Viner and Lindsay Letters. It’s so nice to have this vibrant wall of prints and canvases directly in front of my desk so I can take a break from emails or managing orders to get a little visual breath of fresh air.
What’s your favorite part of working with other brands? How do you help other entrepreneurs with passionate visions?
I absolutely love being able to partner with creative entrepreneurs and help them create a unique visual brand identity that is a heartfelt representation of who they are and what their brand stands for. Brand design is so much more than a pretty color palette or fancy business cards. Together, my clients and I dig deep into the heart of their brands, focusing on the big dreams, beliefs and values that fuel their businesses. We then take those big, beautiful dreams, beliefs and values and translate them visually into beautiful brand collateral and a one-of-a-kind client experience that could only come from them. Whether it’s through a one-on-one business consult or a full branding project, it’s absolutely invigorating to help such passionate business owners breathe new life into their brands.
Be courageous! Starting a business takes gumption, hard work and a huge helping of bravery. It can be terrifying to put it all out on the line and dive headfirst into making your dreams happen. But your dreams are so worth the risk. Insecurity and fear will only keep you at a standstill. Big dreams require big risks and, at some point, you’ll have to put all of your market research and analytical thinking aside and take action. The fear of failure is no excuse to keep you from bringing your big goals and dreams to life, so take the leap and see how high you can soar.
You thrive off of positive encouragement for others. What is your all-time favorite inspirational quote?
Maybe it’s my life-long love of the written word, but I believe how we use our words can inspire, encourage and breathe truth into even the most hopeless of situations. “Will this matter a year from now?” as quoted by psychotherapist Richard Carlson is one reminder that I find myself returning to time and time again. With so many things vying for our time, it’s shockingly easy to get caught up in trivial tasks that aren’t getting us any closer to who or where we want to be at the end of our days. When I’m feeling pulled in too many directions or I know deep down that my priorities are out of whack, asking myself this question is a sure-fire way to redirect my energy into what truly matters most.
What can we expect from you in the future? Any major projects you’re working on that you can’t wait to share?
I’m actually working on a sweet custom project with Rhiannon Bosse of Hey Gorgeous Events and Laura Hooper of LH Calligraphy that I cannot wait to share! We’ve designed a limited edition notebook that simply oozes encouragement and truth. This project was such a labor of love from all involved and I cannot wait for these gorgeous notebooks to debut in my shop in early October!
Photography exclusively for Best Friends For Frosting by Courtney Dox Photography