Carly Kewley considers herself a “solopreneur.”
After the birth of her second child, Kewley says she struggled with postpartum depression. This led her to pursue a new avenue and launch her graphic design and brand development company, CK Design, to “extend conversations and shine a light on others who want to share their voices and dreams.”
605 spoke with Kewley about the importance of brand building, and how she juggles running a business and life.
BUILDING YOUR PERSONAL OR BUSINESS BRAND IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE… it’s your story. But before delving too far into that, branding gets thrown around a lot these days and tends to get watered down. So for anyone new to branding and wanting to grasp it more, it’s deep. It’s not ‘just a logo,’ a website, a color palette, content, or pictures. It’s an experience, and it’s a story.
If your business was a person, the bones and wiring would be the structure of how it functions. The hobbies, conversations, interests, clothes they wear, music they listen to—that’s the personality. That’s the brand. It’s an experience. It’s a story. It’s ever-evolving.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF CREATING A BRAND ARE… focus, goal setting, purpose, and clarity. Without either of those things, you’re lacking a foundation. You can’t build a business or an empire on a weak foundation.
I STARTED CK DESIGN BECAUSE… when I was running [my first company] ArtByCarly, I was doing everything under the sun that I was passionate about—wedding photography, family photos, logo design, custom art, and my own original art. It grew so fast and I had such a lack of focus on [one service] that it got overwhelming. Was I a wedding photographer or a logo and website designer?
In short, both; but it forced a fork in the road that created pause for my viewers. Not only that, it was hard for me to even describe what I did. I didn’t have a one-sentence elevator pitch. I learned the importance and value of narrowing your niche and focus.
THis has been a long journey of twists and turns, but that’s true for any and all entrepeneurial journeys
MY FAVORITE THING TO PHOTOGRAPH IS… my family. I love taking pictures of my daughters and my husband when he lets me.
I FIND BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND EVERYDAY LIFE BY… not working on the weekends and trying really hard to create boundaries of not working after 5:30 p.m.
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT RUNNING MY OWN BUSINESS IS… the freedom and ability to scale it how I want.
THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT RUNNING MY OWN BUSINESS IS… letting go and learning to outsource.
Instagram: @ _CK.Design_
A RECENT PROJECT I’M PROUD OF IS… I recently teamed up with [local business] wäke to raise awareness to a nonprofit organization called SocialWorks. Watching the protests and riots stirred some deep movement in me. I wanted to find a way to support a black-owned local business, amplify their voice, and create an opportunity for others to do the same.
I’m still learning and relearning, so I didn’t feel that I had a place to really share or vocalize much without being ignorant or sloppy. wäke and I teamed up to create a fundraiser for SocialWorks, and with every donation, [donors] were gifted a set of Canva templates—10 stories, 10 squares—all branded for wäke and SocialWorks to highlight their work. They were all created for customization for anyone to share their story.
IF I COULD GIVE SOMEONE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, IT WOULD BE… don’t overthink it. Make it about connection and being social. That’s the main proponent of it, to connect. So start the conversation and invite people in.