2017 brought forth many changes in my life and business. It was a year full of incredible clients, bucket list venues, creative designs and some out of this world events. BUT, I was feeling run down frustrated and stagnant as a business owner. I felt like I was spinning my wheels but not going very far. From start to finish the year was a roller-coaster. I only threw up a few times.
So how does one feel successful AND unsuccessful at one time? Let’s take a step back though shall we?
I knew half way through 2016 that I needed to start thinking about re-branding soon. I was feeling burned out and complacent. My brand wasn’t always hitting my ideal clients and weddings. I was feeling hit and miss and in a rut. I was hitting a wall and needed to redirect in order to really grab the attentions of the clients I desired. I wanted to focus on attracting couples who loved color, pattern and stylized designs and themes as much as I do. But just like buying new jeans or getting a flu shot, I put it off because I was scared! Scared of the change and risk of failure. Change is hard. I don’t like it very much. Have I mentioned I don’t like change? Raise your hand if you feel the same! Yet, I knew a BIG shift had to be made within myself and my business in order to really achieve my goals and grow. First it was really asking myself the tough question of, “Holly, what do you want?”. Sometimes the best answer is right in front of your face! I just had to look in the mirror. I wanted a brand that shouted, “This is so Holly”. It had to be colorful, it had to be bright, it had to be cheerful and most important of all, it had to be over the top. Just like me. I wanted to let go of the idea of what a wedding planner was “supposed to be or look like” and just be myself. I was totally ok with not appealing to the masses and focusing on a niche market. So in August of 2017, when I knew I could not put off the inevitable change any longer, I made the leap. I threw up again then!
I will be perfectly honest with you. I have to get help to change my microwave clock every Spring Forward or Fall Back. I can’t seem to work Nextflix unless my boyfriend is home and Best Buy makes my skin itch. I am not a “high tech” fan. I knew there was no way in hell I could go about designing and rebranding a website all by myself despite how easy some website templates make it sound. HTML what?! Kudos for anyone that can, but I know my limitations. I needed professional help.
I need to find a team that was up for the challenge of creating a brand that was very different from the market I am in. Finding a team to rebrand with is like dating. You need to make a lot of calls, have face time and really click with someone on a personal level to want to move forward and make a go of it.
I was recommended by my #workwifeforlife, Renee Dalo of Moxie Bright Events, to call Ginny Krauss. I remember the exact moment. Renee and I were driving somewhere together as we do several times a a week and out of no where she said, “Oh Oh Ginny! You need to call Ginny Krauss. She talks about donuts in her contact form. She is perfect for you!”. See, donuts always get me!
Anything But Gray Events re-branding photos by Julie Shuford Photography
From the first moment I jumped on a Skype with Ginny I loved her. We were both unapologetically wearing no makeup and in our PJ’s in the late afternoon. A super sunny Ex Pat gal living in Munich with her German husband and an adorable son named Oliver. Her personality and laughter was infectious. She could have sold ice to an eskimo. There were too many similarities that I could not deny. Ginny was able to guide me through the re-branding process and gave me the needed push when I just couldn’t get my act together. She was like having a personal trainer for websites! She literally coached me through a process that I never thought would be so personally challenging. She was the right mix of honest and firm but loving and understanding.
Here is Ginny!
On top of all that goodness came her incredible design partner, Pat Alix-Villa, who lives in Singapore. Pat was the no non sense, get it done and make it look fabulous person I need in my life. Pat understood my love of color, shapes and sparkle right off the bat. Pat is patient like no one I have ever known. I would send her detailed emails about tiny changes I needed to see and magically, she made them happen. Every logo she showed me could have been “the one”. With every new design I was more and more in love with the way my website looked.
Here is Pat!
“I didn’t feel like I had to explain myself or my choices to either gal. They both just got it and ran with it! It was Ginny n’ Pat for the win! Our international trifecta perfecta was complete!”
No one tells you when you are rebranding your business (in my case a business of 5 years) that it is really challenging. Like walking in high hells over hot coals while juggling and singing, challenging. I say this because there is a lot of soul searching involved. You are showing the world who you are and what you represent and it is TERRIFYING. Have you ever seen that TV show Naked and Afraid? Well, it is sorta like that without having to eat live snakes. I had so many sleepless nights and pep talk emails from both Ginny and Pat reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. The biggest hurdle for me personally was the name change. For 5 years I had been Events by Holly Gray. I honestly had not given much thought to my name when I started. The name said what I did and who I was and that was enough for me. My name was literally in the business name. I worried that if I changed it, no one would no it was me behind the business anymore. But, if I did not change the name, this would not be a full re-brand but rather just a facelift. I wanted a FULL change. The name had to shift to reflect all incredible changes. I made lists and lists and talked to trusted friends and colleagues. There were so many names that I loved but the one that kept coming back into my mind was Anything But Gray. It encompassed everything I am DESPITE my last name. Anything But Gray still had ME within it but the meaning behind it was so much more. I wanted to appeal to colorful and creative couples who were Anything But Gray. There is was. Right in front of me. I am a very confident, decisive and head strong women but this process taught me how to really find my brand within myself. It was therapeutic and life-changing. If your in the business market for a change, I recommend it and can not say enough wonderful things about the two boss ladies who helped me realize my vision and achieve my end result.
Initially this logo was a just sub-logo. I had already picked another one to be my main logo. But when Pat send it to me I knew it was the one and I made an immediate change. Much like my life and business, all the colorful pieces were falling into place to create one, cohesive vision and brand. This logo was truly who I am embodied.
On December 2, 2017 the website and re-brand finally went live and within a week I had booked my biggest client to date. I give all the kudos to Ginny and Pat for putting up with me over 5 months. Thank you! I am so grateful that they came into my life when they did. If you need to re-brand, hire them!!
Here is to 2018 and all the colorful creative craziness to come!