A Brand-Spankin’ New Website

As I smattered all over the Facebook and Twitter on Friday, I am BEYOND EXCITED for the launch of my new website!

THE OLD

What was my old website like? Before Friday, it was simply a Tumblr template redirected to a vanity URL. No diss to anyone who uses that method. It certainly worked for me! (It was free, and it took zero time to put it together.)

However, at the beginning of this year, I had a rash of requests for proposals that ended up with the potential clients not taking me completely seriously. They had found me through my website, and after great initial meetings and phone calls, when it came time to reviewing a proposal, they would be shocked – hell, even borderline insulted – when it came to the sticker price, despite my experience and portfolio containing work for fairly large and reputable companies.

It also strongly struck me when I lost out on a particular project earlier this year. I was so sure I had it in the bag. I had asked the potential client why he chose not to go with me, and said this: “You need to toot your horn a little louder.”

Aye.

He was right. I was too meek for my own good.

Clients want someone who is confident in their work. I am confident… but I needed to SHOW it.

My old site didn’t fit what I wanted to communicate to people. It was clunky and amateurish. It didn’t accurately and fairly represent the services I could offer to potential clients, and it didn’t fairly represent the work I had already done for so many of my amazing clients.

THE EPIPHANY

I did some soul-searching. I looked at my branding, my language. Ah HA! There it was.

I had resolved that my website was… not a real website – at least for a designer who was expecting to be taken seriously. I realized I had been wearing boxer shorts and a flannel shirt to interviews with Fortune 500 companies and then was shocked when the hiring manager asked me to work for less than minimum wage.

Essentially, I wasn’t representing myself the way I wanted to be treated. When I first started freelancing, I had quickly put together a website, naively resting on my laurels, thinking that my portfolio would speak for itself. Boy, what a cocky and foolish thing to think. A portfolio will only take you so far. The right clothes can take you further.

So I got serious and, with a pep talk and the help and dedication from a very talented developer, I got it done!

WHAT GETS IN THE WAY? A LOT OF TIMES, YOURSELF.

Getting the website done was also quite a feat, because after taking this project to a handful of developers already who couldn’t take the project home for me, 3 years later, my custom website is now a real thing. I had always intended to have a custom designed website, but I used my busy workload as the eternal excuse for not getting it done. This whole story is the classic cautionary tale that I relate to potential clients. How ironic that I didn’t heed my own advice.

But now, here I am, excited and proud to refer people to my site, instead of mumbling an apology/disclaimer.

The site was developed by my great friend and fellow lady entrepreneur, social media maven, and WordPress queen, Laura Oldham of El-Be Social Marketing. She brought my vision to life!! 😀 THANK YOU, Laura, for making this magic happen! (Seriously, as I was going through my list of custom plug-in requests and sent her my design, I was sure Laura would come back and tell me that I couldn’t do a couple of things. But no. She told me I could do all of those things. And better.)

THE FEATURES

As you can see, the website features a little bit about me, large images of my work as well as comments about each project, social sharing buttons on each project, a blog, and the ability for anyone to contact me directly through the website.

I’m also excited about the widgets at the very bottom of the website that connect you to my Instagram feed, Twitter feed, and also showcases friends’ and colleagues’ websites in my industry whose work I admire. (Laura did an AMAZING job with those widgets.)

I’m excited about this, because after years of slacking on a decent website (hey, clients get taken care of first!), I am excited to finally have myself look like a legit company. ;D I’ve been blessed with having great clients, and I’m excited to showcase them all on my website. I look forward to many more years of working with fantastic clients.

2012: THE YEAR OF SWAGGER

In January, when I was lamenting to Laura about the pitfalls of not giving my own branding enough attention, we had determined that we both are naturally inclined to hesitate talking too much about ourselves. Humility is great, but not when it’s detrimental. So we resolved to do better this year. As Laura awesomely put it, 2012 would be The Year of Swagger. Laura has been fulfilling her end of the bargain by working on more exciting projects with great clients… and I’m now finally happy to have begun fulfilling my end of the bargain.

Website Launch: WA Imports

I am giddy giddy giddy to announce the launch of a brand-spankin’ new website for client WA Imports!

Check out the sexy new site here: http://waimports.com/

With the lightning-quick work of Canopy29, I was able to work with web developer genius Jonathan Domanus to get launch approval within the hour of sending the website to the client for review. Whoohoo!

WHO IS WA IMPORTS?

WA Imports is an ingredient driven company, partnering with some of the world’s finest artisanal growers and processors. WA Imports offers a wide variety of specialty food products that allow the professional chef and chef at home to add a little something special to their recipes.

I had the joy of using their Yakami Orchards Yuzu Juice with seared ahi tuna, and it made me look like a cooking rockstar. (And trust me, I am *not* a cooking rockstar. That’s what my husband is for.)

Cocktail enthusiasts behind the restaurant bar and at-home bar alike can also use WA Imports’ products to build creative and sophisticated drinks that elevate the palette to another level.

I know that mixologist extraordinaire Adam Seger (also a wonderful client), likes to use WA Imports’ products in some of his masterful cocktail creations.

SERIOUS STREET CRED

WA Imports has some serious street cred too. They have been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, Tasting Table, and the Chicago Tribune Magazine.

THE WEBSITE DESIGN

The client previously had a clunky site that did not reflect the premium nature of their products. My goal was to design a site that was very clean, open, elegant, easy-to-use, and sophisticated. White space was king here. Most importantly, I wanted to let their products be the star of the show, and I am excited to say that the design accomplishes just that.

I must also put in a great word for Canopy29’s Content Management System. When I was populating the site with content, I found their CMS was fast and extremely easy to use. I felt like a pro developer CMS-ing away!

LIKE AND FOLLOW!

Aside from the client wanting a “fast and slick” site, they wanted to get on the social media hub, so I worked with Canopy29 to get WA Imports up and running on Facebook and Twitter. So LIKE and FOLLOW WA Imports to get the latest on their new, mouth-watering products!

A SERIOUS DEADLINE

What’s even more exciting is that WA Imports will be featured in the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this weekend January 15-17, which is a huge annual show for them. We launched just in time for them to show off their brand new site to their booth visitors and fans, which will be imperative for WA Imports to spread the word about their phenomenal products.

(Did you know that Patti LaBelle once visited WA Imports’ booth at a food show and professed how much of a fan she is of their products? UMMMM… AMAZING!)

Congratulations to WA Imports on their new website!