I can't pinpoint the precise moment where I first heard about Native State Design, but I do remember being swept away by the alluring beauty and effortless nature of their design style. Whether it was my dear friend Sam's website or the thoughtful logo development behind Windblown Jewelry, I had no doubt in my mind that when it came time for me to re-brand, they would be my team! The whole process of creating a new look for my business became exciting because of Sarah's passion for design, diligence in understanding your product or service, and eye for creating an elevated brand that is truly unique to you and your story. I honestly have so many positive things to say about them, I could write another entire blog post on the professional, wonderful experience in working with these two (also, when I say 'these two', Sarah is the forefront of the business focusing more on design, whereas her talented husband, Daniel, does a lot of the back end implementation and coding for sites! Can we say #marriagegoals?)! Okay, enough of introducing them, I will let Sarah take it away. PS. They also designed this chic blog for me, too.
J: So, I know the Native State Design story, but tell our readers how your brand and your business came to life.
S: Daniel and I were on career paths that were not conducive to to family life we both valued having with each other and our two kids. We were always drawn to design and after talking with several mentors and doing a lot of research, Daniel pitched the idea to me of starting our own business. We spent the next few years learning everything we could, working hard to book clients, and finally last year we were both able to go full time with Native State. The name of our business comes from the fact that we are both North Carolina natives and that has become something of a rarity these days. The design of our logo is influenced by type on old farm badges that Daniel used to see growing up visiting his grandparent’s farms but in a modern treatment.
J: What did you do before opening Native State Design Company? Do you have a degree in something other than branding and website design?
S: I worked at a bank in the loan department doing internal accounting work. I have some college and some community college, but I did not complete any degrees. I am a 100% self-taught designer. I learned my craft through books, online classes, and through a few mentors who took me and Daniel under their wings.
J: What separates Native State Design Company from many other branding and design businesses out there currently?
S: We are very strategy focused. About two out of six weeks of our branding process is actually research and brand strategy creation. We essentially act almost as business consultants on most of our projects. We look at the big picture of how branding and marketing fit into our client’s business plan as a whole to make sure the brand identity we design for them helps them achieve their goals. This results in us forming deep, trusting relationships with our clients who feel heard and truly served by us.
J: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
S: I love helping businesses clarify their purpose, message, and the heart behind why they do what they do and then translating that into design. The best part of our job is when a client walks away with an authentic brand and the tools they need to really grow their business and attract their ideal clients. Watching them grow over the years and reach their goals is the best part
J: This blog is all about inspiring and encouraging women. Tell us, where do you garner your inspiration from or what inspires you daily?
S: I am always inspired by my kids creativity and imagination, I love literature and am usually reading some sort of novel, and I find lots of design inspiration in art and in the city. My favorite thing to do when I have a creative block at work is to take a walk around the block to let the vibrance of downtown Raleigh restart my brain. I’m not much of an outdoors type, but drop me in an urban environment and I am very happy.
J: Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life to date and why?
S: This is a tough one! My husband Daniel has really inspired me to be brave and confident and try hard things. He is really the one who was brave enough to go out and start our business. I definitely could not do it without him! He is a constant example of patience, kindness and self-control.
J: What has been your biggest struggle professionally? How did you endure it (or are enduring it currently!)?
S: My biggest struggle has been imposter syndrome or feeling like I will never be “good enough” because I don’t have a formal degree. The best combat to that has been just getting on with the work and pushing to always do my best work. Another really helpful thing has been plugging into a creative community (for us it’s our Studio Mates at the Assembly) and getting their feedback and being encouraged by them professionally.
J: I don’t really like the term ‘work-life balance,’ but how do you maintain some semblance of balance in your life? Does it tip more at certain times than others? i.e more work, less play, or more play, less work.
S: I really try to stick to a somewhat regular schedule. My kids school hours really dictate my office hours which has really helped me cultivate a balanced schedule and efficient work habits. When we have extra big projects Daniel and I will swap out kid duties as needed to get everything done. I have also learned the power of not answering emails that come in at 9pm and leaving them for the next morning’s office hours instead.
J: How do you give back to the community or serve others currently? Any organizations or charities you are partial to?
S: We always are serving in some way at church, but this current season of life while we build up our business and raise small kids has become so hectic that we’ve had to take a break from formal serving. We currently try to serve our neighbors and friends in as many ways as we are able (taking meals, carpooling their kids, etc.)
J: We all have one book, blog, or podcast that we’d recommend to others as a “must” check out. What is that for you?
S: I have recently become obsessed with learning the about Enneagram! It’s a tool for self-awareness and self-improvement based on personality types. I have been listening to the Typology and Road Back to You podcasts lately to learn more. It’s been very life-giving to learn more about the motivation of my personality type and how that interacts with my business and my personal relationships. I strongly recommend any person read up on this! It’s been incredibly helpful for me! P.s. If anyone reading already knows the Enneagram, I’m a type 4.
J: What is your day to day motto?
S: My biggest daily reminder is Jesus is greater. I can get really hung up on small mishaps and let them ruin my whole day if I don’t constantly redirect myself to the bigger picture.
J: If you could leave the readers with one piece of advice to take with them daily, to help them feel encouraged, what would it be?
S: Saying no is okay. Do not sacrifice your personal well-being for your work.
J: Where can the readers engage and keep up with your community?
J: Following Native State Design Co's process and watching them recreate the face of a business is really neat - click on the links above to join their community; you can also scroll below for more examples of their work including the chic, contemporary logo they made for me in 2017 below!