Hi! I’m Sunni (short for Sunshine), and this is the story of how this business began. My hope in sharing this with you, is that it will remind you of the person behind the business, and help us forge a REAL connection, no matter how far away you may be. And if, after reading, you feel compelled to share your story, I would absolutely love to hear from you! … so here it goes:
When I was just 18 years old, me and my husband (at the time, just my boyfriend) had an “oops we’re pregnant” situation, far far sooner than I’d planned. So by the time I was 20, I had a 2 year old son, no job, no plan, and no schooling… so I decided to go back to college, and cleaned houses in my spare time, with a baby on my hip.
I had no idea what I wanted to do yet, but I knew that whatever I did it would be something related to the arts, because I had always been naturally inclined to that, and had always been very creative. The other thing I knew for sure about myself, was that, for some reason, I was always the girl at the party that everyone would pull aside to confess their deepest struggles to, because they knew on some level that I was the one warm and safe space to do that in this hot little mess of a world. But little did I know at the time how those two things would converge down the line to build the life and career that I love so much now.
So with hardly two nickels to rub together, I enrolled in the local college and committed to the Applied Art & Design 2 year track, where I decided to be a graphic designer, because it seemed like the most brilliant thing I’d ever heard of at the time! … a way to do art stuff AND make money?? You’re kidding?! Holy smokes, I’m in!
And before I had even graduated in my second year, one of my professors there had approached me about coming to work for her design firm when I was done… so as soon as I completed my degree, I did just that. I worked for her for the next year and a half, while she let even her much higher-ranking long-time employees go, one by one, due to lack of finances… until finally I was the only one left in the company, pretty much running the show—less than a year out of college.
But the firm was soon forced to close its doors, and I was again a scared kid, with a kid, not knowing what to do next, or how we were going to survive. When I announced to my client docket that I was leaving the firm and it was closing up shop, to my shock quite a few of them begged to come with me. So I agreed to take a couple of them on, on a freelance basis while I figured out what to do next.
Little did I know at the time, but “next” turned out to be deciding to open my own design firm from home, and running it successfully for the next 16+ years, with a very long list of happy clients in its wake, and without ever having spent a single dollar on marketing or advertising. I lived, and lived well, doubling and tripling my revenue, and being offered opportunities to travel to amazing places and spaces, based solely on the word of mouth of my very happy clients. I would not recommend such a thing anymore (the not marketing part!) But it goes to show the power of committing yourself to the work you love, and doing it well.
In all the years since, I have often reinvented myself, and brought new skills to the table along the way, but the heart of my business is, and always has been, my unique sensibilities for creating emotionally engaging content and design while at the same time being a warm, open, and trustworthy space for people to be their WHOLE SELF in.
What I understand now, that I didn’t then, is that it enables people and their businesses to truly be SEEN, and to in turn SEE THEMSELVES in a whole new light, and to share that newfound presence with the world.
What I know now, that I didn’t know then, is that this is no small feat, and it is also NOT something you normally get when you just “get a website” for your business. It is a powerful culmination of things, learned skills, and natural inclinations, and the results of that are honestly amazing when one is “all in”.
In the past year my business and life has again begun to take a major turn, and as always, what looked like a hot load of sh*t, was really just more blessings in disguise. I now have marketing systems in place, and a team of awesome people to support me, and am on my way to doubling and tripling my business again…
so if you happen to be in one of those crap-tastic places, know that you’re not alone, and that EVERYTHING can change when you make big leaps in the direction of your heart, and commit yourself, completely, to the life you truly love, and want to live.
Every time my life appeared to be going to hell, it was actually a change for the better, in ways so much bigger than I could see at the time. Change is just hard and scary, and it’s always going to be hard and scary, but there are so many gifts in it if you’re willing to stop screaming and open your eyes. 🙂
And if you’re wondering what happened to my husband and son in all this, we are still a close knit little family of 3. My son is now going on 20 years old, and my husband is still my very best friend. There’s been ups and downs, good times and hard times, and REALLY hard times… and I know there’s many more yet to come.
But I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
It’s not perfect…
but it’s the life I know and LOVE.
The power of great design in branding your business is that it not only excites and inspires your clients, but it excites and inspires you too! When you meet your genuine brand, all fleshed out before you, it re-invigorates and re-inspires YOU about it too, it brings your vision to life in a whole new way, and that inspiration goes right back into the business… equipping you with everything you need to meet your market head-on, and grow your business from a fresh and strong foundation. As a successful business owner you already know that whether you’re selling a product or a service, what you’re really selling is an EXPERIENCE, and the best way to sell an experience is to give your prospective customers a “taste”. Here at The Salty Olive we specialize in just that very thing, and we’ve been doing it for 16+ years: distilling it all down to the heart of your business, and designing all your marketing materials to do just that—give your clients a true “taste” and FEEL for YOUR UNIQUE BRAND EXPERIENCE. The fact is people connect on a tactile, and emotional level through words and imagery—it’s what moves them and ultimately inspires them to choose you—that’s why we design your brand as an answer to what your clients most want to feel and experience, because when you do that, you go from being A choice for them, to being THE choice for them.