We had the good fortune of connecting with Liz Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liz, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After studying visual communications and fine arts, my first job out of school was as a marketing manager for an Industrial Automation Distributor. While I was appreciative of my job, I really struggled with wanting a more creative outlet for my skills. Friends and contacts I had networked with began asking me to do design freelance projects for them on the side. I realized I loved working with a variety of projects versus being stuck in one industry, and one brand. I knew then that I needed to take a closer look at creating my own design business. If I followed projects and people that inspired me, I’d find success somehow or another.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve always kinda known I wanted to do something with design…even as early as elementary school. I loved to draw, I loved making things and somehow, I had the logic then to know graphic design was a career possibility. Fast forward to today, while graphic design is a huge part of business, it’s not the biggest part of what I do. When you run a small business, you begin as your own accountant, marketing team, sales team, support team, and so on. With every project I take on, I find ways to improve my process. I can definitely say in the beginning I was winging it. I didn’t know how long things would take, I was bad at pricing out my services, I let projects linger too long and I took on projects I didn’t love. I’ve improved all these things over the years, and I suspect I will continue to adapt and improve the efficiencies in my business as I grow. I know what projects are a fit, and which ones I should pass on.
In the more recent years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with fantastic clients. Clients who are super passionate about their businesses and who appreciate the value design brings to their business. One of the things I hear most from clients I work with is their gratitude to work with someone who guides them beyond the creative aspects of their projects. My experience in strategic marketing and sales support has helped me guide clients in ways they might not be aware of in the beginning. Taking the time to understand their business as a whole, their short and long-term goals, who their audience is, how they want to grow…It all affects the design process and the final product. At the end of the day, nothing gets me more excited than launching a brand or website for a happy client and watching their business flourish.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It’s been years since I’ve been to Colorado (more than I can count), but I would love to plan a trip in the future now that things are opening up. Hopefully, upcoming projects will lead me back. I’m sure things have changed so much since I’ve been there but my ideal next trip will include a good mix of city and nature. I love hiking and biking so any scenic trails are a must. After soaking in some views I’d love to explore Denver and hit the botanical gardens and art museum. I am always on the hunt to find restaurants with unique craft cocktails and a good wine list. Typically I pick a few key places I want to visit and then enjoy getting lost in between.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that have influenced me over the years and inspired me to keep going. I had the privilege to work with designer extraordinaire, Oksana Badrak a few years ago as a design consultant for a tech startup. Oksana was the Chief Creative Officer, and the moment I met her, I was blown away by her talent. (She is one of the best graphic designers and illustrators I’ve ever worked with.) Her ability to think conceptually and go all-in on every project is evident in her work. She motivated me to think better without telling me what to do and pushed my design skills to a better place. Not to mention, she’s an overall wonderful human being. Another shoutout needs to go to my friend, Sharon Kevil. Sharon is the great connector (and founder of Forti Goods). Sharon and I met a few years ago and have worked on several design projects together. She is someone who is not only super talented herself, but who appreciates the talents of her community. Sharon is always connecting and promoting others. Some of my favorite clients and projects came from Sharon’s referrals. Aside from the connecting, Sharon is one of the most driven, funny, and smart women I’ve met. Watching her launch Forti Goods from the ground up has been nothing short of inspiring.
Matt Haas Photography Aurelia D’Amore Photography Tricia Shay Photography