We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Conrad and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I can confidently say that the success of my business ventures has little to do with the raw talent that I embody, and much to do with the confidence and self-love that I have worked hard to build throughout my career.
I first became intrigued by Graphic Design in high school, and when I realized I had an eye for design and an infatuation with typography, I just started “doing.” Drawings for fellow entrepreneurs, album covers for boy bands, taking someone’s art and making it digital; anything and everything I could get my hands on. Before I even knew the importance of building a portfolio, I was creating one that I would later use to receive college scholarships at Columbia College Chicago where I continued to make extremely valuable connections, and now, in acquiring clients. Right from the start, I believed that my work had value, and that is something that I have not lost sight of despite many other struggles and feelings of “imposter syndrome.” I believe that we must recognize our own worth before attempting to show or prove it to others. I have not always been confident in the ventures I embarked on, in fact sometimes I still struggle to afford my life, but I have stuck with talking to myself positively, even when, and especially when I don’t believe it. This can look like telling myself that I deserve a higher rate, or even certain statements such as, “I will be successful in working for myself” before I had concrete evidence that would be true.
Alongside graphic design, I am a Yoga Instructor and Full-Spectrum Doula. In this healing work, and through studying trauma and somatic experiencing, I have come to understand that our mind is an extremely powerful place. The thoughts that we hold in our brain have an effect on the way we show up in the world, and I believe they directly affect how successful we allow ourselves to be. Furthermore, the things that we ask for always find their way to us. I have surprised myself time and time again when I voice what I am looking for, and it seems to show up right on time.
There are so many personalities and jobs out there; and you will not be for everyone, but someone will value you for exactly what you do and how you do it. I haven’t wasted time trying to prove myself to those who don’t enjoy my work, but rather worked hard to find the people that I can make an impact on.
People often ask me how I wear so many hats in my business(es), but for me, it’s all one. I continue to evolve and add to my skill set because I believe that I was placed here to help people step into the highest versions of themselves, whether that be through brading someone as a badass business owner, or through empowering someone through breath and movement. There’s no project I will say no to without pondering if there’s a way I can use my skills to make it work. Success is relative. I consider myself to be successful not based on money or praise, but based on the fact that there was a time years ago that I wished I was in exactly the place that I am right now.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve dabbled in all areas of art. Drawing, painting, photography, writing, and have learned that the medium does not matter as much to me as the message of hearing people and telling people’s stories. Currently, what lights me up, is branding in the form of Graphic Design, and art in the form of movement and leadership through Yoga.
In terms of Graphic Design, I get to help entrepreneurs and companies form and maintain their brand so that they can emerge as the badass business owners that they are. I work closely with my clients and really enjoy hearing the events in their life that made them exactly who they are. My challenge is to translate their story into a piece of art, logo, or branding kit that represents what they’ve developed. I prefer to work alongside my clients long term. After the initial logo creation, things get fun with creating a social media presence, a branding guide to share with others, and other marketing materials that can continue to tell their story. I am lucky to have clients that align with my interests and values. I have been working with a Wellness and Skincare brand called LUXXE | HONOR for over two years now who makes products that I truly use every single day. I write social media for an amazing yoga non-profit, Giving Hearts Yoga, run by a beautiful human by the name of Laura Maynard. The community that I have built through my passion for wellness and self-love has absolutely translated into all aspects of my work.
Alongside Graphic Design, I hear people’s stories through teaching yoga in a classroom and virtually, along with hosting my podcast, the What The F**k Happened Podcast. Continuing with the theme of being unapologetically ourselves, I know firsthand that the human experience is HARD, and I have never understood why so many universal topics are considered taboo. I have had the most amazing guests on my podcast who in a beautiful, radically transparent way, share their stories and make so many others feel less alone.
I translate this into my work one-on-one with clients in my Yoga and Doula work. A silver lining of the pandemic was the realization and support of connecting with people virtually. I teach private yoga sessions to folks halfway across the world and get to tailor a healing practice specifically for them, whether it be yoga for anxiety, power yoga classes, yoga for fertility, or yoga for grief and loss, I have made wonderful connections over the past year.
I’ve always been told I was a good listener, what I didn’t realize was that listening to myself was the first step in sharing this skill with others. I was determined to work for myself and I am so incredibly grateful that I decided to take leap after leap in order to evolve into the the version of artist, healer, and business owner that I embody today.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ll definitely be reading others’ answers to this one, because I just moved here in May! I had been wanting to move to Colorado for about three years after falling in love with Denver the first couple times I visited. Finally, I took that leap in May with my supportive and brave partner, and here we are! The mountains never fail to amaze me on a walk or drive, and I’m not sure they will ever become mundane. I live over in Colorado Springs, and the first thing I would do is take them out on a hike. I’m still in the process of exploring the many hikes in the area, but Ute Valley is a special place where I have already hiked with friends and family.
Going to see live music in or around Denver is a must; especially if the weather permits and outdoor experience. Sculpture Park or Red Rocks would be my top two picks! Although I am so glad I chose to live in Colorado Springs, Denver is always fun to visit, and I have had many amazing food experiences there. My all-time favorite spot is Stowaway Kitchen. They have the best food, the kindest staff, and you can’t beat the environment.
We’d end the trip by coming back “home,” and by that I mean a special yoga studio called Hot Asana. One of my biggest fears in moving away from Chicago was losing my yoga community, both professionally and personally. However, from the moment I stepped foot in Hot Asana, I was welcomed to warmly and given some awesome opportunities to teach and meet people that I instantly connected with.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dad, Conrad Richards, is a fellow artist, and one that nurtured my creative spirit from day one. From spending hours drawing with me, to encouraging me to pick out clothes that (really) didn’t match. He also taught me to unapologetically myself; something I am still working on, but something that I have never seen waiver within him. I never felt an ounce of pressure to go into an artistic career. In fact, I changed my major almost four times before choosing Graphic Design, and each new decision was always met with unconditional support. My dad alongside my grandparents, whom I call “Namma and Boopa,” showed me the true definition of support. Rather than creating to-do lists for me, or “keeping me on track,” they have always allowed me to evolve at my own pace, even through the missteps. A true support system holds your hand and offers the same amount of encouragement for successes, as they do through failures. I feel gratitude daily for this lovely support system daily, alongside my partner, Richard Raymond II, who I get to collaborate with in ways I used to dream of. We have co-created a stimulating and creative space that we get to work from, and come home to every day. We learn and feed off of each other, and he has taught me quite a few things about attention to detail and work-ethic. Thank you to all of these folks that have nurtured my spirit in a way that cannot be taught or fabricated.
Photos by @laurennieves_ @cieriphotography @alinatsvor