E + R = O

I’m so happy that I’m not the same person I was a year ago, a week ago, a day ago. I get the opportunity to change for the better. One aspect of myself that I’m really focusing on is how I react to situations and people. My personality is dominant and action oriented. I care about results, not so much about the details which in turn makes me a not-so-good listener and unapproachable. This doesn’t help my team, family, clients or friends – instead it hurts my relationships.
One of my favorite podcasts is EntreLeadership – the latest one focuses on energy and how you impact others. An awesome story that illustrates the impact of positive choice is of the Ohio State football team and how they won the National Championship despite many setbacks that would typically debilitate a team. They lost their starting quarterback to injury and then their second string quarterback to injury and had an unexpected death of one of their teammates. Instead of throwing in the towel – they rallied around their 3rd string true freshman quarterback and in turn won the national championship. How did they do it? Their motto ->  E + R = O. Events + Response = Outcome. You can’t control EVENTS that happen to you but you can control your RESPONSE which determines the OUTCOME.
This is such a healthy reminder for me that I CHOOSE to respond to the many events that happen in my daily routine, major to tiny, – like being stuck in traffic, an unhappy customer, death of someone that I love, sickness, gossip etc. – I get the opportunity to impact others by the way that I respond, which in turn hopefully produces a positive outcome regardless of what my natural instinct may be to react.
Here are 4 steps that I’m putting into action to help me THINK before I RESPOND:
  1. Empathize – If someone is unhappy with me – why? I put myself if in their shoes to see from their perspective. Whether I agree with their opinion – I want them to know that I understand and hear what they are saying.
  2. Express Gratitude – I start my day off with quiet time, reflecting on all that I’m grateful for – family, health, my job that I LOVE, my house, my car, electricity, etc. This helps me align my day and not get my feathers ruffled over the small stuff.
  3. Check My Motive – Sometimes I want to react due to my pride and hurt someone else because they hurt me. Is that right? No way. So before I write a hasty email or text, I think about my WHY – is this the best solution? Will good come from my response?
  4. Learn From the Wise – I listen to podcasts and audiobooks to and from work. I learn from great people and how they learned from their mistakes and how to better myself as a wife, leader, mom, friend – the list goes on.

By no means am I near where I want to be with this – but I’m grateful that I get to change and improve each day. What are some ways that you take action to better yourself with your responses? I would love to learn from you.

Do you make these mistakes when searching for a job?

Getting a job - ByFarr Blog
We love hosting field trips for high schools and colleges. We take it seriously- maybe with the hour or less we get to interact, we can shed a little light onto a burning need for young grads: Getting a job.
We receive numerous requests for jobs (mainly by email) for full time positions and internships. I will use a student as an example since we receive many of these on a weekly basis. The email typically goes something like this:
I am a senior graphic design student at a school near you. I’m looking to learn more about graphic design and like what you do. I was just wondering if there are any available internships opportunities or if you’re hiring within your company. If so, please let me know. Thank you!
From a business owner’s stand point – this is what I read:
I am a student that has googled design places around me. I’ve written a generic email where I copy and paste business names in. I’m not really sure what you do nor do I care how my experience would impact you. My professor told me that I need experience so I’m hoping that I receive a reply from my generic email. Please let me know – I’m extremely busy with class & social activities so I don’t have time to follow up with you personally.
I’m totally guilty of writing the above when I was a young college student. Hopefully this post will help you in pursuing a job in any field that matters and that you enjoy.
Here are 5 tips of how to pursue and land a job – this can be applied to any type of job:
  1. Identify 10 places where you would like to work.
    Why do you want to work there?
    What skills & experience would you bring to the table?
    What does the company do?
    Who is the owner of the company?
    Why do the above? By knowing the company, you show the company you care. You also identify if this is a place that you would like to work.
  2. Your resume is only worth 25% (or less)
    You’ve created a wonderful, unique resume. Now what?
    Write an authentic cover letter explaining how your skills will benefit the company and WHY you would like to work for them. Avoid terms like your work is cool. Spell check and spell check again.
  3. Follow Up
    You’ve written a cover letter and created your resume. You emailed and mailed it. Do you just wait for the company to contact you? NO! Follow up with a phone call or in person. I would never have received my teaching job if I relied on the online submission process. I called the dean, stopped by in person – and let them know I was willing to stop by at THEIR convenience. In return I was given an interview and ultimately landed the job that I wanted at that time in my life.
  4. Humility & Authenticity Goes A Long Way
    Remember it’s not about you, it’s about them. Be kind & respectful. If you stop by in person, make sure your appearance is professional. If you interrupt a meeting, apologize. Remember, you’re entering their place of business.
  5. Gratitude
    Hand-write a Thank You note thanking them for their time. Whether it was their time letting you know that they didn’t have a position available or they interviewed you – thank them. It seriously goes a long way.  
One of my deepest passions is for people to pursue work that matters and that they enjoy. If I can be of encouragement, please leave a comment or email me. Now go get the job that you want!

Stephanie + Adam

A fall night to remember: Stephanie and Adam’s wedding couldn’t have been more of a dream, as you’ll see below. What’s even more inspiring about this couple is their love for each other and how is shines on their faces! From a long distance relationship to making a big move together to Washington, DC, S&A achieved the most perfect celebration in town and we’re glad they made it back to Palmetto state to do so!!  Their invitation suite, which included hand-drawn fall foliage, calligraphy from Lydia Robins Hendrix, and topped off with a gold wax seal, is one of our favorites!

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How did you and Adam meet? What’s your love story?
Adam and I met while we were studying abroad in London in the summer of 2008. We were from different schools (he went to school in Virginia and I attended the University of South Carolina), but we hit it off and started a long distance relationship that lasted until we both graduated and moved to Washington, DC permanently. We moved in together in November of 2010, and the rest is history.

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What was the best part of your ceremony?
Our ceremony was quite traditional, and the vows were special to both me and Adam. But, I think best part was after our pastor pronounced us husband and wife, we did a HUGE high-five. It was so spontaneous and fun. Our photographer and videographer both captured the moment, and its one of my favorites of the day.

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What was the best part of your reception?
My favorite part of the reception were the toasts from special members of our wedding party. My dad, my sister (Maid of Honor), and Adam’s best friend gave speeches that really touched both me and Adam. It was special to know how much we were cared for on our wedding day.

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Three words to describe your wedding?
Laid-back, elegant, fun

Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where?
We did go on a honeymoon! We traveled to Ambergris Caye, Belize and stayed at a private resort for eight days.I wish we could go back!

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What was your design inspiration?
The main design idea I had when we started planning was that I wanted our guests to feel like they were at a sophisticated, fall affair. We wanted indoor and outdoor spaces that flowed throughout the night, and colors that represented a fall-inspired, jewel tone palette. Our wedding planner, Lacy Geary, and our amazing vendors helped create a relaxed environment that included gorgeous free-flowing flower and greenery arrangements throughout the venue, a special sitting area under the trees outside, cafe lights strung across the outdoor dance floor, and personal touches that represented our personalities as a couple. It was magical!

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Who were your vendors? 

Photographer – Lucas Brown of Kickstand Studio  |  Planner – Lacy Geary of By Invitation Only |  Florist – Sarah Shell of Fern Studio |  Venue/Caterer/Bar Service – Country Club of Lexington |  Cake – we did mini desserts and ice cream with Shennice Cleckley of My Dessert Bar |  Bride’s Gown (accessories) – Dress and Belt – Blush by Hayley Paige from Jo-Lin’s Bridal • Veil – Jo-Lin’s Bridal • Shoes – Jimmy Choo • Earrings and Bracelet – Macy’s  |  Hair and makeup- Hair – Ashley Wright of Cline’s Salon Vista  • Makeup – Chelsey Winford |  Rentals- Custom bar, wooden table numbers, leaf cutouts for escort cards – Lacy Geary of Paper Birch Designs • Tents and other rentals – Party Reflections |  Lighting – Ambient Media

4 Strategic Steps to Improving Client Experience

One of my all time guilty pleasures is watching Project Runway. I enjoy watching creativity under pressure. The contestants are given a client, a budget and a timeline. At the end of each challenge their designs go down the runway and then are critiqued by the judges. It’s interesting to see how the designers choose to respond. The designers that are successful and win are the ones who listen well, work hard and take the critique in stride. They don’t bad mouth or toss blame, instead they get better.

In the creative world, we’re constantly being critiqued. We generate ideas based on a need and budget and present to a client. We must always remember the end goal: to produce a successful design AND please the client in doing so. This is not always the easiest and sometimes the situation can be frustrating.

Here are 4 ways that I focus on improving my interaction- so that when I do receive criticism I know how and where to apply it.

1. LISTEN – When I first sit down to learn about a project – I want to capture the passion, mission and vision of the client. I want to make sure that they understand their own product really well. If they don’t, the design will not be clear and in the end unsuccessful. Take detailed notes, sketch, interact. Make sure you hear both what the client is needing and what they are wanting.

2. EXPLAIN – We create preliminary concepts from our sketches and research and present to the client. I make sure to explain the designs well. I want the client to know everything we did was intentional and thoughtful. Here are some examples: The meaning behind the typography choice, the historical reference, why the illustration fits, how the color enhances and doesn’t detract.

3. ASK QUESTIONS – If your client wants changes made – great! You want them to own their design. This is an investment on both parts. Make sure to ask good questions to clarify the ‘why’ behind the changes.  Collaborate and make sure you have clear action items before moving on to the next editing phase. If you don’t, you will frustrate your client.

4. BE HUMBLE YET ASSERTIVE – No one likes a know-it-all, or the opposite, a push over. Remember you were hired to do a job. Part of the job is to make sure you give your client the best. If they are asking you to use a typeface or color that is going to hurt the end goal of the project, tell them by educating them. Make sure your motive is to give your absolute best, not to boost your ego.

In the end, if you don’t lose sight of your customer and their needs, you will be successful. What are some steps that you take to make sure that you give your best?

Invitations & Champagne… You’re invited!

DropinGraphic

Our letterpress is cranking out the drop-in invitations to hand out at the bridal show this Sunday!

As tradition goes, we like to open our doors on the Thursday after a big Bridal Expo to the loveliest brides that the Midlands area has to offer. We LOVE meeting new brides and seeing familiar faces at the big shows, but sometimes these Expos can be a lot to take in. Brides are usually overwhelmed at the possibilities, bombarded by chatty vendors, and are in a hurry to see what there is and for how much.

ByFarr likes to treat the Expos a little differently- we want you to get a feel for the scope of our services by walking around and not being afraid to pick up and look at our past stationery items and not feeling pressured into a sale. Honestly, we’re just excited that YOU’RE ENGAGED! And we hope to further that excitement by showing you how to enhance your big day through design.

At the drop-ins, we have more of an intimate setting- no big crowds, just our guests and our small team. We want to give you a chance to ask us questions and get a deeper understanding of what we have to offer and how we can serve you. Our hope is at this stage you’ll find a strong connection with us, have a good idea of the stationery you need, and be ready to set up a one-on-one meeting with Bailee to discuss design details and start this fun process!

We want this to be a seamless process for all our brides, starting with the Drop-In. We want to show you, over champagne and delicious food of course, that we’re not your typical invitation shop. With that being said, we can’t wait to see all the brides at the St. Andrews Bridal Showcase this weekend and we hope to see many of you at our Drop-In at the studio March 5th from 5:30-8!

The Art of Pinning: ByFarr’s guide to making the most of Pinterest

Our designer, Laura, is a certified Pin-a-holic. Today, she shares some tricks she’s picked up after spending [literal] days of her life on the platform.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI by no stretch of the imagination am an expert at Pinterest. It just happens to take up a large chunk of my free time – an embarrassingly large chunk. But Pinterest can be a curatorial art, and I’ve learned a few tips and tricks through my years as a crazy/impulsive pinner. However, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty on Pinterest for businesses, there are quite a few resources out there, whether they are books or blogs or seminars.

Here are a few random tips and tricks, in no particular order, to make your Pinterest better and more effective.

 

 

  • Don’t use your Pinterest solely as a means for advertising. People will not follow you if their feed is going to blow up with entreaties for their business. In Pinterest, as in most social media platforms, people follow the person behind the business, not just the business itself. That’s not to say that you can’t post things you’ve done – just show your followers that you’ve got a personality beyond what you do for a living. When you do post things you’ve created, it helps to make separate boards, so people can find your work more easily when they reach your profile.
  • Consistent looks appeal to viewers when they’re searching for people to follow. Try to organize your boards in an easy-to-understand way, and choose cover photos that go well together. It can be a cohesive color palette or just a generally cohesive aesthetic – this is harder to clearly define, but you know it when you see it.
  • Have a lot of boards, but not too many boards. If you have thousands of recipes pinned to one board – think about dividing it up into categories, so that people who come across the board don’t have to search forever for, say, a breakfast dish. But if you have too many boards, it will overwhelm people. If you have too few boards, people will assume that you aren’t active at all on Pinterest (even if you are) and won’t think that following you will be worth it.
  • Install the Pin-it button in your browser, and use it often. You get more repins on content that you find on outside sites, as opposed to pins that are already circulating around Pinterest. (But be aware of where you’re pinning from and if they have restrictions on sharing their content.) Also, pin from individual posts, not home pages. This makes it easier for people to find the original author (this is especially necessary on recipe and DIY posts).
  • Don’t pin a million things at once, especially to one board. Your followers don’t want to sit down one night and see 100 pins of your upcoming haircut, or even your new work. Space things of the same category out, so you don’t lose followers due to oversaturation.
  • When blogging on your own website, create image rich posts so that your readers have something to pin that will direct them back to your content. Install a pin-it hover feature on your site, and save your photos with high enough resolution so they transfer well to the Pinterest platform.

Hope you gleaned some pinny wisdom from this short list of tips! Happy pinning!

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The smallest details: personalizing your wedding stationery

ByFarr Design - Personalizing your wedding stationery

Here at ByFarr, we love traditional wedding invitations. We design and print the most beautiful traditional wedding invitations, and are fond of the simple elegance they portray. But if you want something a little extra, in today’s wedding society, the ante has been upped for what you can do with your Save the Dates, Invitations, Favors, etc. Popular blogs and wedding industry gurus are posting non-traditional and unique ways that you can “wow” your guests while staying true to yourself.

Many brides can’t fathom the numerous possibilities for printing or paper: Letterpress, Foiling, Shimmer Paper, Wood Paper, Pocket Envelopes, Lace Envelopes, Glitter Overlay, Matching Liners… you get the point – the options are overwhelming! So with all the possibilities out there, how do you narrow down exactly what you want to say in your invitation suite that adds meaning? Here are a few tips on personalizing your wedding stationery with little details that make a big impact:

  1. Find Your Symbols:
    Think back through your relationship – what items have been the most significant to you and your fiancé? Have you traveled overseas on multiple occasions? Line your invitation envelopes with a vintage world map. Do you love your dog more than life itself? Don’t be afraid to incorporate your hand-illustrated pup on the back of your Save the Date postcard, and even on your koozies!
  2. Add Some Color:
    Whether it’s a neutral ombre watercolor with gold foil on top or a neon painted edge, it’s never a bad idea to add color into your wedding invitation suite. If you’re not too keen on having bright colors incorporated on the invitation suite itself but still want color somewhere, branch out for your Thank You notes and test your new monogram in the season’s hottest color palette.
  3. Extra, Extra! Read All About It!
    Add additional cards into your invitation suite to style it up and add personality. Have a lot of out-of-town guests? Throw in a directions and accommodations card complete with activities they can do around town to ease them into their travels. Did you have a series of unlikely events leading up to your engagement and wedding? Put it on a personalized timeline and add it in as a quirky card for your guests to get to know your story better!

Pictured above is a stationery suite that we watercolored the bride’s family crest & map of Charleston. We love how intentional and thoughtful this package is. What will you do for your wedding or special event stationery that will leave your guests in awe?

Input = Output

Input=Output | ByFarr Design

I have a difficult time watching a movie, reading a book or listening to a podcast twice. There is one person in particular though that I want to listen to over and over. Zig Ziglar. His talks are layered with goodness and you can’t digest them all at once.

ONE of Zig’s themes that I have written on my bathroom mirror is Input = Output. It’s simple and profound. What I am allowing into my mind shapes my thoughts and perspective. I love an illustration that Zig uses. His office got their first computer and they thought it would solve all of their problems. The computer started invoicing people twice, giving the wrong information and so on. They got fed up with the computer and wanted to sell it back. Whenever the company that installed the computer came to take it away they said they could make it work – by changing the input, it changed the output.

Here are 3 things that I ask myself daily about input:

Body: What am I allowing into my body and how will it affect my energy level throughout the day?
Mind: What am I reading/listening to that improves my way of thinking?
Spirit: What are my actions telling people about myself?

How empowering is it that you can change who you are by changing the way you think?

You’re not stuck with who you are or where you are. You can grow. You can change. You can be more than you are.”

— Zig Ziglar

You can start today – you don’t have to be the same person tomorrow. 

I wholly recommend listening to See you at the Top – Zig Ziglar – download it on Audible.

What are ways that you improve your output? 

Kaitlin + David – April 12, 2014

Kaitlin + David | ByFarr Design | Photo by Holly Graciano

We love it when our brides are even sweeter than the flowers at their wedding and Kaitlin Cowles was the sweetest we’ve seen! For Kaitlin and David it was love at first 6-hour chat and for their wedding, they were inspired by the beautiful Spring weather and hues that are associated with the season. The bride’s love for florals and adoration of bright pops of color perfectly parallel the invitation suite and program we had the pleasure of designing for their wedding day. The beautiful photographs are courtesy of the lovely Holly Graciano.

Kaitlin + David | ByFarr Design | Photo by Holly Graciano

Here’s what Kaitlin had to say about the big day:

How did you and David meet? What’s your love story? Even though David and I spent three and a half of the same years at Clemson, we did not meet until a few years after we had both graduated. A mutual friend had the idea to introduce us when David moved back to the area. I was working at a camp during the summer, so we met over dinner with a group of friends on my day off. After that, he drove up to the mountains for my last day off and took me on our first date in Hendersonville. We talked from the moment he picked me up until he dropped me back off, which was close to 6 hours. A  few days later, I came home, and we picked right  up where we left off. A little over a year later, he took me to Clemson and proposed, and I said yes!

Kaitlin + David | ByFarr Design | Photo by Holly Graciano

What was the best part of your ceremony? Well the getting married part was pretty great, but I loved turning the corner and finally seeing David’s smiling face after waiting all day. It felt like forever!

What was the best part of your reception? It went by so fast, but I enjoyed getting to see so many family and friends. And the cake was amazing – both to look at and taste!

Kaitlin + David | ByFarr Design | Photo by Holly Graciano

Three words to describe your wedding? Understated elegance (that’s what my mom called it one day and I thought that it described the wedding vision perfectly) and Southern.

What was your design inspiration? When we started wedding planning, the only thing I really knew was that I’d love to use vintage blue mason jars. From there, we matched the bridesmaid dress color to that blue as well as the groomsmen bow ties. Then to complement the blue, we chose pinks, creams, and khaki/brown colors.

Where was your honeymoon? We honeymooned in St. Lucia. It was so beautiful. We loved it there!

Kaitlin + David | ByFarr Design | Photo by Holly Graciano
Vendors: Photographer – Holly Graciano Photography | Planner – By Invitation Only | Florist – Fern Studio | Venue/Caterer/Bar Service – Lexington Municipal Center / Capital City Catering | Cake – Michelle’s Cakescapes | Bride’s Gown/Accessories – Evelyn’s Bridal | Hair & Makeup – Special Occasions for hair and Makeup by Casey B | Rentals – Party Reflections | Lighting / DJ – Big Time Entertainment