Meaghan Barry & Lilian Crum – Partners & Creative Directors Company At Unsold Studio

AGT 18 | Creative Directors
17
Mar

Meaghan Barry & Lilian Crum – Partners & Creative Directors Company At Unsold Studio

There’s more to graphic design than just making things aesthetically pleasing. Nobody knows that better than Meaghan Barry and Lilian Crum, the owners and Creative Directors of Unsold Studio, a collaborative art and design firm that helps businesses stand out from the crowd. Meaghan and Lilian join Jordan Levin to tell how their journey started and what led them to establish a branding and design firm. The two met at a graduate school where they studied 2D design, and once both of them realized they love working together and their passion for design and branding, they decided to put up Unsold Studios. Since then, they’ve been servicing organizations and businesses to help with their brand. They tell Jordan the principles that guided them when assisting clients and how these have propelled their growth through the years.

Listen to the podcast here:

Meaghan Barry & Lilian Crum – Partners & Creative Directors Company At Unsold Studio

I’ve got two wonderful guests here, Meaghan Barry and Lilian Crum from Unsold Studio. Thank you for being here, both of you.

Thanks for having us, Jordan.

Thank you so much.

It’s been a crazy year with COVID. We’re talking before that there have been some crazy bowels of biotech, we have tried to figure out what’s going on and where we go wrong or we could be in business or back and forth. Meaghan, I’m curious to know your perspective of how things have changed after COVID and during COVID.

When all of the COVID news was emerging, there were a lot of unknowns for everybody and a lot of fear because of that. For our business, specifically, we didn’t know how that would impact what we do and how our clients are doing. We were worried that maybe we would be losing some work or our clients might suffer. Everybody has been impacted in many ways by COVID, but what we found with our work, we were able to step in and help a lot of our clients out in a variety of ways to adapt to the new kinds of limitations that COVID imposes on their business because we’re design-focused and design solves problems.

It’s been inspiring to see so many of our clients who were starting businesses or getting ready to launch a business. In the spring of 2020, we had multiple clients with that timeline. What’s been rewarding is that none of them quit. There’s a pause in March of 2020 of figuring out what was going on, safety, and all of that. Once we got into that COVID normal routine, we got back to work. Whether that was making changes with them, pivoting products, delivery, or whatever, they’ve all opened and it’s exciting. Maybe there was a delay or it didn’t go the way that we initially thought it would, but we’ve continued that work and it’s been inspiring to see that our clients didn’t give up on their dreams. I’ve appreciated seeing that through 2020.

Can you give us an example of something that you guys are getting ready to launch, whatever it was, but then you had to prep it a little bit?

One of our clients is called Bombshell Treat Bar and they are out of Birmingham, Michigan. When we first met with the owner, Jill, she wanted to launch a mobile cart that would go to events like weddings and bar mitzvahs where she was going to do an ice cream business with curated desserts. It was all about the experience. Events changed drastically. She figured out, instead of doing a mobile business, she did a delivery business.

When you go to design school or art school, they teach you how to be creative. They don’t teach you how to run a business.

We helped her launch her website quickly where she changed her product from ice cream to popsicles and other types of chocolate treats. We helped her figure out, “How can we make this still the bombshell brand or the bombshell world that isn’t dependent on this mobile cart or this one product of ice cream?” She launched with these kits that we made where you can get them delivered right to your door of treats every month. That’s one example and there are a few others, too, if you want to know more, but that’s one that stands out for sure.

That’s a good cookie-cutter courage to have the foresight and the understanding of the client’s business to be able to make that transition around for that client to accept that type of potential transition. It’s a tough decision, but the fact that the client trusted you with that is phenomenal.

AGT 18 | Creative Directors

Creative Directors: How do you make sure that the process of working with a client is collaborative and not just the client telling you what to do all the time?

A lot of credit goes to the client for being adaptable and willing to pivot quickly. The brand that we developed for her had a strong foundation that was able to shift a little bit in terms of its messaging or the customer experience on the website. It was an honestly seamless transition when we got all of our heads together to make it happen.

That’s what I call being an entrepreneur and solopreneur because you’ve got to have the foresight to get the opportunity. As you said, I am appreciative of that. Me being a small business owner, I went through some of the transition of how do I adapt to keep my clients to be able to be healthy while we’re not at the gym? That whole thought process of that, so I appreciate that. How did you guys meet? How did you guys decide on this whole Unsold Studio name?

I’ll tell our meeting story and I’ll let Lil tell the name story. We met at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Lilian and I went to graduate school. We studied 2D design and received our Master’s in that program. Cranbrook is an interesting program where it’s a studio-based practice, so how artists work. Lilian and I, for those two years, our studios were side by side. We wrote a lot and did a lot of making. We were each other’s check-ins. I could go to Lilian and say, “Will you read this over and edit this?” The other way, Lil would come to me. We were each other’s person at school to look at work and trust their eyes. When we graduated, Lilian moved back to Canada for a little bit and I stayed in the area. We realized we missed working together. Lil, I’ll let you take it from here. We’ve told this story a lot.

This is where it gets a little bit funny and that’s why we always giggle at one another when this question is asked. After we graduated, we realized that we wanted to work together and to continue that collaborative relationship. We knew we wanted to do something that was graphic design-related and brand design-related, but we have no work yet to show for it and not a clear plan of how to move forward with that. It started with this conversation at Meaghan’s apartment where she was living at the time in Pontiac. We’re dreaming and scheming about what this might be.

What we knew from that moment is that we wanted to work together, we’re going to make something happen and go for it, and we needed a name. We used a random word generator and we clicked it three times until we landed on the word unsold. We paused when we looked at that word and thought about the fact that unsold starts to communicate these ideas about being young and fresh, even a client base that’s not extremely corporate. These kinds of ideas and associations we thought were appropriate in terms of how we wanted to present ourselves to the world. We launched with the name Unsold Studio, a blank website with nothing yet on it and a lot of gusto and energy to make things happen. The early days took a lot of heavy lifting and work to start to gain some traction and some clients, but it was all worth it and it paid off eight years later.

I have started different businesses through the years and the excitement of that initial push on that is scary but rewarding and what the challenges are going to be coming up. I’m curious about what we do. Other than COVID, what was the worst challenge or if you’ve had other challenges that you’d be comfortable sharing?

For me, COVID was a challenge in terms of an emotional challenge. All of the other things going on in life and how do you balance that. I found video to be comforting. Log on to Zoom and be normal. For us, some of the challenges were in those early years. When you go to design school or art school, they teach you how to be creative, but they do not teach you how to run a business. For us, learning how do you write a great contract? How do you make sure that the process of working with a client is collaborative and not just the client telling you what to do all the time? There’s a little bit more equity in that relationship.

That was hard for us to figure out because when we launched the studio, we were young so we were eager, which was great, but it didn’t necessarily allow us to have a lot of opportunities to stop and say, “Is this the right client for us right now?” Figuring out some of those early years of like, “What do we like doing? How do we make sure we do a good job at it and deliver?” That growth pain was more of a challenge for us than 2020.

I agree with that. Related to that growth phase, there was also a lot of figuring out what type of work we wanted to focus on and what type of client would be a good mutual fit. When you’re starting something, you’re eager, and you want to get things going, in a way, you’ll take on anything that presents itself to you. That’s great as long as you’re aware of how to learn from those experiences, gain focus, and gain that plan for yourself moving forward.

Aligned with this business sensibility growth that we had, we also started to focus on certain clientele that we wanted to collaborate with. As soon as we started to put that energy out into the world, we started to find each other. We started to get connected to a lot of women-owned businesses and we’ve been working with a lot of women-owned businesses moving forward. Not that’s our clientele, but that is a big focus in what we do. A lot of arts and cultural institutions ultimately do good for society and do good for the public. That helped accelerate how we operate ourselves.

You said that you would always struggle in trying to figure out who’s your client and the client avatar? Do you do this project or not? There’s a witty time, I’m sure you’ve had projects that took you a lot longer than you thought it was to get back to the client and say, “This could be much more,” whatever it is. Bit the bullet followed on that. My question is, who or what became your resource to bounce ideas off of? I hope you explain this.

Honestly, I feel like we made a good connection early on in our career with Design Core Detroit. They are a nonprofit organization in Detroit. They run a Detroit Design Month which is in September 2021. If you’re interested, they do a whole host of events throughout the whole month of September. It’s lovely. They offered a lot of courses and they still do about how to get designers to understand how business works and promote some of the tools that we didn’t have. They connected us with a lawyer and an accountant and taught us how to write proposals.

Everyone interacts with design every day.

For us, the experience of aligning ourselves with that organization was for businesses, but it was for design businesses. It was the right fit for us and the right type of advocate. We’ve had a relationship with them since 2014. We’ve gone from being a part of their programming. We were in a residency in 2014 to now, we run some of their workshops and help others. It’s been rewarding. That was one of those groups of people that we’ve bounced ideas off of and said, “We’re having an issue with a client. How do we make sure in the future that our contract covers that?” In a proposal, we think through that and they were there for us through that.

They were key. For anybody who is in a creative client service business who’s in the Detroit area, they do run client service boot camps. It’s broken into multi sessions that cover all of those like legal things, writing contracts, and how you charge for your services. A lot of those things can be missed in a creative educational program.

I’m a big believer in having a support system and that is what we’re talking about. The key here that I’ve learned through the years is to always ask questions and that’s what you did. The one question or something, when he asked for different groups and whatnot. That’s what makes entrepreneurs successful. It’s not to be afraid to get your feet wet and dirty and get in the trenches. Even if we got to spend five more hours on something, you’re not going to be home until 10:00 PM, that’s okay. I’m sure that happens a lot.

I would also say that in our industry specifically, what Lilian and I do because we’re thinking about other people’s business, that is our business to worry about our client’s business. Is their brand communicating what it should? Are they following through on their brand promise when they have these customer touchpoints? We become advocates for our clients. We lose sleep at night when their business isn’t doing well.

AGT 18 | Creative Directors

Creative Directors: When you’re starting something and you want things going in a way, you’ll take on anything that presents itself to you.

Sometimes, it’s easy for us to ignore the studio itself. It’s like, “Are we following our own advice? When was the last time we updated our website or our social media?” For us, that’s something where we do have to check back in sometimes with our own business and ask those things like, “What are we missing that we’ve been telling everyone else to do that we’ve been ignoring?” That’s something that not every business faces, especially in what we do.

Both of you went to school for education, so when you meet students entering the field of graphic design, what do you think the biggest misconception is?

Both Megan and I are educators. I’m an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Lawrence Technological University. Meaghan is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Oakland University. We work with students closely and see them through that freshman year through graduation and beyond. Oftentimes, when students are fresh into creative programs, they don’t realize that there is a business strategy in the element to design. Design solves problems so there’s a structured process in how one can develop research methodologies and strategies to help inform design decisions. It isn’t simply about making something look pretty or making something aesthetically pleasing. That is a big part of it, but a lot of it is doing a lot of mental heavy lifting too.

I would agree and I remember when people would ask me, “What are you studying in school?” I would say, “Graphic design.” They would look at me like, “That’s with computers and Photoshop.” It’s always tied to technology. For me, I would then say, “It’s logos and ads.” I would always talk about the things that you made but graphic design is the design of communications. Down to the typefaces that you read. A graphic designer has designed the actual typefaces to make sure they’re legible. Everyone interacts with design every day. I think about the climate we’re living in right now where there are protests.

A protest poster is a form of graphic design so it doesn’t have to necessarily be for a business. That’s what we’ve chosen to use our skills for but it can be a tool of advocacy for your community for encouraging people or teaching people. There are a lot of ways that you can use graphic design as Lilian’s alluding to, to better your community that our students don’t necessarily always realize right away. It’s not a beautification project all the time. It is about solving problems and making sure that the connection points between who’s giving the information and the person who’s in the audience who’s receiving that there is not a disconnect. There is clear communication all the way through.

From that, it’s not only the communication part. It’s the timeline. There’s a whole year not to do this. There are 2 to 3 years and for you guys, I would use the word project management. From what I’ve learned through the years and what I’m getting is you have to develop these timelines depending on the client. Let’s take the popsicle business for example. There are different holidays so I’ve assumed you guys help her develop different themes around different holidays and get some messages and stuff like that.

She usually comes to the table with her big ideas. She’ll say, “This is my theme. These are the products.” Within the brand that we’ve built for you, we always talk about it as a world. This is the world that you have made. What makes sense in that world. How does your business talk about the holidays in its voice or in its style? We also think about what we call CX Design, which is Customer Experience Design. Every time a customer interacts with your business, whether that’s shaking hands with them, which we don’t get to do right now but how do you talk to people? What are they aware of when they go to the website and when they’re on social media? Every time a client interacts with your business in a whole host of ways that it is feeling your brand. You’re following through on your brand promise that there’s no inconsistency there so whenever we have those types of meetings or that type of planning, we’re making sure to say, “That experience aligns with all the things we’ve done before and also aligns with where you want to go in the future.”

That’s an important point that people need to understand. Marketing, advertising, and design take time. You can’t just do something once and expect results. How do you deal with the objection of someone who says, “Let’s do it once?” How do you handle that, Lilian?

I was trying to think of a specific example if we’ve experienced that in an explicit way. Part of our role too is to help educate the client about how design works and the impact that design may have on their business. We start that from day one through the conversations with them to help communicate what a timeline might look like and what different phases our design process would unroll within and different meaningful checkpoints that we would have along the way to test how things are going and what steps might need to be taken. An element that can be missed for early designers or those who don’t have experienced yet is that educational piece. It helps clarify what design can do for people and therefore, how you can implement it effectively for them.

We also talked about it a little bit like preventative health care. The idea that it is more cost-effective. It seems a big amount of money right now to make a plan for your business via a brand and spending some money, not only making a logo but thinking about the messaging. The imagery, the iconography, the system, and the brand architecture are more important to spend money on now versus when you have grown a business. You’re busy with other things to go back, fix it, and reintroduce yourself to the audience. It’s like your health care. It’s better to make sure that you have a plan in place than it is to try to fix it later. That’s another thing that we try to bring up with clients. It is an investment. Design is an investment that you don’t always see results right away but you will see them 6 months, 1 year, 2 years from now if it’s done the right way.

You need to take down and put that somewhere and connect it someway. I think that’s a great analogy.

We do, Jordan. As a funny side note, sometimes we talk about it with businesses who want to rebrand, businesses who have been going through something and it’s not quite working, we joke with them that it’s like a physical assessment. We’ve used the words before. Similar to how if you would want to run a marathon, your doctor would tell you to quit smoking. We’re going to tell you some things that you shouldn’t be doing with your brand. We have used that analogy. It made sense to us and it resonated with some of our clients.

It’s fascinating to me so I’m good with that. you need to make everything as simple as possible. I’ve found through the years when I’ve done any type of interaction with anybody online or in-person when they go with different things. It’s simple. It makes it easy for people to understand what happened. I have a question about this wonderful trip you guys took to Singapore. What was the whole idea with this network? What was it called again?

There are two things. Design Core Detroit, helped make the city a UNESCO City of Design a few years ago. Detroit is the only City of Design in the United States. We were able to go through Design Core to Singapore because they’re a part of the UNESCO Network. Lil, you can talk more about Singapore specifically.

Design isn’t simply about making something look pretty. A lot of it is doing a lot of mental heavy lifting.

We went as UNESCO design delegates. There were delegates from all around the world from other UNESCO cities and designs. The idea is to foster this cultural exchange and to learn from one another. The time that we were there was Singapore Design Week. There were all kinds of events, exhibitions, and design-focused things that we took part in and met local designers as part of that. We learned more about their culture, even on a fundamental level.

It was interesting because we were with people from Scotland, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, all over the world who are coming from a design background. In Singapore, it was so interesting, at least in the connection to Detroit. Singapore does not have a lot of land. Space is always an issue for them of how to get things made so they’re always thinking about space restrictions. Whereas Detroit is the opposite. Sometimes we have too much space. It was interesting to have that dialogue with them and thinking about how even that physical location has changed how we make or design or how our clients are doing things.

During that trip, we got to see a lot of local designers there but the other magic was meeting people from around the world. Before COVID, a lot of them came to Detroit for Detroit Design Month, and for them to come and we got to see them again in our home city was nice. It does show the idea of this network being built and they’re like, “When are you coming to Dundee, Scotland?” “When are you coming to Belgium?” Knowing that we have this network through this UNESCO City of Design that started in Singapore is pretty magical in a lot of ways.

I’ve never been out to Singapore but I can imagine being in there and grasping that experience. What do you think is the biggest takeaway that you pulled away from that?

AGT 18 | Creative Directors

Creative Directors: Graphic design can be a tool of advocacy for a community for encouraging people or to teach people.

There are so many. We wrote an article about this. They’re a small place, as I was talking about with space, but they’re also a pretty multinational place. They have people from all over. There are people who immigrated from China. They’re right next to Malaysia so there’s this melting pot there similar to the US. For example, we went to eat dinner at a place where it was Peranakan food and it was a mix of all of the different kinds of heritage from the Singaporean area. There were some shared experiences, especially coming from the United States where we have a similar background where there are people from everywhere. It was an interesting lens in which to see those ideas of inclusion design and multinationalism in one place.

How about you, Lilian?

That honestly was one of the more striking things. There was an exhibition-related piece to Singapore Design Week that addressed that and it was called Street of Clans and we also touched on this in the article that we wrote. It’s on our website if anybody is interested. On this street, which is a physical street, there are different kinds of venues that have exhibitions that are related to the various cultures that inhabit Singapore and the various histories of the people from there. You’d walk into a little storefront and there would be almost like a sculptural expression of these ideas. On the street itself, there would be beautifully painted boat-like objects that would help communicate that story. I found that was a poignant expression of those kinds of ideas as part of the Design Week.

I feel that Singaporeans are ahead and the way that they think about their society. It’s different from ours. I got into the taxi at midnight and they were talking about how, as a woman, I could walk around at two in the morning and be safe because their laws are strict there. You can’t even chew gum in public. You are told on the airplane to spit your gum out or throw your gum away. It was the cleanest place I’ve ever been to in my life. To see that they’re planning because of the limitations of space, how many people are there, the type of architecture that they’re designing to accommodate for space, or making sure that they’re treating their natural resources the right way because they’re on an island. There was a lot of forward-thinking that, culturally, we don’t have quite yet in the United States that I thought was also quite interesting.

One point to know, what’s the best thing did you guys ate?

This whole trip, we experienced many different foods and many different places. The one that stood out for me was called Hawker Street. It’s almost like a food court. There were tons of different stalls of food that had all kinds of cultural varieties, there’s Chinese food, Malaysian food, Indonesian food, etc. We ate things like meat skewers, chili crab, and chicken rice. What I loved about that is it wasn’t necessarily a formal sit-down meal where you are served one thing. It was plate after plate of tasting all kinds of things. That also celebrates the multicultural identity of Singapore. Also, I love food and I love trying food when I travel. Being able to taste all kinds of things in this hot and aromatic environment was great.

We also got to eat jellyfish while we were there and that stood out to me, which I had never had before. I wouldn’t say that was necessarily the best thing I ate but the most interesting thing I ate while we were in Singapore.

My wife loves food as well. She loves to explore culture, food, art design, and all that stuff. Both of us will have a good time. Speaking of art and design, she got about 30 different pieces of art in our house and whatnot. I got to come up with something to put behind me here but I don’t want it to be distracting. What’s your dream project or your ultimate project? Maybe you’ve already had it or maybe you have something coming up. What would you love to be able to do it?

Honestly, if you asked this question years ago, I would probably name a lot of the projects that we’re working on now. We’ve worked hard to achieve some of these dream clients. At least the way that I define some of these dream projects or clients is not necessarily a single project but it’s a client who’s collaborative and the project itself has core values that align with my core value. Maybe socially conscious. It may productively impact society. It may be innovative and future thinking. We’re fortunate to have many of those projects now. My dream project moving forward is to harness those values as we think about where we move next.

I agree with Lilian, 100%. In a lot of ways, our dream client in the future could be ourselves. We’ve learned a lot from our clients. I would love for us to think about how do we continue growing the Unsold Studio business or brand or what’s next for ourselves. In terms of that, we’ve built a great client network. I’m always eager to take on projects where people want our expertise as an equal in their business. That is something great but also making sure that we leave time for us to think about, like, “What do we want to make and put out in the world?” Treating ourselves like our own clients could be fun in the future.

That’s important. I’m not going to say to focus on yourself because you spent so much time with your client to always focus on that and to make time for yourself. What’s the most insightful gem that you’ve ever learned from a student or another teacher?

For me, I don’t know if it’s necessarily one student that I’ve learned something from. When I first started teaching, my goal is to make them good graphic designers. I was like, “That’s my job. They walk into the room. They have to leave at the end of the semester being a great graphic designer.” Through time, I’ve seen that my students’ graphic design skills have grown. There are varieties of how that skillset grows throughout the course.

When students come back and they’re like, “I feel so much more confident speaking in front of a group after this class.” Maybe they don’t recognize it yet but they’re interacting with students and other peers in the class. Before, they were quiet. Starting to see that growth that I can offer them not just through design but simple life skills have made teaching a lot more enjoyable. The insight is that when someone walks into my classroom now, I want them to be a great designer. If they leave more confident or they leave with other soft skills like that, I feel like I’ve done a good job. I didn’t have that insight maybe right away.

Graphic design is the design of communications.

There’s also something to be said about not being afraid to take some risks. That can be seen on all levels. It could be a creative risk. It could be something that maybe requires you to move somewhere and try something new. When I was a student thinking about grad school specifically for myself, one of my instructors said, “The world is your oyster. Go for it. If this is what you want to do, go and do it. You can make this happen.” As cheesy as that may sound, it resonates. That’s something important to impart to students. Even students on the way that they’ve pushed me as an instructor to adapt and take risks and learn from them to adapt my teaching style and to learn or react to their needs have been an interesting development for me as well.

I can relate to that whole education and coaching aspect because I have clients or individuals, in my case. I will see somebody coming in who’s not comfortable doing what they’re doing working out or whatnot. The next thing you know, a couple of months later, you see this complete transformation. That’s what’s rewarding as coaches and educators. That’s why we do these things. That brings us satisfaction and joy. We can help other people do their job better.

Hearing from someone else that they’re doing a good job, they have potential, or why can it be them, like, “Why can’t you run a business?” It can be you. It’s fun to see the light go off in someone, like, “They’re hungry now because someone gave them that little bit of validation.” Being a professor with this title, that was enough for them to feel like, “Okay.” I remember feeling that way. When someone looks at you and says, “You’re capable of that.” It’s a nice feeling. the cat can really.

That can light the fire behind you to make something happen.

Being able to relate and share those stories, which is what we’re doing today, sharing those individual stories with their client, that’s what allows them to know they can continue doing what you’re doing. Even though it maybe be a challenge for them, you are there to help them get to that next level. What is the way that helps you decompress or recalibrate? Do you do this at the beginning of the day and the end of the day? Do you do this multiple times a day? What’s your routine?

AGT 18 | Creative Directors

Creative Directors: It’s better to have a plan in place than it is to fix it later.

Sometimes I’m not great at this. That’s something that I’m self-aware of. Sometimes I have to make the effort to carve out those times to decompress. I love to be outside. I love to go on walks even if it’s something short. Stepping away from my technology, moving my body, and seeing some new things are key for me. Related to that, I have plans to have an ambitious vegetable garden. I like being productive. For me, I would be satisfied from that being a project but a low-stakes project for myself. I bought a Peloton. For me, that’s a way to keep my body moving and my heart beating when I need that or even as a way to release stress. For me, that is effective.

Lil sent me a text message and she’s like, “I fit in a Peloton ride between meetings the other day.” She’s living and breathing that. For me, I try to get to the gym three days a week at least at 5:30 AM. Before COVID, I was better at it. Now that the light is at the end of the tunnel, I’m hoping that I’ll increase that because I feel good. I’m someone who was not a morning person when I was younger. Now, I’m transitioning to being a morning person. I recognize that all of my creative activity needs to happen between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM. After 2:00 PM, I’m done.

I need exercise in the morning. I’m going to CrossFit Bloomfield and working out in the morning. Lifting weights always makes me feel empowered and allows me to not pick up my phone the first moment I get out of bed. That’s something that has helped me. At the end of the day, I’m a huge reader. I’m nerdy about it. I have an addiction to buying books. I try to read as many as I can as well. My family runs a bookstagram where we post the different books we’ve read and review them. For me, it’s nice to also have that connection with them because I don’t live close to my family. That’s a way to share hobbies, decompress, and talk about something else that isn’t work.

I’m with you on that. You do seem like a good morning person. I see you in the mornings at 5:30. I wouldn’t know any different.

It took a while to get there. I did read a cheesy book a few years ago. If you normally get up at 7:00, get up at 6:00. You use that hour for yourself with whatever you want to do. If you want to write or exercise, do all the above. It changed my thought process of like, “It’s an hour. It will be okay. You’ll be fine. You can take a nap later if you need to.”

I do something similar in the mornings and it’s not necessarily that I make the conscious effort to get up exactly one hour earlier. I’m ensuring that there’s enough time to slowly drink and enjoy my coffee and have those quiet moments before my day gets hectic rather than waking up twenty minutes before I have to be somewhere and being thrown into the stress of work, meetings, etc. You have that quiet time to yourself to get yourself ready and enjoy yourself before things start.

That’s important. People need to understand that it’s about habits. What we’re talking about is finding those habits that allow you to continue your day in the right capacity. My last question is what brings you joy? What makes you happy? 

There are many things. I don’t know how to choose one. My happiness is freedom. With our business, having some freedom to choose the projects that we want to take on and projects we don’t want to take on or having a little bit more freedom with time. If I do want to take an afternoon off during the week and spend it with my husband or walk the dogs, I don’t feel obligated or that I have to do everything. Sometimes, I get caught up in being productive and working a lot. For me, what brings me joy are those moments where I allow myself a little bit of freedom to say, “It’s okay to not do that. It’s okay to take your time.” That would be my happy spot and joy.

For me, the first thing that I thought about was the people in my life, my close friends and my family. Trying new things whatever form that may take, various adventures, whether it’s going somewhere new or experience something new, the outdoors, and seeing results. I love putting energy into something and then seeing some positive impactful result from it is satisfying. It brings me a lot of joy all across the board.

I like what you both said there. Everybody has different stories with that but there’s always a general theme to that. How do we find you? How do we get ahold of you? 

You can find us at UnsoldStudio.com. You can email us at [email protected]. You can follow us on Instagram, @UnsoldStudio. We’ve got Facebook and those things, too, but I would say Instagram and an email are probably the best ways to get in touch with us.

I had a wonderful time. I hope you guys did, too. 

Thanks, Jordan.

Hopefully, we could do this again at another time. Maybe another day or two and see where we’re at. 

Sounds great.

Thank you.

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