Life is a never-ending journey of self-discovery.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I tried to start an online artist community called The Cape Collective. It was a “place” where artists could come together, encourage one another, share their art with the world (and get paid for it), and also be part of doing social good by giving a portion of profits to art education funds around the U.S.
With this business, I learned how to build great websites, create hype around products, schedule and keep up with social media, network with artists and creatives in my city, write emails that got responses, among so many other things.
After months and months of trial and error, learning exceptional lessons, rallying up support and finding artists to participate in our online community shop, it just didn’t work out. We put a lot of time and effort into The Cape Collective and honestly, it took a while to get over its failure. Maybe the logistics behind the business weren’t right. Maybe the idea of the business was overdone. Maybe it’s a combination of a lot of factors. It just didn’t work out. We learned from it and now we are able to take those lessons and apply them to other things in our lives to improve and succeed.
For the longest time after we ended The Cape Collective, I was racking my brain trying to find out what really “fits” me and what types of clients I would truly enjoy working with.
Luxury brands stood out to me at first. I wasn’t sure if I was eyeing luxury brands because of their perceived status and high-end clientele, or if there was something deeper that drew me in.
After some thought and reflection, I found out the things I loved about those luxury brands and the things I love about my own preferences and working style. Luxury brands tend to:
- Provide artisanal products or services
- Only use real, natural ingredients
- Source from real people, farms, and other places
- Focus on their time and effort
- Hone in on their craft and skill
- Avoid mass production
- Connect with their customers emotionally
- Provide wonderful personal experiences to their customers
Craft has always been important to me. It became especially true when I went through the art and design program at East Carolina University. All of the professors, from my very first design and drawing classes, to my very last Graphic Design class, have instilled the importance of craft. There are a couple of favorite sayings you would hear professors say almost daily: “Make it real, make it now.” and “Measure twice, cut once.”
Since studying more traditional subjects like letterpress, woodworking, screenprinting, and hand lettering, I think I have finally figured out where my calling lies. I, myself, am a doer and a maker, and I want to be able to help out highly skilled artisans, craftsmen, makers, and other creatives so they can continue to actually do what they love, instead of focusing on the other tedious (but necessary) things that make up a great brand / business.
Dana Gray Studio focuses on digital craftsmanship for your brand so you can focus on crafting quality products for your customers.
Building brands and websites for artisans has been truly fulfilling. Behind the Brand photo sessions are equally fulfilling because I get to meet and hang out with so many great people who LOVE what they do.
I see Dana Gray Studio as my chance to help working artists and craftsmen reach more customers, to get their own brand out there, and to make an impact on this world using the art and products they have made or built with love.
If you’re in the market for someone who will help you push your business further, think bigger, and be an overall supporter of what you do and make, you’ve come to the right place. My inbox is always open if you need help with a new project!