This guest post is by Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau
WHO & WHY
As a creative person bringing a business brand online, there’s one aspect of your presentation that simply can’t be overlooked: your website design and functionality. The web can feel like a virtual (pun intended) sea of sites promising to help you translate your values into a thriving, relevant brand identity. Every would-be designer offers a slightly different approach, but most of them promise to deposit you on the doorstep of your wished-for website nirvana. So how does a nascent webpreneur select among so many savvy-seeming options?
At Sixteen July, the web design business of Evan Leah Quinn, establishing a great fit with her client upfront is the first step in ensuring a delightful process and outcome. We shine our Purpose Profile spotlight on Evan and her brand today.
If you’re a dates and numbers junkie like me, how can you not love a business named Sixteen July? “16 July, 2009 was the day I got serious about my business,” Evan writes on her Home page. “What about you?” And if you love a blog that mixes pro acumen with full-hearted personal perspective, you will love her eponymous blog (which lives on its own URL) that explores art, design, online business, and whimsical living. As she writes, her work is “focused on guiding personality-driven brands in creating flourishing lives & online businesses.”
Evan is one web designer I love sending business to because I know that clients will be held securely by her clear and effective process, while having their vision expanded by her fresh eye and playful, contemporary aesthetic. She specializes in design for creative and wellness-based businesses.
BEHIND THE SCENES
“I’m Evan Leah Quinn. I’m a granola-geek with a scientist’s brain and an artist’s heart.” This line from her About page is only part of the story. She openly chronicles her business journey by sharing the ups and downs, the highs and lows, all wrapped in a narrative that keeps fellow solopreneurial types reading avidly.
Sixteen July is the culmination of Evan’s 15 years of experience making websites. In addition, she’s the founder of a sister company that provides WordPress maintenance, called Website Refinery.
My favorite part of Evan’s approach is her keen attention to a thoughtful process that also holds space for intuition. Her Working Together page discusses both process and product, and includes fun links like a page of color palette options for clients who hire her for a Starter Site. Though it seems Evan is always launching a new client site, she explains that she handles everything inside each project, “from strategy to design and development and then some.”
BRAND VOICE & VIBE
Three values I see in the Sixteen July brand (as well as Evan’s own personal brand voice) are trust, transparency, and embracing the unexpected.
The image used on her Working Together page, of hands clasping a mug of tea while the drinker looks out over a placid lake, brings to mind the idea of being securely held while also having a view of something more expansive. (I love visual metaphors.)
Furthermore, she communicates with transparency not only through anecdote-generous blog posts like this one, but also in explicitly detailing the process clients can expect to be led through. She’s a great designer for clients who prefer to be treated like an insider rather than as an audience member waiting anxiously for the curtain to go up on the show.
And finally, one has only to follow Evan on Twitter or Facebook to understand how deft she is at embracing the unexpected, both in life and business. Her updates never fail to make me smile, either a wry smile of recognition or sometimes, the precursor to an actual LOL.
Visually, Sixteen July’s site feels spacious and relaxed yet cheery, with a palette that feels laid back and energized -- teal, lavender, gray, a spot of orange. It also sports a fresh-looking font family, including a winsome, vintage-inspired typography logo.
ABOUT THE MONEY, HONEY
How do Evan’s values as a business owner translate into making money as as brand?
For starters, she builds trust through a directly personal approach to rapport-building with prospects and clients: “I take a very intuition-lead, personalized approach in my work. In short, I get deeply invested. We stop being strangers as soon as you send your first message.” High intimacy/high touch isn’t the right vibe (or guiding value) for every brand, but here, the shoe fits.
She demonstrates transparency by laying out her process from start to finish on her Working Together page, not to mention in her chatty (and addictively readable) blog posts that share her own struggles and successes in solopreneurship.
Like most designers, Evan provides a full suite of personalized services to fulfill a range of interrelated client needs. In addition to website designs and redesigns, she also offers Creative Identity Discovery, Kill Your Overwhelm Sessions, and à la carte design services.
Designers and creatives, take note. Sixteen July is a gorgeous example of a creative service-based business that marries a focus on client desires with a single solopreneur’s highly individualized vision. Evan didn’t arrive at this incarnation of her work in the world overnight, but it’s worth noting what patience, purpose, and reinvention can get you.
Does your own business brand aim to marry your own dreams with your clients’ desires? What inspires you about Evan’s approach to her purpose-driven brand, Sixteen July?