Looking back at 2017
What a year. 2017 had many highlights, learning lessons and new experiences. The good, bad and ugly - I learned from it all!
With 50+ photo shoots, 60+ TV segments, 15+ events, 6+ new clients, and so much more...it was my busiest and most successful year, yet!
I loved recapping 2016 in a month-by-month format and thought it would be fun to keep the tradition going this year! You can read the 2016 recap here for reference.
2017 started with a brand refresh for KES. When I started the business, I didn't have a clear brand in mind but knew that I wanted to incorporate my name 'Kathryn Elise.' The 'studio' was added because I wanted it to be clear that the services I would offer would be done in a professional, studio setting and it just so happens that 'S' is also the initial of my last (married) name, Snellen.
Long story short, as my business evolved beyond just myself, I wanted to re-brand to keep my business name in place but to make it sound more like an agency. I already reference 'Kathryn Elise Studio' as KES - so I knew it was time. I hired my graphic designer to help with the re-brandI made the transition to 'KES Studio' with a fresh logo, website, and strategy for my social media. That also included creating a separate, personal space to share my personal musings and experiences as an entrepreneur. So, KES Studio is a place to share our client work, projects and marketing insight...while my personal brand dips into style, life lessons, lattes, and adventures.
Personally, I was able to take a quick (literally, 48-hours) trip to LA. The perfect place to re-set my mind and prepare for the year ahead!
Always my favorite month of the year because it's short and sweet, plus it's my birthday month! January was all about our re-brand and client planning, so February I jumped back into our regular client TV segments and content photo shoots. I started a few new clients and even was contracted for a PR campaign with a national fashion brand.
Did I mention...so many photo shoots?! Content shoots (for social media) became a monthly occurrence in 2017, thanks to our talented KES photographer, Ruthie! From creating Valentine's Day content to photo shoots for upcoming spring campaigns, it was a month filled with creating content for our clients' upcoming marketing and social media plans.
I also had the opportunity to share my story with a group of college students from a local community college studying marketing and advertising. I've come a long way with public speaking. In high school, you couldn't pay me to present in front of a room. So, to get excited about hosting a presentation is a big deal for me! I love sharing my knowledge with young talent.
This month was not very exciting because it was all about planning. Mapping out spring/summer campaigns for clients and getting ready for several photo shoots for social media content in the upcoming months. We also started mapping our influencer marketing plans for clients.
Personally, I also started a new fitness regiment which included 5-6 classes per week at Health House and a healthy, keto-based diet. After 2016, I wanted to focus on taking care of my body AND mind before the crazy months started to kick in. This was the month I got committed.
The first 'big' month of the year for my business!
First, I moved my studio into a new space that was shared with my friends at sheKClifestyle. While it wasn't a big move (literally, moved one studio down in our building), it was an exciting step in my business. Why? Because previously, I only had access to my studio 3x per week. The new space allowed me to be there every day for both work and client photo shoots. Secondly, I have worked with the sheKC team since before they launched their brand and we have continued to support one another. This partnership meant new opportunities for my business and vice versa.
One of those new opportunities this brought was launching my Strategy & Style Workshop series! Hosted specifically for sheKC partners, we created an intimate workshop for small business owners on all things branding and social media. I love teaching and having the opportunity to share my knowledge with women in business always makes me so happy. I also started leading discussions for monthly networking meetings for further education and business training.
Beyond moving our studio, I also experienced lots of exciting things. Our spring photo shoots kicked into full gear. I swear there was a week where we had five days of shoots! Due to a larger client load in 2017, we started shooting all social media content two months prior - a big step both for my clients and my business as we focused on strategically planning ahead.
The busy spring season continues with more workshops, photo shoots, and planning sessions. Are you sensing a theme to my 2017 year? I hosted my second Strategy & Style Workshop focused on social media planning and content creation.
With a SUPER full schedule, I also made a big move for my business by hiring a full-time marketing assistant. She helped take some of the work off my plate by managing our schedules, meetings and planning for client marketing campaigns.
Personally, I also started getting heavily involved in my volunteer position as the Marketing Co-Chair for the 30th Annual Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri's Holiday Mart - set for October. This meant adding even more meetings and commitments to my growing schedule.
Summertime...and the livin' is (not) easy as a business owner. This summer was full of hustle. With new clients on our roster and big social media promotions and influencer marketing campaigns launching, I spent the first half of the month stationed at my office desk. I've always preached 'planning ahead,' but this summer taught me that I had to implement what I knew - otherwise things would fall through the cracks!
After a few weeks of work, I was able to take my first real vacation of the year. My husband and I took a road trip to Colorado. First, stopping in Denver for city exploring with friends. Then we headed to Estes Park for hiking and quiet time in nature. It was the perfect getaway to recharge - mentally and physically. After committing to my health and fitness early in the year, I was starting to feel the hard work pay off!
Back to the grind. With summer events in full swing, I was focusing on juggling several projects and deadlines. I hosted several events for clients this month, but my favorite was a fun influencer progressive dinner event at Park Place to share a taste of their restaurant's menus. It's always fun to get to create new experiences for my clients and influencers to experience!
My team also helped the local Bumble ambassador kick off her networking event series! I also started focusing on a big client event, the sheKC Experience set for September.
With summer winding down, I was focused on fall planning...and launching a new service! I introduced the 'Strategic Style Launch' program for solopreneurs and entrepreneurs that need help launching their brand start to finish. The 3-month program includes branding + logo design, strategic launch planning, social media content, photography, and website design.
We took on three female entrepreneurs for the first round to complete their brand launch before the fall. This added new, exciting work to our plate and while it was hard to juggle it all - it was very rewarding to watch their vision come to life!
In addition to our brand launch clients, I launched a new website for Health House! A much needed refresh for their brand as they prepared for a new studio opening.
This month was a literal whirlwind of so many things happening personally and professionally.
The month began by launching a FabFitFun promotion for our client, Mer-Sea, which was very exciting! This included a brand photo shoot, Snapchat takeover for FabFitFun and lots of celebrity partnerships which propelled the brand forward quickly.
With fall events also in full swing, I was in non-stop promotion mode. Our largest event of the year, sheKC Experience kicked off early in the month with a week of TV segments. We also were in charge of the on-site social media and press, which meant long hours and lots of time spent at the three-day shopping event.
In addition, we also promoted and attended Bare Med Spa's 2nd anniversary at their downtown location and kicked off a series of Trunk Shows for Glitters Fine Jewelry.
After an exhausting, but exciting start to the month...it was time for a vacation. My husband and I went to Jamaica for a week to celebrate our three year wedding anniversary. It was so nice to disconnect and be in a tropical setting with no worries.
Once back, it was time to get focused on holiday campaign planning. While we had started our holiday content shoots in July, I had to start mapping out what the season would look like for our clients in terms of social media, influencer partnerships, TV segments, and other marketing campaigns. Lots of planning!
The month began with a quick weekend trip to Kentucky to explore the Bourbon Trail and attend the Mizzou game. I knew with the holiday coming up quickly, this would be my last fun weekend of the year!
Once back, I headed straight into my volunteer work as the Marketing Chair for the 30th Annual Holiday Mart KC. The week-long event included lots of planning and promotions. We ended up with over 15 TV segments for the event and lots of incredible social media coverage! While this event was very time consuming and took away from client work, it's always rewarding to give my talents and services back for a good cause. Plus, we exceeded our event goals!
I wrapped up the month by completing our three Startegic Style Launch projects, bringing on Content Creation client and finishing up holiday planning with a few new holiday projects booked with the Kansas City Power & Light District. Exhausted was an understatement.
My goal for November was to finish the year strong and to make time to schedule everything out for my clients so that I could enjoy time off.
As the month kicked off, I felt like Santa's Workshop...I created gift guides, holiday social media content, planned several TV segments, and wrapped up our final photo shoots and influencer holiday campaigns just in time to take off for Thanksgiving. But it was a short-lived break, as I had a big project planned for Small Business Saturday with a local influencer. I hosted several TV segments and then went straight to the 'Sip, Shop & Support' events at Kansas City Power & Light District for a social media campaign. The month continued with more TV segments that I hosted at 41-Action News...from holiday gift guides to decor tips and more!
This month is also a time for reflection and planning ahead. I scheduled a brand shoot for my personal projects and started mapping out how 2018 would look - both for my business and the clients I serve. With many changes happening this month for my business including the loss of my full-time assistant, it was important for me to get serious about planning ahead.
This was my busiest December, yet! The month began with the opening of Health House's new studio, along with t.Loft's fifth cafe located inside. This was a big project and very exciting to work on for both clients! While holiday work was in full swing, this month also was a time for me to start planning for 2018. There are many exciting things that I want to accomplish in the coming year and I know how important planning ahead is to make things happen!
With fun content launching for my clients I was in full-on launch mode. Luckily, most of the work could be done at home. So, I decided to update my home office to make working during the holiday season feel cozier! I invested in a beautiful new desktop iMac and settled into work from home...a nice change of pace after being in and out of my studio downtown all year!