Fiercely Fun. Bria Lear, founder of Digital Darlings worked a 9:00-5:00 job, which she quit to start her own online magazine, Framework. She then opened her own branding and graphic design agency, teaching workshops and working with other creatives in town. She told us how to infuse a brand with personality, connect with your soul, and stay forever young.
The Digital Darlings are female entrepreneurs, marketers, and creatives. . They are somewhat tech-savvy, but they don’t have the training in Photoshop or photography to really elevate how they present themselves – or their clients – online. All they need is a little bit of help.
“I help people take what they’re passionate about and project it online in a way that is authentic and showcases their personality.”
To create a name for your brand, product, or community, I usually just tell people to start writing down different types of words, like an adjective that represents a value or personality, and then something that represents what you do. Physically writing them all out on different pieces of paper, and shuffling the words around lets you start to play with different combinations and that seems to work if you’re really stuck on wording.
“The way you project your personality is really how you’re going to attract your tribe.”
I always try to think about the end goal of the workshops that I teach. What does someone need to learn out of this lesson or this class? Then I break it down backwards from there.
So if the end goal is to learn how to create clipping masks, objects, use alignment tools, and text, I’ll say to my students, “Let’s make a Facebook header for a baking blog.” It makes it so much easier to learn the technical tools when you are creating something that you will actually use.
“I use examples that everyone can relate to, so if I’m teaching someone on Photoshop how to use layers, I like to explain it as a 7-layer Mexican dip, because I love food.”
Beyond the content of my workshops, I think it’s more inspiring to be learning and working in a space that feels inspiring. It has to look good aesthetically and I have to feel good in it. Also, I think providing lunch means you come, you hang out, you eat good food, it’s a party. I don’t want it to feel like school!
“I always cater lunches at workshops. The food is the best part.”
When I was a kid I wanted to be a million things! I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer for a while. I used to read my Dad’s collection of National Geographics all the time. An artist? I used to paint and draw. A hair dresser?
“Now, my main focus is really to inspire people to go after their passions and live a life that they want to live and feel in the driver’s seat of their life.”
My cousin and I had a little business that we made a jingle for and a brand – Bria & Michelle’s Hair Ware. We went down to the park at the end of my street and we braided cornrows in people’s hair for like $10 a head. I think we made about $100 in two days!
I spent a couple years in a job that I despised. I think it’s really important to love what you do when you spend so much time working.
“I’m mostly self taught with my Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign skills.”
I had been looking at all these online magazines and kept thinking, “I wish that was my job, that’s so cool! I want to do that.” And my friend was like “Quit whining and just do it.” I think that was February 2012 and he gave me a deadline of May 2012 to launch the first issue of my yet unknown magazine. I dived into it and launched by this deadline. It makes a world of difference if you have someone who will hold you accountable.
“I’m such a nerd. If somebody asks me how to do something and I don’t know how to do it, I’ll Google it. I’ll figure it out.”
I always tell people, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you’re probably smart enough to get another job. And if for some reason it doesn’t turn out the way you thought, you’ll have learned a lot so you can go back with more experience and more skills to do it better the second time.
My Photoshop Bootcamp is a weekend course, but I’m developing a 3 or 4 month mentorship program to teach the process of brand building & positioning. Participants will come out of it not only with major clarity on their authentic brand style, but also how it fits into the marketplace and how to make it magnetic. At the end of the program, they’ll have a digital booklet – a brand bible that serves as a compass for value-aligned decision making, and filled with all the key elements they’ll need to stand out from the crowd.
“I know when you’re starting out, you can’t always hire someone to develop your brand for you.”
When I get stuck creatively, I’m a disaster. I think it’s really important to physically get moving so I try to go for a walk, or go to yoga, to just sweat it out. It’s important to do something different and step back.
“Rather than try to bulldoze through it and be stubborn about it, just take a break and move on to something else.”
I think you really need to do a lot of soul searching to find what you’re really good at, what people naturally come to you for and what you’re really passionate about bringing to the world. Finding a way to combine those is the sweet spot.
“The only person you need to justify your decisions to is yourself because you’re the only one that needs to live your life.”