At The Hivery we nurture women at different stages...from turning an idea into a reality, to growing and scaling an established business. Two of our members, Sophie Davies and Jenni Heffernan Brown, are good examples of how The Hivery has supported them as business partners and helped them move into the next level of running Prim’d Marketing. Together, they run a marketing and design studio that helps businesses and personal brands look and sound buttoned up online by combining strategy with creativity. They are pros when it comes to branding, website design, blogging, and social media.
I sat down with them to ask them more about how they use The Hivery, how they collaborate with the member community, and how this has been a vital aspect to the launch of their new website and the next phase of their biz.
1. It seems that The Hivery has a unique appeal for business partnerships as it gives you a physical place to come together to meet on a regular basis (without having to rent a private office). How does The Hivery help structure your working week and serve you as business partners?
Sophie: Jenni and I joined The Hivery this time last year when we were almost a year into running our business and looking for a halfway location point for us to meet a couple of times a week. I live in Northern Marin County and Jenni lives in the Haight neighborhood of San Francisco, so it was perfect! The Hivery structures our work week by not only allowing us to schedule client meetings in the conference rooms, but also supports us to collaborate together and with other members on various aspects of our business.
Jenni: To add to that, a lot of the work that I do on our Prim’d team is the creative work: designing, writing etc. I find that this sort of hyper-focused work is something I like to do at home (I call my office “the design cave”). But it can get really lonely if I’m just working by myself, and after too long in the design cave I’m drained. Our schedule of two days a week at The Hivery creates a perfect balance for me — I have a sense of having colleagues, “work friends,” and lunches with other creative women that I need.
2. You’ve worked with many other Hivery members, both as clients and partners. Tell us about the kind of working relationships you have formed at The Hivery?
Sophie: We have met partners, mentors and clients through The Hivery that have supported us and contributed to the growth of our business. Prim’d Marketing has grown due to the partners we have taken on in our second year of business, including photographers like Jacquelyn Warner, who support our websites and branded photo shoots. We also work with fellow Hivery member, Laura Riordan as our executive business coach. Laura helps Jenni and I to narrow our focus and create priorities for scaling our business and outsourcing help, while making sure we are constantly tapping into what fulfills us as people and business owners.
Jenni: We also work with Hivery member, Mary Gassen who runs Launch. She supports us with our financial matters and assessing the systems we are using to help us see the reality of our numbers (and feel more in more in control and less overwhelmed). We have created The Brand Plan for her company and continue to support her with her blogging and social media efforts. Of course, The Hivery owner Grace Kraaijvanger has been a constant support in so many areas of our business from looking at our packages and pricing to being a sounding board about our copy and brand messaging.
Being at The Hivery reminds me of that saying “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Prim’d Marketing has been lucky to have amazing women to work with and partner alongside of, and that has made such a difference.
3. I’ve been lucky to watch your business grow and evolve since you joined The Hivery. It seems that you’ve really taken your biz to the next level. When and how did you realize that it was time to move into a 2.0 stage of the business and what are the signs other members should be aware of?
Sophie: At the beginning of the summer we decided to turn the tables on ourselves by going through our own process of The Brand Plan which helps clients define their brand values and focus in on their core competencies within their competitive market. As a result we realized that we had outgrown our website which no longer represented our offerings and didn't fully explain the different ways we work with clients. When you find that you are having to explain too much about what you do, you know that it's time to reassess your website, sale deck and sales funnel. We did this at an off-site meeting and got to work on creating a 2.0 version of Prim’d Marketing which we explain in more detail in our latest blog series 'How to Market Your New Website'.
Jenni: This is sort of the fun part of what we do as a marketing studio — all businesses evolve over time, and it’s interesting to see how things shift as they grow. As a designer, I like to pay attention to my inner “cringe factor.” If you’re looking at your website or any marketing collateral you’re sending to clients and you cringe a little, you’ve outgrown it. Sometimes this can feel bad, but it’s exciting, it means you’re growing!
4. How did Hivery members support your growth and your new website?
Sophie: We called upon Hivery members who we have worked with in the past to talk about the experience of working with us which helped us create detailed case studies and testimonials for our new site. Their input and support was invaluable to our new website and helped us move into the next stage of our business.
Jenni: Once we got to the place where we were ready to release it, we had a champagne toast with everyone at The Hivery that day, and we rang the Hivery victory bell. These small celebrations may not seem monumental, but when you’re an entrepreneur or small studio, having a community rally around your progress really means everything!
5. The Hivery is centered around the core value of collaboration. What’s your advice on how other members can collaborate and form potential partnership within our community?
Sophie: So much can happen as a result of a conversation at The Hivery so be sure to introduce yourself if you are first joining or welcome new members and take the time to find out what they are working on. Arranging a coffee date or taking a walk to grab some lunch together can spark collaboration ideas. Swap business cards or email addresses, connect via social media, ask questions and support one another by bringing our community closer together.
Jenni: Raise your hand and get involved! I know that might sound over-simplified, but that’s the wonderful part of belonging to a community. Several months ago I had an idea for a workshop I wanted to run on Branded Imagery, and I shot an email to Jackie Warner Photography and another to Grace. Within several weeks, Jackie and I taught that workshop together and had a blast (and it even sold out!). Great things happen when you put yourself out there. Show up at member lunches, attend a mixer, and introduce yourself.
6. Let’s talk about you two as business partners. Many women in our community are looking to partner on a new business or are just starting out in a partnership. What do you think makes for a good business partnership?
Sophie: Open and honest communication is key. Having a business partner is like having a second marriage so treating each other with respect and talking things over, even when you don’t agree at first, is important. Keeping a positive mindset is essential which can also mean taking a mental break and stepping away to get perspective. Someone once told me “Growth Comes In Recovery”. Also speaking to others who are going through the same thing helps tremendously which is why The Hivery community is so valuable to us as women and business owners.
Jenni: I totally agree, it’s a second marriage! It’s important to find a partner that you can have hard days or tough conversations with, and you’re both still excited to show up the next day and keep building your business. That’s not always easy to do. But even with that, I’d tell someone looking to start a partnership to take the risk — being a creative entrepreneur is both hard and rewarding, and I always feel lucky that I have someone to both share the load and celebrate the successes with.
Thank you, Prim'd ladies for taking the time to talk about how you've grown at The Hivery. We love having you as part of it all.
Sophie Davies is the co-founder and resident social media strategist at Prim'd Marketing. Sophie has worked with an international portfolio of clients in the fashion world, ranging from Lacoste and Calvin Klein to independent designers, as well as consulting with brands in the lifestyle, wedding, parenting and publishing industries.
Prim'd Marketing helps businesses take a strategic approach to their social media and blogging. We also offer creative services with a marketing eye including branding, collateral and website design.
Jenni Brown is a Co-Founder of Prim'd Marketing, and our resident creative-brain // web & branding strategist.
Jenni's has experience with global brands such as Pepsi and Taco Bell to small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. She when she isn't creating beautiful websites and collateral for Prim'd clients, she writes and designs for Prim'd.