Let’s be real—being the boss is a tall order.
Sure, leading the charge usually comes with some perks, but being the boss is also often exhausting and crazy stressful—from recruiting and retaining top talent and juggling expenses to sourcing and delighting clients and solving big-picture problems— all while searching from some semblance of a work/life balance in between.
Under normal circumstances, leadership is a challenging gig, and under the current still-grappling-with-COVID circumstances, leadership is not for the faint-hearted or uninspired.
So I’ll say it again for my boss friends in the back:
Your job is tough, and Team Thinkwell salutes you.
And it just so happens that one of our very favorite pastimes here at Thinkwell (don’t judge us: we’ve got a bunch) is to work with badass bosses and make them and their amazing businesses shine.
Thankfully, we have no shortage of awe-inspiring leaders in our client pool, and we thank our lucky (creative, hard-working) stars every day for the chance to tell our clients’ stories powerfully, efficiently and accentuated with gorgeous design.
And while we love working with ALL our clients—from gigantic companies we’ve partnered with for years (we’re looking at you, Hilton, AutoZone and Focus Brands) to the just-born businesses that need our help to launch—we must admit, small businesses hold a special place in our hearts.
Why do small businesses make our hearts skip a beat?
Well, for starters, it’s in our DNA. Thinkwell is a female-led, small business, and we know precisely how much power it takes to launch and lead a company.
We understand all too well some of the challenges small businesses face, and we take great pride in the countless joys that are woven into the fabric of small shop ownership.
At Thinkwell, we love our smallish size because it means all our clients are our “big clients,” so everyone receives our best effort. We delight in offering exemplary service at a reasonable rate, and we enjoy some flexibility and freedoms that larger organizations just don’t (see also: using the word badass on our blog).
And since it’s National Small Business Week, we thought it was the perfect time to sing the praises of some of our favorite small business heroes near and far.
Take, for example, Becca Gaines.
Becca is an interior designer, philanthropist, dreamer and the owner of B. Gaines Interior Design and Hey Rube design shop and showroom.
Becca’s full-service interior design firm and companion shop are elevating the game when it comes to curating sophisticated residences and commercial spaces from concept to completion. As the poster child for humble elegance and artistic livability, Becca has our heart; as a client, she has us hooked.
Last year, Becca reached out to Thinkwell for a possible brand refresh assist, and soon we were off to the races. We relished the opportunity to tackle a total brand refresh for Becca’s businesses, particularly when presented with the challenge to incorporate a philodendron plant (a special bloom that’s been in Becca’s family for generations and sits on display in her showroom) into her company logos. Our design team did a beautiful job seamlessly blending this nostalgic nod into clean, simple and high-end logos for both brands, and we had a blast working with Becca to co-create new business cards, in-shop pieces, mailing materials and more.
In addition, we were happy to give BGID a digital boost, including a complete website overhaul with fresh content, a new user-friendly platform for easy edits and updates and a clean, professional look reflecting Becca’s blend of charming utility and traditional modernity. Thinkwell also spruced up the B. Gaines/Hey Rube social media presence by infusing online posts with personality and pizzazz, à la Becca herself.
Becca is a brilliant, sophisticated and savvy small business owner, and Thinkwell loves every opportunity to help tell the B. Gaines story.
Then, of course, there’s Katie Crago.
We can’t prove it, but we’re pretty sure “crago” is a synonym for “courageous.” Katie has been a professional travel advisor for years, and when the travel world turned on its ear in 2020, she didn’t turn tail and run—she turned lemons into lemonade with the launch of her own travel agency, KHC Grand Travel.
Katie’s personal mantra is, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us,” and she charts the course for KHC Grand Travel based on this guiding philosophy. As a former Walt Disney World Cast Member with a background in finance, Katie routinely amazes clients not just by their KHC-curated travel excursions, but also by Katie’s attention to detail, extensive wealth of travel planning knowledge and impeccable guest service (after all, she did work for Disney).
When Katie contacted Thinkwell last year, she already had some of the core components of her newly formed business in place, including a logo, website and company name emblematic of the goal she sets for each client’s vacation. What she needed was some help communicating her new, heavily referral-based business venture to everyone from previous and potential clients to her family and friends.
As storytellers, helping to jumpstart new brands is one of our greatest joys, and we absolutely loved shouting out this shero start-up story from emails and text messages to social media posts. Thinkwell’s team collaborated with Katie to make sure no stone was left unturned when announcing the advent of her new company, coupled with key details such as contact info and a snapshot of services. Soon Katie’s contacts far and wide were receiving messages through various platforms including email, text and social announcing the launch of KHC Grand Travel.
We honestly couldn’t be prouder of Katie for making the brave leap to hang her own shingle as a travel advisor while the travel chips were down, and Thinkwell was honored to play a role helping Katie launch her business. When travel returned, Katie was ready, and her leap into small business ownership has already paid off in a big way. She’s added two people to her team and has already landed on top travel advisor lists. We are zero percent surprised.
And last but never least, we love us some Carla Loper.
Now those of you following along at home might have noticed a family tie here, as Carla shares a last name and is in fact the sister-in-law of Thinkwell founder Marissa Loper. 2020 was a crucial year in terms of leaning on our loved ones and growing even closer with family, and we can’t think of a better way to wine-down (wait for it!) our small business shoutouts than by celebrating Carla Bass Loper, absolute all-star and partner at Kessick Wine Storage Systems in Greenville, SC.
Originally founded by father-son duo Ralph and Robert Bass, Kessick is a family-owned, family-run business that continues to redefine industry standards as a national supplier of top-quality wine cabinetry and contemporary wine storage systems. Kessick also embodies the dream of owning and running a “made in America” company representing three generations of the Bass family, so when the time came to explore a brand refresh, it’s no surprise that Kessick turned to family for help with an image update.
Enter Thinkwell, whose crack design team couldn’t wait to help illustrate Kessick’s winning blend of aesthetics, function and sound building science with a new company logo. Thinkwell’s team ultimately created a new vintage of the Kessick logo featuring a racked wine bottle outline in the shape of the letter K, which gave the Kessick team a striking and practical emblem they could easily stamp onto their storage systems and use on social media platforms.
To introduce everyone at Kessick Wine Storage Systems to the new design elements and help preserve the brand’s image and integrity, Thinkwell also crafted a set of concise, clear and easy-to-follow visual branding guidelines for the company, as well as options to update their online web presence. Kessick later hired us to design logos for each of the styles of cabinetry and systems they offer.
Kessick’s unparalleled craftsmanship curating the perfect wine cellar experience is an achievement well worth toasting, and Thinkwell is gleefully raising a glass in celebration of these clients whom we love, well, like family.
Shine on and shine bright, my friends.
And to all small business owners out there, whether you are current clients, former clients, potential clients, friends or people who stumbled onto this blog post because you were due for an extra dose of cheer and championing today, our hats are seriously off to you as you put in the hours, call the tough shots and burn the midnight oil to make sure the lights stay on.
Thinkwell loves you, we’re proud of you, and we can’t wait to see—and celebrate—what you do next.