Client Feature - Hearthfire Creative
I’ve been in business for over a decade now, and in that time I’ve worked on some fun projects, serious projects, silly projects, and inspiring projects. Many of my clients are creatives in their own right, and have incredible stories of success in business themselves.
And from each of them, I learn something new that inspires me or I use to improve my own business. Which is exactly what I want to share with you today.
Today’s story comes from Lexi Steele who founded and runs Hearthfire Creative. Awesome name, right? It just conjures a cozy, heartwarming image of a crackling fire roaring from a big stone hearth. Swoon!
Well, Lexi may be loving, but there’s more burning passion than sweet docility, which is exactly what makes her such a firecracker.
Hearthfire Creative provides startups with thoughtful, heartfelt visual & UX design to create community and clarity for digital products and businesses (like websites). In fact, Hearthfire Creative created my website!
But it’s not all websites. Lexi specializes in Logos, Branding & Identity Design, Web Design, and Mobile App Strategy & Design — basically bringing your company’s business goals to life in the most visually stunning, digitally-savvy ways.
She started up in 2015, after working in an agency setting, because she wanted to prove to herself that she could run her own successful business in digital media. Along the way, she discovered the challenges that many startups encounter in that space, and has been serving them ever since.
What’s pretty incredible about her story is the results.
She helps her clients achieve measurable brand recognition, retain existing clients, and attract new, high-quality clients by providing digital solutions to her clients’ business problems. Because of her incredible success, she’s been able to thrive on word-of-mouth referrals exclusively!
“It's an honor to be trusted enough by clients for them to refer me to their colleagues.” — Lexi Steele
How did she get such a stellar record?
She starts every new client relationship with a discovery session to get to the heart of the business’s existing problems and future goals. She uses that information to create strategy documents guiding their plan of attack to design logo and brand identity, websites, mobile app interfaces, and more. She sees every project through with hands-on implementation and consistent support.
If that sounds pretty thorough, it is! Her level of service is unparalleled and her record is impeccable, which is why I was so flattered when she asked me to take her branding photos. Double swoon!
We quickly bonded over a dislike for boring, trite stock photos and a love for finding the balance between art and commercial creativity. And, of course, I loved that she recognized the importance of having on-brand imagery to increase brand recognition and memorability.
“I believe photography is an integral part of a brand. And it makes me look way more badass and professional. And it's catered totally to my vision for my business.” — Lexi Steele
I was thrilled to hear she saw results in her business from using branded images, so I got curious about her strategy and understanding what worked for her.
One of the biggest tools that she used was storytelling.
During our brand photoshoot, we worked together to create a story that unfolded in each image and across multiple images. Lexi has been able to use those branded images in so many ways now.
They show up on her website, in blog post thumbnails, on her social media collateral. She was able to increase her Instagram engagement through a photo-quote series featuring those branded images.
“I had no hesitations working with Willy. She is the best of the best and I'm grateful to have worked together on multiple client projects.” — Lexi Steele
That photo-quote series has helped Lexi increase online awareness of her UX Design knowledge to build clout in that arena.
What’s really cool is that some major industry bigwigs are responding to her imagery! Thanks to this branding work, she’s getting noticed in a way that she hasn’t ever experienced before. More than that, those branded images are giving her inner strength.
“They've given me confidence and validation that I can pursue my dreams and be successful. People recognize my brand not only from the graphics I create, but also with the images I pair with them.”
It’s been a blast watching Hearthfire Creative grow and evolve over the last 4 years, especially now as Lexi’s embarking on new projects and goals.
With the incredible positive response she’s received from the industry and the confidence she’s gained to pursue what she loves most, Lexi is focused on all things user experience design! She’s taking courses to further her education and accepting new client projects to hone her skills.
“I'm happy to take the leap with Willy over and over again for my own business and my client's businesses because she is collaborative, engaging, and highly skilled in craft.” — Lexi Steele
And she’s continued to grow her online presence with branded visuals that are authentic, relatable and creative. Check them out here.
And her advice to anyone just started up or looking to grow their business? Find a mentor.
Want to find a rocking photographer who can capture your brand essence? Let’s talk.