This is the beginning of a new kick-ass series I've entitled 'Like A Girl'. To start the series off I interviewed Breanna Rose, a talented designer and business woman. I would definitely recommend checking out her blog. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Breanna Rose (or just Bre) and I currently live in Minneapolis, MN, where I was born and raised. I prefer simplicity, love traveling, and always enjoy spending time with my close circle of family + friends. Oh! And I think my favourite tv show of all time is The Office. Or maybe Shameless. This talking about yourself thing is really hard and I know I'm missing about a bajillion things. ;)
What do you do?
I've wanted to become my own boss for as long as I can remember, so after design school, I dove head first into the world of freelancing while also living in my childhood bedroom rent free (that part helped immensely). Four years later, I'm now the founder + sole graphic designer behind Rowan Made, a small studio that helps creatives tell their story through branding and build out! It's been quite the adventure, but I'm happy to have found my sweet spot and am so excited to see what happens next. Oh! And on the side, I also run a little freelancing workshop called Be Free, Lance for designers with my friend Jen. Working for yourself is 100% attainable and we wanted to create a community that helped encourage and support just that.
Why did you choose to pursue design?
I started playing around with Photoshop when I was in Middle School, which prompted a lot of random collages and MySpace customisation. I continued messing around throughout high school and really enjoyed creating things, but never thought that it could actually turn into a career. Nobody really explained to me what graphic design was, so I simply wan't aware of all the possibilities! Instead, I was pretty set on becoming a nurse (yup!), only to freak out two weeks before college started realising that I wasn't on the right path or attending the right school. Something creative was a must and design was the ultimate winner. I quickly turned things around and haven't looked back since. ;)
Are there women in your life that have inspired you?
Yes, several! My mom taught me how to have a good work ethic early on, encouraging me to set routines, do my best, and never settle for less. As I got older (and to this day), she's also shown me the importance of following your gut and simply doing what's best for you. Also, she would totally make fun of me for saying all of this because that's just the type of (silly) relationship we have. My grandma (mom's mom) was also a blessing in my life, someone who I miss dearly each and every day. She was all about love and made all of her family members feel special, appreciated, and accepted. One hundred percent. On one of the last days I saw her, I jokingly asked if I was "weird," to which she replied "yes, but in the best way." She always made me happy to be me, and that's something I'll never forget. My Godmother (and aunt) is another one that endlessly inspires me. She's the absolute sweetest and is always engaged and genuinely intrigued by the lives of others. She's selfless, strong, and a great role model. Three cheers to all of these women!
Most helpful piece of advice someone has given you?
I had all the confidence in the world when I was little, but middle school (and thereafter) was a different story. Since starting my own business and coming into my own as an adult, my confidence has resurfaced and grows stronger each day. The motto "good for you, not for me" (from Amy Poehler's recent book) has been a constant + gentle reminder in all that I do, reassuring to myself that at the end of the day, it's as simple as doing what's RIGHT for you. If you put yourself first, you can give more to others. And that's the best.
Have there been challenges you faced because you're a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
Luckily, I've never faced any difficult challenges simply because I am a woman, which I know is sadly not the case for so many others around the world as well as here at home. For me, I knew early on that I wanted to be my own boss and simply didn't let anything stop me from making that dream a reality, something I'm so thankful that I could do. Now, because I call the shots, I don't have to worry about unequal pay or being taken less seriously, because at the end of the day, I have the power to decide who I work with as well as how I work from the get go.
What is something you wish you had been told about running a business, before you began running your business?
I wish I would have been told that it's more than okay to not have everything together or "perfect" right away. You have to take the time to carefully figure out what works and what doesn't work for you so that you can maintain a happy + productive working environment. In fact, fine tuning your business is one of those things that never really ends if I'm being completely honest. If you think something isn't working, then start experimenting with something else! Try new systems, dig into your process, and always (always!) be learning.
You, alongside Jen Serafini have founded 'Be Free, Lance'. What is the purpose of the course, and what do you hope to achieve through it?
Because I started my own design studio directly out of college, I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. I remember feeling so overwhelmed without many people I could turn to who were in the same boat. Over time, however, I found my tribe, learned a lot of valuable lessons, and started blogging about what worked for me and my business. As soon as I began sharing insight on my own blog, it became extremely clear that I wasn't alone -- and that others were out there searching for answers as well. I knew that an online workshop could be beneficial for so many freelance designers out there, but didn't want to go at it alone. That's where my friend, Jen Serafini, came into the picture! We both have a lot to share about the world of freelancing, but also took very different paths in getting there, so our workshop is full of multiple perspectives (us + interviews) that encourage attendees to do what's best for them. Becoming your own boss is entirely attainable and our hope is that Be Free, Lance helps establish a community where designers can learn, grow, and lean on one another.
*all photos sourced from Bre's website and used with permission.