Brand Interview: Kelsey Borlan Lee, The Brand Gal at Kelsey Rae Photography
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
I have been into photography for over 12 years but only started taking it seriously in April of last year. In the past year my company has evolved as I have and I have been into branding for about 6 months.
Its been an amazing journey!
Kelsey Rae Photography exists to help entrepreneurs step into the bigger picture of who they are in their brand and business. I want all of my clients to walk away confident & empowered to live the life they want to live doing the thing they love (and with amazing branded photos to boot!)
Tell us about your brand.
My brand is about having your cake and eating it too! I don’t want to choose between sipping my carmel lattes and helping those in need so I do both & help other entrepreneurs do the same thing. My brand is about accepting who I am & what I love and being willing to show that to people. I firmly believe that branding is the single most effective way to market any business. Kelsey Rae Photography is 100% about being a resource to my fellow business owners and photographers because branding can be a daunting and abstract concept (when really its so fun & creative)
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
I do! I call it my 5 for 5! I donate 5% of all my photography packages to one of 5 carefully selected non-profit organizations here in LA and around the world.
From a young age I have always had a heart for those in need and passion to help. I have always known that simply living life and making money was never going to be enough. I want to make a big impact in the world & I do that through my business and my photography.
How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo? If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
Still working out the kinks in that with my new website.
How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
I see branding as being a reflection of who YOU are. So, when it came time to decide on brand colors, the only colors I could say 100% I have always and likely will always love were grey, black, & white. So I kept it simple and true. Throughout my branding process I did start to love a few other shades and textures & integrated them as well. It was hard for me to be ok with my colors at first because I thought they were too boring. Then I got over it!
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
Initially I did try and do my own thing because I didn’t have the money to invest $3,000-$5,000 in a website but eventually as my brand became more and more refined and defined, I began to outgrow my templates. I was blessed to meet one of the finest designers I have ever seen through a mutual friend who also specializes in branding. She and I collaborated on both of our visual brands. I knew on a very personal level that this was the girl for me because each of her sites are so far above and beyond anything I have ever seen before. Every site has a very distinct brand and no two are even a little alike. She is brilliant & I am so honored to work with her.
In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
I started off with a very simple blog site and a little bit of social media. It has been a learning process, but now I have an amazing site on its way and a great social media network. I have yet (and do not intend) to use traditional marketing.
How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
I actually haven’t started pitching just yet. My brand is pretty new and until my site goes live, I don’t want to pitch online. By the end it will be about 6 months since the birth of my brand.
Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
OMG! YES! I have read & researched like crazy! I love Creative Live as they provide the industry’s best and brightest business & photographic minds for FREE! I have also read countless blogs, attended many free calls, and watch more YouTube tutorials than I care to mention. There is a wealth of information out there. Just DO it!
Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
No, and I don’t intend to. I do, however, publish articles as often as I can.
Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
I have & the only one I can honestly recommend is Facebook but only when appropriate.
Which social media site to spend the most time on and how does it help marketing your business?
Facebook. Pinterest & Instagram. My business is very visual so it makes sense to engage with my peeps in a visual way. Info Graphics and images are the hottest thing in social media right now, so yes, they are quite effective.
Do you belong to community sharing websites? Which ones and how effective are they in building your audience? What are the best features that help your business?
I am a part of several communities of both business owners and photographers. I also lead a local group for photographers to help each other out called Better Together. My Facebook groups and Meetup Groups have greatly increased my network.
When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
I have used both & I so appreciate being able to use local vendors. Its fast, I don’t have to pay for shipping, and its supporting my fellow entrepreneurs.
Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
I always pay the extra few bucks to go green. Its a small thing that makes a big difference.
Do you speak at events? If so tell us about that.
Not yet, but I am actively looking for speaking opportunities! I have always wanted that to be part of my business and now that I have a brand that I believe in, I know its time!
I am also planning a conference for next spring that is all about helping people make the leap into following their dreams. Its called the Live The Dream Conference and this first year’s theme is “Bring it to Life.” I will be speaking on branding at that conference.
What is coming up in the year or two we should watch for?
I am having a HUGE brand reveal and launch party in July as well as several video series, the Live The Dream conference, and I am being featured in a book. It going to be a HUGE year!
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
The videos are my next big thing for sure!
To learn more about Kelsey, visit the websites below:
- SEO Visibility: Naming Your Photos and Documents Correctly
- Brand Visibility Strategy: Batman’s SEO