Brand Interview: Kim Dow, Kalico Design
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
Kalico has been in business for 4.5 years now. We are a graphic design studio that specializes in print design (although we do offer web/interactive design services as well). While we work with a variety of businesses, our passion is to work with those promoting healthy lifestyles—those in the health/wellness, organize, holistic and women-oriented industries. We are also a Certified Green Business through Green America and try to weave sustainability practices into our everyday business routine.
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
We don’t typically donate monetarily to charities, however we do offer pro bono design services to several local non-profits in our area including: all design and marketing for Equinox Dance Company (an arts nonprofit), design services for the local Frederick, MD Greek Festival (put on by the local Greek Orthodox Church), design services to the AAF Greater Frederick (the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation), as well as a handful of other local organizations.
Tell us about your brand.
How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
My favorite color has always been green, even since I was a little girl. So, I knew I wanted my brand to include green, based on my own personal likes, but also because the color resonated with my target market. From the green came the other earth tones to make up the Kalico color palette.
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
Obviously in my case, I designed my own identity! : )
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 slow. First, I had my logo, business cards and website created, and then I went out and did (and still do) a lot of in-person marketing and networking. This is how I got my feet off the ground, basically through word-of-mouth and referrals. From there, I also added on a blog, an eNewsletter (which has been on hold for the past year, but will be making a come back this fall), and then I explored the social media worlds of Facebook pages and Twitter, as well as some online networking sites.
How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
I’d say maybe about 6 months to a year before creating a Facebook business page, and probably 2 years before I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. I wanted to introduce my social media outlets slowly, to make sure I could actually keep up with all of my accounts.
Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
I typically do not advertise in local newspapers as it doesn’t really cater to my market. I have advertised in a few local/regional magazines that seemed to work well with my target audience. And, I’m lucky in that we work on several regional magazines that often offer up ad space.
Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
No, we do not currently advertise online.
Which social media site to spend the most time on and how does it help marketing your business?
I use Facebook and Twitter equally, but for different reasons. Facebook I use to kind of focus on our work, our clients, and use it for more visual posts (office shots, photos of work, images of client work, etc). And then I use Twitter to post about more industry-related articles, respond and comment with those I follow with a few self-marketing posts thrown in.
When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
I actually did both. Depending on the project, I select a printer who I feel fits the job best as well has offers cost-effective pricing. For instance, for my business cards, I’ve gone with an online, green certified printer. But for a more detailed self promotional piece (with custom folds), I’d go to a local printer who I’ve established a relationship with.
Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
Yes. I’ve been in the print design industry for over 12 years now, so I am very familiar with the different types of papers.
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?
Yes, we try to use recycled and/or FSC certified papers on the majority of our printing.
Do you speak at events? If so tell us about that.
I would say Not Yet. I’ve had to give very brief speeches on a local basis, but have not really moved on to the world of event speaking. I have a small fear about speaking in front of large crowds!
What is coming up in the year or two we should watch for?
Since the summer months are typically a slower time for us and because we just recently moved to a new office space, we’ve been working on revamping our own marketing. This will include a redesign of our website (switching to a WordPress platform to allow for easier updates and posts), new business cards, a new self promo, as well as the re-launch of our eNewsletter. We are also going to work on developing a client satisfaction survey as well as some type of referral program. All of these are slated to be completed by January, 2013, just in time for our 5-year anniversary!
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
See above! Also, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of creating a business-related Pinterest page. I have a personal account, but have thought about doing one strictly for Kalico Design. Since we are in such a visual field, it could be potentially be very effective. I’m just not sure if I’m sold on the idea yet, and I, of course, want to be sure that I could handle an additional social media platform. If anyone has a suggestion regarding Pinterest for business, I’m totally open to hearing your feedback/suggestions!
To learn more about Kim Dow and Kalico Design visit the links below:
Kalico Website: http://www.kalicodesign.com/
Current Blog: http://kalicodesign.blogspot.com/
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kalicodesign