Brand Interview – Chris Kihlstrom, Ascensionary™

Brand Interview – Chris Kihlstrom, Ascensionary™

Chris Kihlstrom

How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
My company Kihlstrom Fine Art has been in business since August of 2005.  It started out strictly as a fine art company for the first two and a half years.  Then I decided I wanted to incorporate my past experience in the  T-shirt business into my own company. I started to put my artwork onto shirts and sell them to stores.  I had better luck selling the shirts than I did my paintings.  Now I still sell fine art and shirts.  The business has so far just been a side business.  Most of my income still comes from my freelance graphic arts work for other apparel companies in New York City.  But , as time goes on the business has slowly but surely been growing and getting  better.  I now have a registered trademark on the name Ascensionary.  I chose a name that nobody else has so that it will not be confused with any other brand.  Now my goal is to continue to grow the brand , make more connections, increase internet sales and sell to larger retailers.

New York City Times Square artwork

Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
I do donate my artwork for auction to benefit the Hoboken Homeless Shelter. I do what I can to help under my modest budget.  If my company continues to grow I will have more to give.

How did you know what typeface (font) and artwork would be right for your company wordmark or logo?
My trademark logo was chosen because I wanted it to tie in with the general theme of the brand.  The logo is in a gothic style that relates to the medieval artwork and that is a big part of the brand.  Medieval crests, swords, knights and such are icons that never really go out of fashion.

Ascensionary website design

How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
The colors and artwork for my company are changing all the time.  In the fashion business people are always looking for fresh and new looks.  I always come out with new artwork as much as I can.

How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
I worked with Susan Newman Design for my website because I liked her sense of design that she showed in her email newsletters.  I wanted someone talented who could bring a new perspective to my website. As you can see she from she has done a great job. (Wow, thanks so much Chris!)

Crown t-shirt art worn by Roman

In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
My company started out doing art shows in studio tours, galleries and street fairs.  I still try to do that when I can.  As I got more into T-shirts I began to show my work though stores that sell T-shirts.  My first fashion web site was just O.K.  I did not get into social media until just recently.  I think I will be getting into it more in the near future.  Facebook and Youtube are on my agenda.  I am working on a Flash animation advertisement that will go on Youtube.

Do you do any paid advertising for your own business? What do you recommend to your clients and why?
I have only advertised in a local newspaper once and there was not much response.  I may consider advertising in national Art magazines in the future.  I get the feeling that would work better.

Ascensionary - Black Heraldic t-shirt design

When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
As far as business cards go I just print them myself from my office printer on a nice card stock.

If you sell products, are they produced in the USA or abroad?
The shirts that I sell are printed by me in the U.S.  If I get a large order I would have it printed by a local screen printer.

Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
My focus will always be on art.  That is a real strong point of my company.  Trying new techniques and moving in new directions will always be part of the plan.

Ascensionary t-shirt designs

To learn more about Chris Kihlstrom, and Ascensionary™ visit the links below:


Ascensionary on Facebook
Ascensionary on eBay
Ascensionary on Etsy

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