Meet Chris Emmer, the designer and strategist behind Sweaty Wisdom who works with passionate female entrepreneurs to craft brands that glow, giving you more buzz and more success.
Hows it going Chris?
Fabulous! We just had the first snow in Michigan, so I am feeling the Christmas vibes.
Let’s start off with a little bit about you and your background first, if you can tell us?
My background and degree are in Graphic Design and English Lit, I’ve always been a creative through and through. After graduation, I scored my dream job developing award-winning creative for leading global brands. I spent years climbing the ladder and soaking up knowledge from my incredible coworkers but always felt a yearning to connect more one-on-one with clients.
After years of trying to quiet it, my gut and her loud voice won. I took the leap of faith into entrepreneurship and immediately felt the connection I had so desperately craved.
Now, I work with clients one-on-one through custom branding services and coaching and in groups through online courses. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to have my work featured in Creativity International, HOW Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Design*Sponge, and Oprah.com, as well as had the honour of both teaching and developing course material for multiple colleges. I’ve got big plans for the future always, but truly enjoying where I’m at now.
You are the designer and strategist behind Sweaty Wisdom, can you talk us through the journey?
Heck yes I can! Sweaty Wisdom began organically and unexpectedly.
I’ve always been a designer and brand strategist, however, in the beginning, I was doing this work under another name. Sweaty Wisdom was originally created as a personal passion project – after hot yoga thus the “sweaty,” I would spring to my car and scribble out the mantras that bubbled up for me during my practice on a little notepad I kept in my glove compartment.
My designer heart told me to format these into the typographic design and I started posting these anonymously on Tumblr which was cool at the time, I swear. My designs got some traction and eventually, people started requesting print goods with my designs on them. I thought, “Why the heck not?” and started selling print goods.
These, shockingly enough, had a great success and I continue selling them through my shop (etsy.com/shop/sweatywisdom).
I saw that I had a platform where I was really connecting with my audience on a deeper, heart centered level, so I eventually merged my branding services to be a part of Sweaty Wisdom as well.
What has the journey been like so far?
Non-linear, surprising, rewarding, just straight up fun but, let’s be real, it’s also been sometimes scary and sometimes exhausting. I think the more we de-stigmatise “boss perfection,” the freer we can all be.
Any challenges or barriers faced so far? If so, how did you overcome them?
The biggest bummer setback I’ve had was Urban Outfitters ripping off one of my bestselling mug designs. When another creativepreneur copies an idea, for some reason it doesn’t feel as bad. When a huge conglomerate whose SEO you just can’t compete with steals your design down to the pixel, it feels pretty icky.
What does it take to build a soulful successful brand?
I think it takes a really interesting combination of tenacity, bravery, and heart.
You’ve got to come from a genuine place and share your real, authentic self or people can feel it. We’re all just animals and we can sniff it out. At the same time that you’re showing your true self to the internet, you’ve got to have a bit of a thick skin and the ability to shake it off when a hater decides to rain on your parade. And, of course, the tenacity to keep coming back day after day even if sometimes you might want to quit, spoiler: this is totally normal and you’re not a bad person if you’ve ever felt this way.
What has been a seminal moment for you in your career so far?
One that really knocked my socks off was being asked to write the Social Media Strategy curriculum for a college. So much of entrepreneurship is about creating things that you publish, so being asked by an established institution felt like a really big honour. I think my Dad peed his pants a little when I told him.
What is on the horizon for 2018?
So much! I’ve got a lot of growth and changes this year. The last week of December, I’ll be launching a new course called DIY Your Website sweatywisdom.com/diyyourwebsite, that teaches an even least tech-savvy beginner how to create their own beautiful site using Squarespace. In January, I’ll be launching the winter semester of my signature group course + coaching program, Social Media with Soul socialmediawithsoul.com. I’ve got a few other surprises up my sleeve, but I’m going to keep the suspense around that one for now.
Lastly what 3 pieces of advice would you give to empower women to have more confidence in their brand?
1.You do you, boo boo.You’ll get a ton of advice from everyone (and they mean well), but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t sit well with your soul, it’ll flop. Do the things that light you up; we can sense it and it magnetises us to you.
2. Haters gonna hate. Taylor Swift taught me that one. But honestly, sometimes people are just having a bad day and it has nothing to do with you. Try not to take it too personally if you get the brunt of some negativity.
3. One tiny step. When something feels huge and unmanageable, write down a list of 5 teeny tiny steps that need to happy along the way even if one of them is literally “Open Photoshop”. Bite sized chunks make everything feel more do-able and crossing items off your to-do list just feels so dang good.