Vanity Graphics is an Orlando, Florida based branding and graphics boutique that was created in 2017 by Brand and Graphic Artist LaQuaila “Quay” Davis. Vanity Graphics provides strategic and innovative digital graphics support for brands in all industries, with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. Anything from custom logos, websites, print collateral, and again digital graphics projects that brands seek knowledge and expertise on how to keep everything consistent. Vanity Graphics also helps clients build their brand value, uncover their dreams and create a cohesive brand voice fitting to their ideal market.
Hey LaQuaila, can you introduce yourself to us?
My name is LaQuaila Davis and I am from a small town in North Carolina name Jackson. I currently reside in Orlando, Florida where I work full-time for Osceola County School District Office as an IT project manager. I have been working in project management now for roughly about 6 years. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Winston-Salem State University. I also hold a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management concentrated in Project Management from The Keller Business School of Management of Devry. I am certified in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and preparing for my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I started my journey in college working for Hanes T-shirt and Underwear company as a system analyst my Junior year of college and moved to a Point of Sales Technician my Sr year of college. After graduation, I started as a Cybersecurity analyst. I later transitioned into a position with another agency as IT Project Manager and relocated to Washington, DC. I worked there as a project manager for about a year as the position was a temporary opportunity. During this time I began pursuing my master’s degree with Keller School of Management Devry as well. When the opportunity ended I relocated to New York where I was in search of a new opportunity for about 4 months. To land another project manager opportunity that was only a 6-month contract with a big Japanese bank.
After that opportunity ended I relocated to Orlando, FL. Orlando was hard for me. I had a hard time finding employment and decided to take the money I had been saving a launched my cosmetics line Venom Cosmetics. I had been talking about doing it for years and felt then was my opportunity to really do it. While preparing to launch my cosmetics line. I still searched for employment because I needed a source of income. During this time I was also working to complete my master’s degree because I was coming up on graduation.
While finishing up my degree I landed a temporary opportunity as an IT operations analyst for a big financial firm in Orlando, FL. During this time I was able to complete my masters and still worked on building my cosmetics line. Working to make a name for myself I began attending local trade shows and events to get it out there. I also used social media to really push my line. Here is where people begin to notice more so the digital marketing and promotion work I was doing for my line. I begin to have people ask me to create content or designs for their companies and businesses. At this point still taking on temporary jobs here and there, I would still work on the side creating material for people. Year three in Florida was the toughest.
My last temporary assignment ended and I was working heavily with IT recruiters to find something. One day I had an epiphany and it was like something told me to just trust my abilities and I launched my second business Vanity Graphics. Because of my struggles with learning how to start my first business on my own and seeing how hard it could be without having the capital. I wanted to help other entrepreneurs starting out, showing them how to visual brand and strategically align their business in their market. I later accepted a permanent job opportunity as an IT Project Manager for a local School District located in Kissimmee, FL where I continue to work while running both Vanity Graphics and Venom Cosmetics on the side.
What is a day in the life of you like?
Busy Busy Busy. My days and night run together at this point. I work during the day as an IT Project Manager starting at 8am – 5pm. My day as a project manager consists of meetings, coordinating and planning software upgrades or implementing new systems. During my lunchtime, I find time to reply to emails from my graphics clients and return phone calls. I then find time to post content for both Vanity Graphics and Venom Cosmetics on social media. After work, I try to find time to work out if possible. But I get settled at home and give myself about an hour or so to rest and then back to work. I spend my evenings creating content for both businesses and then the remaining of the night through the morning complete graphics request. This consist of developing websites, logo creation, business card design, apparel, promo content, etc.
What was the concept behind launching Vanity Graphics?
After launching Venom Cosmetics and just all that experienced while launching the line alone. I learned a lot from my mistakes. I created all of my marketing and designed my website alone and that is what put my ability to brand and design graphics. Without having the capital to get my cosmetics where I wanted it to be, along with the number of requests I received from other people requesting designs and content material for their businesses I decided to launch Vanity Graphics; digital branding/graphics boutique. Because of my love for cosmetics and how I believe one can find beauty in anything. I went with the name Vanity Graphics. I wanted to create a brand that would help a business that was new or seasoned with digital branding/graphics.
How is Vanity Graphics funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded ect?
Vanity Graphics is self-funded. All the materials and equipment I purchase.
Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos at Vanity Graphics?
With an eagerness and desire to help others grow their brands visually. I have developed one mean hustle. I work hard to make sure I provide my clients with quality work in a timely manner. Vanity Graphics provides strategic and innovative digital graphics support to brands in all industries, with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
Our goal is to help you visually build an attractive but reputable brand! We provide quality in custom logo designs, website creation, print collateral, apparel designs concepts, along with branding and marketing strategies for brands seeking to visually grow and cohesively brand/rebrand. Vanity Graphics also helps clients build their brand value, uncover their dreams and create a cohesive brand voice fitting to their ideal market. We push for people to choose Vanity Graphics because they are ready for the following:
- Ready to boss up and take your business to the next level.
- The go-getter who knows they need to invest in their company and begin building on their dreams rather than wait.
- The entrepreneur who currently has a business or is serious about starting one.
- The product or service-based business that wants a polished look to increase interest and sales.
- Tired of practicing insanity!! The entrepreneur who’s ready to toast it up to a new brand.
How are you are helping your clients to take their businesses to the next level?
When I take on clients that seek brand growth I like to do a consultation ‘Brand Reality Check’ to evaluate, brainstorm, and strategies how we can move their business forward. We discuss topics their brand makeover such as:
- Brand struggles, strengths, and goals
- Brand Foundation
- Social Media
- Customer Experience
- Future Opportunities
Following our consultation, I will provide them with a 3-step action plan that will help move their brand in the right direction
Can you give us 3 useful tips for designing a company logo that represents a brand to its fullest?
Consider me a personal brand makeup artist. Branding involves so much more than designing a logo. The unique part about the process is that it sets the tone for your brand and making it easier to design visuals that represents your business. The top 3 tips to designing a company logo for me, that represents a brand to its fullest is understanding the business, the audience, and their market. All of these things are important to me because it helps position the brand to be an attractive but reputable brand.
Who does the team involve behind you Vanity Graphics?
It’s only me.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
In the next 3- 5 years building my brand even more. I plan to be running my business full-time. I will have much larger accounts working with corporate clients. I have an app that I have written up a proposal for that I would like to have released by then. The pricing quotes I have received after consultations just have been expensive. This app will be a game changer for any new entrepreneur. This app will help those starting out tremendously by providing the tools, tips, tricks necessary for success. Most importantly I would redo my graphics suite. I would purchase a new laptop so that I no longer have to work with a broken laptop. I would invest in a few additional monitors, a printer for stationary and hot press machine. This would allow me to offer printing services and not using Visita print.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of Vanity Graphics?
With the amount, of work I receive and working full time makes it hard sometimes. So I want to expand. I want to also help someone thriving that has the same like-minded mindset. I will be able to grow my business even further and build a small team. My team would consist of additional designers, photographer, and videographer. I would like to fly out to my clients to meet them personally if they are rebranding to really bring out their brand story and aligned with their target market and sticking to their brand. I want to be the ultimate one-stop shop provided not only graphics services but helping the client brand themselves and educate them on how to build a strong reputable brand.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
I personally struggle with how I manage my time. I am such a perfectionist so that sometimes hurts me. Not only that but I struggle with time utilisation because I get consumed in my work too often and forget my time. Just taking that one day to disconnect and mentally regroup.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefited you to grow?
No, I haven’t. I would l love to have one. I have considered buying into the programs of two ladies I have been following. I feel they would help me structure my business doing this stage I am currently and help me level up to attract VIP/corporate clients.
What outlets do use to market Vanity Graphics?
I primarily use social media but I also take advantage of local networking events along with self-promotion.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I really haven’t considered building a support network outside of support from family and friends.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about digital branding and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
A lot of people just post and use hashtags that really are not benefiting them. I educate clients by posting content that provides tips and inspires them to change their mindset.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
As I am a millennial I think that I can say that we are really in-tune to being entrepreneurs. So if anything more collaboration and networking. Sharing valuable information with one another.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
I was going through a tough time and I kept saying I didn’t have the funds I needed to get things I needed for my business. Someone close to me that knows me and my ability to do a variety of things. They told me to stop making excuses. Find ways to utilise my talents, be creative, and improvise.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Sticking to a schedule or plan, this is important because you want to build a trusting relationship with your clients.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
This is where I struggle the most. I still have not mastered the balance. I am newly engaged so I have another factor added to my life with planning my wedding. So far my only way to balance is by working late nights.
The highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career has been my first opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to pitch Vanity Graphics in the Whose The Bawse pitch competition. Unfortunately, they weren’t looking for service-based businesses to help more companies with a physical product. Though I tried to sell them on how this is a service based business that produces products. Just finally taking that first step to put my business out there was for-filling.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
I get the ultimate sanctification from seeing my client reviews because I know that I did what I was supposed to do. Seeing them happy lets me know I accomplished my goal.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of Vanity Graphics?
I have had such a tremendous influx of clients this year. The biggest challenge has been sticking to my time schedule. I have noticed that I have to begin to structure my clients, move to take a certain number of clients at a time.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I admire Kris Rowry. First, she does amazing work. After I watched one of her webinars I was even more impressed. The tips she offered were good for new graphic designers to help level up your business to attract high-end clients.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The last article I read was on the Biz Growth blog. How to be a savvy communicator to get and keep customers. They point out how it is important to lead, network, and grow through 6 communication skills every entrepreneur should master.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘Super Soul Conversations’ with Oprah.
- ‘The Secret To Success’ podcast.
- ‘The Garyvee’ podcast.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
I believe success is not determined by financial gain more so on what it takes for you to reach your goals. I believe in failing forward. Failure is sometimes the only way to succeed because it’s not always easy. You have to know what things went wrong sometimes in order to reach or achieve your goals. Success is also about what makes you happy while getting there and the necessary steps that you can take to get there.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN to me means to walk in your purpose. Being able to accomplish and achieve all the goals that you set out for yourself, doing things that you believe in. #BEYOUROWN is simply remaining true to you.
Lastly, what is next for you?
What’s next for me? I plan to continue to work hard to grow my business all while helping others. I plan to invest more in my business so that I am able to keep up with the market.