Jacqueline Jouan knew she was always meant to end up in a creative field of some kind. Her quirky personality, imagination, passion for creating and collaborating, and love of travel has always been apparent since she was little. She started off working in printing and then as an in-house designer for a large corporate company before she got a taste of the self-employed life working as a freelance designer abroad in Spain for 2 years. Being able to work and travel simultaneously and learn a language at the same time opened up a new appreciation for the life she had as a freelance designer and along with it, endless possibilities for her career that were inspiring and drove her to push her freelance career to the next level.
After returning to Canada in January 2018, Jacqueline decided to start a graphic design and branding studio called JJ Creative. Her goal with JJ Creative is to help businesses develop and grow their brands so they can better connect with their ideal clients online. JJ Creative get’s to know you and your business, create a brand strategy that defines your brand, your audience, and then prioritise your business goals together. Whether it be through graphic design, web design, social media graphics, or brand identity, they work with you to help you choose the design deliverables that work best for your business by helping you effectively communicate your story to your customers through design.
It’s not just about beautiful graphics, deciding to grow your brand with a one on one brand strategy and the prioritisation of your business goals is a team effort that requires trust between both the client and Jacqueline. Business owners know their business best and have such valuable key insights during this process; it’s so important to feel confident and comfortable sharing your story. This gives Jacqueline the crucial insight into understanding why you really started your business and further aids her to create compelling design solutions to help you share your story and message to the right audience.
Great to have you Jackie, can you introduce yourself to us as the brainchild behind JJ Creative?
My name is Jackie and I am from Edmonton, Alberta. I’m the owner and graphic designer at JJ Creative which is a graphic design and branding studio I started a little over a year ago. I love yoga and healthy living, travelling, and languages (I speak Spanish and French). I love the freedom and ability to create a lifestyle that I love. I knew to start my own business just made sense to compliment my passion for adventure and freedom. Thus, JJ Creative was born and along with it many challenges and lessons, mistakes, friendships, and a desire to help businesses succeed with my design and branding services.
Can you tell us about you are helping your clients to streamline their business with a solid brand that speaks and resonates with their own audience?
I look at every business as unique with their own one of a kind story to tell through branding and visual design. I love meeting new clients and learning about their stories, their pain points, and discovering together how we can help their business flourish.
My goal is to help businesses develop and grow their brands so they can more easily connect with their ideal clients online. I get to know each client’s business and create a brand strategy that defines their brand, their audience, and help them narrow down and prioritise their business goals. After I work with the client on developing a strategy, we work together to prioritise which design methods will best suit their business. These deliverables may include up-levelling their graphic design, web design, social media graphics, or brand identity. I focus on creating a consistent style that compliments and supports their messaging and brand values.
What is a typical day like for you at JJ Creative?
A typical day for me would include starting my day off with yoga or the gym. I alternate the two and I find it keeps me balanced and energised. Then I start work either at home or I go to a cafe and I get right to the client work and tasks that I don’t really like to do. This may include admin tasks, finance, or design work that just doesn’t interest me much but needs to be done. Around lunchtime/ afternoon I get started on all the projects that really excite me. Anything to do with growing my business, new website projects, branding projects, motion graphics/video projects. Then I work on strategies to find new clients during this time usually using linked in, Instagram, and attending networking events.
Who is the most influential female branding powerhouse that you admire and why?
Jessica Walsh. She is a creative director and founder of Creative Agency “& Walsh.” I admire her ability to break the rules and really run with her ideas in all her work. Her designs use a clever adaptation of creative photography, photo manipulation, bright colours, and bold type to create some beautiful visual solutions that get attention and a total wow factor! I also love how she incorporates her creative style into her personal page. Looking through her work and seeing her fun creative style flourish in all her Instagram posts and her work reminds me to not hold back with any of my ideas and design projects. It really is inspiring to see that confidence and fearlessness in someone else’s work and lifestyle. Like many other creative women entrepreneurs, I also admire her for bringing women together through her mentorship programs. Her desire to create a community of high vibe creative women succeed is apparent and it really resonates with me and how I see myself evolving in my career.
What 3 marketing tools or apps do you personally love and can recommend to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there on a start-up budget?
- Google Analytics. I love this tool as it allows me to track all the traffic going to and interacting with my site. I think every business owner starting out should make sure to have this tool so they can track their website traffic and optimise it to raise sales and traffic to their site and social media platforms.
- Google Keyword Planner. I also love this amazing tool as it helps you find keywords in relation to your business that your customers are searching for on google. When you create a list of keywords with the tool you can start implementing them into your website and social media content to improve your SEO and rank higher in Google!
- Asana. Asana has been invaluable to me in terms of the organisation of all my projects and ideas. It allows you to have all your projects in one place and create step by step tasks for each project so you can break it up into chunks to accomplish in time. This allows you to manage your time and deadlines better and create a clear path from start to finish with each project. It also lessens the overwhelm of managing big projects by breaking it up in an organised way with one tool.
How are you working on your own personal development?
I have learned in the last year that it is so important to try and achieve balance in my life. It is so difficult to acquire this especially in the beginning stages of starting a business. Burn out is a serious problem that I am determined to avoid. It’s easy to get in so deep with our ideas and building a business that we put aside our own self-care by ignoring our mental and physical health. While growing my business this last year I became an avid yogi. I practice hot yoga about 3-4 days a week and it has helped me disconnect from the daily stress of work and life. Not only do I have more energy and get my “me” time but the more I learn about the theory and lifestyle of yoga, the more I love it. Along with yoga, I love to travel and collaborate with other entrepreneurs in my city and online. I find true inspiration and connection from other people’s backgrounds and stories and I love to work with other creatives to help each other succeed.
As a creative, I think it’s super important to stay inspired and travelling allows me to gain that inspiration from other cities, cultures, artwork, and network with other aspired entrepreneurs. At the end of the day trying to achieve a healthy balance in my life between work and doing the activities that make me happy and help bring out my best self is what I strive for.
The best lesson learnt throughout building JJ Creative?
The best lesson learnt so far has been to focus on the growth of my own self-improvement and journey while building my business. When I was starting out, I got carried away with comparing my skillsets and journey with other entrepreneurs and I started to be really hard on myself in regards to my work and not believing it was good enough. I do believe a healthy amount of research and competitive analysis is essential to growing as a business owner and creative professional, but It is vital to be able to disconnect from their journey and focus on developing your own.
When you hold yourself too high on a pedestal, in the beginning, it slows down the process of completing your own projects and goals. Focus on growth, not perfection, perfection is just unrealistic, it slows you down, and you end up beating yourself up one too many times.
This can also send you into a negative mindset when you have unrealistic expectations over every single goal and outcome. I started to just focus on my own journey and developing goals that would help me grow as a person as well as for my business. I now focus on how I can help my clients grow their businesses and succeed. Everything revolves around this idea and I continue to find the work of other designers and brand strategists inspire me to push my limits in my work. We all start out at different times, are at different paths in our lives, and learn completely differently, so too compare is just energy wasted and pointless. Focus on you and you’re growing as a business owner and find ways through networking with others and educating yourself online to help you achieve that growth to reach your goals.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
For me, #BEYOUROWN means coming together as women from all parts of the world to help inspire, mentor, and share each other’s stories and wisdom so we can succeed in our personal and professional journeys. I have learned in the last year how powerful uplifting each other as women can be. It has helped me to keep going and not give up when I feel overwhelmed and alone in this entrepreneurial journey. Starting out is so difficult in the beginning, burnout is scary and it’s so easy to get consumed in your own business to the point that you end up neglecting your health and well-being. Being a part of an online and local community of women enables me to share my story and hopefully help others starting out; it also gives me a chance to learn and connect with other amazing hardworking women that push me to be better.
In which areas are you looking to grow and expand JJ Creative within the next 3-5 years?
My goal is to grow JJ Creative to reach a global market of businesses. I have been marketing myself locally since I started and now I am ready to brand JJ Creative as an online branding and design studio where I can help businesses from all parts of the world grow their brands. I am currently launching a new online store where I will be selling design templates to start-ups and small businesses. This initiative was inspired by all the small business owners I was meeting from my networking groups. I listened to their stories and realised how much I had in common with them. Budgets are low in the beginning, the amount of new knowledge you must learn is staggering and trying to balance everything on top of it all is a challenge for all of us! I thought maybe I can minimise the overwhelm gap for these new business owners where they don’t have to have a huge budget to get started with beautiful graphics for their business.
To further help businesses succeed and reach their goals, I will also be growing the brand strategy service of my business to new levels. I will be incorporating brand strategy workshops and consultations to new clients so they can better understand what they need to do to reach their business goals. Before it was just graphics so I am really excited to grow this part of my business as I believe it will really add a ton of value to my clients and their businesses.
As part of growing my business online, I am planning some exciting new collaborative video and design projects with other creative professionals during my travels this year. I am working on sharing my story through content creation from my travels, collabs, and branding and design knowledge using Instagram, and youtube mainly. I want to provide so much value to my audience and clients this way. Not only will this allow me to grow my brand globally online, but it also enables a community of creative professionals to be a part of each other’s stories, learns from one another, and create meaningful and inspiring work using our creative talents.
LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/12666859/admin/
Image taken by Nicole Constante
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