Welcome to the first installment of my new series called Inspired Social. The aim of this series is to get a behind the scenes look at some inspiring entrepreneurs and how they use Social Media in their businesses.
In the very first interview for the Inspired Social series, we have Dani Hunt, founder & creative director of Neverland Studio, a design agency for inspired brands that seek to capture the attention of a contemporary audience. She is also the creator of The Brand Bazaar, a branding marketplace for entrepreneurs. Dani’s design aesthetic is sleek, energetic and electric; she combines handcrafted elements and digital design to create a unique visual experience. Her creative process uncovers a brand’s individual vibe, and translates that into a compelling piece of digital art that tells their story.
I am so excited to share this interview with Dani, I hope you love it just as much as I do.
Why did you start your business?
I was inspired to start my first business, Neverland Studio, by three things. First, a total love of life, and an eagerness to live it to the full. Second, a longing to stay true to my design style, and do the kind of work that excites and inspires me. And finally, my curiosity and interest in the world of business – it stimulates & challenges my mind!
My second business, The Brand Bazaar, aims to make quality branding more readily available to start-ups and entrepreneurs. Through the marketplace, they can get their hands on jaw-dropping branding within 10 days, at half the price of my 1:1 branding package. It’s bringing the brand design process into the 21st century.
How has Social Media helped you to grow your business?
Immeasurably! Social Media is my only form of “promotion”, and 100% of my clients come from either direct referrals or Instagram. It’s helped connect my brands with an international audience.
What is personally your biggest challenge with Social Media?
Advance scheduling! As I’m a designer, I feel it’s important that my feed is a good reflection of my brand and creative style. I like it to be well curated… with the right mix of colour, flair and creative energy. This means giving it my attention in advance… but when my schedule amps up, it’s usually the first thing to fall off my to-do-list!
What do you believe has helped you grow your business online?
The telling of a compelling and consistent brand story across platforms.
What is your Social Media routine?
Ideally, I’ll harness inspired periods to produce and plan social media content weeks in advance. At minimum, I try to share three posts a week on Instagram, and then summarise any major announcements or client projects I’ve shared over on Facebook too. I use Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts, as it’s a visual-based planner. When it comes to Facebook, I’ll usually schedule directly in the app itself. I love Instagram Stories too, and use that to share less curated snippets of my life and biz.
What’s the best advice you have been given and why has it helped grow your business online?
All the best advice I’ve been given, or perhaps been drawn to the most, relates to pursuing your dreams and experimenting with ideas. A few years back I stumbled across a quote that puts it best, and though it’s simple, it continues to inspire me. It reads – “You know all those things that you wanted to do? Well, you should go do them”. It reminds me that we’ve got one life, and to live it, which has helped me take chances to grow my business online and beyond.
“You know all those things that you wanted to do? Well, you should go do them”
When you get overwhelmed or frustrated what helps you stay motivated?
In those situations, I try to re-connect with the greater vision for my biz & life, stay connected to the wonder of the world beyond my present situation, ask what I can learn from the experience, and stay grounded in the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’.
What would you share with someone who is just starting out or new to the power of Social Media?
My advice would be to approach your social channels with positive energy and do as much as you can to spread the good vibes. Give encouragement to others, as this will help you make connections, and build your tribe online.
From a design perspective, I’d also say this: Social Media is a powerful platform when it comes to communicating your unique brand story, establishing credibility, and connecting with your tribe. Try to remain on-brand with your language and visuals at all time, and ensure your messaging is cohesive cross-platform. Consistency is key!
What’s your favorite: App, Website tool & People to follow???
App: The Podcasts App! What can I say, I’m hooked.
Website tool: There are so many brilliant tools I use to help my clients attract and engage with their tribe online! I design most of my client’s sites for development on WordPress, which has some killer plugins and integrations. However I recently built my marketplace, The Brand Bazaar, on Squarespace, so I’m currently gaga for that platform too.
People to follow: The ultimate girl-gang, the @bufgirls. These legendary clients of mine have taken their branding way beyond the visual assets I developed for their biz, and created an engaging experience online. Not only that, they’re bubbly, authentic, vibrant, and encouraging. I’ve massive respect for those girls! A coupla other accounts that I love to keep an eye on are nomadic travel blogger @thetravellinglight, the wacky and colourful @thefrootilife, and of course @packagingdesigninspo… who doesn’t love drool-worthy packaging!