Posts from the ‘Work’ Category
One of the many amazing things about Charleston is that every year, we play host to the Family Circle Cup, the largest women’s tennis tournament in the world. Each April, more than 100,000 tennis fans make their way to Charleston to see 70+ of the world’s greatest athletes do what they do best: volley, rally and smash into our lives in the most exciting way.
My friends at Obviouslee Marketing invited the super-talented Jay Fletcher and I to brainstorm concepts that highlight the beautiful harmony between one of the world’s greatest tennis tournaments and the Holy City it calls home.
Phil Greer, CEO and founder of the Greer Companies, grew up in an Eastern Kentucky mining town, became a University of Kentucky football star and then a celebrated high school coach and teacher. All that before he moved into community development, real estate, restaurants and hotels. You could say he’s a busy guy with an idea or two.
Together with Blue Ion, I had the pleasure of telling the Greer story through a brand manifesto and site copy. In its simplest terms, the story of Phil Greer is the story of his company: honor the place you call home: its people, its land and everything that makes it a place unlike any other, yours.
Here’s the site.
We grew up in American kitchens, on Main Streets and side streets, in front yards of blue grass, on porches, and local football fields. We come from hard working people who worked overtime, raised children, tended gardens, canned vegetables, fixed cars, and always made time for sunsets and neighbors.
We believe in giving people more than they can imagine – and everything we’ve got. So we only serve up the same quality, value, and respect we give our own families. It’s why you’ll only find fresh, delicious, homemade and handmade food in our restaurants. Why our hotels offer only warm hospitality, great service, and exceptional value. It’s why we take the time to listen, shake hands, and do more than people expect. It’s why we own everything we build – and why Kentucky will always be the place we call home.
Because we know that the things that matter don’t come in fancy packaging or far-away factories. They come from years spent doing right by people and their families. They come from our hearts, minds, and hands – and they’re always made from scratch.
My Blue Ion pals asked me to play along on a branding exercise and new website for WorkSpaces. In essence, WorkSpaces is total furniture, technology, product, and service provider helping businesses, institutions, and organizations achieve the highest quality furniture installations. But what makes them truly unique is their revolutionary approach to their work. I had the pleasure of articulating that approach for them, and it’s served both as a rallying cry internally and a key difference that set them apart from the competition.
Here’s one for the books: together with Blue Ion, Brennan Wesley and the good folks of the Charming Inns, we put together five, count ‘em five, websites for their amazing family of Charleston properties. They are: Charming Inns, The John Rutledge House Inn, The Wentworth Mansion, Kings Courtyard Inn and Fulton Lane Inn. The copywriting covered everything from the brand manifestos and photo captions to staff recommendations and tips for pet-loving guests.
Crossing the bridge to Mount Pleasant, you’ll find The Boulevard, a mixed-use apartment and retail community on Coleman Boulevard. The Boulevard is going to be amazing for lots of reasons. It’s one of the first big projects for the Coleman Boulevard Revitalization Project; it’s close to downtown, the beach, shopping, and restaurants, and it’s an fill development, so it makes use of existing space rather than clearing new land. Take a peek. Big ups to the Blue Ion team for this one.
A few months back, my pal Gil Shuler asked me to help out with copy for Ms. Rose’s Fine Food & Cocktails. Located in the space that was previously Sunfire Grill & Bistro, Ms. Rose’s is owned by the Zucker family. In fact, the restaurant is named for and inspired by Anita Zucker’s Mom, Rose. I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan and Anita for the project and so enjoyed getting to know them and hearing them thoughts on and memories of Rose, who is, by their accounts, still cooking and still a character.
Gil and his team created an incredible logo, identity system, menus, cocktail napkins, uniforms, merch, you name it. Everything is beautiful, playful, slightly vintage and slightly modern and, as always, full of good vibes. Reggie Gibson and his team designed the space and turned what was a boring stretch of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard into one eye-catching, must-see venue.
Special thanks to Gil for this one. It was a sheer joy from start to finish. I loved meeting everyone and felt honored to help an amazing family share their love for one great lady. As you might imagine, the food and drinks are incredible. I don’t think Ms. Rose would have it any other way. Get there soon.
Some of the most fun I have as a writer is helping clients share the story of who they are and what they do. Fortunately, I usually work with folks who eschew the traditional bio/about us/what we do format: i.e. Felix graduated summa cum laude from Pretentious University and…snore. No and no, Felix. Here’s a look at some of my recent faves.
Jay Fletcher is a mega-talented designer, and I’ve had the good fortune to work with him on a bunch of fun projects. I love Jay’s aesthetic, sense of humor and pragmatic approach to work and life. He recently redesigned his website and asked me to write his bio. As usual, he added both life and a design narrative to the words, and I’m so grateful to have been part of the process.
Although this didn’t make it into the final design, I feel strongly that this is also an apt description of Jay:
Jay Fletcher designs, digs deep, asks difficult but engaging questions, makes beautiful and compelling designed things, laughs in all the right places, cuts a rug from time to time, multitasks, handles it, remembers the punch line when you forget it, rides his bike to the coffee shop, is friends with writers, pets friendly stray dogs, recommends a beach honeymoon, flosses daily, and calls his Mom on the regular.
Lee Deas Brown is the Principal and Grand Imaginator of Obviouslee Marketing. I liked her immediately upon meeting her, and my adoration for her has been escalating ever since. Lee and her crew asked me to lend a hand as they put together their new website and marketing materials. Because they are so awesome in their own right, I mostly just nodded, laughed and applauded. I remember Lee asking me if I thought the “OM Way” part of the website, wherein they use normally negative words to describe what they do in a funny, positive way was “too much.” I said, “Bring it!” and added a few touches here and there. Here’s a fun one:
Heather Barrie is the Founder/Owner of Gathering Floral + Event Design. I met Heather a few years back when I was working on a project for her dear friend and creative soul mate, Kristin Newman. Heather is one of those people that exudes calm and grace. I feel like I could go completely to pieces in her presence, and she would gently and compassionately help me find my way out of it. Not that I would ever do this, Heather. Promise. I suppose that’s part of what makes her an amazing event and floral designer: calm in the face of chaos.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with Heather and Mary Ruth to learn why and how they came to be in the business of gatherings. Those conversations and Heather’s vision produced a storyline: about us, what you see, what you don’t, Heather Barrie and Mary Ruth Tribble that is uniquely and only them.
Here’s Heather’s bio:
Perhaps it took root in my Mom’s garden or stirring pots in our kitchen – or maybe it was built within me, alongside my Dad as he crafted something out of nothing, me handing him nails, one by one. Perhaps it was during time spent in Europe; rapt by art, architecture,wandering the streets, the plants, flowers and flavors unlike anything I’d ever yet experienced. Maybe still, it came into being here in the Lowcountry amid the lush marshscapes, the changing light, the way one color bleeds into the next. The “it” being the restless soul always open to a new adventure, craving beauty, & creative pursuits.
I came of age in hospitality – from bed and breakfasts with my first floral arrangements on breakfast trays to restaurants, catering, and selling wine until my small floral side gig became the gig. The truth is, every place I’ve ever been and every moment of my past are the inspiration for why I do what I do each day – and I love that tomorrow always brings something exciting and new.
And Mary Ruth’s:
I love how design moves and changes – my work is my avenue for creative expression. I’ve been creating, painting, glue-ing, building, and imagining since school days spent lost in the craft corner. What started out as school projects has evolved into friends’ birthdays, living spaces, accessories, and event, furniture, fabric, and lighting design.
Today, within minutes of entering a space, my mind races, creating ways to make our clients’ vision and expectations reach their full potential. In a day’s work, not only can I transform a space, I have successfully gone from running around in trendy sneakers and an apron, to throwing on a black dress and pretty high heels. If you are looking for me, don’t be surprised to find me on the top rung of a ladder, backing down an alley in a 26-foot truck, directing a ceremony or bustling a wedding gown.
Annie Byrd Hamnett, owner/founder of Byrdhouse Public Relations is a gem. She’s kind, warm and gracious, and if you don’t already know her, seek her out. Annie and I have worked together on several projects, and she’s always receptive and wonderful. While working with the fabulous ladies of Stitch on her new website, Annie asked me to write her bio. I jumped at the chance to share all the things that make Annie both a great professional and person with the world.
Annie Byrd Hamnett grew up among the abundant beauty of North Carolina’s pristine beaches—and its Blue Ridge mountains. Her early days spent helping her grandparents at their Christmas tree farm in Spruce Pine, harvesting potatoes, exploring the woods, and shelling beans on the porch instilled in her an abiding love of nature and open spaces—and a lifelong curiosity about and deep connection to the things that matter, like family, food, and travel.
True to her roots, Annie earned her degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—then hit the road in search of adventure. A stint in San Francisco, a study abroad in Italy, cooking school in France, a honeymoon in Bora Bora, a safari in South Africa, and her home near the beach in Charleston serve as inspiration and confirmation that the things she loved most could also be her life’s work.
Annie’s clients are her friends—people whose work and craft she admires, believes in, and wants to share with the world. Her expertise is evident in the way she mindfully and strategically shares all that she loves about her clients with the right people, in the right places, at the right moment. Her mix of creative, thoughtful communication and business acumen has earned her clients the praise, press, and respect she always wanted for them.
In her down time, Annie loves being with her husband, Matt and their growing family: Matthew (1 ½), a baby girl on the way, and crazy coonhounds, Birdie and Stella.
About 95% of the work I do is for the web, and I love it. But, as a writer and lover of books and words on paper, print projects hold a special in my heart. Perhaps even more exciting are the opportunities when I get to help create something that exists out there in the world. Product, people, product!
My talented Blue Ion friends called on me a while back to help with the renaming, new identity, and website for a Napa Valley winery. The new identity included new labels for the wine bottles, and I was psyched. Remember, I’m a reader and a writer, which means I’m also one of those people who actually reads packaging, labels, invoices, etc. Let me just say: a little humanity or humor on any of the aforementioned pieces can make a huge difference in the customer experience. Promise.
The larger website for Mira Winery is still in development, but friends, the wine bottles have arrived! And I could not be more jazzed with the results. Major kudos to the Blue Ion team (shout outs to Katie, Josh, David and Robert) for the beautiful design, and stay tuned for the website awesomeness to come. Here then, is the back label of Mira Chardonnay.
There has been much writing in this sultry summer thus far, and it shows no signs of letting up. Thanks to my amazing clients who keep my fingers flying across the keyboard and happily pondering this incredible diversity of subjects.
This is Questis, a team of financial advisors that are bucking the financial advisor stereotype by offering these novel ideas: truth, ease, and lower fees! Check out the super-fun teaser site that my friends at Little Highrise designed, and stay tuned as there’s much more to come.
And friends, let me offer you this piece of advice. If Gil Shuler ever asks you to help him out on a project, say YES! I have long professed my love of Gil Shuler Graphic Design, and my love was recently elevated to a new level when Gil called to ask me to help out with some syphilis prevention posters. Yes, really.
Turns out syphilis is running rampant on local Charleston campuses. (EGAD!) As usual, Gil came up with an amazing (and hilarious) concept, and I had the pleasure of writing some copy. The kicker to this project? The email Gil sent with the two posters: subject line: syphilis. I will let you guess how interesting my email ads were for the next several weeks. Get the facts, y’all!
I had the amazing opportunity to work with the folks at Frommer’s Unlimited (and a friend from home!) on this website redesign. Frommer’s Unlimited puts their travel expertise, experience, and passion to work for some of the world’s best brands. Special thanks to my friend and Digital Marketing Manager, Jen, for providing fabulous direction, wrangling content and feedback from a host of people, and sending it all to me in a neat package. Jen, I hope you opened a LARGE bottle of champagne to celebrate!
If you’ve ever been to any of Charleston’s five fabulous beaches, you know they rock. If you’ve been to all five, lucky you! Also, you know that each beach has its own unique style and vibe. The Charleston CVB asked my pals at Blue Ion and me to create a site that shares all of the great things about Charleston beaches with the world, and, lets each beach be itself in its own quirky, wonderful way. Special shout outs to Chris, Craig, Brennan, and the CVB team. Check out the full Charleston beaches site.
If you haven’t heard, the Gaillard Auditorium is undergoing a major renovation that will transform it into a modern, state-of-the-art performance hall and community center. In addition to being a LEED-certified space, the new Gaillard Center is also home to a two-story, atrium grand lobby, an 1,800-seat performance hall with three balconies, 15,000-square-feet of ballroom and exhibition hall space, a banquet kitchen, 7,300-square-foot Banquet Terrace, 10,950-square-foot Event Lawn, and city offices. Thanks to the team at the Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation and special shout outs to Mike, Woody, and Robert at Blue Ion for such incredible inspiration. Here ’tis.
March 19, 2012
The days have been long and wild and jam packed, but you, dear blog reader, deserve some love. Check out my assortment of great moments from the not-so-distant past.
A few recent project launches with my pals at Blue Ion.
I also had the honor and pleasure to speak at last week’s Pecha Kucha 13. Not only is Pecha Kucha super cool in its own right, but lucky #13 was an all-woman cast of speakers at none other than Ashley Hall. Major ups to emcee Sharon Graci who rocked it, even after accidentally huffing inhalants.
My only regret of the evening is that I didn’t gather together April Magill, Rebekah Jacob, Deborah Kaufman, Laura Addis, Lindsey Graham, Signe Pike, Hirona Matsuda, Olivia Poole, and Sarah O’Kelley for a photo op. I will say thanks to them all for the inspiration, laughter, and deep thoughts. It was a pleasure to be in your company, ladies.
Also, special thanks to writer/connection maven, Cheryl Smithem and my pal Anne Chandler for their support and willingness to accept gifts of alcohol. And, thanks to Becca for fashion consulting and smoky eye makeup.
Quick cut to St. Patty’s Day and hope yours was grand. Thanks again to my pal Anne for this ethereal shot of the Empire done up in green.
One last moment. As I was driving along the Crosstown this weekend, I saw a very petite ballerina in a pink tutu skipping along the sidewalk on the overpass as her Mom followed closely behind. Twas joy itself.
January 27, 2012
The galactically talented Gil Shuler called me recently to help tell the story of the Steel City Pizza Co. Check out the killer identity he created for this delicious establishment that’s committed to handcrafting some seriously delicious food.
It’s always a pleasure to help people tell their story, and this one’s got it all: heart, Pittsburgh, and PIZZA.
Here’s their story:
We come from The Steel City – that’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We come from cold winters, hard-working families and loyal friends who’ve got your back no matter what. We come from a place where your reputation means something – so whatever it is you choose to make in the world, make it the very best.
That’s our approach. We’re builders of good food – and our name is riding on every slice and every sandwich. That’s the way we like it. We love the challenge of making the best every single time – and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Now I’m starving.
January 2012, how on earth did you get here? Well kids, here she is, 2012 in all of her mysterious glory. Cheers to you all, and here’s some recent work for your collective perusal.
2011 was another banner, busy year for my pals at Blue Ion. As such, I had the pleasure of working with them on some wonderful projects.
Ahem, get your sparkle on with the kind and talented luxury jewelry experts at Kiawah Fine Jewelry. We are talking high-end baubles and bling, kids. And yes, diamonds, too! Props to Katie, Chris and Brian.
A while back, I shared Maverick Southern Kitchen’s family of house spirits with you. They make for some very enjoyable imbibing and are much fun to promote. Check out Katie’s super cool poster designs that I penned and which now adorn the walls of The Old Village Post House.
Taking a sharp left into healthcare, here again are the talents of one Katie Kosma for the MUSC Women’s Center on display. We created their new tagline that’s part internal mantra and part rallying cry. Below is an ad that ran in The Charleston City Paper.
And, here’s the website.