Archive for February, 2012

Introducing Hansel Dobbs Photography!

February 22 • Comment »


Hansel Dobbs


Hansel Dobbs now has it all – keen attention to the client experience, off-the-charts incredible imagery, a sense of humor that makes everyone he meets feel at ease, a collateral suite that could be showcased in an art gallery, a website that really gives him a framework in which to shine and strategy geared to catapult his business into a brilliant future. Hansel wanted to go big and it’s just the beginning of the awesomeness you will see from him with this new brand.

I am the most excited about having a complete and cohesive brand rather than a patchwork of things done by a range of services and graphics/programming professionals. I am also excited about the brand being exactly what I wanted and that I really really love it.

I have learned a lot about a brand and also just a lot of little things that Lara and Emily have shared with me via answered questions and just getting their opinion on things I am thinking about doing. I really enjoyed reading the document that Lara sent over called “The Challenge” and I have learned a lot of things through that as well.

I think a well developed brand does a lot of things. It instills confidence in the client, it helps fill out a more complete client experience, and it also just expands your personality into all the nooks and crannies of your company. I think it’s really hard to do all of these things with a template and logo.

My primary fears were two-fold. The first one was a fear of whether or not the “Making Brands Happen” client experience and communication would actually be up to the price I paid. The second fear was whether or not the graphic design abilities would be there to really bring my brand to life as I saw it in my head. I had tried other companies before with things that were far cheaper only to end up with something not at all what I hoped for. The client experience, customer service, advice, and help provided throughout my time with Making Brands Happen was just unreal. In fact, I really can’t think of any other consumer experience equal to it except maybe Apple. When I asked a question I got an answer within 24 hours. When I asked for advice, I got opinions based on experience. I was kept in the loop as to how things were coming along and what I needed to provide along the way. I also got letters and cards from Lara on some really sweet paper in the mailbox. I was nervous about if I would get what I really really wanted and they have certainly delivered. I love it! It’s me! It is now my company, my brand, and my collateral through and through.

They were an oasis in the desert quite literally. They were exactly what I needed where there is no one else providing. I have been a wedding photographer for 6 years and for the last few years I had in my head what I wanted, but no one to really go to to make it happen. I could have gone to a web designer, but they would have asked me what colors I wanted, what fonts I wanted, how I wanted my twitter background to look, and a whole bunch of things that quite frankly I either just wouldn’t know the answer to or I would not have done the right thing when considering the target market I am after. Lara and Emily had the answers. They knew which colors went with what. I didn’t even know I needed a twitter background, but I got one in an email and it was awesome. Lara edited my bio for me so it sounded better, let me know how many pictures I should have in my galleries, and vetoed a handful of website designs before showing me the best one. Lara and Emily give solutions based on experience and not just any solutions; great solutions.

Before the transformation I didn’t feel that I was really communicating my value adequately to people coming to my site. I felt like I was getting lost in the shuffle maybe. Now, I know I stand out. I know that when someone comes to my site that they are going to enjoy the experience, smile a little, and maybe just book them a wedding photographer. Actually, before the transformation it was like having an employee at the register that just didn’t dress well or communicate well. They were turning customers away. Now I have a really awesome face to my company.

I am being much more aggressive with marketing myself with venues and vendors in the DFW area and I plan to start doing other kinds of photography as well. I am really working hard to expand to some of the nicer venues in Dallas.




Introducing the Business and Branding Webinar Series!

February 15 • 65 Comments »



Introducing the first ever Making Brands Happen three part Business & Branding Webinar Series!! Join us (Lara Casey and Emily Ley of Making Brands Happen… and a whole lot of other great companies we own), for a series of webinars that will transform your business and revolutionize (i.e. simplify!) the way you work.  We know branding, and we’re ready to dive in with YOU!  After droves of requests, we’ve decided to share our branding secrets via the wonderful world wide web and you get to join us from the comfort of your computer.  We suggest PJ’s and hot cocoa for the full experience!  From evaluating where you are, to digging deep into where you want your business to be, we’ll go into detail on the key things you need to know to take your brand to the next level and spread the word with strategic marketing.

We’ve created this curriculum as a SERIES OF THREE ESSENTIAL WEBINARS so we can cover all the essentials you need to know:  Get BrandedThe Client Experience and Get Published.  You are welcome to just take one, but you’ll be missing the total package!  Each area directly relates to the other.  We’ve made this super affordable so it’s a no brainer to join us for all three and really take things to the next level.  Our motto: Life is too short to play small!

Live Q & A will follow each webinar, including a live branding evaluation for one lucky attendee! (First come, first served with the single ticket above!)  This webinar series is open to any creative professional — whether new to the business or a seasoned pro — that wants to take his or her brand to the next level. Ready to make 2012 your biggest year yet?  Cancel that hair appointment and Get Branded!

Part 1: Get Branded Wednesday, March 14th from 1pm to 4pm Eastern Standard Time.

Strong, powerful brands are built on foundations of passion, authenticity and unmatched attention to detail. Join us as we dive into these details and create an actionable plan for bringing authenticity and personal connection into every aspect of your business and into every step of your ideal client experience. Your brand should tell your story in every detail and should invite your ideal client to be part of an experience she won’t soon forget.

Part 2: The Client Experience Wednesday, April 11th from 1pm to 4pm Eastern Standard Time.

Client experiences are viral. From start to finish and beyond, your client experience should be simple, streamlined and full of unexpected, personal touches. Together, we’ll create a strategy for mapping unforgettable client experiences and discuss how to utilize that experience to create a viral buzz around your powerful brand.

Part 3: Get Published Wednesday, May 16th from 1pm to 4pm Eastern Standard Time.

Join Southern Weddings Magazine editor-in-chief/publisher, Lara Casey and art director, Emily Ayer as they discuss the key things you need to know to take your brand to the next level and get published in print and online media.

Location: Your computer.  Platform details to follow once you are registered.

Prepare: Have your branding and publication questions ready, your computer open and something to take notes with.

Follow: on Twitter for updates @PowerfulBrand


Please note: This intensive does not cover any of the Making Things Happen curriculum.  To register for Making Things Happen, click here.  Please note #2:  These webinars are just a very SMALL TASTE of the full Making Brands Happen experience.  They do not in any way replace it.  Please note #3:  After the webinar, a recording will be a available for attendees, as well as branding homework.

*Dates and times are subject to change.  Seats are non-refundable and non-transferable.  Space is very limited. 

Warning: this webinar series is awesome.


Enter to win one seat at your choice of one webinar! Four ways to enter:

  • FACEBOOK: Spread the announcement to your Facebook friends! Be sure to link to Making Brands Happen. Comment here to let us know!
  • TWITTER: Spread the announcement to your Twitter followers! Be sure to link to @PowerfulBrand. Comment here to let us know!
  • BLOG: Spread the word with your blog! Be sure to comment here to let us know!
  • PIN IT TO WIN IT!: Pin the top graphic with a link to this post!

UPDATE :: Congratulations to Ashley Danyew! GREAT NEWS!!! Everyone who entered the Making Brands Happen Webinar giveaway gets a HUGE discount code! Email Marissa@LaraCaseyReps com for yours!

Introducing Bergerons!

February 15 • 2 Comments »


Christi Lopez of Bergerons


Christi Lopez is a phenomenal floral designer in the DC area. She came to us with a very outdated brand that hindered her from being seen as the innovative floral design diva that she is! Through a deep internal process, Christi not only emerged with a stunning new brand but a new confidence. It’s a whole new patch of posies for Bergeron’s! What an exciting and fresh transformation!

The logo and business cards! Wooo Hooo! (tactile)
The feeling of renewed joy in my work (mentally)

Definitely laser-focused direction. Knowing where I want my own personal goals to be and how I want my clients to see my business.

Jump in- you won’t be sorry! It’s a big step, but worth the journey.

Two Main fears: 1) That I couldn’t afford the change- monetarily or business-wise (meaning this meant a step away from a portion of my business that I had grown to rely on)  2) Having someone else design a new logo for my business since I had a background in design and had done all of my own design work since inception. The fears changed as I realized that going back to my love of design for special events really was my sweet spot and I had been stuffing that for the past 13 years. Releasing the best part of me has catapulted the studio to a new level that I haven’t ever seen before.

Having Lara was the probing questions as I entered into this process really made me get to the core of who I am. This didn’t happen overnight! She still had to ask those questions again half-way through the process. Emily…sweet Emily helped me realize I can let go and let someone else design something that perfectly reflects me! You both have a gift.

Each time I hand out my business card, the person stops and comments how beautiful it is. They want to keep it, which means to mean that it conveys beauty, elegance and quality. Perfect!!

Before- Stuck! After- Although the new brand hasn’t been officially released, it is already working! My outlook has changed as well, which really makes a difference.

Dreaming Big-Making My Heart Sing 🙂

I learned that what it means to “make it” to someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean the same to me. I want to attract clients that love my/Bergerons style and artistic design—that is really my meaning of success.



Introducing The Bridal Circle!

February 8 • Comment »


Sade Awe


We truly created The Bridal Circle from the ground up: a brand new business with an innovative business model, brilliant strategy and stunning visuals to reflect the exclusive luxury nature of the company. Formerly The Bridal Couture Closet, owner Sade came to us looking to create a company that instantly had a hold on the luxury wedding market. Upon launch, it was clear that we had accomplished that goal and more! The Bridal Circle is the top source for luxury wedding vendors and, with the exclusive Experts Panel as part of the membership, an innovative leader in vendor education nationwide.

It’s built on the foundation of luxury and providing a one of kind experience for both the vendor and the bride. In this experience, the bride is provided with a menu of choices of luxury vendors at her fingertips. I am thrilled with the concept and thrilled with how this will impact potential brides and high quality vendors with exceptional service.

It’s been an incredible journey of growth. My initial vision and strategy shifted in a different direction from my original idea (The Bridal Couture Closet) and ended up being a much broader concept that was more aligned with my true passion of service.

“Just Do It”!  Throw all caution to the wind because you have nothing to lose but fear itself!  Lara Casey immediately makes you feel invincible and she will walk you through every step.

My fears were not knowing where to start and how would all tie together.  Emily and Lara brought my vision to life!

On the day of my website launch, I was overwhelmed by the immediate and positive response.  The icing on the cake (no pun intended) was when a potential customer, whom I admire dearly, after viewing my website said, “I love your website is so palatable, it exudes luxury. You are going to be a leader in this and you will do extremely well.”

Ecstatic, elated and joyful!

I feel the world is wide open to me!




Happy Birthday, Marissa!

February 4 • 1 Comment »




We love you, Marissa!!!

Marissa wears a lot of hats for Making Brands Happen, including being our phenomenal Client Concierge.  If you have a question about anything (and I mean anything!) or if you simply need encouragement or a resource for something, Marissa is right there to lend a helping hand!  She rocks our world and makes our wonderful clients very happy!  Marissa, we couldn’t do this exciting powerful work without your heart and passion always behind us.  Your constant care for everyone around you makes my heart sing! I love you so much!  Love, Lara and Grace

Marissa, you are one of my absolute favorite people on the planet and I thank God for you everyday!!! You fill my every day with so much positivity and love! I hope your birthday is full of so much love and lots of laughs! Wishing you a year even more awesome than the last!!  Love,  Emily + Brady

photo by Gina Zeidler

Introducing Emily Steffen!

February 1 • 1 Comment »


Emily Steffen


Where do we even begin with Emily Steffen!? Combining her fierce passion for her art, a natural eye for phenomenal photography, her remarkable creativity in textile design and a keen attention to her client experience, Emily is a powerhouse! Her old brand put her in far too small of a box, so we created a whole new business structure for her that allows her to flourish in all arenas. The new Emily Steffen brand is expansive, powerful and as diverse as her many talents. There’s no stopping Ms. Steffen now!

The fact that it’s 100% me. Not a reproduced version of what’s pretty or what’s popular in the industry; I took the time to work through what I wanted as a web presence, how I wanted to be represented and what kinds of clients I aim to get. The potential of how this can grow my business is exponential because brides will be able to understand ME for what I truly offer and am passionate about!

I started the process to not only expand my presence in the wedding industry but also to tap into a passion that I have for fabrics and handmade goods! Working through the process of rebranding and adding this second business has given me a clearer direction of not only what I’m passionate about, but what my idea bride is and what she’ll be drawn to. I ended up with EMILY STEFFEN as a branded artist instead of EMILY STEFFEN as just a photographer. I realized that I AM more than just a photographer and the other mediums that I create with truly effect my work with brides.

This process was unique for me because I thought I had already had a good hold of what my “brand” was as a photographer. But I was challenged to think differently. I was challenged to think about myself as a bigger brand; to let my dreams infiltrate my daily thoughts and to allow myself to make a change to what I’ve already established in the industry. Going through the branding process is scary because you have to face many questions of “who am I” and “what do I want to bring as a creative”, but it’s a process that will yield an authentic, true YOU that has confidence and direction. When you face these realities and questions, you are left with the striped down version of your passions and your goals…that’s when branding becomes fun because it isn’t about the industry or whats popular, it’s about YOU and your passions and what you want to CREATE in the industry.

To have someone like Lara, who comes from MUCH success and can see things beyond just what my little slice of the wedding industry, was fantastic for me. She gave perspective, honest feedback and constructive criticism. She see’s the big picture and was able to speak works of encouragement and success into my life. Running a business and keeping up with client after client can ware us down and leave us feeling just “ok” with what we’ve been doing; she came along and challenged my ways of thinking in many areas. The questions she brought out in myself and the way that she taught me to expect of myself are life-altering concepts that can be applied to more than just business. Lara’s skills combined with Emily’s design talents make one team that is worth hiring over and over. Emily took my ideas and my personality and made it into a cohesive, well-designed finished product. She was amazingly fast and had ideas galore with everything that I addressed with her. She is also one HECK of a mentor! Seeing how Emily, herself, is able to juggle being a successful business woman, mommy and wife (among many other things) is just downright inspiring. I sing the praises of these two ladies, because they are WORTH IT! 🙂


I feel like I have opened up a world of possibilities. I’ve been given permission to dream anything I think of and I now have the skills to make this happen! 🙂