Founder Spotlight: Beth Conway, Designer
Meet Beth - a fellow introverted-mama-entrepreneur who owns a design studio. She provides branding and web design services to small shops like us. In this edition of Founder Spotlight, she talks about the struggles running a business (without a business background) and the struggle of being present, whether working or with the family. She gives us her best advice on being authentic, following our passions, and taking risks with the things that truly make us happy.
Hi, my name is Beth Conway and I am a designer who runs a small design studio in Cleveland, Ohio. I am also a wife and mother of two children (Finola 4 & Eamon 21 mo) and a dog (Rilo).
I always get asked about my studio name, French Lamb. It's actually my middle and maiden name combined.
Authenticity and honesty are two values I hold myself and my designs culpable to. This is why I named the studio after myself. I wanted it to be a reflection of who I am and what I believe.
I have a degree in Graphic Design & Marketing from Ohio University. Before I decided to work for myself, I spent multiple years as a creative marketing director in the architecture, landscape architecture and higher education industries for both private and non-profit firms. I spent several years living in San Francisco, CA but decided to return home where I’m continually inspired by the culture and creative community of Cleveland.
About French Lamb
I started my business about five years ago on the side on a very part-time basis. I would design invitations for friends or work on the occasional logo here and there. It wasn't until after my second baby that I started to take things more seriously.
I was starting to get more clients through referrals and expanding the types of services I offered. I spent about a year juggling two babies and two jobs before I made the leap to work for myself. I work with businesses to take their brand to a higher caliber through clean and concise design. My design philosophy truly is less is more. I take pride in thoughtful design that is carefully crafted for businesses. I give my clients professional branding and web design to feel more confident to pursue their goals.
Best part about being a female entrepreneur?
One of the best parts about being a female entrepreneur is the inspiring community that is all around us. There are so many resources and fellow female entrepreneurs that weren't even around or available a few years ago.
There really seems to have been an awakening that women are turning their passions into profitable realities in order to live a more fulfilling life.
I also love that I get to show my kids, especially my daughter, what it looks like to run a business and work hard.
Right now the biggest struggle is all the things that it takes to run a business that are not design. My previous office experience gave me the knowledge I needed to set up processes and administrative tasks, but I had never been in a sales role before. I am in a constant position of selling myself and my work in order to get my next client.
About being Mom
I have found so much support from other moms in the freelance world. I think we all have a general understanding with what we are dealing with so there's not a whole lot of room for negatively. Also as mom's our our ability to multitask is essential and I bring that into the business world. I am able to manage several projects and make quick and effective decisions.
What makes it tough, is what I hear a lot of mom's struggle with, being present. I often am thinking about work when I'm with the kids and vice versa. I would love to be off my phone more when I am with them. I always find the good out weighs the bad though. My stress level (usually) is less than when I was working in the corporate world because I know my job is flexible. If someone is sick or has an appointment I work around it. I should also note that I have a large support system in a supportive husband, large extended family, and daycare that makes it all work.
Put yourself out there authentically and good things will happen. I am an introvert by nature and often struggle with the comparison game with other designers. When I decided to just write and create from my own voice then things really started to open up. I started making connection both online and in real life which I would never have pursued before.
In the same alignment as the previous question. I just opened my first print shop, with a unique first print “T is for Tartan”. I looked around my industry and saw that so many people where teaching and coaching and that is just not for me at this point. I knew that opening a print shop, with an albeit obscure print to start might be a total fail, but it made me happy and it was an idea that I had in my mind for years. I just needed to bring it to fruition whether I sold any or not didn't matter to me. The experience I gained with setting up my own e-commerce store and working with a print partner was invaluable, and something I can pass onto my clients. It also has inspired me to create more prints that will be available later this year.