Janna Allbritton, a Heritage grad, is an extremely successful designer with a chic farmhouse style. Throughout her entire life, Janna always wished that she could be someone who did what they love for a living – “They just glow!”, she said to the students. And now Janna has that glow. She always loved design and once she made the decision to pursue it as a career, so many doors opened for her – “It’s so freeing when you get to be yourself. I still question myself, but you have to remember it’s what you’re meant to do!” Janna inspired students with her stories about what it’s like working as a new designer and how Heritage gave her the confidence she needed to start her business. Her highlights since graduating over the past year include:
- Published in Prairie Magazine (Winter 2015 vol.2 no.4)
- Participated in the Tour of Homes in Salem
- Attended Magnolia Market in Dallas, Texas
- Launched e-design services
- Grew her social media presence with over 71K followers on Instagram!
Using Social Media to Grow Your Business
Many Heritage students come in with a natural talent for design but what they’re missing is the business and marketing skills. For Janna, marketing through Social Media has grown her business exponentially. “Find your favorite form of social media and settle in,” Janna advises. Instagram has been her bread and butter and her favorite because it is image driven. The key to being successful is consistency- make it a part of your daily routine and most importantly, be authentic. Share the unique qualities that you have as a designer through pictures of your home, before & afters of your work, vignettes and every once in awhile, a picture of yourself! That way the audience can connect your face to your brand, which makes them feel like they actually know you.
To make your Instagram posts most effective, use the editing tools on your phone to enhance the photos by brightening, adding contrast and sharpening. Janna doesn’t use a fancy camera, just her iPhone! But she makes her photos look very professional by utilizing editing tools and taking photos from different angles. Social media is meant to be social, so use hashtags, comment and share other people’s posts, and always give credit if you’re featuring another person’s creation.
Janna’s Instagram fans love and support her and her brand and even recognize her in public! She has been able to offer her e-design services to some of her followers without having ever met them in person because she has gained their trust through the authenticity of her posts. One of her favorite moments in the past year was promoting a 2-hour design consultation to 3 of her Instagram followers while she was in Texas for the Magnolia Market. It was a great success and meeting those fans in person was a very rewarding experience!
Other Lessons Learned Since Graduating from Heritage
Through all of her success, Janna’s biggest lesson learned is something she learned from Heritage – “If you want something, you have to ask for it.” It takes confidence, but once you see the positive feedback, you realize it’s always worth asking. That’s how she got published in Prairie! She has also been able to generate revenue by being an “Influencer” on Instagram by featuring products for a fee.
Another thing she learned is the importance of educating clients. “Everyone wants the world but no one wants to pay for it,” she informed students. Clearly explaining the process of a big design project and setting realistic expectations in the beginning as far as pricing and deadlines will help things go a lot smoother!.
And at the end of a project, every client reacts differently. As a designer you always hope for that TV reaction and when you don’t get that, it’s easy to get upset or discouraged because “design is personal – you’re sharing your creative talents.” When you don’t get the emotional reaction you want, you have to realize that you did the best your could do to satisfy the needs of the client. But when you do get that TV reaction it’s the best feeling in the world!