Design Journey | Nesha Woolery of Betty Red
Design journey is back! I’m so happy to be kicking off this series again with a lovely UK designer I’ve gotten to know a bit on Twitter. Her name is Nesha Woolery, but her design identity goes by Betty Red. I was immediately drawn to the bold use of color and clean design on her blog- and have been following her ever since! It still weirds me out how we can make these awesome connections using Twitter- it’s Nesha’s main use of networking! Read on to see how she uses it and how it has brought her loads of work. Pretty awesome.
Hey there! I’m Nesha, a web design specialist for creative women entrepreneurs. I specialize in creating quirky, irresistible web and blog designs that burst with personality and engage my clients most profitable market! My design studio and blog is called Betty Red, which is an old favorite pin up name I chose to use instead of my full name- my full name is pretty hard to spell and pronounce so I thought I’d save my clients the hassle!
On a personal note, I live and work from a small town in the UK, but love taking frequent trips to London with my boyfriend when we’re in need of some inspiration. London has an art scene that out-shadows anywhere else we can find in England. When I’m not designing, I love taking trips alone to art galleries, sketching people, and taking photos with my vintage cameras. I feel truly blessed in being able to live such a creative and fulfilling life.
When did you decide you wanted to be a graphic designer?
When I was a kid I loved art, but I also loved writing, so I had my heart set on being a writer. When I was fourteen years old I entered a short story competition, won, and got to talk it up with a bunch of agents, authors and editors to discuss the life of a writer. One of the agents told me to start a blog to showcase my writing, so I did! The funny thing was, whereas people did like the way I wrote, they liked my blog design even more. And I surprised myself in how much I loved designing it!
So my desire to become a designer grew from there. I realized that I could communicate inspiration and passion much easier through visual designs than through writing. I also realized that I was much better at it!
How did you transition from being a student in school to being a designer in the “real world”?
I actually never went to a school for design, I didn’t have the circumstances to do so back then. I left school and went straight into working: first I waitressed, then I worked in telesales, then I finally landed a decent job working in the city for Calvin Klein Jeans. But I always had the deep desire to design, and I was determined to fulfill my dreams and not remain stuck and lost in a life that didn’t really feel like my own. While working all of those jobs I blogged in the evenings, took night classes on design, read tons of books, and built my experience in design through interning and self-initiated projects.
I then started getting a lot of my blog readers asking me to design blogs and websites for their businesses, so I started freelancing part time from that point!
I remember crying on my way to work one day because I so badly wanted to leave my job at CK and work for myself. I was so stressed out from working 9-5 then going home and working through the evening. I just knew that something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be the freelance career I had worked so hard to build!
So I rang my manager, told her I’d be handing in my notice that week, and that was the start of my Betty Red adventure.
What was your first paid design job?
My first paid design job was for a vegan clothing label in the US who wanted a blog to accompany their website. One of my all time favorite web designers had referred the owner to me, so I was super flattered and super excited! At the time, I think I charged something like £150, which is insane!! But it was my first real taste of freelancing, and I’m forever grateful to that first opportunity. It taught me quite a lot about communicating with clients and my work process. Every project I take on teaches me something new!
How have you been able to make a name for yourself in the design community?
Making a name for myself has never been high on my priority list, but it sure does help to know other designers and biz ladies online who can support you and understand you when times are hard!
Blogging and social media have really helped me get my name out there, especially Twitter! I use Twitter to make friends with other designers and women entrepreneurs. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Twitter. In fact, 50% of my clients find me through Twitter! With Twitter, its all about starting interesting conversations, making new connections and sharing helpful advice.
What is one quality you think all designers should have?
No designer should be afraid of failure. Fear of failure can eat you up inside and stop you from reaching your true potential. As freelancers, its down to us to expand our businesses through trying new things: offering new services, new products, specializing over generalizing… all of these things can be scary, but just because we may be afraid of them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go for them anyway! Its often the ideas we’re most scared of that are the golden ones.
What advice would you give to a new graphic designer?
The best thing a new graphic designer can do is get out there and make connections with other designers! Start conversations with other creatives through social media, meet local designers for coffee, attend conferences in the local area, collaborate with other newbies… The world of design can be a very lonely place if you don’t surround yourself with other like-minded people who can encourage, inspire and strengthen you.
Thanks so much for your words Nesha! You can find more of Betty Red design below:
Thanks so much for your words Nesha! Happy Tuesday everyone!