Since meeting Diane Penelope over 7 years ago at a mutual friends birthday, we clicked. She’s been designing my logos and websites for years. Why? Because she just gets it. I’ve never met a designer who truly gets the feminine space in the way that Diane does. I love the fact she’s returned to what she does best; branding & design. And it means I get to work with her more often.
Today we look deeper into the world of Diane Penelope, talk about what inspires her, how she created her fantastic style blog www.dianepenelope.com and so much more. Enjoy!
What lead you to a career as a designer, social media specialist and blogger?
Simply because I love design, marketing and writing. Being a beauty and lifestyle blogger is my passion and a way for me to share all I have learned in my career and life experience. I love to interview inspirational people, write about the amazing products and services I get to experience, and share tips and tricks to get through beauty and life. I don’t charge for my posts, but may receive products or services to review. I am always honest with my opinions, but I do try to find the good in everything.
I’ve won a few design awards as a graphic designer for packaging and catalogues, but I am not about creating award winning work. I care about my clients and the efficacy of the work I do. In short I want you to succeed. I have worked as a designer for 20+ years. I have worked in banks, agencies, studios, weight loss companies, in social media and PR, beauty marketing and as a makeup artist for a stint. I even sponsored Miss World Australia for a year and had my own line of branded cosmetics.
I have a lot to share, curate and create. The successes I have had all had 3 ingredients in common: great design, clever marketing with a sprinkling of intuitive PR.
I always come back to my passion, which is transforming women’s businesses into strong and successful brands.
- Diane Penelope. When it comes to beauty and style: if she rates it, it’s the next big thing.
Please tell us about your business now
Here’s an overview of the graphic design and digital design solutions I offer to client.
- Branding and brand strategy (from simple brand boards through to detailed brand guidelines)
- Graphic design for print and digital spaces
- Engaging social media (strategy, posts, scheduling and management)
- Content creation and curation (owned and shared)
- Search engine optimisation during the building of a site (SEO) and post site build
- WordPress installation and customisation with a responsive theme (can include e-commerce)
A lot of experience to put behind your brand
The Diane Penelope approach to marketing and branding is contemporary and I use tried and true methods to ensure you stand out from the pack with all your owned and earned assets: design, branding, marketing, and social media. I have worked with some of the biggest and smallest companies, from multinational banks, music industry giants, through to micro businesses. That wealth of experience is infused into everything I do for each client. I find it extremely rewarding to see my clients succeed, as it means what I am doing is working.
A genuine desire to see my clients’ businesses succeed
I have a passion for helping entrepreneurs, especially women, reach their goals and dreams in business whether through social media marketing or design. I’ve won a few awards for packaging and catalogues as well as being nominated twice for Telstra Business Woman of the Year. My goal is to help you accelerate your success and achieve your goals.
I ran my business Blossom Graphic Design for 8 years successfully, eventually selling it, to take on a full-time job. I have now realised, after several I’ve won a few awards for packaging and catalogues as well as being nominated twice for Telstra Business Woman of the Year, but that’s not my motivating force.
My goal is to help you accelerate your success and achieve your goals
I ran my business Blossom Graphic Design for 8 years happily and successfully, eventually selling it, to take on a full-time job to give myself greater diversity and at the time I wanted stabilioty.
I have now realised, after several long term contracts that I needed to be self-employed in order to be happy, creative and motivated. I love being a designer and business owner. I love coming up with new ideas and being able to execute them without everything being argued and dilute to thepoint of being unrecognisable from the original idea.
How did you come up with the idea?
I originally set up the blog as a support vehicle for design and as a creative outlet when I was working for a bank, but have fallen in love with the blog and it is doing really well as a promotional strategy for the design services, which I have offered for years. I cannot deal with politics of corporate culture or the boys club that can exist in some studios and agencies so working for myself is a natural progression.
Also people seem to think that at 48 I am “too qualified” to do my job as a senior designer. Unfortunately I have found that if you want to be a designer anywhere cool or interesting you need to be under 35. I don’t look 48 nor do I have an elderly person’s mind set but my CV is over looked by recruiters and HR people as being “too senior”. So me and my seniority can do amazing work for small business and everyone wins.
Tell us about obstacles you’ve had in your business, and how you overcame it
The main issue with self employment has got to be cash flow and tax management. This doesn’t come naturally to me, but I do surround myself with people who are good at the things I’m not, such as bookkeepers. I also find occasionally if I have had some negative feedback or a client relationship go south it can affect my self esteem which affects my creativity.
Recently, after leaving a very corporate job working for Fuji Xerox on the Citibank account (terms and conditions brochures and forms, one font, one colour), I was creatively blocked, so I went to my mum’s place and relaxed, while still working, and it all came back. My old fire in the belly and desire to make my mark on the world through great design and a dynamic blog.
Now I have entrepreneurial ideas flowing like Niagara Falls.
Issues with Client Payments
The other obstacle I’ve had are people in other countries, using my services, getting a website up then running off without paying.
I did a gorgeous site for the wife of a Hollywood actor. The site was done and final paymnt due. They made all kinds of excuses. Finally the actor, who I won’t name, said he would send his lawyer to “destroy me” if I mentioned them on social media, which I hadn’t, and that he would “take me down” and “massacre” my reputation on social media through his huge fan base. As a web designer, always make sure you either use a testing site that you own, or that you arrange the hosting so if someone is unscrupulous or goes broke they can’t get the site for nothing.
I wanted to mention this because a. celebrities can be very difficult to work with, even their unknown wives. A lot of people don’t understand that if someone is overseas it is really hard to call in debts and you need to put measures in place to prevent being taken advantage of.
How do you achieve balance in other parts of your life, outside of your business?
It’s pretty impossible as Diane Penelope is basically me, but as a family my husband, my daughter and I try to have dinner regularly together, homemade healthy food and talk over the dinner table. I also need to ensure I manage my physical energy as I have an auto immune disease that affects my joints and causes fatigue.
I know the best times of the day for my to work effectively, and I honour what I can and cannot do physically. I also ensure that I go out on the harbour to support my husband’s sailing, watching the race from the 18 footer’s spectator ferry, at least every fortnight. It’s so different from sitting in from of the screen, it gives me mental clarity and blows out the cobwebs.
What’s the plan for the Diane Penelope business for 5 years time
I plan to continue growing my client base through effective brand building I can use as a case studies, build up my content creation skills such as learning how to present on video so I can offer tutorials online, develop a portfolio of flat lay content for clients, to show what’s possible for social media content creation strategy. I also want to build up my portfolio of WordPress sites and build up my blogging skills and eventually monetise the blog. Blogging is something I do for love, so I don’t expect that to give me the income I want, but it is a good lead generator for the design work I love to do.
What’s the latest book, podcast or media that’s inspired or taught you something new, and what did it teach you?
Jac Bowie’s Marketing Bootcamp of course!
I am also reading Tara Moss’ book “Speaking Out” which is a 21st handbook for women and girl, focusing onpublic speaking, writing, social media and online safety. She offers tips on how to research, form arguements, find support and handle criticism.
Top 5 Apps for your business Diane penelope
What else is keeping you busy of late?
I am developing relationships with PR companies, and they are starting to send me product and trust my reviews and road tests. This is something I love doing because I am so obsessed with beauty products, and have so much knowledge in this area, I want to share this. If I don’t have to purchase the products I can do more of them. I am also working on mentoring young entrepreneurs who have great products and helping them get them to market in my “spare” time. The last thing I am working on is my Real Estate license. I love property, and believe I could promote it really well, so am halfway through a Diploma of Property (through TAFE).
CONNECT WITH DIANE PENELOPE
- Website www.dianepenelope.com
- Facebook www.facebook.com/dianepenelope
- Twitter www.twitter.com/dianepenelopeK
- Instagram www.instagram.com/dianepenelope