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A few months ago I joined a group called The Ruby Collaborative. The Ruby is for creative Austin women looking to connect with other creatives, entrepreneurs, or just meet other like-minded gals. Ana, Candice, and Chelsea started the group a little over a year ago as a cocktail meet-and-greet, but this past spring they started hosting workshops. The April session was all about setting goals, both big and small. How do you take some of your wildest dreams and then break them down into smaller, more feasible steps?

the ruby collab at argus cidery

This workshop focused on how to pitch yourself to your dream client or partner. We found ourselves once again at the lovely Argus Cidery where the cider is sparkling and the food is fabulous. I can’t stop thinking about this amazingly fresh and delicate summer salad they made with thinly shaved zucchini, different kinds of tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella, and pesto.

local brunch argus cidery austin

Blogger extraordinaire Camille Styles was there to lead off the discussion on how to pitch to your dream client and Chelsea Fullerton, graphic designer and one of the founders of The Ruby, ended the session with great, practical advice.

camille styles at ruby workshop austin

Camille, Chelsea, Candice & Ana

Camille started her blog 5 years ago and now it is a full-fledged fantasy world, complete with gorgeous images, many different contributors, and at least 14 posts a week. She has worked with the likes of Kate Spade, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn-owned Mark and Graham, HGTV — you name it!

Chelsea runs a one-stop-shop called Go Forth Creative where she offers design, photography, and creative direction. Her work has been featured on Design*Sponge and Camille Styles as well as other prominent blogs.

Some of the main takeaways from the session were:

  • seek out a great brand fit, otherwise the partnership will be painful
  • create compelling, original content – never do it just to get paid
  • make it easy for everyone – have your stuff together so that your partners enjoy working with you. Go to them with a specific project in mind.
  • in-person connections are so important
  • go into a relationship giving value, don’t ask for something right away
  • when pitching to someone who you think does something poorly that you want to fix, be careful about how you phrase your interaction. Try something like, “if you’re ever looking/in the market for a re-brand, please consider me.”
  • keep supporting people whose work you love, even if they don’t want to work with you right away – that could change in a few years!
  • think about what you want your portfolio to look like in 3 years and let that guide your decisions
  • handwritten notes stand out!

westie dog at ruby collab

Here’s a great post on brand-building from Camille. Don’t underestimate how important this is no matter if you’re a designer, a musician, an architect, basically anyone with a (semi-)professional digital presence. Hopefully I will look back on this blog one day and cringe. But in cringing I’ll also be able to appreciate what a long way I’ve come.

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Read about my first adventure with The Ruby Collaborative

all photography by me

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