How I Became a Brand Designer and Showit Website Designer

Hard at work at new templates and celebrating 13+ years Showit website designer!

Plot twist, I’ve never taken a design course in my life. I’ve spoken a few times on here about how I went to school for photography, not design. This is something I’m asked about often, so here’s a more detailed breakdown of how I became a branding and Showit website designer!

From starving artist to Showit website designer

After I graduated from Buffalo State College in 2011 I spent a few months trying to make it as an artist….entering art festivals, shows, and trying to sell prints of the work I had created in college. I had a studio I shared with two other local painters, and was still working a part time job. It was a life I loved. I had always been inspired by Patti Smith and Robert Maplethorpe and I had big dreams of falling in love and being a starving artist in NYC (this never happened, but a girl can dream, right?!) During this time I had to make a lot of flyers and advertisements for the gallery shows I was in, and many of my friends also asked me to make flyers for events and for their bands/performances. I knew how to use photoshop very well, so it was a great fit. Flyers turned into logos, and logos turned into websites. During this time I also had to create my own website. I discovered Showit, and my life was forever changed.

Shortly after that I decided to quit my part time job and start shooting weddings on the side. I followed Jasmine Star (this is how I discovered Showit – more on that below) and thought, “I can do that too!” It was never something I found incredibly enjoyable or inspiring, but it was fun to put a creative twist on it. My website transitioned from one that showed my college portfolio to my wedding portfolio.

In 2014 on an 8 hour car ride home from NYC, I was randomly struck with the idea to create and sell Showit templates. There was only one or two other people doing that sort of thing at the time. For years I created templates but only ever sold two or three of them. But it took a while before I actually considered myself a Showit website designer. Imposter syndrome held me back for a long time, to be honest.

But designing those first few templates got my foot in the door as a Showit website designer and slowly people started to reach out for custom work. From there, things just built and built until I was ready to quit shooting weddings (at this point I was starting to resent it), and work as a Showit website designer full time.

Over the next 10 years I built my business from the ground up, working with over 100 custom clients and selling over 1400 Showit website templates (and counting!)

Recent Milestones: In 2021 I won Showit’s Designer of The Year Award, and in 2024 I hit the ten year mark as a Showit Design Partner.

What does it mean to be a Showit Design Partner?

Although there are admittedly many Showit website designers, few are chosen to become Showit Design Partners. In 2014, Showit launched their design partner program, and that’s when I became one of the first designers accepted.

To make it onto this prestigious list of designers, you have to pass their design standards course, follow and uphold the designers code of conduct, regularly create Showit website templates that benefit the community, and submit designs that are reviewed for their quality, ease of use, and aesthetic. 

To this day, there are less than 150 designers in the program, and fewer than ten who have been selected as Showit Designer of the Year, which we were awarded in 2021.

Some frequently asked questions about my journey as a Showit website designer:

How did you start working with Showit?

I always disliked shooting weddings…I’m a very quiet and reserved person and I could never see myself telling people what to do, where to stand, shouting over a crowd of wedding guests. I always thought wedding photos were incredibly cheesy and painful to even look at, let alone take. But around this same time I stumbled across Jasmine Star’s website and was shocked by her ability to shoot weddings so candid and real. She used to talk about Showit a lot on her blog – the platform she used to design her website. I realized I needed a website too, and from the moment I landed on Showit’s website my life has been forever changed. I couldn’t afford the $40/month subscription, so I wrote to them and asked them for a discounted rate. They were still a very small company at this time (this was almost 10 years ago), and they agreed to give me a three year subscription for free. I built my first website. Showit was also an incredible resource for me – they used to do a daily video stream from their office, called “Showit Live” where they would talk about business, tools, software, books, anything business related (mostly wedding photography related). I learned more from Showit Live than I learned the entire 4 years I was in college.

Read more about why I love Showit websites

Is there a social media platform you find most effective for connecting with potential clients?

Instagram! All day every day. I barely use Facebook, I think it’s terrible for business and creatives. Instagram inspires me in every way, shape, and form. I’m constantly finding new people to follow and new people I’d like to work with. This is also how I stay in touch with other fellow Showit Website Designers too!

What type of brands do you work with?

Most of my clients are wedding photographers, and I particularly love ones who place a large emphasis on selling products and albums rather than just delivering digital files. It’s important to me that there is a physical product, something with soul and a story that evokes emotion and can be passed down through generations (theharrisco.com – one of my absolute favorites! I did their brand but not their current website)

If you could choose your favorite branding project you have done so far, what would it be, any why?

As I mentioned above, The Harris Company project will always hold a special place in my heart. They’re located near Albany, but Makayla and Dave both went to school in Buffalo (UB) so I automatically felt a connection with them. They were one of the first clients to put complete trust in me – never questioned my design choices one bit. They so wedding photo/video, but they preach the importance of family heirlooms, and that really hits home for me. Like I said, I love any brand that creates a product that evokes emotion, a story, and a history. They’ve been my clients for almost 4 years now, they keep coming back to me every time they pursue a new project, and they sing my praises to everyone they work with. They have become friends, not just clients.

Do you have any advice for starting freelancers trying to attract those first few clients?

Show the work you want to be doing. A lot of people make the mistake of showing a million different kinds of work so clients can see versatility, but the riches are in the niches. Find your style, own it, and only show work that embodies what you want to work on in the future. Clients that don’t fully appreciate your style (and seek you out for it) are not a good fit and you will be unhappy. 

Don’t have a lot of work like this? Fake it till you make it. Make up imaginary business names and create logos/brands for them, in your style. I did this a few years ago and that’s when things really took off for me.

Did you have it all planned out or did you just take the jump and learn as you went?

I definitely, definitely did not have it all planned out. There were many years where I made little to no money and lived in a constant state of fear of failure and disappointment. But over that period came a lot of necessary growth.



New to Showit?

Interested in taking it for a spin? You can try either of our FREE templates, Ferncroft or Beau Fleuve, available directly in the Showit app! You can access it by signing up for a FREE 14 day trial to Showit here! Then, once you’re done with the 14 day free trial, you can get one FREE MONTH when you sign up and pay for your subscription HERE!

Category:

Share:

May 10, 2023

Post Date:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Browse The Latest

Hey, I’m Christina! Ten years ago, I was a wedding photographer who loved being creative but didn’t feel totally at home in my work. 

It was only when I discovered Showit, the drag-and-drop website platform that I realized I enjoyed building my website more than I liked doing anything else.

Today, we are a Showit Design Partner and 2021’s Showit Designer of the Year, with 100+ custom clients served, and thousands of templates sold to passionate creatives.

200% in 3 months

After working with us, Jessica's income grew by

2x her annual revenue

Shelby was able to

200% more bookings

Increased by $3000

Shelley and Portugal's starter package

200% more clients

Rachel was able to book

3x her prices

Brittany was able to

Feeling uninspired and fed up with trying to DIY your business?

take the quiz!

Find out your wedding photographer passion blueprint right here!

TOOLS of the TRADE

Learn more about the tools, apps, and software I use to keep my business running.  BONUS: save up to $200 on certain subscriptions when you try for yourself!

Why We Love The Showit Web Platform →

Why a BCo Template Is Perfect For Your Business →

The 3 Biggest Time Saving Apps I Use In My Business →

5 Honeybook Features That Might Surprise You →

3 Tools You Should Be Using To Track Your Website Traffic →