Best friends turned business partners, Des and Aisha are digital marketing, PR, and social media queens! Together, they run the boutique creative agency, Creative Label. With Des's passion for production and Aisha's creative spark, they push the creative limits and handle creative development for brands in all stages.
Tell us about your career path leading up to starting your own business.
I always knew I wanted to start my own business and have something of my own. I started out working in television production as an associate producer for TV shows such as The Dr.Phil Show and networks such as Lifetime, HGTV, DIY, an YouTube TV. I loved my job, but didn’t enjoy the 90 hour work weeks along with working for someone else. I always had an eager drive to be an entrepreneur. At the time, Aisha (my business partner), was also looking for a change. We both wanted to do something creative. Aisha had a passion for branding and I had a passion for production. We decided to merge our talents together and start an agency that highlights branding, marketing, and public relations.
Prior to Creative Label, I was very much on the legal path. I went to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Post College, I went to law school at Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law, Arizona State University. I was always a creative at heart, creating logos, websites and helping people with their social media while I was in college and law school. Once I graduated law school I was presented with two opportunities. Accepting a big law job opportunity or going into business with my best friend. And, well clearly I chose going into business with my best friend.
What made you want to start your own business?
I loved my job and working in tv production, but didn’t enjoy the 90 hour work weeks along with working for someone else. I always had an eager drive to be an entrepreneur. At the time, Aisha (my business partner), was also looking for a change. We both wanted to do something creative. Aisha had a passion for branding and I had a passion for production. We decided to merge our talents together and start an agency that highlights branding, marketing, and public relations.
It was my third and final year of law school when I realized I wanted to start a business in branding. I was working in insurance defense at a law firm and it just didn't fill me up. I wasn't passionate about what I was doing. I was good at it, but not passionate. I knew to feel fulfilled, I had to do something that I loved and make money doing it.
How did you go from idea to execution?
We just did it! We took a leap of faith and did everything we wanted to do. No was not an answer for us, and we knew we didn’t have much to lose if we failed. The worse that could happen is that we fail and we try something new.
Because I was already doing the visual part of helping people turn their idea into a business, I knew how to do it for Creative Label. We created a website, outsourced a logo (because we couldn't agree on any) and BOOM, we were in business. SIKE! It took a bunch of trial and error before our idea was in function-able execution.
For example, we got our first check and couldn't cash it because we hadn't created a business checking account. There was and still is a lot of trial and error. We're still figuring things out along the way.
Where do you get creative inspiration?
I like to get a lot of my creative inspiration from Pinterest. It sounds super generic, but referencing certain elements on Pinterest and then going back and making more own mood board helps me a lot with creativity.
I get my creative inspiration from many places:
What were some unexpected hurdles you faced when starting your business?
I didn't realize how many things that I didn’t know. You don’t know what you don’t know right? For starters, I didn’t know that our business had to legally be registered before cashing a check from a client. During our first few months of business, we really couldn’t cash a check worth thousands of dollars because of this. At the end of the day we laughed about it, but it was stressful at first! Everyone starts somewhere and learning to accept the things that you don’t know and take everything as a learning experience is so important.
Taxes!!!! Never in a million years would I have thought that it would be all consuming. Finding the right people to work for you. I've found myself projecting the same passion I have for this company on our employees, and that's an unfair expectation.
Best advice you’ve received?
Don’t get emotional about business! Disconnecting your emotions from business can be hard at times, but it is so important. You have to learn to make the best decisions for your business, and not make certain decisions because you are emotionally attached.
Hire slow, fire quick.
Get the process right, so people have to engage with you on substance
What does Support Your Local Girl Gang mean to you?
Support other women who are trying to push through the same limitations you are! There is room for everyone at the top! I always try to support as many women-owned businesses as possible becuase I know what it is like to be a woman owned business and supporting others is so important. We have received so much business from women-owned businesses because of how we care about our girl gang around us!
It means find people within your community to lift up, whether that means to empower, hire, refer or connect.