Rose and Thomas are the innovative couple behind Bittersweet Design, a design boutique that specializes in photoshop templates for creatives. Their company has been immensely successful because of their high-quality designs and incredible work ethic. We sat down with them to chat about their journey of how Bittersweet Design came to be, their process for creating content, advice for working with your spouse and more. Read on and be inspired!
Hi Rose & Thomas! Please tell us about your journey and how Bittersweet Design came to be.
Rose: As the youngest of eight kids in a small Oklahoma town, I was always finding new ways to express myself creatively. With so many siblings and my parents' super strict budget, sporting events and piano recitals were out of the question. Instead, we found ourselves putting on theatrical productions in costumes made of brown paper bags, household items, and whatever we could find at the time. After dropping out of college mid-semester of my senior year, I moved to Austin, TX to follow my dreams. Being young and naive, the next few years weren't quite as dreamy as I thought they'd be. Instead of landing a full-time gig at a fancy marketing agency, I ended up waiting tables for longer than I'd like to admit and took out a personal loan for a failing design studio. While browsing the Craigslist ads one afternoon, I noticed a local photographer's need for a second shooter. Several cups of coffee later, I was designing marketing materials instead of shooting weddings, which was exactly what I'd hoped for all along. It didn't take long before other photographers & creatives started contacting me about my design work, and Bittersweet was born. Thomas: Three years ago, if someone told me I'd be leaving the restaurant industry to work with my wife, I would have thought they were crazy. I have always been a stickler for rules and appreciate the structure provided by the corporate world. That being said, I always knew there was more to life than what I'd experienced working for the man. In October of 2014, I quit my corporate job and dove head first into entrepreneurial life. While the design industry was completely foreign to me, I had done quite a bit of external marketing for my restaurant in the past. The one-on-one engagement made all the difference in the world when it came to driving sales, which translated surprisingly well into our design business. I read every article I found on technology & social media practices and did my best to create my own position within Bittersweet.
"One-on-one engagement makes all the difference in the world when it comes to driving sales."
Describe the clients you work with and what your process is when creating content for them.
The majority of our clients are photographers, although we are starting to get more & more interest from florists, wedding planners, & professionals from other sectors of the creative community. We like to think of our designs as the blueprints used to create the foundation of a brand. Without a solid layout or "foundation," a brand isn't strong enough to sustain itself. Once they have the foundation in place, our clients become the interior designers. They create a completely custom look by selecting their own colors, fonts, and images. With the ability to delete any unwanted layers & add their own logo to the files, the templates work great for people who have an existing brand as well as those who are starting from scratch. Our designs come as customizable Photoshop files, so anyone with access to this software can create their own high-end marketing materials without having to wait around on a graphic designer to make updates. We spend hours creating unique layouts with pre-written content to save small business owners time & lots of moolah. We try to make the designs as versatile as possible so clients can get multiple uses out of each piece. It is really easy to turn something like a pricing guide into a flyer or ad for social media with a few clicks of the mouse. Once someone purchases a design, they receive a link to download their files right away. From there, they can send over their professionally-designed materials to clients digitally or in a printed form.
"We like to think of our designs as the blueprints used to create the foundation of a brand."
What is your biggest lesson and advice for running a creative business with your spouse? How do you maintain a balanced work/family life as parents?
Realize you don't have to wear all the hats - at least not all the time. You can try, but you'll end up with a whopping headache from all the pressure at the end of each day. We're not the best at asking for help, but finding a good Mother's Day Out has been huge for us. It allows us to carve out a chunk of time dedicated solely to work, which otherwise doesn't happen.
If you have kids, be extra nice to yourself. You might not be as productive as you used to be pre-ankle-biter, but more than likely, spending quality time with your kids isn't something you'll look back and regret later in life. Being a parent is the most important role you could ever have. If you're working with your spouse, remember that your mood has a direct influence over your spouse's/co-worker's mood.
If you wake up angry, go for a walk or pick up a dozen donuts to get yourself out of the funk. Living room yoga works wonders, too. Thomas isn't as keen on this as I am, but you'd be amazed at the positive powers behind a good headstand or downward dog!