Here at PLANOLY, we're grateful to be a part of a passionate community of creators, movers, and shakers. In today's Meet the Creators series, we sit down with one of our talented contributors, Paige, Owner and Creative Director of Studio Bicyclette. At Studio Bicyclette, Paige uses her design skills and art direction expertise to help lifestyle brands and businesses craft their branding and much more! Read on to hear her story and how she creates magic for herself and her clients.
My name is Paige and I'm the Owner/Creative Director of Studio Bicyclette, a creative studio that aims to help lifestyle brands and boutique businesses find their magic, style their brand and tell their story. Though my work and services vary quite a bit, a lot of what I do revolves around content creation and styling, brand design, and social media strategy. My background is actually in fashion and design, and the Bicyclette brand began as a women's clothing boutique in downtown Toronto, stemming from a creative thesis in my final year of study. The boutique quickly became known for its pretty-with-an-edge, downtown style with a whimsical twist, and started to evolve beyond the boutique and into more of a lifestyle brand, becoming a shopping destination and creative haven within the community, both online and in-store. This was when my love affair with social media and styling really began, as they were the primary tools I used to build my brand and share the Bicyclette story and style with our community. After 5 years, it was time to close the shop doors and the brand evolved into Studio Bicyclette, so it seemed a natural progression to focus on helping other brands and businesses create beautiful brands and tell their own stories through styled content and targeted social media strategies.
The concept behind Bicyclette has always been 'City life with a whimsical twist; Street Style meets fairy tale', and the name really captured that idea of merging the romanticism of biking down a Parisian street with the urban sensibility of biking as a mode of city transportation. It was a name that came to me naturally and just felt right, and though the Bicyclette business model has changed, the style and aesthetic have essentially remained the same, so the name has too, simply switching out the 'boutique' with 'studio'.
There's really no such thing as a "normal" workday, which I think a lot of business owners can attest to, but there are definitely certain tasks that make regular appearances. On an ideal day, I start my day with a cup of coffee and allow myself to dive into a business/inspirational book for about 30 minutes before even touching my phone or computer. I find that it helps to set my intention for the day and not allow myself to be controlled by my digital life; by doing this, it leaves me inspired and motivated for whatever the day might bring.
Checking my email and social media accounts is usually next on my list, along with taking a look at my Asana dashboard to see what's on my plate and jotting down my top three to-do's for the day on a post-it so I know what my focus should be on. Most days involve styling and shooting content of some sort, whether that's for the Studio Bicyclette brand or for a client, and getting to play with inspiration boards and colour palettes is also a common occurrence, as they're an important part my brand design and custom content process and also the Instagram Visual Strategy packages that I offer. My workspace and studio wall is often covered with inspiration images and color chips, a fact I am totally ok with! Depending on what else I'm working on, I usually spend at least a few hours a day on written content and graphic design as well, and also a fair amount of time on brainstorming and strategizing. At least once a week you can find me running around the city sourcing props and backdrops for shoots, or in meetings with clients and collaborators, which I always look forward to as a way to switch up my routine and get out of the studio for a bit. And though I try not to spend too much time on social media throughout the day and prefer to plan content out as much as possible, it's an important part of what I do so I'm often jumping on the various platforms when I have a few spare moments.
Thank you! Instagram has always been my favorite social media platform due to its visual nature, and I love using it to share sneak peeks of what I'm working on, as a source of inspiration and a way to connect with my community. It's really an extension of the Studio Bicyclette aesthetic, which leans towards the bright and dreamy with pops of color and is all about capturing those pretty little details and magical moments. I'm always on the hunt for ways to share that with my followers, so inspiration can really come from anywhere at any time, and I just make sure to filter it through the Bicyclette brand and use it as a storytelling tool.
I'm constantly on the hunt for inspiration and always try to give myself space to explore creatively. Sometimes that means going outside of your comfort zone, working with someone new who challenges you in a different way, or just taking time away from your typical routine to try something different. And as important as inspiration is, I think it's also really important to understand your own brand's values and vision and define your own style, instead of focusing too much on what everyone else is doing. I think the only way to really stand out is to know who you are and set out on your path.
I really love working with passionate smaller brands who are either just starting out or are in the midst of rebranding, giving us the opportunity to really dive in and define their brand story and then create visuals and a strategy around that. It's an amazing feeling to be able to help them along that journey and watch their business transform from the work that we do together. I also love the challenge of working with a brand that has a different style than that of Studio Bicyclette, pushing me outside of my comfort zone. I've always really loved the Ban.do brand and everything that they stand for, so I'd love to be able to work with them in some capacity. I also admire the BHLDN and Free People brands a lot, and I think their focus on creating lifestyle brands through styling and storytelling is done really well, and very much aligned with what I believe in. And when it comes to styling and overall aesthetic, Lula Magazine has always been one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Or anything Sophia Coppola is involved with, she's really defined that dreamy, whimsical aesthetic that I love so much, and her films are a visual testament to that.
Depending on what the end result is – social media strategy, brand design, custom styled content, etc. – the details may vary slightly, but I've narrowed it down to a certain sequence, from inspiration to implementation, that I usually follow. First of all, we spend some time diving into the brand and the specific project, defining the goals, the style, and the desired outcome together. Then we get a little dreamy, gathering inspiration, brainstorming creative themes and focusing on the details that will set a brand apart. This then gets translated into a visual strategy that can then be implemented in a variety of ways, but now we have an actionable plan that will help their brand story come to life, capturing their voice and style in a way that is true to the brand and will help them stand apart, and pulling all of the specifics like colour palette and visual details together in one place. If I'm working with a brand to style a shoot or develop custom content, we'll then come up with specific shot ideas, source props and backdrops for the shoot, and set out to bring everything from the visual strategy to life.
Since I run my own business, there are very few times when I'm completely off the clock, but when I am able to step away, I love taking the opportunity to explore my own city and discover new neighbourhoods and local gems, or travelling a little farther when I'm able to get away for a longer period of time. I'm also totally content to spend a quiet weekend escaping to our family cottage, totally disengaging and diving into a pile of books with a gin and tonic in hand, which I don't get to do as often as I like, unfortunately! I'm getting married next summer, so we're just starting to plan the details and since I'll be designing and styling a lot of it myself, I'm really enjoying that process. It gives me the perfect creative outlet that has nothing to do with my day-to-day work but is still so aligned with what I love to do.
I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is essential to stay true to who you are and your unique skill set, but also to be adaptable to change. The Studio Bicyclette brand has evolved so much since the beginning, but the brand's core values and style have remained the same through it all. It's also so important to love what you do and define your own dream job, not paying too much attention to what everyone else is doing. Think of what you can offer that no one else can and run with it. My background in fashion and retail has definitely helped shape who I am and what my business is all about today, even though I'm technically not in that industry anymore.