On how every brand, rebrand, or redesign is a story about creative vision.
For Tim Ellis, it started with the story of his dad’s shop being damaged in a blizzard. Instead of giving up, his dad and his mom shifted. Tim learned from his parents the importance of putting an emphasis on relationships, reputation, and attention to detail.
“I like to improve the efficiencies of businesses while providing a modern-day branded website.”
In 2019, Ellis turned his education, experience, and those life lessons into Sharpen Creative where he works with all types of businesses in many different industries to sharpen the brand story.
“I have an obsession with business and design,” Ellis shared. “I like to improve the efficiencies of businesses while providing a modern-day branded website. It’s the point where the business and design crash together for me and I love what I do.”
Ellis graduated in 2002 with a degree in graphic design that focused on print design. Even after dabbling in web design, Ellis still shied away from WordPress. “I knew a little bit of Dreamweaver and then started using Adobe Muse to build websites.” It wasn’t until it was dropped by Adobe that Ellis had to shift gears to WordPress.
The story continues with relationships.
In 2017, Ellis attended WordCamp in Wilmington, North Carolina – which is where he met iThemes Training instructor, Nathan Ingram. “I signed up for his program because I knew I needed to build recurring revenue for a sustainable business.” The connections Ellis made through WordCamp led him to Liquid Web, BackupBuddy, and the iThemes Toolkit.
“Most small businesses are lacking consistency.”
Despite all the tools at his disposal, Ellis continues to build custom websites using Photoshop. “I do a base Beaver Builder theme and customize up from there.” His design background plays a big role in how he’s building and he continues to invest in learning and improving.
“Even with the best ideas for design, without content, there is nothing to build. It can be a struggle getting clients to provide the necessary content needed to bring proposals to life. Content really is the hard wall that so many website designs come up against when it comes to working with clients.”
When it comes to growing a business, Ellis recommends finding and focusing on consistency. “Most small businesses are lacking consistency.” Ellis went on to explain that often the struggle for consistency lies in the lack of a clear brand story.
It really is all about the story.
“You need a brand story so that you can weave that throughout your whole business – from the first ideas in the plan to all the content throughout the website. Even the website design should reflect the brand story.”
Ellis takes time to hear the story of his clients. “I want to know their goals, of their business, and of their website. The more you know about their services and their bios the easier it can be to develop the website to reflect the story.”
It starts with a deep dive into the brand and the different perspectives: the owner, the ideal client, the competition. “The different perspectives paint a picture and then you can put words to those feelings. You come up with a description of the brand, the essence of the brand. This allows you to map out what you expect people to walk away feeling and doing when it comes to the brand.”
“The different perspectives paint a picture and then you can put words to those feelings. You come up with a description of the brand, the essence of the brand.
It’s important to talk with the client about how the brand will (or is) being displayed to the brand. Through the conversations, you get the whole picture of the brand and an idea of the voice behind the brand. By putting all of this together, you being to develop the essence of the website – from the meta descriptions that are powerful to the search engines to the images and content valuable to the users.
“It’s about painting a whole picture for people. We adapt our plans and strategies to the needs of the business. Some may need a brochure. Others may need a vehicle fleet wrap design. We look at their goals, their business, and of course their budget.”
Every brand, rebrand, or redesign is a story about creative vision. The designs are specific and unique so the clients have ownership of what is created. “Each business puts in their voice by providing decision and input. What we create together needs to be something that properly reflects them.”
Being able to provide clarity of message for small businesses is important to me.”
From logo design to full branding packages to a complete website build, Sharpen Creative provides a personalized and customized journey. “The process resonates with me having grown up in an entrepreneurial family.”
And the story returns to where it began. “My parents had the carpet cleaning business and my mom still runs it. It’s a tough competitive business, but I gained interest in design and marketing from their journey. Being able to provide clarity of message for small businesses is important to me.”
Ellis has the most satisfaction in watching clients grow their businesses, achieve their google, and shoot for the stars. “I am an entrepreneur. It’s not easy. It’s incredibly challenging, day in and day out. When you catch your dream, it’s amazing.”
Learn more about Tim and Sharpen Creative