The studio that never was and a new look KLC

Well, hello!

It’s been a while, eh? I know, I know. It’s that old cobbler’s kids idiom, I’ve been so busy working on wonderful things for my lovely clients that I neglected my own shiz. BUT! I’m back, baby!

First though, a story.

A couple of years ago I started thinking that I wanted to start a brand new studio, close down KLC and start completely from scratch. I’d started to think that I needed to move away from having my name be part of the studio name, that if I ever decided to bring in permanent staff members it’d be confusing for clients to work with someone that wasn’t me. I also had itchy feet. I’ve been working under “Kim Lawler Creative” for around 7 years now, and I was pretty much ready for a big change in the way I presented the studio. There was also a niggling little thought in the back of my head that if I ever wanted to sell the studio at some point, having my name in there would make that pretty impossible – I have no idea why I was even thinking this, I’ve got 100% no plans to sell KLC.

I spent some time figuring out a new studio name, buying a domain, registering all my social media accounts, I even went so far as to commission some custom lettering for the logo! Then… I did nothing. Zilch. Nada. I tried to start designing the new site about this time last year and wasn’t into it. I sat on it for a further 12 months before finally (FINALLY) figuring out that this wasn’t what I wanted.

I didn’t want to move away from having my personality being a big part of my business, and I realised that a lot of the people I admire (who work in big teams!) still stick with their own name as their studio name. Part of the fun of running my business for me is that I can be entirely myself, I don’t have to tone down my potty mouth, or monitor what I say on social media. Starting a new studio would, if anything, force me to reign in the very thing that sets my current studio apart from others – me!

A little over a week ago, in the short time between turning the bedside lamp out and falling asleep, I decided that really all I wanted to do (needed to do) was rebrand Kim Lawler Creative, refocus a few of my offerings, update my portfolio, and just get my shit in a row. After I figured that out it took me around 3 days to completely redo my website and branding.

Whaaatttt? I know.

From 2 years to 3 days.

So! What can you expect from me now? Wellll, I’m gonna be back blogging, and I’m going to be making some videos about running a small creative business. I’d love to know what you’d like me to cover (leave a comment below!), I have some ideas already but I want to make this as relevant as possible for you guys. I’ve also rejigged my services a little, and have plans for some other à la carte style services which I’ll be adding later this year. The main thing is, I’m really excited about my business again and can’t wait to share more awesome shit with you!

Oh, and the studio that never was? RIP.

(awesome brush lettering by Letters by Julia)

Don’t build your business with someone else’s product!

Hey pals!

I wanted to talk about a pretty worrying trend that I keep seeing in various guises, from social media to online marketplaces, and it’s even in the world of web design. People are building their entire businesses on the back of someone else’s product.

I don’t mean that they’re using someone else’s product to promote, improve, or grow their businesses, I mean they’re basing their entire business model on something that someone else controls. This is really, really fucking scary. Especially when you see what can happen when that product changes, it’s life ruining!

I’m going to talk about 3 scenarios where I’ve seen this happen lately, and the fallout that can occur when each of these platforms changes.


My product based business, Finest Imaginary, happily runs on a few different online outlets. I have wholesale contracts with a few shops, and I sell at markets throughout the holiday season. Whenever I’m promoting my business online I’ll always, always direct people to my own website (which is hosted on Shopify, a tool I used to grow my business – if Shopify up and closed tomorrow, I’d be able to move my store to another ecommerce platform and still use my URL). I’ve spread my business around a bit, not too thinly, but enough so that I don’t rely fully on one marketplace more than another.

Earlier this year one of the marketplaces that I’ve sold through for quite a few years decided to make some rather drastic changes to their business model, removing many businesses from the site and shifting things around in product categories (which in turn meant that certain products were no longer getting the exposure that they once were!). There were a number of people who had built successful six-figure businesses on this platform, and they suddenly found themselves up shit creek without a marketplace! It’s sad, and frustrating, and my heart went out to those who were affected, but the business who built the platform have the right to do whatever they want with their product (whether it’s morally right or wrong is a whole other story…).

It’s easy to become complacent when your business is thriving on a marketplace, whether it’s Etsy or similar, but is it sensible to rely on someone else’s product for the main source of your income? Fuck no.

Is it sensible to rely on someone else’s product for the main source of your income? Fuck no. Click To Tweet


Here’s another one that everyone got their knickers in a twist over a few weeks ago. Instagram.

Remember over Easter when everyone was losing their shit about the algorithm changes, and posting silly images asking you to subscribe to alerts? Yeah? I’m just gonna stand here right now and call bullshit on all those antics.

I love Instagram. I’ve been focusing on it as a promotional tool for my businesses for the past few months, and have been steadily increasing my engagement and following. It’s awesome. I get a heck of a lot of referrals from it, and it’s been (probably) my most successful marketing tool to date. But here’s the thing. I don’t rely on it. I don’t put all of my energy into using Instagram as my only marketing tool, I also use Twitter, my newsletter, Pinterest, and I’ve even started experimenting with Snapchat.

When and if Instagram changes their algorithm and it starts to affect your business, then you change along with it. You evolve, you keep on your toes and you work out how to fill that gap. Don’t rely on someone else’s product for your entire business marketing, stay current and see what else is out there. Your business will have way more to worry about down the line than the changing up of a social media platform. Who knows, the next thing on the app store might be even more suited to you and your business!


I come from a background of coding sites from scratch, before I even heard the word “Wordpress” I was creating shitty table based sites on geocities. Since then I’ve focused most of my energy on WordPress (and more recently Shopify), but have dipped my toes into Squarespace, big cartel, blogger, and Magento.

There’s a new breed of web designer around who can successfully drag-and-drop your site into existence. I mean, that’s great and all (and kudos to them for making bank on a relatively simple task), but it’s not something you couldn’t do on your own (given an afternoon and a help doc or two!). The scary thing here is that these designers have built an entire business around being able to use a drag-and-drop interface (on a product that wasn’t even available a couple of years ago!). I’ve long had these same worries about the WordPress “developers” who were using a popular framework package to make all their sites. They rely so fully on this framework that when there’s something that the framework can’t do… they’re stumped!

My advice to those who work this way is to expand, learn new skills, get dirty in the code and don’t rely on that single product that someone else made for all the income in your business. It might change next month, it might become even easier for people to use it themselves (in which case your client pool would get incredibly small!), or it might disappear altogether!

So, what do you think? Looking at your business, are you relying too heavily on someone else’s product? What would happen if that product underwent a huge change? Or closed? How would you recover? I think it’s time we started taking responsibility for our own businesses rather than blaming someone else if a change in their product fucks it up.