Today's community spotlight is on Cait, founder of Cait Hess Design. Cait used rejection to re-direct and used a loss as an opportunity to follow her dreams of helping others succeed!
"Losing my job was the push I needed to start my dream. I know many others are going through similar situations, and I want to remind them they are not alone, and that sometimes what feels like a loss could lead to a redirection that could completely change their life for the better."
Cait will be giving away a FREE branding and logo design package to one lucky #bloomgirl who has hopes of starting her own business or whose personal brand needs a boost. Leave a comment on our Instagram Post and follow @caithessdesign on Instagram to be entered! Read more about Cait below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I was a Graphic Designer for 10+ years and started my own company to embrace my passion for design and marketing to help others succeed! I have a passion for helping others become the best they can be.
At the end of the day, my friends and family make it all worth it for me. If I’m not sitting at my computer you can find me at the gym or on my bike! I love to explore, travel, and be outside. I like to express myself creatively, whether it's through graphic design, painting, writing, or singing theatrically like I'm in a broadway musical. I like to have fun with what I do and believe in the power of positivity! You can change anything with a positive mindset and the right attitude.
How did Cait Hess Design get its start?
Let's start at the very beginning of my design career. I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Kutztown University. My first job out of college was a Marketing Assistant role at an Athletic Club. I will forever be grateful to my boss who told me, “Cait you have the talent and a real eye for design”, she believed in me and this is where my passion for design started. I moved to Colorado and found a job as a Graphic Designer at a Print and Digital Marketing Agency. This job taught me to hustle, ask a lot of questions and made me a resilient designer. This is where the dream of starting my own business started. This spurred on my passion to always be learning, never give up, find new and better ways to design, how to take ownership, and figure out ways to better communicate across a team and with my clients. After 2 years in Colorado, I moved back to Delaware, and decided to open my own freelance graphic design business instead of looking for a full-time job. I landed some pretty interesting jobs but in the end, it wasn't enough to pay my bills and I realized I didn't have enough experience and wasn't sure how to market myself and run my own business. I found a job as a Graphic Designer at a consulting agency and worked there for about a year. I learned a lot working in digital media, web, print, email, and advertising, I even got to work with web developers and UX designers. Then, I lost my job in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I felt scared and alone, and I didn't want others to ever feel that way. My dream has always been to create a business that could serve as a platform to help other small businesses, but I was too scared to leave the security of a 'regular' job. This was the push I needed to start my dream. I know many others are going through similar situations, and I want to remind them they are not alone, and that sometimes what feels like a loss could lead to a redirection that could completely change their life for the better.
I took some time off and went on a month-long road trip across the country where I gained a lot of new perspectives. I traveled across 18 states, and I spent a lot of time in the car, thinking, learning, reading, and listening to podcasts. This trip and time away, allowed me to reset my soul and truly focus on being mindful and intentional. The majority of the trip was spent outside; camping, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors! It was truly an incredible, eye-opening experience for me. When I got home from this trip, it was time to turn my dreams into reality and put my business plan into action! Life is short and you need to do what makes you happy. I started to level up my skills. I took an online digital marketing course and outlined my mission and goals as a business. I hired and consulted with another creative on my own brand and implemented tools to help my business succeed. I also partnered with a Marketing Agency to combine the best of our skills into a full-service Marketing Agency. It’s still new and I’m still figuring it out. But that’s where you learn.
Losing my job was the push I needed to start my dream. I know many others are going through similar situations, and I want to remind them they are not alone, and that sometimes what feels like a loss could lead to a redirection that could completely change their life for the better.
What is your mission?
Cait Hess Design's mission is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses find confidence in their brands. I want anyone who is first starting out or doesn't even know where to start to feel empowered and lifted. I help others find clarity on what makes them stand out to help their brand succeed. What I once saw as a curse now feels like a blessing. Becoming self-employed and owning and operating my own business empowers me. I truly love waking up and doing what I love every day. It doesn't ever feel like work to me.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my mother, my biggest cheerleader, known for her wisdom, unconditional love, support, and for always putting her 3 daughters' needs ahead of her own. She started her own business in 2012. Watching her gave me the courage to become a business owner! Also, countless women in general and other small businesses I’ve found online and through social media motivate me to pursue my passion fearlessly and keep growing. I see so many other successful women around the world take risks to achieve their goals, if they can do it, so can I! It’s an incredible journey and I am always finding inspiration, especially on Pinterest and Instagram, and continually educating myself through online workshops, going on Clubhouse, and reading and listening to podcasts!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, personally or professionally? How have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a designer was at a Marketing Agency I worked at when I lived in Colorado. This was a very stressful, fast-paced, and demanding environment. I was designing something new every day, from packaging design, 200-page conference programs, window graphics, direct mail pieces and campaigns, signage, laser cut invitations, to pet shampoo bottles, really a little bit of everything! The tough atmosphere and demanding job helped me grow. I stayed late at work, I worked hard and long hours, and I studied design in my free time. This job helped me grow a thick skin. When I look back at this experience, I realize I was learning very valuable lessons and becoming a better designer in the process. This job taught me how to HUSTLE, to ask a lot of questions, and made me a more resilient designer. I learned to take ownership and figure out ways to be a better communicator with my team and with my clients. Working there spurred on my passion to always be creating, learning, and never give up on your own dream! I had a dream of starting my own business but I really had no idea how to start. I failed and kept on failing. It wasn't until I lost my job in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that I really got the final push to launch my own business. I was forced to step up and figure it out and I'm so glad I did!
If you could talk to yourself 5 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
You don't always need someone to tell you you’re doing a good job (although praise is nice sometimes!). It’s having the inner quiet knowledge that you are the expert in the room and being confident in your work and in yourself. Being an artist is about making decisions and also understanding and educating your clients towards their goals. Be patient with them and with yourself because at the end of the day, if you’ve tried your hardest and given it your best, there’s nothing to worry about. I would tell young Cait, be patient, don’t be so hard on yourself, you got this girl, you are the expert, and you are resilient!
What are some key books/learning experiences that helped shape you?
So many things! I just recently finished an online digital marketing course from Udemy and Lynda.com. Clubhouse has been a huge learning resource for me lately is a new type of social network based on voice—where people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time. I also listen to a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk and follow him on Social Media and Clubhouse!
Helpful books for me were:
- Exactly What to Say by Phil M. Jones
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- 2 Second Lean by Paul. A Akers
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
- Uncontainable by Kip Tindell
- Emotional Intelligence for Sales by Colleen Stanley
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- Social Media Success for Every Brand by Claire Diaz-Ortiz.
Another thing I get a lot of inspiration from is music. One of my 2020 theme songs was Rain On Me by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. Every time I hear this song I just can’t help but to start singing, this song triggers happiness and triumph in my mind! It started to become my favorite song over the summer and transformed into a life motto. “Rain on me.” Nothing beats a rainy day to wash away any negativity you may be facing in your life. If those clouds above your head start to turn gray and it starts to rain don’t get upset! Instead, learn how to embrace it and dance! Think about the rain to be like a healing blanket that covers you. We need the bad days to grow and be strong! Without the bad days, how can we truly appreciate the good ones? Even with so much rain coming down on you or the struggles in your life, you don’t have to drown… Even though it feels like you are! You can swim against that current. Even if there’s a bunch of waves and they keep crashing over you, if you keep on swimming, you’ll reach the shore, where it’s calm and peaceful and you’ll come out stronger and better than before!
What are your favorite bloom products, and why?
My go-to bloom product is my Vision Planner because having my tasks and goals written down holds me accountable and motivated in achieving them. There's power in pen to paper and writing things down, I also use the bloom Planning Pads to get my creative juices flowing and write a to-dos list every day so at the end of my day I can cross things off and see what I’ve accomplished! Also, I love my stickers! I put them everywhere all over my planner, laptop, and water bottles.
Do you know someone doing something amazing in your community? Nominate them for a bloom community spotlight!