#5: Powerful Branding and Graphic Design with Kristy Campbell from Pink Pony Creative

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

Today we are talking with Kristy Campbell, founder of Pink Pony Creative and branding expert, about how a social media challenge kickstarted her branding business, how she began creating a community for her audience, and how creators can come up with content for their social media.

Learn more about Pink Pony Creative: https://www.pinkponycreative.com/

Follow Kristy Campbell on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pinkponycreative/


Bryan McAnulty 0:01

Welcome to the creators adventure where we interview creators from around the world hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Brian McAnulty. I'm the founder of heights platform, and today I'm talking with Kristy Campell, about how social media kick started her branding business, how she started building a community for her audience, and how creators can better come up with ideas for their social media content.

Hey, everyone, we're here today with Kristy Campbell. She is an expert in branding, graphic design, digital marketing and social media. She has her own branding agency pink pony creative, where she helps clients bring their branding idea to life by creating branding materials like logos, designs, merch, social media templates, and websites. And she has 235,000 followers on Tiktok and 70,000. On Instagram, where she is promoting her agency. Kristy, welcome to the show.

Kristy Campbell 1:05
Hello, I'm excited to be here. Thanks for bringing me on. I love podcasts, I'm always up for it.

Bryan McAnulty 1:12
Great. So your company, pink party creative helps clients bring their brand to life with your expertise in graphic design, digital marketing, how did you decide to start your own business in brand design?

Kristy Campbell 1:27
I love this question. So basically, I've always been a designer. But coming out of university, I got a bachelor of graphic design and animation and I graduated way back in Lync 2013. I think and following that I always worked for other people and other businesses. And I loved it. And I've always loved design. But I did feel a little bit like my cup wasn't getting completely fooled by working for other people. And I wasn't really using my creativity to the fullest. So basically what I did, it was about two and a half years ago, I was working for a company and it was a one brand business. So same, you know, your designer, the same colours, same fonts all the time, and I was getting a little bit sick of it. So I decided to do this 100 Day design challenge. And I would just do it outside of work as a bit of a passion project. And to keep myself accountable. I basically started this Instagram account and I just post it every day. And then I just called it pink pony creative. I literally just kind of winged it. I love pink and I love pony sounds like sounds great. Let's go with it. And then from there, I just started posting and it got to about like probably day 80. And then I had a few people approached me through Instagram saying, Hey, I love what you do, would you be up for designing a logo for me. And that's kind of how it started. So I was still working for this other business. But then eventually I talked to them about it. And they sort of said to me, this sounds like a great idea. Let's kind of slowly draw you back from five days a week to four. And I can also work on my business on there. You know, on the off day, I wasn't doing my other work for another business. And yeah, it kind of just stemmed from there. And slowly, I started to work less for that other business and more for pink pony creative and then probably took about two months. And then I was working full time for my business pink pony creative. So that's how it started. Which is always interesting, because I didn't actually set out pink pony creative to be a business in the beginning. So it was a really nice, like natural way for me to fall into it, there was kind of no pressure. And I just, I think that's why it worked out so well. It's because I just didn't put any pressure on myself. I was getting income from this other business still. So it wasn't like a big, giant leap. So I always say to people who can do something like that, it can make it so much less than timid ating and a lot nicer to kind of ease into owning a business because, you know, owning a business can be stressful and pretty hard, especially when you haven't done it before. It's all new. You know, you're not just doing design, you know, the accountant, you know, the admin doing all that kind of stuff as well. So, but yeah, that was I think I went full time with the business in March 2020. It would have been, which feels like last year, but it was actually the before. And ever since then I've been gone for it. And I love it.

Bryan McAnulty 4:22
Cool. So this, the design challenge that you did it was to what exactly posts a original design that you would make every single day on Instagram.

Kristy Campbell 4:32
Yeah, that's the one like I I get asked all the time, you know, what was the challenge? You did? Can you share me the link but I just made my own rules. I kept it really kind of open. The only rule I had was that it was supposed to look like a bit of a rainbow effect on my Instagram feed. So that was the only guide I had and I liked it cuz every day I'd sort of sit down at my computer after work. And I was just inspired by Whatever happened that day sometimes like, you know, if I had a coffee at my favourite cafe, then I'd sit back at my desk at night and say, Oh, why don't we just rebrand that cafe and give them like a new logo for for a bit of fun for my challenge. And I just made up these projects as I went. And I kind of just, like I said, it was inspired by everything around me. And that's what continued me to finish the challenge, it was pretty hard, I have to say, there was some days where I was like, not wanting to design at all, you know, I was too busy doing other things. It had been like, got to like a limit at night. And I still hadn't designed my posts for that day. But I really pushed myself to do it. And I'm so glad I didn't know, I think it's such a great thing to do for your creativity. And it like stops you from putting yourself in a box a bit. And it just gets you to design. Whatever you're feeling, rather, whether it's good or bad. I think it's really good for your creativity. So any kind of hours, give it a go.

Bryan McAnulty 6:00
Yeah, it's forcing you to not only practice, like your craft, but you're also giving yourself like this accountability that you have to work on it, you have to post and get it out there. And so you actually like even though as you said, It wasn't intentional to like, start a business right away. Like you did the same thing that you should be doing that you you said, Okay, well, I'm gonna I have to do something every single day. And then once it started, now it's public, you have to kind of continue it. And so yeah, doing that can be really powerful for yourself. And I think it's also a good kind of testament to that. Of course, like, I don't want to downplay like how hard I'm sure you worked on everything. But starting a business, it doesn't have to be like, you don't have to do it the hard way, I guess. Were like, I think you found out a really smart way to do that, to start doing something on the side of this goal for yourself, and then you have the job at the same time. And you were able to negotiate that with your employer to be able to say, Okay, well, I'm gonna move into my own thing here a little bit. So yeah, that's really great. So with your first branded client, it sounds like it kind of came from that challenge, actually.

Kristy Campbell 7:12
Hmm. Yeah, it definitely did. I think I initially when I first like, was doing the challenge, I started to see a few sort of followers come in, and people were interacting, it was nothing crazy. It was probably like five followers every like two weeks. But that excited me as I'll call people that interested in this, you know, this, obviously, people care. And then, you know, someone found me on Instagram. I think I think I put a little bit of money behind some of the posts just to get them in front of other people. And to see what sort of happened. And then I think it was a girl in Australia, who contacted me to do some design, like do a logo for her. And I at that point, I was like, I have no idea how to even price my own work, because I've never done anything like that before. So I kind of just took a stab in the dark. And then I shared it with her and she loved it. And then from there, you know, she told other people as well, about me, and they came to me. And as my social media page started to grow. The clients, you know, the leads just came in, and I got way more inquiries. And I think it's interesting with Instagram and social media to once you hit a certain point, even even about 1000 followers, people kind of look at you, oh, you know, she's got a she's got a social presence. She knows what she's doing. People obviously like her work. Let's give this a shot. So social media has completely changed my business and my view on business as well. I never thought as a graphic designer, that, you know, one day if I own my own business, I thought it would all come through networking, and the people I know. And a lot of it does, but never in my wildest dreams, would it mean people are cutting me from, like from Instagram and Tiktok? You know, I'm like, people look at designers on Instagram and Tiktok. That's crazy.

Bryan McAnulty 8:59
Yeah, especially because it's it's so interesting how quickly the world evolves, you know that, like, in school, you're not going to learn that that's a possibility. Even you know, because it's so new for something like that to be happening.

Kristy Campbell 9:13
Hmm, definitely. And I think it's like, important to remember that things are changing all the time. And like, with tick tock, I jumped on the tick tock train. I think it was mid 2020 When it was saying to kind of blow up a bit. And I was lucky in that sense. They got on it at a good time. And so I think timing can be a bit of everything as well. And even with Instagram reels, I started doing those right as they took off. And so that really helped my account, kind of I don't want to say blow up but helped me get a lot more engagement and a lot more views on my reels and things and that board is such a big audience. And it also brings in a really cool side of design as well that I never thought was a thing. And it's like you know now my job is not just design, it's also getting to do these really cool opportunities, like having an interview with you. And even, you know, doing paid promotions and the idea of, you know, I want to make courses. So I never thought that was going to be a thing for me. But it's, you know, it's in the pipeline. And I'm excited to the point of the possibilities of this. So that's really cool.

Bryan McAnulty 10:21
Yeah, that's awesome. So I want to go a little bit deeper into this, though, and like dissect this, because so you got your Instagram to 70,000 followers. And people could say like, oh, well, you got lucky with your challenge or whatever. But you didn't stop there, you did it again on Tik Tok, and you have 235,000 followers on Tiktok. So there must be some kind of strategy that you figured out here. So you say that you feel timing really helped you? So can you go into a little bit more about that, like realising where I guess people's attention was at the time and the different? What was it really that if you could go more into it? Like, is it the video aspect of things, or

Kristy Campbell 11:00
I think it was a couple of things, especially with tick tock, when I saw when I started my tick tock account, I didn't like for business, I didn't intend it to at all, I thought I was gonna get no views at all. And I started that account, thinking other suitors be fun, really casually, again, and I didn't think too much about it. And I think I honestly really do think that's part of that's a key to it. Don't think too much about it, just kind of post it. If you planning all these videos here, maybe if you're working for a big brand, and it needs to have these brand guidelines and things like that, that's when it can get really important. But if it's just you and your small business, just try something, see what works, throw it out there. And you know, if it doesn't work, you've done it, you've given it a go. And like my tutorial style videos, which I started doing on tick tock got really good traction and started getting really good views. And that's when I was kind of like, oh, well, people are interested in this, I'll keep posting. But in terms of the timing thing, it's so tricky, because I think if you jump on board something when it's just starting to take off, it's a natural thing. And I don't think anyone can ever, like foresee that. But it does help. As weird as that sounds. Like with Rails, I started posting the rails as soon as they came out. And I think Instagram really pushed the algorithm to watch all these rails, watch the rails watch areas. And that's how I got a lot of views initially. And some of them I think it's a lot harder now. Especially on tick tock, I found that, because I'm so busy with client work, and I love client work, I find it really hard now to you know, keep marketing myself and you know, post videos on Tiktok because it is really time consuming. And that can be the hard bit about it. I've kind of I need to get back into it. Because I don't want to lose it. But you know, as the more busy you get with, you know, client work and the actual work, the harder it is to keep up with everything else.

Bryan McAnulty 12:58
Definitely. So yeah, I think a lot of creators really either struggle with are are even reluctant, reluctant to even get into social media because something like tick tock, for example, like you have to be a little bit more present, like you're talking to the camera, it's not just you're posting an image or something. So there is more work involved in doing that. So it sounds like you've done a pretty good job of managing it so far, though. So how how do you manage it? Do you have like, a specific schedule where you say, like, Well, I'm gonna try to do these tic TOCs now and then work stuff later? Or is it kind of just whatever is there any kind of process that you have for that?

Kristy Campbell 13:37
I really try I do try hard to keep up with say, like a two to three tiktoks a week. And those tiktoks will also go over to Instagram, to reels. And I also try and like post about three times a week on Instagram. But I've never had throughout my business never had like a social media plan as such, and I've never sort of said, you know, these are my Instagram posts that I'm going to schedule on these days, I kind of just do it when I'm feeling in the mood when I feel like I need to put something out today. I'll just give it a go. And I think that's as I said before, part of maybe why I was able to grow the channel, the channels and things like that it's because I'm not putting heaps of pressure on myself to do this, you know, every single day, I've got to put something out there. So I think that you know, pressure can you know, give you this idea that I'm going to do really well one day which I guess is a good thing but hopefully that made sense. I feel like I was rambling on

Bryan McAnulty 14:32
Yeah, no, I feel like the way that you're saying that you do it it will kind of naturally come across more authentic because you're just thinking this is just what I would do so but you mentioned that you had this like tutorials so would you say like coming up with a specific like goal or theme to your content can help a creator because like, let's say the creator says like okay, I have time to do this now but now I don't know what to do. What what is my content going to be?

Kristy Campbell 15:00
Yeah, I think one thing to remember is that especially in your business or your create, like your art, whatever you do, a lot of the time you think, oh, you know, drawing out something might be a bit boring for everyone. But others will probably find it interesting even with me, you know, sharing a one tip about Adobe Illustrator, I'm, I feel like I know this tip, and everyone else will. But trust me, there's a whole lot of people out there that don't and they'll find it interesting. So I think remember that not everyone sees what you do every day. So film all those little bits that you do, you know, do time lapses, do tutorials, do day in the lives and people will find it really interesting. It's really, it's hard because on social media apps, especially as a artist and a creator, you want to try and market yourself in a way that is different to other people. And something that tutorials have shown me. You know, I thought that yes, I'd get interest from graphic designers and other designers or people learning to design. But actually, I get this other whole lot of people that look at me, like, oh, wow, look at this, she really knows what she's doing. I'm gonna get her to do my logo, even though it's I'm not marketing my work as such, I'm just showing people how to do it. But I look like and I come across as this expert in the industry, which is really a really nice thing. And I think it's a cool way to market yourself.

Bryan McAnulty 16:23
Definitely, yeah, I can relate to that. Because actually, before we had this core software, and what we do today, like I started my business as like a web design agency. And what we would do to promote ourselves was blogging, a lot of blogging at the time. And so this was back in like 2009. And we'd write the blogs, and it would be focused towards like an audience of other designers. But it was the same thing, as you said, because doing that, and even though we're spending so much effort in that where the designers weren't going to be our customers, it was still helpful, because a client would see that and say, like, oh, well, these guys really know what they're talking about in the industry, because look at everything that they're doing. So

Kristy Campbell 17:05
yeah, for sure. One thing my dad always says is that with like business, you know, or being an artist, you could be the best artists in the world. But if you can't market yourself, it's going to be really hard to do well. So I think, you know, regardless of the Labour you're at, there's going to be someone out there who will love your stuff, if you can market yourself, put yourself out there, you'll get the interest. So I like to keep that in mind.

Bryan McAnulty 17:30
Well, yeah, I think that's a great point, like, a lot of what I hope we can capture in these interviews that we're doing is that, like, I see ourselves mainly as positioned as a company towards catering to the Creator, rather than the Digital Marketer. But like we realise, and like all creators realise, like, there is some point where you have to become a marketer a little bit for yourself, because you have to learn some of those things to promote yourself. So even if you see yourself as like, Bom this creative person, I don't really like the selling, I don't really like figuring out this promotion stuff. You have to eventually learn some of that in order to really thrive as a creator and, and provide the best bed you can to the world basically.

Kristy Campbell 18:14
Yeah, definitely. And I think that's part of like, why what holds people back a lot as well, is that idea of like, I don't want to put myself out there. And yes, it's going to be so hard initially, it's going to be you're going to feel awkward, you don't have to put your face on the camera, you know, on every day on your stories, but just showing up and being a little bit more personable can really help people connect with you want like more of a level, then she's got cool work. It's more like she's got cool work. She's got cool energy, I really like a vibe. I'm going to remember her and I'm gonna go back to her and I'm gonna get her to do you know, my branding for the next business I start, which is cool.

Bryan McAnulty 18:51
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So I think some takeaways maybe are, if you are struggling to create the content, think about, like, what do you do in your day to day life? And how can you just create content around that, because as you said, people may not the things that are obvious to you that you're doing, it may not be obvious to other people. And even if it's something that other people know, they still may connect with that, and relate to that and want to see that. And if you're nervous about that, don't worry about the content itself. And I guess think more about the goal that what you can achieve from doing that and how like for you, it's opened all these opportunities for you that you didn't even think of in the beginning.

Kristy Campbell 19:34
100% I can't even like begin to this I feel quite passionate. I obviously I'm passionate about design and branding and things but I feel really passionate about social media in the sense that it can open up so many doors to to like for you as an artist as a creator or whatever you're doing in your job. Like I last year, I worked with Adobe, like twice and I was like, what like, I still can't really get my head around. kinda like, you know, the graphic designer me at university, if someone told me that that would be what I was going to do, I'd say, or whatever, I'd never do that, you know. So it can like, open the doors to big big opportunities, which is amazing. And even things like the clients that you can get through social media. Like I was just able to work with these two amazing podcasters in America. And I just would never have thought like, they've just hit 20 million downloads for the podcast, and I was able to be a part of the rebrand. So that was really epic. And I would never have got that opportunity if I didn't have Instagram and Tiktok for my business. So you've got to give it a go 100%.

Bryan McAnulty 20:43
Well, yeah, that's great. That's, I think, some great inspiration. So you also have this, this private Facebook group has dedicated to designers that want to share their ideas with other people in the industry, ask questions, get feedback, can you tell us a little bit more about this community and like how you came to decide you wanted to create this group.

Kristy Campbell 21:03
So initially, actually, when I created the group, it kind of came from the way I feel about podcasts. So I've always loved podcasts, I listen to podcasts all the time, you know, you've got your few favourites. And I, the people you listen to you feel like they're your friend, and you feel like, you know, these are my friends that I'm gonna listen to every day, I'm gonna get advice from them, even though you're not the one talking to them. And I feel so connected. And it's almost a really cool way to think about branding, like, you just feel so much more connected and trusted with this person. And it kind of the podcasts, they create this little community of people around them. And I wanted to, I thought I could do this as well through a Facebook group where you, you know, have this group of people when they feel so much more connected to you like they're your friend, they can talk to you. They can ask for advice. Because, you know, any industry that people work in can be difficult. There's always questions no one wants to ask, but needs the answer to. So I thought what better way to make this group that young designers, you know, whether they're starting a business, and they've got questions about pricing, or whether they want advice, you know, on which design to go with, or they've got a difficult client, all those kinds of things. It's such an easy way to share knowledge, you can connect with, you know, people in your industry to all over the world. And it's just a really nice positive space that people can come to. And I even had, like a message from someone saying, this is the reason why I'm still on Facebook is because this group, there's so much valuable information on here, which I was like so touched, stop. It's just so nice to hear that people, you know, enjoy the community side of it, too. And, you know, yes, we've created this computer, and they feel it's amazing. But they also then feel probably a little bit more connected to pink pony creative, as well as a brand. And like I said before, I've got big plans to make courses and things. So you know, all those people in that group. One day, I could sell these courses to the younger designers and get them on board to, you know, increase their skills and make them better designers. So it's really cool.

Bryan McAnulty 23:14
Yeah, so you're building your audience, taking the fact that you're able to build this audience of designers and seeing like, how can you also turn that into part of your business?

Kristy Campbell 23:23
Definitely, exactly. And just having all these like little funnels, kind of coming into pink pony is just a great way to great way to go. Because eventually, I do want to also sell things from pink pony, like templates for designers. So that's another avenue that then I can sell to my community on Facebook and things like that. So it's trying to figure out, you know, yes, I'm a designer at the core. And that's what I do. But now because of social media, now I can do all these other things like sell templates, you know, connect with other designers make courses. So it's very cool.

Bryan McAnulty 23:59
Yeah, that's great. So I think like community is super valuable, it's super helpful to be able to create that space for people. Because it's really interesting. I think that even with the internet, like, it's not like there is like a ones one stop place, like specific site you can go to and say like, oh, well, this is exactly that specific community I'm looking for. It is really dependent on like, individual creators, like yourself, making that community and forming that and, and starting to find those people and attract those people. And that's something like that you would think? I don't know, I feel like there's so much space for another social media platform in the future that can solve that a little bit better. Because like, Facebook doesn't really do that on its own. It doesn't actually connect people. And then there's sites like meetup.com and everything like that, but still, it's not. It's not really doing that. So I've always I've thought for a long time, like if I was going to build another app, like with our company, like I could see it being something really To more so in the community and meeting up with people, almost like like there's these online dating apps, but why not have more of that for your specific community of people that you want to find to be around? So,

Kristy Campbell 25:13
yeah, that's really cool that that's a great idea. And I think, sometimes you feel so alone and what you're doing, you know, you're like, Oh, no one else has got this difficult client that I've got, or no one else is just got, you know, this, I can't design feeling and I don't know what I'm doing today. But actually, trust me, everyone else has those same feelings. So bringing those communities and like, sharing your stories just makes you feel not so alone. You know, the world's hard enough as it is, it's nice to hear that other people are going through the same thing. So those group creates that, which is cool.

Bryan McAnulty 25:45
Definitely, yeah. And I think I think that's a good point in the sense that if you're a creator, and you're even having that issue yourself wishing you had more of a community, then if you haven't already, why not create that and be the ones who are getting that community?

Kristy Campbell 26:02
Exactly. And I think it's a really nice thing to remember as well. Regardless of your audience size, you might have 100 followers, you might have, you know, 100,000 followers, I think you can, you can still make those communities. And don't think that you can't do it, because you don't have those 100,000 followers, you definitely can. You've just got to put yourself out there and see what you get back from the universe.

Bryan McAnulty 26:28
Yeah, yeah, the design industry specifically, I think it's really important because as a designer, you're working with all these clients, but it, it is a very individual thing. If you're not working with a company. It reminded me of you've probably heard of this site before. Have you heard of the site clients from hell? Where they, but I feel like I should look at it. Yeah, it's so funny. So I was trying to look it back up again. Now. It looks like it might be. I think it's. Yeah, hopefully, it's still there, I'm coming up with a sentence is not always right.com. I'm not sure if that's it. Or if they migrated the content there. Some of it might be even made up. But there's some really funny stories of like, what designers share of what their client asked them to do, or something like this. And it's always interesting. And it's great for a designer to have a community where they can share that kind of thing with because they can, you can't talk back to your client and say if they're saying something ridiculous all the time, of course. But yeah, that's great.

Kristy Campbell 27:36
Yeah, it's a cool, it's a cool way to look at it. And like I listened to a podcast, with some girls that I've connected to, like, over Instagram, they've got a podcast called off air. And they did a whole episode about nightmare clients. And just hearing those stories you let, I'm not the only one. That's okay. Like, don't stress if you've got this crazy client, it's all good.

Bryan McAnulty 27:55
Exactly, exactly. Alright, so one of the things we'd like to do on these interviews is to have each of our guests ask a question to the audience. So if you were able to ask our audience of creators a question, and just learn from them, what would you want to ask them? What would you want to know from our creators?

Kristy Campbell 28:15
So I guess this question really stems nicely from our whole conversation. And that would be what is stopping you from sharing your work on social media and putting yourself out there? I would love to know. Especially because I feel like there's such a boundary between people doing that and just giving it a go. So tell me, what is stopping you?

Bryan McAnulty 28:36
Well, that's a great question. All right. Well, that is everything that I had for you today. Kristy, thank you so much for coming on the show. Before we get going, I want to ask where can people find you online?

Kristy Campbell 28:49
So people can find me everywhere pink pony creative is basically my URL for everything. It's tick tock Instagram, my website, pink pony creative.com. You can also find me there. So please give me a follow. And if you've listened to this and have any feedback or things you want to chat about, just send me a DM DM and we can chat. I love to connect with new people. So

Bryan McAnulty 29:13
Eric, great, thanks so much, Kristy.

Kristy Campbell 29:15
No, thank you. It was lovely to be a guest on your show.

Bryan McAnulty 29:20
If you enjoyed this interview, and want the chance to ask questions to our guests live, tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the highest platform Facebook page. To learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out the creators adventure.com Until then, keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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