Jena Buckwell

Vegetable Grower / Nature Lover

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Jena Buckwell, Graphic Design + Art Direction

My small creative business is a graphic design and art direction business based out of Staunton, VA. I moved to Staunton from New York City about 6 weeks ago because I wanted to get out of the corporate economy and environment and be able to make work that was fulfilling and contributing to a community that I felt passionately about. Staunon has a really wonderful "Main Street Economy" and is very local food oriented, which is something I am extremely gung-ho for.

Within Staunton, my experience and my style really (really) set me apart. I've only been here for 6 weeks, but it seems like my name is spreading like wildfire through the small business circuit. While my style has similarities to other design studios, I am unique for Staunton and my focus on localism makes me different from many designers.

Strengths: Design, Art Direction, Business relationships

Weaknesses/Who I will hire: CPA

Long Term Goals: My design work, while my main means of supporting myself financially at this time, will ultimately become a part-time business in the coming years. I am currently gaining knowledge in farming, permaculture and self-sustainability and my goal is to be part time graphic designer, part time farmer in the coming years. Within my design business (and my self-sustainability practices), I aim to encourage localism and stimulate small town and farm economy. I do not want to work for big corporations that I have no respect for to financially sustain myself.

WEEK 1 EXERCISE 
Brands/Businesses that I admire: Breanna Rose (designer), Amanda Jane Jones (designer/AD), Katie Stratton (painter), Leah Duncan (illustrator), J Crew, Madewell, Rifle Paper Co

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WEEK 2 EXERCISE 
Stream of Consciousness: Clean, Minimal, Strong, Direct, Organized, Deliberate, Thoughtful, Thorough, Efficient, Valuable, Productive, Streamlined, Reliable, Classic, Creative, Unisex, Decisive, Clean cut, Focused, Stylized, Young, Modern, Effective, Personal, Versatile

While doing my stream of consciousness, I ended up sort of intermixing words that described my work itself, as well as my working style. I think both of these elements are really essential to defining my business, as I am the sole employee and my work-related personality traits define the traits of my business just as much as my stylistic tendencies.

My customer is similar to me in many ways. We value cohesiveness, aesthetics and results. My target customers are small business owners interested in food, local economy, clean design and sustainable, classic product. They hang out my local Creative Community Fund, and at social events geared toward small business owners and entrepreneurs, typically held by other small business owners and entrepreneurs.

At this time, I feel like there are many, many small businesses in Staunton that desperately need good design, but convincing them of that is nearly impossible. I aim to target the younger, small business owners that are more aware of the importance of branding and having a cohesive, well thought out brand and work my way from there. I want to find my "break through" small business that I can do the kind of design that makes me happy and fulfilled, thus proving the significance of good design to other small business owners in the area. Staunton has a very tight-knit community and they place a lot of value on localism and small town economies. 

I am already involved with the local creative community fund, which is a non-profit that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs in all stages of their development. Being on terms with them will provide endless referrels, but being actively involved will allow me to hand pick my clients and work with people that respect/appreciate my experience and my aesthetic. 

As a designer, I have a logo and website and am pretty handy with a camera.

I am a sole propriator, registered business in the state of Virginia. I have not yet registered for the city and I have a home office and need to look into whether or not that's required. I work alone and do not foresee ever having employees (subcontractor's, yay!) but I do have an FEIN for tax/identity protection purposes.

WEEK 3 EXERCISE 
Gmail, [email protected] $50/year
Straight Talk, Cell Phone Service $120/year
Skype, Business Phone $90/year
United Health Insurance $700/year
Creative Cloud $650/year
Office Supplies $100/year
Comcast, Internet $125/year
Dominion Electric, Home Office $600/year
Rent, Home Office $1,800/year
Virginia Business Registration $20/year
Continued Education/Resources $600/year
Estimated Tax Installments  $2,200/year
Business Lunches/Dinner/Coffee  $500
Business Travel $500
Squarespace Website $96/year
TOTAL $8,151

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