Business Highlight: Church of Music

If you know me, you know I love to dance.

There is no better feeling than being on the dance floor, feeling the freeing energy created by smiling strangers, knowing that you are all here for the common purpose: to dance. 

As the light at the end of the tunnel slips open, dance floors are beginning to make a comeback in very creative ways. One organization that came alive due to the barriers of dance floors during the pandemic is Church of Music, founded by one of the most bold, courageous, and amazing women I know, Alina Gordon, who I am proud to call my soul sister.

This month’s business highlight is one that is close to my heart.

When people in my surroundings do massive things, I want to support them all the way. Alina is doing exactly that. She is materializing a dream of creating a compassionate community with boundaries and a focus on impact.

You may be thinking, “How were people finding places to dance during the pandemic?”.

Well, Church of Music, often known to parishioners (attendees) as COM or “church”, is a weekly service experience where love is their faith, music is their religion, and dancing is their practice. Just like many other religions, service takes place every weekend, mixing between Saturday and Sunday, at a different, beautiful, outdoor San Diego location.

COM’s Mexico Experience is just the beginning of a global vision, one which includes sharing the COM Ethos with the world. 

Unlike other dance floors which can often be filled with drugs and alcohol, Church of Music was established on ten beliefs, known as the COM Ethos. These beliefs set COM apart from other dance floors, creating an inclusive, communal environment rather than a rave-like setting.

The COM Ethos are as follows:

Unlike the common rave culture, which is often stigmatized as dangerous and harmful, this ethos is emphasized at each service and has created a community founded on music and connection.

For many, they have never heard of an ethos, I get that. So, to help our fellow parishioners, as well as future parishioners, understand what makes COM the beautiful environment that it is, I broke down each portion of the ethos to bring light to the careful intentions which were taken into consideration when creating the ethos.

1. Radical Inclusion

Accepting all humans/ aliens, old and young, any race, faith, gender, and political view.

2. Gifting/Participation

Who doesn’t love gifts? COM parishioners love to share and everyone is encouraged to share their gifts/ talents. Although sharing is encouraged, mindfulness of space and acceptance is necessary, and anyone is free to decline with kindness.

3. Decommodification

The world is full of things, COM puts more value on nature, love, and connection over commodities. 

4. Radical Self-Reliance

A beautiful trust on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others.

5. Communal Effort

Without community, we are nothing. We come together to co-create magic together in our weekly services.  

6. Civic Responsibility

Actively participate in the COM community, we want to get to know and give back to our community! When we care, give, and show respect for the people, places, and spaces we are in, the world becomes better for all!

7. Leave No Trace!

Leave the world better than we found it. We are guests on this planet. COM Parishioners leave every space we occupy better than we find it. 

8. No Alcohol/Open Containers

COM is not a rave, we are not a party. We are here to dance and celebrate one another with clear minds and raise our vibrations.

9. Radical Self-Expression

Be YOU. This is your space! Wear what makes you feel free, dance however your body moves, be who you want to be.

10. Take Care of the Machines (Bodies)

We get one body, treat it with respect. When we treat our bodies with love,  we treat the machines that assist us with respect and all the equipment that provides the ability for us to make our magic for all. 

Together, parishioners and COM Crew ensure that the ethos remains at the foundation of each weekend service, reminding the community that we are together for one reason: to enjoy music, dance, and create community where all are welcome and respected.

Another exciting part is their logo, which I created! Inspired by Alina, a church window, sunshine, community, and of course bold creative colors, their logo is now widely known in San Diego.

If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, it’s time.

COM’s location changes weekly. To find out where they are all you need to do is send Church of Music a donation via Venmo (@COMSD) of your choosing ($35 suggested), and the location will be sent to you!

If you want to be a part of something uniquely different, love dancing to incredible music, see live ballet, electric violin, fire dancers, and much more, go check them out @churchofmusicsd on Instagram and join one of their services!

I hope to see you on the dance floor!

As COM Parishioners say, In Music We Trust.

Business Highlight: Vuori

As a small business owner in San Diego, it is my pleasure to highlight a company that embodies the lifestyle of San Diego in their brand. As a premium performance apparel company located in the quintessential surf town of Encinitas, California, Vuori’s integration of fitness, surf, sport, and art is evident throughout their entire brand, product, and purpose.

Oooh, I’m not sure it can get much better than that!

Well, they get me. Anyone who knows me, knows I am an active person, not only one who loves being outside getting my heart rate up, but one who truly believes movement is essential for business and life, allowing creative flow and overall health.

*For you who have been asking, the Make a Move business talking workout group will soon be back up and running – pun sort of intended ;)*

One reason I picked San Diego to call home is because you can almost always be outside moving, giving me a daily feeling of happiness.

This leads me to why I was initially drawn to Vuori. Their Investment in Happiness is the foundation of their brand, a guarantee that they are more than a nice product and positive customer experience.

Although those are important, Vuori’s “Investment in Happiness” goes much deeper, it is the philosophy in which the company was built on – how they do business, how they care for their team, community, nature, and most importantly, one another.

At Vuori, their guiding principles are simple and genuine:

“We aim to make great products, be in great relationships, and live extraordinary lives”

That is a lifestyle I can get behind!

As if their Coastal California mentality is not making enough of a positive impact on their community, Vuori makes a greater impact on the world through their use of ethical manufacturing, focus on sustainability, and emphasis on community.

Vuori has set up their own Code of Conduct, a commitment to ensure fair treatment of labor, enforcing safe and healthy working conditions and strict environmental factors. To support and encourage safe and healthy working conditions for factory workers, Vuori requires the signature of this Code of Conduct from all their suppliers. Not only are they promoting ethical manufacturing, but they are ensuring their product process is one they can be proud of.

In addition to ethical manufacturing, sustainability is a primary foundation of Vuori’s business with a mission to create quality products for the pursuit of a happy life, one which empowers deeper connections with fitness, nature, creativity, and community. Keeping their Coastal California influences at the forefront, Vuori’s approach to sustainability focuses on the materials they use, reduction of waste, offsetting 100% of their carbon footprint, social responsibility, and finally, community leadership.

Community is important to me, just as it is important to Vuori. They describe Encinitas as their “background and playground for active living”, serving as a direct influence for the brand as they focus on deepening relationships with their staff, partners, and the communities they operate in. Rather than being a company that does not interact with their customers and community, Vuori “aims to bring together people from all walks of life to create and share positive, meaningful experiences.”

Then of course, they are looking the part too. In my book, you can’t just have function, you must have both form and function. Visiting their site is like a walk on the beach, it is refreshingly airy and natural. It’s like I just want to take in a deep breath in…and let it all out…!  

The colors they have picked not only for their products, but their photoshoot locations are on point. The clean, modern, and airy feel gives exactly the experience they want to portray.

Environmentally friendly, a focus on community, and investment in happiness - they nailed if you ask me.

I love when I see companies like this, those who do business and care like this. It excites me!

When you can, support local great companies like this who focus on greater impact!

Keep up to date with Vuori here, as well as on Instagram (@vuoriclothing)

 

Business Highlight: Holden & Kelly Law Group

I am proud to introduce KHD’s fourth business highlight, and second featured client, a business that deserves recognition for the innovative, kind approach they are taking on the law industry.

Holden & Kelly Law Group, PLLC, also known as HK Law, is led by a powerful male and female duo, Christian and Mari, whose vision began in their law school library. They prioritize their clients, supporting them in reaching their goals while bringing positive change into the world.

In addition to being a powerful, kind duo, I am proud to call this admirable business a client. As I mentioned in my first Monthly Business Highlight, it is always an honor to highlight clients who I have gotten to know professionally, which often leads to personally, while admiring the way they interact and do business.

What drew me to highlighting HK Law is the incredible contrast between their team and what most envision the typical lawyer to be like.

As one who values clear, honest communication, I was immediately captivated by the way they engage and deliver their insight with clients. Rather than making clients feel intimidated by the overwhelmingly complicated law terms that come with the job, they do an incredible job of sharing their warmth in anything they do, making me feel like I am being wrapped in cotton candy!

One small thing that caught my eye is how Mari signs her emails with gratitude, literally. The goodness is in the details.

This is something I appreciate, as I believe an individual’s choice of words says a lot about their brand, business, and who they are as a person.

As a professional, you have the choice of how you interact with your clients, one I believe HK Law does authentically with professionalism and kindness.

When working with Holden & Kelly Law Group, together we created a beautiful and well thought out brand, one that was created on the foundation of symbolism.

Christian shared his fascination with recurring symbols and patterns, specifically the constellations in the night sky. He is a self-proclaimed symbols guy, and believes that “a well designed symbol has the ability to communicate in ways that words are not capable”.

I took their perspectives and global vision into consideration when creating their icon. With the use of communication via hidden messages, such as “HK” uniquely intertwined within the constellation, I incorporated another important element of symbolism, a cube. Together we were able to create an icon that has become the recognizable symbol of their business

Like their icon, they were focused on emphasizing their traditional and non-traditional services, while directing their approach on uniquely tailoring their work to their clients.

This approach resonated with me as I tailor my approach specifically to each client, from organization of a client’s website to the details of their icon. I, like Christian and Mari, are committed to each client’s values as well as creating a greater impact on our global society.

If you are an individual like myself who values working with genuine, vision-centered individuals, those who understand the value in turning the unexpected into unforeseen potential, then Christian and Mari are your people. While they may not be your typical cut and dry lawyer, they will provide you with an experience unlike any other, a duo you will forever be grateful to have worked with.

Gratitude to have worked with you, Christian and Mari!

I hope this inspires you to use kindness in your business!

You have questions, I have answers. Let’s talk branding.

I remember my university web developer professor once told me he never told folks what he did for a living when he was introduced to new people.

Instead of telling them he was a web developer, he told them he was an insurance broker. Why would he do that? Less questions that way.

Back then I did not really get it, but now I know what he meant in regards to the endless questioning. However, I still don’t understand his approach, but we are all wired differently.

I am the opposite of my professor.

When people reach out to me with questions, it lights me up.

Whether it’s design, business, or how to simplify, optimize, and organize things (I also get quite a bit of sporty topics because of my athletic background or how to fix things – yeah, I am a proud handywoman!), to me, that simply means I get to make a greater impact.

I especially love it when somebody asks in a middle of a dinner party, “Do you mind if I ask you some branding questions?”. Heck yeah!! You are speaking my love language. How much time do you have? 😉

I also appreciate people who are looking to learn and grow – those are my kind of people!

If you are ever curious about anything, always ask.

Even if it is to somebody who you think won’t answer, the worst response you’ll get is a “no”, but on the flip side you might learn some goodness and dive into an interesting conversation.

So obviously I hope you realize you can always ask me questions. I once received a less than perfect review because my client did not know he could ask me questions after our project was done. This experience may have led me to being overly clear with clients now, but if you confuse, you lose. One of my company values is:

Curiosity – to continue to learn. To not judge but to listen.

If you are curious to learn what my other company values are and what we stand for, you can check them out here.

If you just started your business and want a bit more help, then just ask the question!

If you want more support, we have a fabulous service that you really should take advantage of, where I look through your whole site, give you feedback on design, site structure, your offers, how and where to begin with SEO, how to present yourself, and more. The best part of it is that you will get actionable steps that I will check up on. Yep, I know taking action is the hardest of it all. Ideas are basically s*@t unless you make a move.

So, if you are somewhere in between I-just-started-my-business-and-my-friend-built-my-website and I’m-ready-to-pay-to-have-a-professional-just-take-care-of-this-for-me, this is the perfect stepping-stone, a clear path to the later.

I am not an insurance broker. I am proudly and loudly a brand designer and brand strategist, here to support you make a greater impact on the world.

Let’s go.

Hint: Most often your ideal client is very much like you.

Business Highlight: Hungry Workshop

This month we are focusing on a business on the other side of the pacific ocean

Hungry Workshop is a modern letterpress and design company based in Melbourne, Australia. They work with Melbourne’s leading creatives to produce timeless letterpress and specialty prints with unmatched quality (and probably sustainable efforts when it comes to letterpress, too).

At Hungry Workshop, sustainability is second nature. It is embedded in their process, their method, and their people. All of their work, including their letterpress, is powered by green energy.

Just like their clients, Hungry Workshop obsesses over the details. They consider the finished product, the materials they use, and ultimately the impact they are having on the world through each and every one of those details. For example, even the paper stocks they use and recommend are uncoated, recycled, and often tree-free (Now that is a company who has thought of everything!).

On that note, I have to mention their incredibly funky, yet creative website. Hungry Workshop uses their website to give you a glimpse into their work, using minimal, sleek fonts to showcase their specialty in letterpress. From the eyes of an individual who organically stumbled upon this website I would get the feeling that this company is comprised of engineers who are mechanics of their craft, what I would soon learn to be letterpress printing. Achieving that essence before people even read a word on your site is what I call IMPECCABLE branding.

That said, their finished products are elegant with an edge that I love as well. I mean, when this company says they care about quality— they mean it. They work with clients all across the board from artists to artisans, builders, bakers, chefs, creators, makers, tailors, and tinkerers; and they do so on a variety of different products from packaging, books and invitations, to business cards, swing tags, menus, stationary, gift cards and so much more.

In a world that is so digital, I love to see companies like this who not only still remember how important design is in terms of physical materials and assets but thrive at the intersection of creativity and physical creation.

For those of you that do not know, when I’m not creating digital designs, I love doing DIY projects and getting my creative juices flowing while using my hands; and I would venture to say that that is exactly where these folks’ happy place lies.

Did I mention that their workshop is also the epitome of great branding too? Their workshop, their website, and their final product all fit so well together; it makes my branding soul sing.

Furthermore, something super cool about them is that they also host in-person letterpress workshops! So, if you are like me and you love creating things with your hands, and/or you are interested in learning about letterpress, you should definitely check out the classes they host. I know for me, (once this pandemic is over) and next time I’m in Melbourne (which is soon I hope!)— I’ll definitely be popping in for a class!

So, if you are in Australia and want to support a company who is doing business the right way, truly understands that their work holds weight, and ultimately is making a greater impact by making an elevated way of doing business, second nature… Then I would highly recommend you check these hungry craftsmen out at their website, right here.

I hope this inspires you to elevate your own business and remember that making a greater impact does not have to be ‘extra’. It can be something we all do as default.

Business Highlight: WealthBuilders

Last Month I started a Business Highlight segment

In that segment, I talked about a business that I thought deserved recognition for all of the hard work they are doing to make a greater impact on the world. 

This month, I am doing that again, but I am talking about a company that is also a client. Not only do I want these highlights to be about the businesses themselves and what makes them stand out in their respective industries, but I’m excited to feature a few clients who I have professionally gotten to know and personally love the way they interact and do business. 

I’m proud to announce that the second business highlight and first featured client is WealthBuilders, founded by Eric Rodriguez CFP®️.

Eric founded WealthBuilders to help high-earning sales professionals and business owners build their wealth. He realized that these professionals have a lot to juggle when it comes to building their careers, and wealth building shouldn’t be another thing on their plates. But the thing that stands out to me the most about Eric and what he has done in his business is why he wanted to help these individuals to begin with. 

Eric grew up in a family where their financial well-being was not constant. It caused a lot of pain for them, as it does for many families. Even after he went to college and graduated, he spent more money than he made, and struggled greatly. However, after he had a friend introduce him to the financial industry, Eric decided to turn his financial story around and ultimately used his experience to become the successful Certified Financial Planner he is today. 

Since working with WealthBuilders, I am pleased to say this is a businessman that is true to his word and works hard to help his clients succeed. That being said, another reason I admire WealthBuilders is because Eric doesn’t stop at just helping his clients. 

He is all about building wealth, it’s true. But even more so he cares about and is dedicated to sharing wealth and paying success forward.

In the philanthropic side of Eric’s business, his efforts are focused on decreasing the racial wealth gap in America by promoting wealth equality. A few of the ways he is doing this is by 

  1. Working intentionally with organizations that have a history of success promoting wealth equality, especially organizations that are run by people of color
  2. Working with organizations that are focused on the well-being of black and brown communities
  3. Mentoring black and Latinx aspiring financial planners 

Needless to say, getting to work with Eric on his brand + site project was an absolute TREAT! Not only was he a pleasure to work with himself, but getting to wrap up all of the goodness he has to offer into a minimal, professional and clean brand made my aesthetic insides beyond delighted.

As his brand development consultant and strategist, we provided visual identity pieces such as logo variations, fonts and colors, website development and WordPress design services, as well as other collateral pieces such as his lead magnet, sales deck and proposal.

If you would like to find more out about WealthBuilders, you can check out their website, and if you’d like to support his philanthropic efforts of making progress on the racial wealth gap, by drive awareness to promote wealth equality in America, he also has a T-shirt for sale that says “Normalize Black & Brown Wealth”, in which all of the proceeds go directly to various non-profits doing the work to help normalize black & brown wealth.

I hope this article inspires you to make moves and make a greater impact with your business.

Business Highlight: Ponto Footwear

Love the planet you walk on.

This is the motto that the company Ponto Footwear has adopted and used to backup their planet centered mission. They believe that taking small steps in the right direction to helping the planet, adds up to making a big difference, and are dedicated to contributing to that core belief. To back up that motto, their values are clearly outlined on their website as conscious consumerism and circular economy / circular production.

When it comes to conscious consumerism, Ponto Footwear believes that our connection with the things we own is important, and therefore they ask the hard questions. Questions like: Where did they come from? Who made them? How were they produced? And at what cost? They aim to not only be as responsible and sustainable as possible with their manufacturing processes and the materials that go into creating their shoes, but also as transparent as possible with their customers.

I love seeing companies like Ponto Footwear come forward and base their business models on helping the planet.

We’re seeing a lot of companies having to rethink the way they do business and how it affects the planet, and when a company like this bases their entire mission on that, it sets a really good example and shows other companies in the industry what is possible.

While the term ‘conscious consumerism’ is being spread around a lot more these days, the terms circular economy and/or circular production might be new to you. Circular Production is a term that refers to the waste a business produces and how manufacturers handle that waste to create a circular economy that doesn’t feed the crisis facing our planet and oceans. Circular production is what allows the possibility for a circular economy, which is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment.

What stands out the most to me about Ponto Footwear is that they take this into account in a very direct way by partnering with Soles4Souls, the largest shoe and apparel non-profit in the US that helps uplift people while keeping unsellable inventory out of landfills. They invite their customers to take part in their buyback program to help them get closer to activating a more circular economy by giving you a credit toward your next pair of Pontos, when you appropriately recycle your first pair. For every pair of Pontos that you send to a regional Soles4Souls distribution center, they’ll give you a $25 credit to be applied to your next pair of Pontos shoes. Those shoes will then empower an aspiring entrepreneur in a developing nation to re-purpose the shoes, be resold and kickstart someone’s entrepreneurial micro-enterprise.

Beyond their amazing business model, Ponto Footwear creates shoes with a great design that is both fashionable and multi-functional!

And if you don’t know how I feel about that by now, let me just say— I’m a HUGE fan! Form and function that is elegant with an edge is my sweet spot, and Ponto Footwear has accomplished just that. They have options for both men and women and have embraced the idea of ‘less is more’ by designing a shoe that is a hybrid product for life on the go. Their main style, ‘the pacific’ can be worn to work, the bar, a wedding, and pretty much anywhere. It’s a minimalist design and it definitely embraces the quality over quantity factor. 

Furthermore, their website is sleek, minimalistic, and has an earthy feel, to go with their core values of not taking up too much space and also representing how much they care about the planet.

Their loading icon is brilliant. Their videos are also sparse in a fabulous way, with earthy solid tones to not be overbearing. The name of their company comes from their childhood beach, Ponto Beach, and their logo is unique, intriguing and again, as sleek as their product. Thought-out branding and strong values that have a deeper meaning and a bigger drive, is something I’m all for! The big stuff is in the small details.

I hope hearing about Ponto Footwear inspires you and gives you some ideas for how you can make a greater impact with your own business, and the best part is, now you can head over to Ponto’s site and get some well-sourced shoes to make your own business moves in style, and w/ greater impact too.

I hope this monthly business highlight inspires you to make meaningful moves and use your business to give back and make a greater impact.