We were lucky to catch up with Sirena Carpenter recently and have shared our conversation below.
Sirena, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s kick things off with talking about how you serve the underserved, because in our view this is one of the most important things the small business community does for society – by serving those who the giant corporations ignore, small business helps create a more inclusive and just world for all of us.
I started Muse Creative when I realized what a large opportunity there was to help small to medium-sized businesses. There weren’t really any effective options for branding, marketing, and design work for those who owned a business and wanted to grow. The DIY solutions such as Canva and Wix weren’t going to cut it. Those aren’t designed for businesses looking to grow, and business owners don’t have time to do all of this themselves and try to guess what will resonate with their audience. But they also don’t require a large, traditional advertising agency that comes with robust offerings and a hefty price tag. I wanted to meet them where they were in that middle space. Businesses that know they need to invest in branding in order to be successful and want to get the most from their investment. Muse Creative provides the agency-standard quality of work and expertise, curated to meet the needs of small to medium-sized businesses looking to become thought leaders of their industry.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I’ve always known I wanted to work in the creative arts. I thought I would become a storyboard artist for Disney and decided to major in Sequential Art. While attending SCAD I realized in my first quarter that I was less interested in creating the “perfect” illustration and more excited to convey a compelling or clever idea. Thanks to a conversation about exactly that with a Graphic Design student in my Drawing for Storyboarding course, I changed my major within the first 3 weeks to Advertising Design with a concentration in Art Direction.
I’ve now been working in the design world for over a decade. Starting as a Graphic Designer and moving up to Creative Director has enabled me to execute projects from concept through production and understand exactly what it takes to bring ideas to life. At the height of the pandemic, it became clear to me that my expertise in helping large businesses maintain their brand identity could be used to help so many of the small to medium-sized businesses in my area that didn’t have a strong understanding of branding and its impact and were suffering because of it.
With the support of my partner, I took a leap of faith, left the safety net of a full-time job with a salary and benefits, and struck out on my own to pursue branding for smaller businesses. After some experimentation on the kinds of services I wanted to offer that would provide the most value to smaller businesses, I’ve found a mix that seems to be working well for now. I say “for now” because, like the branding I do for other businesses, it’s never set in stone. It will continue to evolve to best meet the needs of my clients.
The services I provide are the essentials to creating a cohesive voice and visual storytelling experience. They include Visual Identity Design (this is your logo and its variations, color palette, font pairings, graphics, etc. and what people most commonly think of as “branding”), Website Design, Social Media content plan and implementation, and Graphic Design for both print and web materials. Brand Strategy is applied to all of these and is the secret to success for each one.
My efforts don’t stop there. I’m here to help my clients build their brand holistically. That means doing whatever it takes to tell their story effectively, authentically, and ultimately leave a lasting impression on their customers. If my clients need assistance with copywriting, printing, photography, even internal branding support such as establishing a company culture so their employees can embody their brand, I’m there. I am invested in their success. If I don’t do it, I’ll find a reliable resource who does. The “hat” I always wear with my clients is brand consultant, someone who understands the goals of their business and gives sound feedback as well as offers advice on ways to improve or maintain their business’s reputation, aka their brand. Having my own business has allowed me to do the things I love most, building relationships and transforming businesses into meaningful brands built to last.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
I’d have to say being able to use my skillset of understanding people and design to help others share their story the most rewarding. There’s something magical about helping bring people’s ideas to life in way that others can see and understand quickly. Sometimes a client may have an idea in their mind that they can’t quite “put to paper” and hearing them say “Yes! That’s exactly what I was trying to convey!” feels like a kind of creative mindreading. On the other side, there are clients who don’t have the visual in mind and only know the feeling or the goal of what they’re trying to say. Those are the ones who are blown away by the ability to take a thought or a feeling and turn it into something “real” that they can see and interact with. I have to admit that it’s been really fun to take the branding skills that are expected, not rewarded, at advertising agencies and provide them to businesses that remind you just how impressive and beneficial they really are.
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
To be honest, this answer has changed over time. In college, my goal was to work on the accounts that made me interested in advertising to begin with. Then once I landed a role within an advertising agency, it became to work up to a creative director position, and that was really it. I hadn’t seen beyond that. Now, with my own business, the mission is to help as many small to medium-sized businesses as I can become meaningful, profitable, scalable brands through strategy and design.
- Website: MuseCreativeCo.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/MuseCreativeCo
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/musecreativeco
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/muse-creative-co/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/muse_creativeco
- Other: Follow along on Instagram for branding tips, examples of our work, and more! We love helping small businesses learn what branding is, how exactly it can help your business, and answer any questions you may have.