How Our Brand & Copy Has Evolved Over 6 Years (with Results)

ochre and beige copywriting team brand messaging and website copy for interior designers

Most interior designers come to us for brand messaging and website copy when they’re in a transition moment in their businesses. For some, they’re looking to elevate their design studio and get more of their favorite clients. Others are growing their teams, repositioning, moving locations, adding locations, and any other number of remarkable changes.

Why do we mention this? Because we’re just like you. 

Yes, Ochre & Beige differs in that we’re a copywriting agency, but we’re also a company that started small, grew, and has refocused more than once over the years. 

Like yours, this business is a reflection of our ever-evolving passions and lifestyles. Our brand identity and messaging have evolved in tandem, reflecting each new vision and attracting more of the clients and projects we love.

In other words, we practice what we preach.

To celebrate another incredible year, we thought it would be fun for our CEO to take you on a journey of O&B’s evolution, showing you what we learned from each stage. We think you’ll find something to apply to your own business along the way!

jaquilyn edwards founder ceo of ochre and beige creative agency for interior designers

Jaquilyn Edwards, Founder & CEO

2017-2019: Business Launch + Gaining Momentum

I founded Ochre & Beige around the fall of 2017. Originally, I intended it to be a passion project that would fulfill my basic needs (food & shelter) while doing something I loved (writing) and traveling abroad. 

Despite studying design and having years of experience in copywriting, marketing, and sales, starting a small business was entirely new to me. I made plenty of mistakes, but the work itself was high-quality, leading to growth that exceeded my expectations.

• Brand Identity: Mostly DIY for our logo and website

• Services: Blog post writing and formatting only

• Messaging: Dedicated solely to blogging as a service and “not knowing what to say”

• Voice: Way, way too bubbly for my personality. I replicated what I thought would be successful.

• Team Size: 1 (My, myself, and I)

• Rates: Charged pennies… and didn’t know it. (Ouch.)

Results: 

  • Attracted clients looking for a great deal (they found one!!)
  • Met some amazing people in the industry
  • Got the business off the ground slowly but surely
  • Most clients came from referrals
  • Learned more about the interior design industry specifically

Takeaways: Everyone starts somewhere.

very first logo circa 2017

Ochre & Beige’s first logo, created by me in Canva, circa 2017. Humble beginnings, indeed.

ochre and beige second logo circa 2019

Our first professionally designed logo, commissioned around 2018/2019. It was SO much better — crisp, confident, and with a fun, writerly ink blot on the ampersand. It served me well during these years.

My one and only “business” photo, taken with an iPhone 7 in a parking lot in Italy and used for far, far too long.

2020-2021: Full Company Rebrand & Upgrade

2020 was a weird time, for obvious reasons. I decided to invest in full-scale branding right before chaos erupted in early spring. Suddenly, our clients were losing their clients left and right, and it was a tense moment. I’m so grateful I didn’t let uncertainty deter me.

Investing in a professional brand is still one of the BEST decisions I have ever made for this business. It helped me take myself more seriously and improved ev-er-y-thing, inside the business and out. And, fortunately, the industry turned around.

• Brand Identity: Professional brand design with ByAriel and a brand photoshoot

• Services: A mix of blog posts, marketing content, brand messaging, and website copy

• Messaging: Copy around “getting back in control” and “out of the weeds”

• Voice: Slightly less bubbly, but with a we-can-save-you vibe

• Team Size: 2-3 (me, another amazing copywriter, and our PM)

• Rates: Gradually increased year over year; still low

Results: 

  1. Increased our rates and doubled revenue in both of these years
  2. Filled our client roster thanks to referrals and organic search
  3. Had the funds to add support roles to our team
  4. Started creating backend systems that improved efficiency

Takeaways: At the end of 2021, I realized that we had attracted many lovely yet unorganized clients, which made efficiency and meeting deadlines very difficult. This was a result of our “get back in control” language. I changed it, speaking more to designers with small teams or at least some behind-the-scenes help, and we saw a difference immediately. (You get what you ask for!)

new brand inspiration for ochre and beige color palette terrazzo green elegant modern

I poured my heart into my branding experience with ByAriel, and the result is an identity I still LOVE years later. It was inspired by a bold and confident color palette and a modern feel paired with Old World terrazzo for a splash of creativity. We still use the same branding today (late 2023) — a testament to doing it right the first time.

first brand photoshoot for ochre and beige in 2020

Seeing a theme in these photos? My first ever photoshoot in early 2020 was all about me. (*cringe*) With only one other new team member at the time, it made sense. Oh, and word to the wise… choose a photographer after your brand identity has been established. These are beautiful but ended up being a little too light to match our website’s palette, which was my fault for not planning ahead.

2022: Messaging & Copy Refresh

The market boom in 2020 and 2021 had us riding high entering 2022. We started naturally attracting luxury interior designers, so we shifted our messaging to attract even more. Our copy turned more serious in tone, focusing on 7-figure (or multi 7-figure) businesses, and we eliminated some lower-tier services that were consuming too much energy.

• Brand Identity: Didn’t change but growth created a need for team photos we didn’t have

• Services: More brand messaging and website copy projects; less monthly content creation

• Messaging: Around “luxury,” “7-figure design studios,” and landing elite clients

• Voice: Very serious, elevated, and direct; not a lot of personality

• Team Size: 5-6 (me, our Senior Copywriter, a couple writers, our PM, and our VA)

• Rates: Increased, but still not reflective of the work required

Results: 

  • Doubled revenue again
  • Doubled team size
  • Had more clients than we could comfortably handle
  • Attracted a lot of serious clients (again, exactly what we had asked for)
  • Serious client work felt slightly out of alignment with our fun team
  • We realized that luxury doesn’t have to be stuffy — and we prefer that it’s not

Takeaways: As a CEO, this marked the year that I shifted into more of a Creative Director role. Our About page featured our talented team, but our messaging and imagery was still all about me. This resulted in a couple clients asking us, “Who’s writing my copy?”

Ironically, in every case this question was asked the writer DID end up being me, but this wasn’t the future I wanted. I wanted to be a leader and run the direction without feeling the pressure to write every word. Of course, our positioning (website copy, marketing, onboarding, etc.) needed to reflect that. Lesson learned.

Note: This is a lesson we’re happy to share with many of our clients who are also looking to step into creative leadership and build trust in their teams. Yes, your messaging and visuals make a difference!

stock photos interior design team

As a stop-gap measure until we could organize a team shoot, I purchased several on-brand stock photos via Stocksy. This allowed us to create more of a team feel and get my own face off of every page off our website. We still use some of these today in blog posts, but rarely.

2023: Copy & Visual Refresh

In 2023, our digital team finally met in person! We organized a retreat in South Carolina in May, and it was food for the soul. We spent a day getting to know each other in “real life,” toured downtown Charleston (where two of our team members live), ate great food, and had a blast.

On day two, we traveled to a beautifully designed home we found on Home Studio List and spent the next several hours doing a fun team photoshoot with Vision Balm. We implemented those photos a month or two later, and it’s a night-and-day difference. Not to mention, we feel so much more connected and passionate about our shared mission! Highly, highly recommend.

• Brand Identity: Stayed the same but finally added team photos

• Services: Brand messaging, website copy, & client materials as our #1 service; some blog posts

• Messaging: More aligned with our team, our signature process, and our mission (here)

• Voice: Still professional but with a touch of fun and passion

• Team Size: 7 (me, our Senior Copywriter, a couple writers, our PM, and our VA)

• Rates: Tripled for retainer clients; doubled in other areas (see more in Takeaways)

Results: 

  • Raising rates decreased our client roster by about 60% (a good thing)
  • The quality of our work, systems, and peace of mind improved drastically
  • Became more selective about which inquiries we decided to accept
  • Attracted clients excited to work with our whole team
  • Felt more team unity overall

Takeaways: Tripling rates was easily one of the scariest choices I’ve made as a business owner. Why did we do it? It started with our PM having the idea to track how many hours each team member spent on a task, not to micromanage but to see what our margins were by service. Turns out, numbers can hurt, but they don’t lie.

Looking at the stats, we quickly realized that we were still wildly undercharging for monthly content creation. Naturally, the decision to increase our rates was met with resistance (who wants to pay more?) but it was the best choice for us. We lost clients, yes, but the ones who stayed get more of our talent, strategy, and efforts. Plus, we finally feel fairly compensated for our work, which is way more sustainable.

ochre and beige copywriters in the interior design industry brand messaging and website

We orchestrated a mix of in-action photos, vignettes, and…

ochre and beige copywriting team fun happy for interior designers

…a few just for fun! (Don’t tell anyone these were mocktails.)

What lessons can you take away from our journey?

First, YOU are in control of your business, how it operates, and the clients you attract. If something is out of alignment, you have the power to fix it, even if it takes some creativity and hard work.

Second, hindsight is always going to be clearer than looking forward. Build time into your schedule to reflect on how your business is going. Pausing or slowing down may feel difficult, but it will prevent your business from growing in a direction that doesn’t suit your ultimate goals.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What is your messaging communicating right now? 
  • What are you looking to achieve in the future? What’s your vision? 
  • What types of clients are you attracting and are they right for you?
  • Is your messaging aligned with your vision and the clients you want?
  • How is your branding aligned or misaligned with your goals? (Not a service we provide, but still an important question to ask!)

If you find that you’re currently out of alignment OR that you need an outside perspective to help you see your business more clearly, we’d be happy to help. After 6 years, we know that this is our sweet spot, our passion, and what makes the most impact for designers like you. We can’t wait to meet you.

If you have read this far or are a client of ours, we are so grateful that you’re on this journey with us. Building our business together is what puts meaning in our work and joy in our hearts. THANK YOU.

Xoxo,
Team O&B

WORKBOOKS & DOWNLOADS

A-to-Z LIST OF LUXURY WORDS

GUIDE TO BRAND MESSAGING

START BLOGGING FOR SEO

DOWNLOAD IT

Printable Workbook

Our Go-To Lexicon!

Guide + Checklist

DOWNLOAD IT
DOWNLOAD IT

READY TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

CHAT WITH US