Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Honeyman.
Joanna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Art has always been a part of my life as far as I can remember. When I was five years old, I won a drawing contest at my school and I think it was a moment of awakening even way back then! I realized I had the power to create something and communicate what I was seeing to the rest of the world. I remember being both stunned and excited at this newfound talent, and started drawing or doodling on literally any surface I could get my hands on! Walls, scraps of paper left lying around, toys, napkins, everything was fair game. In fact, even now, my husband can tell what is going through my mind on any given day just by looking at what I drew on top of a bill or envelope!
Graphic design was not a career most people heard of when I got started. I certainly was not aware that you could actually make money creating art for advertising firms or agencies. It didn’t occur to me that just about everything required some sort of design. When I was about to start college, a friend mentioned that I should look into graphic design for advertising. The more I learned about it, the more I realized that this was what I wanted to do, so I worked full time at a cosmetic counter to put myself through graphic design school, graduated with honors and soon enough I was working as a designer.
Although I loved art, I was also in love with the idea of travel. Because of my father’s job, I had grown up moving around a lot the first few years of my life, living in different cities and regions throughout Peru and finally immigrating to California when I was six years old. In my teens, we traveled back to Peru, and it made me eager to see more of the world. After I graduated from art school, I took a trip to Europe with my closest friends and spent five weeks going from country to country. It was one of the most memorable times in my life and opened up my world completely! It introduced me to new cultures, food, colors, ideas, and art forms. I thrived in these new environments, and knew immediately, whatever I was doing not only had to include art, but also travel!
So I continued to travel as my work would allow me. I worked through all the craziness of the dot-com era, in start-ups and small agencies, finally landing a position at a very sought out corporation. It was a great job, paid well, and the work was both challenging and rewarding. However, I had little time to pursue any other dreams or ambitions. The long hours and the commute to and from the office were taking a toll on me and on my health. Something had to give! I started to kick around the idea of starting my own agency. People that I spoke to encouraged me further, and the idea began to take shape. Soon after, a former colleague presented me with an offer I could not turn down, her company would be my very first independent client – if I was up for it. And I was! It was the opportunity I was looking for and gave me the confidence I needed to take the leap!
With the help of my incredibly supportive husband who agreed to handle the business side and paperwork, we launched Honeyman Studios in the summer of 2011. Suddenly a wealth of opportunities came my way, and I think I barely slept that first year! But with all that work came the independence and freedom I was searching for!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Has it been smooth? Not entirely! I have had all kinds of situations I never saw coming. Clients who changed the entire scope of a project at the last minute, deadlines shifting, the occasional client who didn’t want to pay or who got into financial trouble. Every new client is a learning experience for me since everyone has their own way of communicating, but figuring out how to make sure communication is clear right away – and very clearly laying out what I will deliver for them – has helped make sure there are no misunderstandings. Having a great attitude also helps and loving what I do outweighs any of the inconveniences that have come up. If anything they have taught me to work harder, to never make assumptions or take anything for granted. There are struggles sure, but I would not change a thing!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a graphic design agency specializing in high-end branding, packaging, concepts and anything that requires a design eye. We are a boutique company that does not advertise, we rely on word of mouth, and are known for delivering highly polished, impactful finished products. We keep a very lean operation with no unnecessary managers or hierarchy, so clients always work directly with lead designers. And it is our direct contact and fast turnarounds that sets us apart from the rest.
How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
Success to me is doing what you love, being proud of the work that you are accomplishing, and taking the time to enjoy it with the people you love. In other words a balance.
There is no question that running a successful business involves working late nights, weekends, and sometimes getting little to no sleep to get a project done. But seeing my clients happy and satisfied drives me and I am happy knowing we have created something together which is now out in the world to be seen. Then it’s time to go to another part of the world to see new things and stock up on creative fuel to inspire some future project. I am thankful to have a career that lets me live life as I want to.
- Website: www.honeymanstudios.com
- Email: email@example.com