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Inspiring Conversations with Shauna Haider of We Are Branch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shauna Haider.

Shauna Haider

Hi Shauna, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I first discovered graphic design in the early 2000s but was already in school for business. After finishing my degree, I couldn’t get it out of my mind — I was OBSESSED. It combined everything I was passionate about — a mix of my love of fine art, creating on a computer, and entrepreneurship. I dabbled on my own but knew I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the field and how to turn it into a career.

In the Fall of 2006, I walked into my first graphic design classes and almost immediately, it felt like home. I’d finally found my calling. No amount of accolades or money can buy that feeling — it’s priceless to find that thing you fully connect with and can get paid to do.

After graduation, I worked in studios and agencies processionally for a few years but always knew that I wanted to make my own way. I really wanted more ownership in the work I produced and deeper relationships with clients so in 2013, I founded We Are Branch, a boutique branding studio based in Palm Springs. Getting to wake up and work at my dream job with clients I love every day is something I have a deep sense of gratitude for.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Running your own business is never smooth but the things you learn on the job daily are immensely valuable. There have been times when I had major growth and others where I plateaued for years at a time. It’s also hard not to fall into the comparison trap.

Something I repeat to myself all the time is, “Slow and steady wins the race.” I have to remind myself that I’m on my own unique path and that as long as I’m showing up as my personal best, learning every day and serving my clients at the highest level possible, the other stuff doesn’t matter all that much.

I remember when I hit my 9th year in my business and it got off to a rough start. I asked a close friend who’d been running her own business a few years longer than me what advice she could give and she said, “Keep going. People give up right before things get really good.” I’ve held onto that ever since.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I founded We Are Branch, a boutique branding studio in 2013. We serve female founders and help them show up as their most aligned, on-brand selves in their businesses through services including brand strategy, brand identity and web design.

We’re known for delivering creative solutions that are a perfect fit for our clients. It’s not about us; we never rubber-stamp a single style onto our clients. We want them to feel seen and understood for the unique qualities their business brings to the table. While the Branch design DNA is recognizable in our work (sleek with a dash of edge and bold color), it’s never overpowering.

Our number one goal is for our clients to shine in an authentic way so they stand out from the sea of same and become leaders in their industry.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I don’t think this is talked about enough. Finding a mentor will save you so much time and heartache on the entrepreneurial path and the ones I’ve had along the way opened more doors than I could have ever imagined.

Early on, I had mentors in my design studio jobs who were already established. Everyone was always so kind and open because I think they remembered how hard it was to break into the industry and build momentum.

Later on, as I began working for myself, I hired two different coaches. Each time, I invested a big chunk of money but saw massive gains shortly after. What I learned from researching and hiring coaches is that the best ones should really understand your industry and how it works. Otherwise, they may default to standard, old-school business advice that doesn’t translate to the nuances of the way you work and the capacity you actually have.

I’ve purposely always sought out mentors or coaches who were a few steps ahead of me and had already successfully transitioned into where I saw myself going. I don’t buy into flashy accolades or how much money someone is earning because these don’t tell the full story. I’m more interested in how this person shows up and if I feel a personal connection to their approach. If these things click, I find that what they share in our sessions resonates so much more.

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