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Life & Work with Brandi Mebane

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandi Mebane. 

Hi Brandi, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My story started in Public Relations. I originally worked for a media measurement company in New York City post-undergrad. After shuffling through a number of departments within the organization and being completely unfulfilled with corporate office culture, I moved back home to Baltimore. 

I immediately rushed to find a job and encountered so much racism and unprofessionalism throughout my job hunt. From there, I decided the only plausible decision (at that time) was to go back to school in an effort to make myself more marketable. This decision was life-changing! I learned graphic design from scratch as an adult (who says adults can’t learn new things). This was my opportunity to completely pivot my career. From there, I took a few more jobs in non-profit communications while leveraging my design skills. Toward the end of 2017, I quit my full-time job for a very uncertain (at the time) full-time career as an entrepreneur (probably the second-best and most gutsy decision of my young adult professional career). 

Since then, I’ve been working full-time as the Owner and Lead Designer of Mebane Design Studio. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Please don’t be fooled, this entrepreneurship journey has been no easy feat. Running a business as a solopreneur is very complicated. Until you generate the income to outsource certain tasks, you’re responsible for everything! Year one I grossed $25,000 which was a major salary decrease from my full-time job. 

I was also tasked with developing the proper operating procedures and client contracts. I had to find the right software for invoicing. It was an MBA crash course and all I truly wanted to do was design. 

Navigating client personalities and fine-tuning customer service/experience is always something that should be front of mind for business owners, but it can be difficult. 

It’s a lot! But my love for the work I do and the businesses I assist keep me engaged and looking forward to business growth year after year. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My design aesthetic is largely inspired by nature and travel, but my work is fueled by the gratification I receive from supporting small business owners in their entrepreneurial pursuits. From brainstorming to the final presentation, each part of the design process is an opportunity to create, take risks, and express emotions and messages. I believe everyone deserves to be seen and my work—my commitment to help others’ visions come to fruition—is a true passion. Visual representation of a brand, idea, or message is often the key to not only having an impact on others but leaving a mark on the world. Through my multi-pronged creative process, I design every choice of color, typeface, shape, and image to reference a point in time, spark an emotion, or evoke a response. 

I specialize in creating one-of-a-kind business visuals (brand development, website design, product packaging) for both small and large businesses. Recently, Mebane Design Studio (MDS) has been providing design support to larger organizations that don’t have an in-house design team. This work allows MDS to create opportunities for freelancers to generate income by working as subcontractors for Mebane Design Studio and in turn designing for large businesses. 

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
This is something I’m still working on. I’ve locked down a design mentor for 2022 and I’m truly looking forward to the mentorship and guidance. 

I will say working from home and being an entrepreneur can be very isolating. So, my focus in the next year is to become more involved with the design community here in Baltimore and DC. I’ve reached out to 2 organizations I’m looking forward to joining. 

Regarding networking, I believe it needs to be organic. Anything forced will not be sustainable. I’m a firm believer in connection being about comparable good vibrational energy. Those are the connections you move forward with and those are the people you show up for an invite into your network. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tylar Young
Muddy Visions Photography

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