Profile-Kristin Bleyenberg Design
"I think using the talents God has given me has been the rewarding part. Everyday I see that I am working to use the gifts He gave me in a visual way. It betters my family which makes me happy."
I found Kristin when I was looking for someone to do my logo for the blog. I had been scrawling the name on any paper I could find (had some very doodle'd up napkins laying around) and needed a graphic designer to bring it to life. Right away, she understood my vision for it and helped me incorporate my own handwriting as well.
Her creativity is sprinkled all over Michigan so I wanted people to get to know the woman behind the brand. Aside from having the warmest, welcoming presence, Kristin is a great testament to being able to balance it all-wife, mama, and boss lady. I loved being able to connect with her and talk about business, life, family, and all the loveliness that come with that...
What introduced you to design?
I’m self taught. I worked for a company and the owner said I should try graphic design. He knew that I could draw and taught me how to use various programs. That was about 16 years ago.
What types of projects can you do for clients?
I do decals, designs, and logos for all sorts of things flyers, presentations, banners, small businesses.
What has been your favorite new project to work on?
Mug design! I am working on some new products for spring. Another area that I enjoy is product photography. With all my projects I like to make the things that I can’t seem to find. Not sure if it’s a project, but I love thrifting as well. I am always on the hunt at stores or estate sales for unique items. I like finding unique things, color, and branding.
What has been the most rewarding part of running your own business.
I think using the talents God has given me has been the most rewarding part. Everyday I am working to use the gifts He gave me in a visual way. It betters my family which makes me happy. I get random emails from people across the state who are interested in my products...that’s a great feeling.
How do you balance your work/business with being a mom?
I try and work when they are in school or gone so that when they are home I can spend time with them. I do a lot at night when the kids are sleeping. But, I like to balance it by involving them as much as possible. If I head to a flea market they come with me. They are little pickers too! They have grown up doing certain things and are used to it; if I can bring them with I will. We do a lot of things together which helps me balance things. For example: at night the girls will be sitting here making bracelets or something and I will help them or be working on things too. I like to make sure they are doing creative things and involved in that way.
When you aren’t designing, what are your favorite things to do?
Probably picking or crafting. I love to read as well…Thomas Hardy is one of my favorites and English literature which is so nerdy but I like it. As a family, we go biking in Rockford a lot. We take advantage of the beach every weekend we can in the summer as well, that’s essentially our routine in those months.
You work with a lot of local companies and small businesses. Any that we should be checking out if we haven't already?
I love Pink and Frillos in Gowen, MI. It’s a little vintage shop with clothes and other items. She has the cutest place-that’s probably my favorite. But, they’re all great. Painted Farmgirl and the Farmgirl Flea Market in Hudsonville are amazing-you can't miss those. Also, Karla's Place which is Downtown Holland is always adorable and unique. Right now my products are in 14 stores across Michigan all the way from Mackinaw Island to Bay City, Traverse City, Petoskey.
Advice for a student or someone looking for a career change who is interested in graphic design?
Talk to someone who is already in the business. I am happy to speak with anyone if they have questions or need advice. Try to get an internship if you can. There are so many aspects to graphic design so it’s nice to have some exposure. Find an environment that you like-there are small businesses that need graphic designers or big firms, it’s about finding the right fit for you.
It was great being able to visit Kristin's home studio-it's laden with beautiful vintage finds and her own creations as well. Some of her products are pictured above along with her showing me how her mug press works (way cool). I was admiring her bracelets and she noted that they were an unintentional, but accurate representation of who she is. Bracelets her daughters make, gifts from people she loves, and some items you would never select as jewelry without Kristin's keen eye (aka: one of those bracelets is actually a car part)!