Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
Thinking Outside the Box
Kasey is a badass designer that is crazy passionate about creating jaw-dropping, personalized wedding experiences for couples and their guests. She owns revelry + heart, a custom design studio for couples that revel in their authenticity and crave design that evokes conversation.
revelry + heart's mission is "following hearts, not trends." Kasey highlights couples' unique personalities and embodies them through creative detail design. Starting with epic wedding invitations, Kasey creates a foundation aesthetic that is 110% you and weaves these elements throughout your wedding to create a lively expression of self-celebration, a revelry, giving you confidence in your planning process. Creating from your heart forms an amazeballs experience for you and your guests that you'll love for all time.
Episode 18 Coffee Chat Replay
Episode 18 Podcast
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Lauren Dragon-Cook: We are going to be talking today with Kasey! She owns Revelry & Heart! She is freakin’ amazing! I had to have her on the show because she owns it like nobody else! She owns her truth, she owns her business, she owns every aspect of it. She is in total alignment. She is making waves because she loves to live outside the box. She is doing some things in the wedding industry that have never been done and never been seen. You are all going to be some of the first to hear about it. So please show her some love.
I met her on a coffee chat. She was a community member and she hopped on a coffee chat with me and we immediately clicked. I knew she had a message to share with everyone and it needed to be shared.
What is Revelry & Heart?
Kasey: Welcome everybody! Thank you so much for joining us this morning. I am so excited to meet all of you. I am Kasey! I own Revelry & Heart. We are a non traditional design studio. It is a design studio for people who revel in their authenticity and crave statement pieces that will create conversation.
What that means broken down is that you love celebrating yourself, you fly your freak flag proudly, you embrace every weird aspect of yourself… and you crave something that celebrates that. That is for weddings, graduations, anniversary’s… so there are multiple facets to what I do.
I am struggling to come up with a title for myself, but of course when you are so close to yourself it is the hardest part to brand something. When I was naming Revelry & Heart I had a document in my phone that was like scroll, scroll, scroll! But I call myself a personal designer at this point. I get in with somebody… I weasel my way into their life… and then they can’t get rid of me! And essentially I get stuck with them or they get stuck with me and we form this relationship that we can customize and bring their personal aesthetic into everything!
So what I do is create non-traditional wedding invitations that are highly personalized and on non-traditional mediums. There is the out of the box thinking, because a lot of people think wedding invitations are on white paper with pretty pastel inks and calligraphy, and that is beautiful if that is your thing! But I am rocking out tile invitations and wood with burn marks with all this character!
Just really getting to know my couples is the best way to really be innovative in this industry. Everybody is trying to bring back things from old times and say “oh this is new!” but it may not be… and that is fine! That is how the fashion and wedding industry works and rotates. It can be so hard to innovate in our industry. We are constantly trying to come up with something new and creative and finding other creatives and masterminds to work with. Sometimes you need that outside perspective to gain that clarity. And sometimes you need to look inward! And that is really what my brand is built on… looking inward. That is how I built my brand. Revelry means loud boisterous celebration and Heart has been that core emotion behind the big party. If you don’t have that emotion it is an empty feeling. If you don’t have anything personal in your wedding it doesn’t have any tie back to who you are.
It is also a reflection of my personality. I am split right down the middle, I’m a MySpace Kid and a Sorority Girl, and merging those two together was not an easy feat, but that is who I am! I love celebrating all of my couples quirks. It’s almost like… the memes people tag you in online are pretty good indicators of who you are. I get so many Corgi memes is not even funny!
Lauren: I love it!
Kasey: That is what Revelry & Heart is built on. It is getting to know yourself. I get to know my couples and that has led to some crazy mashups! If you had told me I was going to be designing wedding invitation with teeth on it and you would be like… what?! But both of them were dentists and they met in dental school and they wanted to embrace that! And I love that… because you’re not going to find that anywhere!
I love doing it! And I get to weasel my way into peoples lives and they don’t get to get rid of me! Its awesome!
Lauren: Even with you just explaining your brand and business… you own that! You own it 100%!
One thing I remember us chatting about during our first conversation… you quite literally are changing the game for couples in the fact that you are creating more than just escort cards. You are creating more than just signs. Its pretty… it has its place… but YOU are quite literally the pink sparkly shiny bow on a package that has ben beautifully wrapped. You bring it all together. There is nobody quite like you out there. I haven’t met anyone that goes to the extent and level you do things.
Kasey: I stopped calling myself a stationery designer for a couple of reasons. It was very limiting for me. It goes so far beyond that. I come from a marketing background. I did my undergrad in advertising and public relations. I sort of just fell into this wedding world. My first job after undergrad was a stationery studio. I learned a lot and fell in love with being a part of the highlights in people’s lives. I got to get to know people on that front. But this part time job is not going to pay the bills. I have to buckle down and get serious. I pursued more of a serious design job at an agency but it felt very cold and I was unfulfilled. I had one extreme or the other. I had to find a way to balance it. That is always every artist’ struggle. By weaving them together… is how I found my niche.
I stopped calling myself a stationery designer because that meant I was just there for the piece mail and I wasn’t there for the entire experience. I am a nosy busy body and I want to be part of the whole experience! By rolling that marketing technique into the wedding sphere I’ve been able to put together a nicely tied package of you into a tangible format.
At the core of it… you are branding a personal experience. If I were to do a branding package for a business I would get to know their values, the voice they like to speak in… but I just flip that and use that on a personal level. I get to know my couples and what is meaningful to them. Its tying the rules of marketing on a personal level. Its not a product that has been offered before. It offers a lot of flexibility to my couples as well. If they just want to do the custom wedding aesthetic package… then I create some color options and logos and they can then run and do whatever they want with it. OR they can stay with me and say… “hey I have no idea how to put it together so you run with it and create our stuff”. But there is so much flexibility there. Here is your toolkit and you can do what you want with it OR here is the finished product. It is a beautiful opportunity for anybody that wants to revel in their authenticity.
Be Authentic to Yourself
Lauren: If I had a microphone right now… mic drop! This is why I love you so hard! You have created something that doesn’t exist. It is a message and an overall theme that every business owner should learn to incorporate in some way shape and form into their own business. That is what is going to make you unique versus everyone else that does wedding photography or plans weddings.
Kasey: It is scary too. That is one of the hardest things to put yourself out there. I am my brand. People are signing up to work with me. It is scary as hell! Its about finding your target audience and finding your niche. But it is scary as hell to put yourself on a public platform. I have faked it til I make it hundreds of times! I was a theatre kid, I wanted to be an actress. I think that was because I loved putting myself out there, but not as myself. You can embrace this character but if people don’t like that role… you can brush it off.
Your Business and You
Lauren: I would love to know… if someone is just starting out in their business what is one piece of advice that you would offer somebody that doesn’t feel they are in alignment with who they are as a person? If their business isn’t in alignment with them?
Kasey: The biggest thing in the wedding industry (this comes from both our couples and wedding pros), we are all running in the same sphere and constantly comparing ourselves to each other. As a couple, you want your wedding to be unique and different. As a wedding professional, you want to be different and find a place to fit.
One of the things that really helped me was when Lauren did her coffee chat on writing your “About Me” page. It forced me to reflect back on myself and think “what are the things I would tell people if I had this many words”. That is what is going to make you different.
I tell my couples the same thing. For me I’m obsessed with corgis, I have pink hair… its almost like what would you include in an online dating profile or if you wanted to make more friends. Those are your personality traits that people will resonate with.
Fake It 'Til You Make It
Lauren: Obviously you said you fake it til you make it sometimes. You really exude this strong badass, so what would you say to somebody who is a little more introverted and scared to put themselves out there. You and I have a lot of the same personality characteristics… loud and proud!
But I will also tell you… it took me 30 years to get to that point.
Kasey: I am an introvert. I will be the first to tell you. People never believe me when I say that, but its true! That is where I get my energy from. I need my re-charge time and that is how I re-charge. Its not your personality, but how you get your energy back.
For people that are scared… the biggest hurdle I have come to tackle with this business is you just have to do it anyway. You think I wanted to go live every week and have people watch me stumble over my words? I’m so type A I had pages and pages of notes. You sort of train yourself, so once you’ve done three or four lives you just glance at your notes.
I did my first live last week without any notes and I was scared! But it was one of the best and most engaging videos because I paid more attention to the people who were commenting.
That’s just part of being a business owner, you have to put on your big girl panties. And then once you do it you will say “wow I am such a badass”. What else can I do? I still get scared every single time I do or take on something new. But being a sole entrepreneur no one else is going to hold your hand. The best and the worst thing about owning your own business is you determine how successful you are. If you want to kill it, you will find that energy and do it. But if you need to take a couple of days off, you will feel that hit. It is a blessing and a curse.
It is hard as hell and not everybody can run and own a business. But the highs are highs and the lows are lows.
Lauren: You were talking about doing a Facebook live. I get this question a lot, so I’m going to play devils advocate for a second. Many people ask me… how can I reach my ideal clients? Lauren, you do lives, but what am I going to talk about with potential clients. I don’t understand what I would do for a live.
So what do you do when you go live?
Kasey: So I built out a whole topic list of things that people ask me. I’m part of a billion and seven Facebook groups of people planning weddings. The questions that come up over and over again. The unique situations my friends have asked me about. So those questions that come up… that’s what I talk about.
What is non traditional stationery?
What is the best way to get my RSVP’s back?
What is my favorite noon traditional stationery?
How did I start my business?
I also do it all with wine. I drink wine every Thursday when I go live. People can get on board with the wine and Netflix thing and that’s how I get people in with me. Come hang out with me if you just want to unwind or bitch about your mother in law.
And the greatest thing about going live, is when I see those same questions come up again and again, I can drop a video link for them.
One of my biggest successful live was how to stop slut shaming your wedding. Its controversial! People are constantly worried about being too showy or tacky or what people are going to say… it was a whole live on do what you want to do! If you want to have a choreographed dance, go for it! At the end of the day a wedding is a luxury. However you want to spend your money is your prerogative. If you are that voice that is willing to get a stand on something… that is huge! You can’t tip toe the line. You won’t relate to anybody. Be bold in your opinion and the right people will resonate with you and the wrong people… you don’t want to work with them anyway. It is better to find your people and make it clear who you are.
Lauren: I love you so effing hard! I can’t even. All the white girl phrases! You are such a breath of fresh air. So many people preach this… own yourself and be your most authentic self! But you are a walking living example of that and you’re an introvert.
Kasey: It can be very hard to say that if you are not what is trendy at the time.
Taking Your Business Full Time
Lauren: You are still working full time at an additional job. So what do you feel it is going to take to go full time with your business? Or do you not want to?
Kasey: That is such a hard question. What is holding me back is my own fear. If I really wanted it and went for it, I would make it happen. But my biggest excuse is design is not a stable income. But at the same time you make it work. It takes a little while… but I think it is just that fear and getting to a place where I feel I have enough revenue coming in where I can make it work even on my darkest days.
And maybe I won’t ever want to be there. The liberty it allows me as my side hustle is I can say yes and I can say no to projects. If I relied on it for my fulltime, I would be doing a lot more design that probably want something I would’ve said yes to if I had a choice.
Lauren: Those are all great points to make. There is a big question of “will I make it if I go full time?” And you’re absolutely right about there being perks when your business is your side gig.
I think if I ever were to go full time in my business and I was worried about taking jobs aligned with my brand. I am very good with justifying something for myself. I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing. I think when I am working with an ideal client because then I can get into their minds. But I feel I need to find something I can relate on with any potential client, because if I can’t then I know its not just a good fit for me and I won’t be able to produce the product they will want me to.
The more you standout, the more people will want you. The more you define yourself, the more people will remember you.
Just Do It
Lauren: You summed it up perfectly. If you have the opportunity, tell people who you are and what makes you unique! I went to an event and met my first harpist. I didn’t even know they still existed anymore! I only thought that was in the Jack and the Bean stock movie! But I remember her!
I just love you so much and this has been so refreshing. Lately I have been feeling this overwhelming feeling of people feeling they are just floating amongst the masses. They are just waiting to catch onto something. Waiting for something to stick. Kasey is giving you permission to just do it! Maybe you don’t even have an idea of what that could be right now, but it can translate to any specialty.
Kasey: Everybody is scared of something in their business. Whether its taking on another social media platform and feeding that beast of content. Or its being in person and going to these networking things. Or cold emailing. I started with that for a long time. But the more I now talk to people, it feels more comfortable. I have been doing stationery since 2011, but never had my own studio and got on record with the IRS til later. Now I feel I can give myself permission to say this is what I do, this is my business. I was worried people were not going to take me seriously because I wasn’t an LLC or didn’t have my own accountant. There is always something that people are going to point out that you’re not a business owner without XYZ. And so many people go through so many name changes for names and branding. And that is because they are not able to embrace their true authentic self. The biggest piece of advice I could go out there and tell everybody is to look inside yourself, shut off all social media, and just be! Look inside yourself and stop looking at blogs and inspo because that is going to cause a lot of confusion.
Lauren: If you are not so good at sitting by yourself and reflecting, two questions can be asked for any person. I would recommend picking five people that aren’t your close close friends or family. I would say, even to someone you just met recently… there are two questions you can ask to find out what type of energy you put out into the world.
What are the first adjectives you think of when you think about me?
What do I bring to a room?
Then you will truly know what type of brand and energy you put out there. Maybe you are quiet and timid, but a lot of people for me… I’ve done this exercise before.
Kasey: Everybody always wants to know more about themselves and that is why we always take so many online quizzes! Go to Buzzfeed and spend a whole day doing personality quizzes. There are multiple ways you can learn more about yourself if you feel you are too close to articulating it well.
Lauren: And that is kind of my problem. I tend to feel what I am thinking, because I feel it so strongly.
This honestly may have been my favorite podcast episode to date. Because your message, your light, what you exude is exactly what I am trying to put into words for people to embrace about themselves. You are the living breathing unicorn. You are the walking example.
Thank you so much, Kasey, for joining me today. This has been fantastic and so refreshing. Feel free to connect with Kasey and ask her questions! Use that resource! I will see you all next Tuesday! Have a great week and we will chat soon!
Q + A
Q: I hate going to marketing mixers. I’m not a small talk person. Any tips form either of you about how to navigate those events?
A: (Kasey) I also suck as these. I am that person that has a buddy and just sticks with them all night. And it defeats the entire purpose of going… but as a introvert it is hard for me to introduce myself to people. I have awesome and unique business cards, so that usually gets the topic of conversation going. I’m based in Raleigh, NC but I’m not from here. So that is usually a good conversation starter. A lot of people at those mixers are looking to build relationships or there are seeking business. You can always turn a conversation around by asking them what they do!
If you’re able to build any connections prior to going to the event, it can help with a bit of a lead.
(Lauren) I had to speak at a workshop on Thursday. I wasn’t feeling super well. Just not a good time. Even myself, even me, the loud the proud, the extrovert… I clam up! I have trouble talking to people. Part of that is because I take on the energy of the room. I am an empath. What I would say to try to combat this… let people come to you. Instead of feeling you need to go and seek out a bunch of people… maybe you find a table to sit at and just smile at people. They will come to you! Then you are almost in control of the situation. It becomes a little bit easier. Another thing I would suggest, set a timer on your phone to only stay for 25 minutes. And walking through that door… I am going to get 5 business cards from people I don’t know. It can be a bit of a game! Am I going to be able to do this?
I have found that when I go with a buddy, what ends up happening is I end up checking where that person is and if they are okay. That is the kind of person I am. It can take away from being able to just “be”. For me I typically do not go with a friend or a buddy anymore.
Q: If I reach out prior to a wedding professional, could it come off at stalker-ish?
A: I would say hell no! When I as in New York and I stumbled across a celebrity, I was always so taken aback by how human they were. Everybody always sees them on a screen and you forget they are human beings. It is that perception. You only see them that way because that is how they have been displayed to you for years. We are all like that! If someone were to Facebook message me the night before an event I would think this person is so sweet! I think it can be super flattering.
Q: Where is a good place to look for these marketing mixers?
A: Rising Tides Society has been my saving grace. It is essentially little chapters of this national organization that is all wedding professionals. They usually have meetings once a month. If there isn’t one in your area, don’t be afraid to team up with another wedding professional and create your own chapter. She teams up with a caterer, photographer, DJ or entertainment… and then you create your own group! If it is not there build it and people will come. Any creative is welcome to these meetings. Photographers, stationers, calligraphy… it doesn’t matter what you do. Just go!