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Exploring Life & Business with Jillean Williams of JW Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jillean Williams.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I moved down to Kansas City after graduating from The University of Iowa with a BFA in Graphic Design with a minor emphasis in Photography & Ceramics, a BA in Art History, and a Certificate of Entrepreneurship. I graduated in 2009, the heart of the recession, which made it very difficult to get a job in the graphic design industry at the time; so I considered myself extremely lucky to land a job with a small advertising and design firm in downtown Kansas City at that time.

The agency I worked for was a full-service agency. This was great because I got to learn lots of different things and I wasn’t pigeonholed into one specific avenue early in my career. I was hired as a graphic designer and proceeded to work at this agency for almost ten years. By the time I left, I was project managing, art directing, designing, photographing (and even food styling) for some really incredible brands, specifically I was in charge of Hostess Brands and Faultless Starch.

After ten years with the agency, it was pretty clear to me that it was time to move on. I toyed around with finding other design jobs, even got offer a few really good ones, but ultimately decided that they were not the right fit for me at that time in my life and made the leap to open my own company.

After I left my old agency, I took a couple of weeks to just reflect on what I just did, take some “me” time before I hit the ground running. And then I took about another six weeks to get myself set up and situated and in a position to announce JW Creative to the public, and now here I am. 2 1/2 years later and thriving. Each year in business thus far, I’ve seen significant revenue growth (knock on wood), and this year I’m on track to more than double my revenue from 2020.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Surprisingly, yes. I haven’t had much in the way of struggles so far. I’ve been pretty blessed with a good network to start out my business, from there I’ve gained referrals and now almost three years in and I’ve got some good SEO and social media presence, and that’s starting to do the work for me behind the scenes. So it’s been pretty good!

We’ve been impressed with JW Creative, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
JW Creative specializes in helping brands, small and medium-sized businesses that want (or let’s face it, need) professional help building a brand or bringing their new business to life. Branding isn’t just a logo, it’s the face, the feel, the look of a business, but it’s also how everyone else is going to think, look and feel about your business. If your brand isn’t strong, what does that say about the company itself?

Coming from a strong agency background and working with large multi-million corporations, down to the local bank, it’s given me a perspective and knowledge that most freelancers and smaller agencies might not have without the overhead of having several different experts on the payroll. With JW Creative, you kind of get all that rolled into one which allows me to work with some of the smaller businesses and brands that don’t have the huge marketing budgets that they need to work with a large agency.

Our services include graphic design, comprehensive & connected social media strategies, websites, and product photography, and product renderings.

What matters most to you? Why?
Honestly, it’s family. Part of the reason I started my own company was so that I COULD be more present for my family when I wanted or needed to be. That’s the beauty of owning your own business, the boss is very accommodating!

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