I’ve been blogging for a little over 8 years. My blog was on blogspot for the first 3 years. Just a free site and I did EVERYTHING myself. If you have the patience to read and follow basic instructions, it was pretty easy to insert all the widgets to get your sidebar looking good, etc.
This was the first logo on my first website which cost $6000 (including the photography of my interiors which was $2000 of this total), eight years ago. I wish I had some screen shots of my first website to show you.
This was the header on my first blog, designed by Guylaine Rondeau. I already had the drawing of the woman leaning on the ottoman from another designer but Guylaine cleaned it up and made it look clean and colourful!
I loved the whimsical, colourful and friendly feel this header conveyed. When I switched over to my new WordPress blog, I was going to keep the whimsical line drawing (above).
Until a reader sent me almost the identical image on the top of a jewelry box at HomeGoods. That’s when I realized it was just clip art and not as original as I thought.
So my new website was born without her. This site was a lot more expensive. The shopping cart alone was $10,000 (There are waaaaay cheaper options now) but I needed one for my eBooks, colour boards, webinars and live courses. And by the time I paid for the photographer, design and building, that was another $15,000. Now I had everything inside one website, instead of a portfolio website with a blog over on another platform.
Guylaine also designed my second logo on the site below:
I had this website for a little over five years. Two years ago, I started looking for an agency to design my new website.
Web design had changed a lot and I wanted the new format with widescreen images, etc.
My brand has grown a lot in the last 8 years and I needed my new website to reflect that.
And my Understanding Undertones system had finally come full circle from being in the colour industry for almost 20 years and going through the cycle of both the beige trend and the grey trend.
The first agency I hired, pointed out that I did not have a graphic or any kind of drawing that really illustrated my system. That’s when I started thinking about designing a colour wheel.
But they kept sending me design boards filled with trendy geometric patterns that I did not like at all (I know you’re SHOCKED). So we parted ways.
The next agency seemed very strong on the marketing side but I was worried that I would not get BEAUTIFUL. And that was at the top of my list of requirements. So I kept looking.
It was when I hit this website (above) of a talented food stylist in Vancouver that I knew I’d found someone with my aesthetic.
And the person who designed her website was Kim at Oliver & Spence. I loved the look and feel of Kim’s site too, so I hired them.
I started working with Kim and her team in February last year.
I presented my Understanding Undertones system to Kim and her staff and they started by designing my fabulous new colour wheel because that was the beginning of the new website. One of her staff confided that she wanted to re-paint her house after I had given my presentation, via Skype to her team.
This is how my colour wheel looked before:
And this was the finished result. As many of you have already seen.
Understanding Undertones – The System
I also loved this inspired design Kim dreamed up of the paintbrush showing the three undertones of grey which is a rotating image on the home page. Follow Kim on Instagram here.
Then in June, I flew Kim and her photographer out for a photoshoot. Kim’s art direction and the photos were fabulous but I was cranky when I received the photos because I was heavier than I wanted to be.
Shortly after that, my sister Elizabeth (she’s here on Instagram) introduced me to the juice cleanse I mentioned a few months ago and I lost 10 pounds in 12 days.
My sister, Mom and Terreeia had similar awesome results and Terreeia told me a story about a couple she is good friends with who party hard occasionally and then they juice if necessary. And they are always gorgeous and slim.
I realized that’s how celebrities do it too. If they gain some weight because Christmas happened or they went to Tuscany for a few weeks, well they just do a cleanse to get their weight back on track.
To be clear, do you have to eat like someone who weighs 10 pounds less? Yes of course you do. The reason any weight loss plan fails is because afterwards, most people continue to eat like they were eating BEFORE the plan. Any successful change in your life requires creating new habits. It would be way more fun if we could keep eating the same way but sadly, as you know, it doesn’t work.
I know how to eat 10 pounds lighter, but it was definitely more motivating to do that AFTER such fast results.
Now before you start posting comments about how bad ‘crash dieting’ is, for the record, you should know that drinking green juice will cure you of all kinds of ailments. It gives your body a much needed rest so it can focus on something other than digesting your food. Dieting on plans like ‘Lose 5 pounds by eating only cheese and cabbage for a week’ is probably not awesome.
And doing a juice diet was easier for me because I was almost born with a glass of freshly squeezed carrot juice in my hand. My Mom and Dad have been health freaks forever! But don’t believe me, watch this video. And you can download this 7 pounds in 7 days ap on your phone. It gives you a shopping list of exactly what to buy and pings you when it’s time to make your next juice. So great. I’ll be doing it again shortly after I get home from Palm Desert at the end of this month (It’s hard to eat salad during the holidays, and I gained 6 pounds).
My new photos were taken by Angie Wolfe who happens to be my next door neighbour! She is truly gifted at getting a natural smile out of her clients!
My headshot for my bio page and this photo (below) with my colour boards were also by Angie.
I also wanted better photos of me and my classes taken on-site during one of my workshops. Melissa Bolinger was one of the designers who attended my New Jersey course last Spring. She brought her camera and took some great pictures in the class. Then she volunteered at my Los Angeles course in September and took some more amazing pictures.
So I flew her out to my Charlotte and New Jersey Class from Seattle so that I could add some more photos to my Workshop landing page, here. She did a great job, it’s not easy to get a candid photo out of me. She’s a designer, True Colour Expert, AND a photographer!
Photos by Melissa Bolinger
After my website design was complete, it needed to be built. Since my CMS (customer management system) system is Infusion Soft and Kim’s team was not familiar with that platform, I hired Terrence Murtagh to build the site for me.
For the record, I am NOT an easy client to work with when it comes to graphic design. Just like I can take one look at a room and know immediately what’s wrong with it, why it’s bugging you and tell you exactly how to fix it. Well, I’m the same with creative on print.
Once I have decorated and styled a room, my clients don’t move anything. If I drop in a year later, everything is exactly where I placed it when I was there last (unless it was moved by the the kids or the housekeeper).
Anyway, when I get sent creative for my review, I know instantly if it’s not right, but sometimes I don’t know what to suggest to fix it because graphic design is obviously not my area of expertise.
And a website that is about me? That has to represent WHO I AM? Did I mention, this did not make me an easy client?
What I’m ALWAYS waiting to see, is something I would not have thought of myself. After all, that’s what I do for my clients every day. That’s what a good professional does. Otherwise, why am I paying you, if I have to tell you exactly what to do and exactly what I want? I don’t always know what’s best in an area where I’m not the expert. I was thrilled with the final look and feel of my website thanks to Oliver & Spence.
Then, when I hired Terrence to build my site back in late September, I had the unrealistic expectation that this should happen in two weeks! Well with the size of my website and my eye for detail, it took more like three months. Terrence was totally calm in the face of my list of endless changes and we’re still working on all the glitches that are bound to happen when migrating a site with over 1400 blog posts.
I’m not sure I ever want to do this again. Right now I need a featured image on every single post on the blog recap page. My assistant suddenly has a forever and until-the-end-of-time project to keep her busy in between other tasks. And this website will probably end up costing $40,000 in the end if I include EVERYTHING. Branding, design, photography, flights, expenses, building and development of the site, the shopping cart, migrating 8 years of content and images, change after change and fixing the blog. Much bigger than the average website for sure.
The reason I’m giving you an idea of what each website cost in the 8 years that I’ve been doing this, is because I had dinner with two designers when I was in Paris at Maison & Objet last Fall and when the subject turned to website design, one said she had just launched a new website. She confided to us that she spent $4,000 and asked if we thought she paid too much?
Well now you know the answer to that question. Without any bells and whistles, shopping carts, landing pages and blog posts to migrate that seems to be the basic price of the average website.
I want to thank every professional who I’ve worked with and mentioned in this post. Without them, I would not have this beautiful new website and I am truly grateful.
Thank you to all of my readers, without you, I would not have needed an updated website!