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Check Out Lori Kendall’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Kendall.

Hi Lori, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
If I’ve learned anything from life, it’s to do your best with what you have, stay open to opportunities, and just keep going.

My path to finding myself and my career has been anything but linear. I spent all of my late teens and twenties struggling through drug and alcohol addiction. I failed out of college (twice), attended a 30-day rehab program when I was 25 and didn’t find my way out until I was 30.

During that time, I’d go back and forth between being highly functional and watching my life spiral out of control. There were times when I’d pull myself together enough to really show what I was capable of. I’d make the dean’s list at school, get promotions at work, and things would seem on the surface like they were going okay. But it wouldn’t take long before the energy of maintaining that life while getting wasted nearly every night would catch up to me and I’d find myself crashing and burning again.

All of that changed when I turned 30 and my first nephew was born. I’d been quietly trying to quit for a while – reaching out to online support groups, attending AA, and reading books recommended to me by worried friends. But it wasn’t until the night my nephew was born and I was too drunk to drive to the hospital that I suddenly realized that the life I was living was unsustainable. The sudden realization that I would never be able to be there for the important moments in my family and friend’s lives because there was a 100% chance that I’d be drunk was heartbreaking and it was enough to push me through one of the most difficult challenges that I’d ever face.

It’s been nearly five years since I got sober and I’m grateful every single day.

About a year after making the best decision I ever made, my entire life began to change. It turned out that just trying to survive day-to-day with an addiction took a lot of effort and once I got through the most difficult part of recovery, there was a highly-motivated, driven individual with a lot of latent potential waiting to get out. It felt like I’d been training for a marathon underwater my entire life and suddenly someone had put me on dry land.

As I began to show drastic improvements at work, I was given the opportunity to start running entire projects from beginning to end doing everything from brand strategy to brand design, website design, marketing planning, and content creation. I built a small but incredibly talented team and we began to pull off campaigns that would usually take an entire agency with just the hard work of a few talented people.

About two years after successfully building an internal marketing and branding department, I decided to take a chance on a leadership role at a new company. It was December of 2019 and I was offered the opportunity to build the team I’d always dreamed of. It felt like the journey that I’d been on was finally reaching its peak and that I’d finally found myself at the concept of success that I’d been chasing. But things didn’t turn out quite as expected – like many people, my team and I found ourselves unemployed during the first week of COVID stay-at-home orders in March of 2020.

Being unemployed at the beginning of a pandemic was scary and coming down from the high of where I thought my life was headed was a necessary but painful check to my ego. After doing my best to navigate an oversaturated unemployment market and struggling with my feelings about where my life and career had taken me, I decided that it was time to take things back into my own hands. After having things careen so far outside of my control, I felt like the safest and best way forward was to build a path for myself.

And so I started my own branding, design, and marketing company called Brand + Design + Create. I’ve been in business for more than a year now working with passionate business owners that need creative marketing services including brand strategy and design, custom websites, content creation, and marketing plans. It hasn’t been an easy path, but it’s absolutely been worthwhile.

Sometimes out of necessity we build something beautiful.

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?
I don’t know that the smooth road exists! It’s definitely been a journey filled with twists and turns along the way. I fell into the trap of thinking that once I got past my biggest hurdle, everything else would be smooth sailing. But, as they like to say, the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next.

As long as I keep moving forward in life, there will continue to be challenges along the way. Once I achieve one goal or get through one moment, there will always be the next one.

The first big hurdle for my business was surviving the first year. I launched my business during a pandemic and had to deal with the typical small business struggles of finding my first clients, developing a brand, deciding on services, running my own marketing, and setting pricing, timelines, and processes. Now that year one is complete, I’m moving into the building and expansion phase and that’s created a whole new set of challenges to tackle for the coming year.

I’m sure there are still some curveballs coming in the future, but one of my favorite quotes lately has been, ‘a bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because their faith is not in the branch but in their ability to fly”.

If this time has taught us anything, I think many of us are now aware that in the face of the uncertain and out of our control – we can still fly.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As the owner of Brand + Design + Create, I work with small business owners on their creative marketing needs. The basic creative marketing elements that any company needs include a brand, website, well-designed marketing pieces, and marketing content.

For many business owners, marketing can seem incredibly overwhelming. It can be hard to know what you need and what you don’t need and how to make the best use of your budget. I work one-on-one with all of my clients to walk them through whatever creative marketing they’re considering so they can feel happy and confident about their choices and feel like what we’ve created has moved their business forward in a positive way.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I’ve had the best luck with both finding mentors and networking! There are so many wonderful options out there from apps to groups to professional organizations.

I’ve found some of my dearest friends and best business collaborators through apps like Bumble BFF and social media groups like Women in Marketing, Web Designer Boss-Ladies, and Austin Digital Jobs.

I’ve found wonderful mentors through Women Communicators of Austin and had access to incredible resources and events through Austin Business Woman. For BIPOC, the Womxn of Color Collective has been life-changing for several of my friends.

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1 Comment

  1. Matt May

    November 30, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    Your the best Lori!!

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