Recently we caught up with Cassie Ballard of The Veda House. Cassie is a St. Louis native and new Colorado transplant who is making a serious mark in the world of branding. As a graphic designer and photo stylist we were anxious to see her review of our Ely series this past June. We consider a thumbs up from Cassie serious praise. Spend five minutes on her blog and you too will want to fall into the world as envisioned by the eyes of Mrs. Ballard.
JORD: You are a true renaissance woman, skilled in all the visually artistic endeavors required for modern successful branding. How did you get here? Did it start with a crayon, a camera, a computer? What sparked you?
CASSIE: Thanks so much for the kind words. I would say I’ve always been a creative person. I remember spending my childhood covered in sidewalk chalk, taking photos of my friends, making collages from magazine scrapes, macramé, and partaking in a fair share of tie-dye sessions. I hopped around from one hobby to the next and even tried to sell friendship bracelets so my best friend could afford a plane ticket to spring break. I was introduced to the joy of computers in the 4th grade when all the students in my magnet school were sent home with a Mac computer to complete homework. It wasn’t until high school that I really dived into photography and took as many classes as I could on photo processing.
JORD: Where do you think new companies miss the mark when branding their products and bringing them to market?
CASSIE: I think new companies let their excitement for their new adventure get the best of them and rush the design process. Good design and cohesive branding takes a long time to think through in a really smart way and then to execute without cutting corners. I’ll see new brands that have a really interesting story, but don’t invest in bringing the right people on board to bring that dream to reality. It all boils down to patience and getting the right funding to do it the right way.
JORD: Being in a creative industry, what new product or service has caught your attention lately?
CASSIE: One big trend in the product design industry right now, as well as fashion and other areas of design is placing high value on the “hand-made” and use of quality materials. I think people are drawn towards this movement because the products we buy have a bigger story behind them. We feel as if we are getting a more unique item and something a little more personal. I believe this gives people more confidence in investing in higher quality goods and the courage to ditch big box stores. I’m personally jumping on the bandwagon! J
JORD: You tilt towards a more minimalist lifestyle. Is it about quality over quantity? Simplifying? Experience over things? Lack of storage?
CASSIE: Oh boy! I get asked this question quite a bit and I would like to say I live minimally because I’m super eco-conscious and am truly happy with less, but the truth is that it’s a constant battle of reducing what I have. I really like things. I find beauty in the simplest items and have a bit of a collector spirit running in my blood. At the end of the day, my mind is more at peace without all the visual clutter. Ideally I collect things that are not only beautiful to look at, but also serve some sort of function. And yes, I have a severe lack of storage.
JORD: You recently got married (your dress! Wow.) and you mentioned that having great photos was a priority for both you and your husband. Was there anything that you spent time or money on that you wish you hadn't during the wedding planning and the day?
CASSIE: Well thank you! I wish I could wear that dress every day.
Yes! HAHA. There is one major lesson I learned. Since I’m a graphic designer by trade it felt like such a sin to hire someone else to design our wedding invites and save-the-dates. I spent countless hours fussing over the fine details such as paper texture, fonts, envelopes, colors, sketches, etc. and wanting everything to be just perfect…So much money on paper samples and grommet hole puncher thingies. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t waste my time doing them and hire some other designer that I admire. It’s so hard designing for yourself!
JORD: What do you waste your time doing?
CASSIE: I waste a TON of time in my Google inbox. I have a “zero inbox policy” with myself, so by the end of each workday all emails from that day are responded to. Yes, I know, crazy person. I also spend far too much time on Pinterest and watching TV series in the evenings. My current time suckers are Boardwalk Empire, Pretty Little Liars, and Modern Family.
JORD: What do you wish you had more time for?
CASSIE: I wish I had more time for long weekend staycations. With a recent wedding and cross-country move, my husband and I don’t currently have a big travel fund. I’d love to be able to take Friday and Mondays off to get lost in the Colorado Mountains, or do one of the many DIY projects on my list.
JORD: What should humanity – as a whole – spend more time doing?
CASSIE: Loving each other, unplugging from electronics, and traveling to learn more about one another.
JORD: This person inspires you – who is the first person that’s popped into your head?
CASSIE: My Father. He’s an individual who only has two modes, “on” and “off”. He has taught me that you have to go after what you want with intense passion and drive. He has also taught me not to settle when I know some other option is better, and that being stubborn can be a personality asset. He’s also taught me that those who work hard can also play hard.
JORD: If you were rich enough for just one luxury – the rest of your life would remain the same – what would it be?
CASSIE: A housekeeper! We have a golden retriever and a longhaired cat, so you can imagine the amount of fur that collects. I’d love to not have to think about my Swiffer ever again.
Thank you again to Cassie for letting us pick her well organized brain. JORD is always happy to learn more about the people whose style and approach to life we admire. We’re excited to see Cassie make her mark on more brands in the future and we recommend you follow Cassie’s blog to see what she’s working on and what she’s up to!