Oh, how time flies! It’s already been a year since I found out that Havok won the #iamcreative Foundation Grant with Brit+Co, and what an incredible experience that was!
It was early last summer and I received an email newsletter from Brit+Co announcing that the applications were now open for the #iamcreative grant, so I went and applied right away. As time went by, our business got busy with local summer markets, custom orders and such. Toward the end of summer, I was pleased to receive an email from a wonderful lady over at Brit+Co saying that they narrowed the applications down to 15 people, that I was still in the running, and that they wanted to set up a Skype interview with me! Eeeekkkk!!
One interview and a few weeks later, my husband and I were getting ready to fly to upstate New York for one of our best friends’ weddings. It was 2:00 in the morning, our flight would be leaving in seven hours, and out of excitement for the trip I couldn’t sleep. After flipping through Instagram for probably the tenth time that day, I checked my email one last time before my final attempt at slumber. In my dazed state, I had to do a double take when in an unread email subject before me I read the words, “Congratulations!”
I had won.
Winning the grant itself was an overwhelming experience. I was able to visit San Francisco for the Re:Make 2015 Conference where they were presenting all five of the finalists as winners. We each got to do a video and a photo shoot to demonstrate our unique skillsets and why we had been chosen to win; they even did our hair and makeup. At the conference, they treated us like royalty and we all had so much fun! Everyone was congratulating us left and right; it was truly a rock star moment.
After returning home after my San Fran trip, I was still in “la la land” for quite awhile. My brain had to process every extraordinary thing that had just happened over the last few weeks. It was only a short time later that I received a wonderful check in the mail. Holding that grant money in my hand, I felt a sense of pride that I had never felt before. I knew right then that my business was really something special, and that incredibly successful and influential people really believed in me, proving so by rewarding Havok.
Immediately, I purchased our new, larger laser-engraving machine and I was like a kid on Christmas morning when it arrived. The majority of my grant money was going towards the purchase of this new machine, and I was even able to upgrade to a better one than we had originally planned! This new machine increased our production and allowed us to make larger wall hangings and home décor items that we had never before had the opportunity to make. And believe me, it definitely came in handy during our holiday order season!
The rest of the money I knew needed to be put towards something very important that I had never been able to invest in before for our business: advertising and marketing.
Once the holiday rush was over and spring was here, I was able to start working with an amazing marketing consultant. Together, we developed the brand narrative behind Havok Designs, allowing us to better tell the story of Havok: how we make everything, what our inspirations are, and whom we are as designers, in order to better engage with our audience. We created a marketing plan and constructed social media strategies that we can use on all of our social media channels, website, and Etsy shop. And for the first time, we were able to advertise our brand and products with some magazines and online publications including: Bunch Magazine, Trouve Magazine, and Folk Magazine.
Winning this grant has created such great exposure for my brand! People have congratulated me and have recognized me from seeing the announcements via Brit+Co, and now with the new application window being open for the 2016 winners, I’ve had other makers coming to me asking for advice on applying for the grant. It makes me feel really good to be able pass on what I’ve learned from this experience. I encourage anyone who has a strong passion for art, design, handmade to apply for this grant. It has done so much for my business and me, and if this girl can win, so can you! To apply just click here!