Whole Team Habits Interview: Nikki Takahashi

I’m cheating this week. I know I’m supposed to give you one actionable tip a week, but this week I’ve outsourced it to Brand Designer Nikki Takahashi, whom I interviewed recently.

Nikki is a talented designer, digital creator and branding expert. We met when a client hired both of us for two different parts of her rebrand and I’ve been a big fan ever since.

Talking to Nikki Takahashi

BB: So I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about how you differentiate between a company brand and a personal brand. What do you think small business owners should know about cultivating a personal brand?

Nikki: So at Fetching Finn, we do branding and design to really elevate both personal brands and business brands. So you can play at a higher level, and you have the confidence to promote your brand. I mean, isn’t that what it’s all about? Right? It’s really hard to sell your services. If you feel like your branding, your logo, your website, your messaging, doesn’t really reflect you, it’s so difficult to promote that and of course, then you’re not going to get the sales.

BB: One of the things when you and I first met that I felt like we were very aligned on is this idea of authenticity being vital. How did you come to realize the importance of that?

Nikki: Personally, I’ve always really enjoyed like the Mavericks, the trailblazers, the people who have the guts to stand out in an industry that is normally so saturated. Having the courage to really stand out is scary sometimes. It takes being in that business for a while to really get your footing. Having the courage to dip a toe out and test the waters is tough, but the people that succeed are the ones who do that really well. You notice them immediately, because they’re different.

BB: So when you’re cultivating an overall brand, where do you start? Is it colors, is it logo, is it words? Like, what’s your what’s your process?

Nikki:  Yeah, it used to be starting with colors and fonts, then going into that logo. But it’s not anymore, and you’ll totally resonate. It’s all about that messaging, getting that copywriting, getting that message just right. I stand behind this 100%.

It’s not always the sexy part of building a business, [Note from Bridget: for me creating messaging is the ONLY sexy part about building a business, but I recognize I’m a weirdo.] but it’s certainly going to save you time and money. And your reputation too. Like, if you don’t get that right, you present differently in the industry. Taking the time to do that is really important.

BB: Last question, if you have one piece of advice to a small business owner, what’s your most important piece of advice?

Nikki: I would say if you haven’t if you haven’t invested a ton of time and money yet, stop. Before you do anything else, solve that messaging piece first. It is It blows my mind the mountain of resources that people pour it into what they believe is going to be a brand and an image that propels them forward. But then they start tripping up, because there are so many things that have been left out, missed, neglected, overlooked along the way that could have really enhance things right and made it even better.

I always say, “you know, if you don’t look like you invest in yourself as a business, why would other people want to invest in you?”

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I want to give a huge thanks to Nikki for sharing her wisdom with us this week.

If you want to hear more from this brilliant Calgary business owner, you need to check out her four-part video series on building a visual brand. You can learn more by visiting her website.

I’m looking for more small business owners to talk shop on Whole Team Habits. If you’d like to be featured, send me an email and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!