Quirky, creative and one badass woman! Mary is an amazingly creative designer and a woman on the move to put PRISK on the map. I had the privilege to meet Mary a few years ago and it is been amazing to see her grow a business from her passions. Read more about Mary and her business PRISK below.
Name: Mary Sellers
Her Business: PRISK design
Location: Atlanta, GA
Mary is currently hustlin’ at PRISK, the design and branding studio she founded in 2015. She works as the art director, designer, illustrator, janitor, comedian. . . whatever is needed to build the agency and support her team. Her focus is primarily in print, branding, and packaging which is why she maintains an unreasonably large collection of beautifully packaged and utterly worthless crap. When she is not in the trenches with our fabulous clients you can find her shredding the trails on her mountain bike, eating burritos, and telling seriously cheesy jokes. She has had a life-long love affair with the design world and I’m super pumped to help build and expand Atlanta’s creative community.
What services does your business offer?
PRISK is an Atlanta-based design firm that creates brand identities, websites, apps, animations, books and objects for clients, audiences and ourselves. We are a full-service studio creating strategy and design across all platforms
Why did you start this business?
Actually, it happened quite organically. I was planning on starting my own agency in a couple of years, but at the time, was working on the name. I came up with PRISK and not even a week later I landed my biggest client to date. I was approached by a local start-up who was seeking a designer. They ended up needing someone about 20-30 hours a week, so I worked up a contract and then decided I would go for it.
Why did you enter into this industry?
I stuck with what I love, and what I know. I have been designing for 13 years and also have a business marketing degree. Through my past positions, I learned a lot and was burned a lot. The creative industry is tough. I knew if I took the risk I would make it work. I was determined, I am still determined.I want to inspire, to invoke feelings and to create a damn good design.
What challenges did you face launching your business?
The biggest hurdle is that I have to continue to remind myself that ever hour is not billable. There is a lot of time you have to devote to building the business, finding clients, researching and branding your company. When you are the bookkeeper, project manager, designer, boss woman, sales manager, janitor, financial operator etc…it is easy to loose sight of the prize. I am still working on that part. In addition, this time of the year is quite slow, so being able to ride through that time and make use of it can be challenging. I am working on goal planning, networking, passion projects and revamping the website and updating our portfolio which is tough to keep up with when you are designing for other clients.
What experiences did you learn from Corporate America?
Corporate America gave me a backbone. In reality, working for a corporate company is tough shit. The politics, the fake smiling and hours are enough to make me go mad. I am so much more efficient with my time now that I own my own company. What used to take months for one project can take me weeks without the process and micromanaging that goes along with a large company.
What helped you transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur?
I didn’t really make the transition, it happened due to a company downsizing, so it was more forced. (which I am super thankful for now) My father is an entrepreneur, so I grew up in a family that encouraged an open mind and the possibility that you can do whatever you put your mind to.
What tools do you use to help manage your business?
I am very organized. I take notes and make lists on my iPhone about everything. I also keep a creative journal to explore my thoughts and jot done projects I want to do “one day”. Other than that, I use my mac laptop, iMac at PRISK home base and my iPhone. As far as tech tools, I use design programs, creative suite and cinema4d most often.
I’m an early riser. I am most creative between the hours of 7-3:30 pm. I usually try and work throughout that time without any interruptions. After that I usually exercise and cook dinner, go to networking events or work on my passion projects.
“the soul never thinks without an image.” ~ Aristotle
3 Things in your purse you cannot live without:
iPhone, business cards, wallet
Advice I would give to my younger self:
Follow and trust your gut. Push more boundaries, ask the questions without hesitation. Embrace the imperfection.
Embracing the imperfections while playing happily
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