What are your typical pain points when having design work done for your business?
For Marizza Contreras and Craig Carter of K’Alma Spas, sourcing design work often created a lot of headaches. From inconsistencies to holding up potentially lucrative promotions, Carter and his wife Marizza were ready for a positive change when they chose to work with Designed.co.
We spoke to Craig about their experience and some key lessons they have learned about the impact of design on their business:
About K’Alma Spas
Craig says, “When we founded K’Alma, we felt that spas had really lost their way, becoming superficial. There’s a place for that, but the original intention of spas was to physically, emotionally energetically, and spiritually prepare you for the next stage of your next journey,” he says. “That might have originally been recovering from battle or from a Senate meeting – spas were really designed to help you reconnect mind, body, soul, and spirit.”
Craig explains that his wife Marizza is Peruvian, so they really tapped into traditional healing practices of Peru.
“Our name means ‘king of your soul’ in quechua, the language of the Incas, and my wife grew up learning traditional healing practices. Our spa in Miami Beach is the first offering Peruvian color therapy,” says Craig.
Why is design so important?
“The thing that is most important to us is how we communicate the message of who we are here at K’Alma Spas,” says Craig. “People have some pre-set ideas of what they think a spa is supposed to be about. How do we communicate our message to people without sounding too “woo woo?””
One way is through their logo which represents a Tree of Life. “We focus our energy on your roots because if you have strong roots you can grow and nothing will hold you back,” he says. “It’s a welcoming image that people can identify with, and it piques their interest to find out more about what we’re doing.”
The design is the initial piece for getting people intrigued about what they do in their spa, prompting guests to come in wanting to know more. The logo is an anchor point, but then they’ve got their color palette too, which is consistent from what clients see on their website through to the presentation they see when they come into the spa.
“Our space itself we use to convey a feeling through design,” says Craig.
Design work before Designed.co
Prior to working with Designed.co, Craig describes how they got design work done. “We shopped it everywhere, which meant it was super inconsistent and often kind of all over the place,” he says. “We didn’t have a brand book and because our design work was not where we needed it, we held back on social media and we often fell behind on our marketing schedule.”
Craig says they tried many options for getting design work done, including hiring freelancers or working with friends. Some of their key frustrations were:
- Keeping costs under control. The best designers were very good and produced high-quality work, but they were also super-expensive.
- Wasted time. Craig says they’d spend a lot of time having to educate a new designer about their brand, but they often just didn’t get it, or, they’d send a bunch of work that wasn’t great quality.
- Lack of consistency. Craig feels that a lack of consistent branding and design work meant they didn’t have a platform to work with. “How can you do the ten-meter dive if you don’t have a platform to climb up?” he says.
What did these frustrations lead to? “At the end of the day, we knew where we wanted to go, we just didn’t have the pieces in place,” he says. “We’d have scope creep, we’d spend more money than we thought, or we’d end up spending a month trying to work with someone who really didn’t have the skillset to produce what we needed,” says Craig.
Essentially, they worked with several different people, from those who did design as a side gig, to agencies that wanted $15,000 or more for a website package. In any of those cases, they found the experience painful and not conducive with getting what they needed.
Another frustration was the communication side. Craig and his wife, Marizza, are extremely busy between their businesses and raising a family. Communication with designers could be a painful exercise with emails getting lost in inboxes and having to hunt to find things that were sent last week. As Craig describes it: “I’ve got 27 threads and somewhere in here is the design I’m supposed to approve.”
Working with Designed.co
What are the benefits of working with Designed.co?
“We’ve now got a 12-month marketing calendar that we’re easily following because we have all the design elements we need in place,” says Craig. “It’s like plug-and-play now, whereas before we’d come up with an idea and maybe email a friend who’d take a while to work on it and get back to us.”
Craig describes the entire process of working with Designed.co as a “complete shift” too. “There’s the dashboard that shows all of our projects and I can give access to files so that my printers or social media people can easily access design files in one place. That for us was hands down the best thing ever,” he says.
“From when we started working with Designed.co, Jeremy and the team just really got it and executed well on our vision,” says Craig. “It was important to us to be consistent across all of our platforms and we found that having a branding book for our business, created by Designed.co, helped. This guides us and keeps us focused on a “look” that is shared across all of our platforms – otherwise it can be easy to be distracted by other great designs!”
Working with Designed.co has also allowed Craig and Marizza to get more done. “We’re both typical entrepreneurs with a lot of ideas, but not great follow-through because we have so little time,” Craig says. “Jeremy told us to just sit down and spend an hour and a half inputting everything we wanted to have done into the portal and prioritizing it,” he says. “I tell you what, after that first month, we had so much done and it would have cost us much more before. Actually, we just wouldn’t have had all of that done in that time at all because our old methods of getting design done just didn’t work. It was a huge win!”
“Working with Designed.co is amazing – they promise big AND over-deliver,” says Craig. “Any small issues we’ve had have been resolved immediately, and I mean immediately!”
They’ve found that the whole process of communication and getting the design work they need to be much smoother. “Working with them is fun. When you take the communication failures out from working with a design team, you can focus on the design,” he says.
What final lesson did Craig learn from this experience? “We’re taught that if things seem too good to be true, they’re probably not,” he says. “What I learned was that sometimes they’re just good and it’s true! Stop being so skeptical – we develop a thick skin through being pitched constantly and we always look for a gimmick or catch. When technology is applied correctly in businesses, it’s transformative and that’s where Designed.co has found and solved a need.”
Schedule a demo with Designed.co here today.