When Tia Ramey (Fashion Design, 2011) was a student at Columbus College of Art & Design, she learned business skills that helped her start a successful social media marketing agency called Ramey Marketing. We recently asked Ramey to talk about how her CCAD education has helped her as an entrepreneur. Here’s what she had to say:
Every day at my social media marketing agency, I use skills that I can trace back to courses I took at CCAD. I was a sophomore when Facebook launched; back then, social media wasn’t seen as a business tool, let alone a career. But that hasn’t stopped my education from shining through my company every day. What are the most important things I have learned and what do I encourage every student to not take for granted?
- Time and Project Management: All-nighters may not end after graduation. Every client, like every class, has different deadlines and requirements. You don’t have to be the most talented or the smartest, but being efficient is everything. You may not have to pull all-nighters if you master time management. In college, not delivering gets an F. In business, time is money; delivering to multiple clients on multiple projects means multiple paychecks. So, take project deadlines seriously and prioritize correctly.
- Customer Service: Each client, like each instructor, has individual needs and preferences. Being efficient in marketing and advertising means understanding clients’ brands and how to deliver designs they like. Otherwise, inefficiency means burning tons of hours on redesigns. Knowing your instructors’ preferences will later mean knowing your clients’ preferences and providing excellence in products and customer service.
- Quality Assurance: Attention to detail was important in my design courses. Learning to be intentional and mindful of color, balance, etc., leaves less room for error. Whether we are writing a blog or creating a Facebook ad, we don’t have room for typos or other mistakes. We have seconds to make a good impression on the internet via high quality work before potential clients move to the next item on their newsfeed. So, before you deliver your projects to your instructor, and later to clients, follow a chain of command or a checklist that will keep you on track to produce quality work.
- Reducing Churn: A key lesson as a design student is to learn how to take criticism. I’d thought that ended when I walked across the stage at commencement, but it had only just begun. Once we design ads or create content, those documents go to the clients and later come back with clients’ feedback. We often love our designs the way they were when we sent them out. But, it’s not about what we like; it’s about what our clients like and how they want their brands to be represented. To learn from instructors and to keep clients happy, we humbly take their feedback, make the changes, and deliver.
- Innovation: I struggled in color concept and didn’t quite understand what my instructor wanted in a certain assignment until I was told to research and study an artist’s work. My takeaway was that it’s OK to look beyond our own talent and limitations in order to be challenged and to discover what we’re really capable of. When we are approached by a new industry or market, we research that market and see if we can connect with it to produce compelling content and results. It’s OK if we don’t understand immediately; answers are just a book or an internet search away. In my business, if we want to be inventive and solve problems, we have to know how to research and we have to be open to growth by exploring territories and resources outside of our experience.
At CCAD, we pick majors and spend our time focusing on them. In the meantime, we’re learning many universal art and design principles that will help us across the board. In business, it’s the same: companies produce different products, but they all embrace the same principles for success. In my field, we work with multiple brands, industries, and markets using identical principles for design. I hope you will learn to recognize the principles you need to succeed at CCAD are the same ones you’ll need to succeed in business. Your reward in letter grades now can later translate into paychecks and referral opportunities for business growth.