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The Hustle

Name: Bree Swezey (Authentic Edge Design)

Bree Swezey developed her love for graphic design in high school. She traded the North Star State's brutal winters for the Sunshine State's endless summers more than a decade ago, and began her work in the Tampa Bay area. After the loss of her mother, Swezey combined her skill with marketing and design with her desire to help women start and grow their businesses while bouncing back from their own traumas. That was the start of Authentic Edge Design. Swezey helps entrepreneurs and creatives like herself through graphic design and marketing services. When she is not working, she can be found volunteering with the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation.

Media

Years in St. Pete

I have been in the area since 2004. I'm a transplant from warm Minneapolis, Minnesota, and originally from Ohio.

Hustle (job)

I am a graphic designer and founder of Authentic Edge Designing Company

What do you do?  

My job is graphic designer and marketing consultant/business wingwoman for female entrepreneurs who are launching their company and have gone through a major life event. This is any life event – whether you've gone through a death, or a personal illness, something that you're struggling with – I want to be there to figure out the next steps in aligning your purpose, your passion and your career.

Why do you do it?

I started my company about one year after my mom passed away. I needed more flexibility and time to be with my family and friends. I do it so I can help others who are kind of in the same field – they've gone through something, they're doing something day-to-day that they're not loving, and they want to make that change. I love helping people be able to launch that business or launch that career, to make that next step.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I got started with graphic design in high school. We – surprisingly – had an art class back in the day when computers were still big and boxy. I really loved art and I was always looking at commercials, thinking "Oh! I can do that better." Not that I think I necessarily can, but I love helping get that idea across a little better. The way that you're limited with just words on a page, I love to bring that more to life for people and help them get that out there.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

I think a lot with designing and marketing, creating logos and branding, everyone thinks is pretty easy. "How long does that really take? You just throw something down on a page. I can go do that in five seconds on Microsoft Publisher." But there's a lot of story that you need to tell through your logo that can be evoked throughout your brand. Subtle intricacies in the logo and design can really bring that to light. It takes working with someone and getting to know them, not just putting a word or their favorite color or something into the Internet and trying to piece it together.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

I think the most challenging part of my Hustle is that I love working with creatives. It's just reigning them in. As a creative myself, sometimes we go off on tangents, but we eventually bring it back home and really work on the process together. At times, the process can be long, but as long as we can get there in the end it all works out.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

The best piece of advice I got at a conference a long time ago: "Never stop learning." Even when you're complacent in your career or where you're at in life, it's always important to keep learning. With this job, social media, software, everything is always changing, so I'm always trying to learn what's out there, what's new. Even in life in general with different hobbies and interests – it's always helpful to be a well-rounded business.

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