Anatomy of a Rebrand, Part 1

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life39 Comments
In 2013, I wanted to make a change for my business.

Part of that change included a better website and blog, one that matched my personal design aesthetic and gave me a place to share stories and promote my business. And as much as I’d like to jump right into that story, to understand where I am today, we must hop into the virtual Delorean and in the words of Huey Lewis, we “gotta go back in time.” Flux capacitor, fluxing.

The year was 1989. I graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas–Arlington and promptly went to work as an editor for an employee magazine of a chain of grocery stores based in beautiful Coppell, Texas.

It was my first taste of corporate America and it was a fine one at that. I learned how to write and edit copy about pressing matters in the grocery business, how to decorate a cubicle in a quasi-personal yet inoffensive way, how to wear white opaque hosiery with sensibly low-heeled 9 West pumps and how to make the most of the employee smoking lounge.

Then I met Daniel E. Zielske Jr. and fell madly in love. A move to the Land of 10,000 Lakes soon followed.

After a thankfully brief foray into selling men’s clothing, I went to work as an assistant editor for a small trade association magazine. In those days, editors wore many hats, including that of a graphic designer. They plunked me down in front of a charming Macintosh SE with a 9-inch black and white screen and said, “Now design what you write.”

That’s how my career in design began.

And whaddya know, it turned out I was a better designer than a corporate writer.

True, my background in journalism made me a very handy graphic designer. I could re-write copy when needed. I could spot typos (in others’ work FAR more than in my, ahem, own). I also had a true passion for photography so when push came to shove, I could get my camera out and at the very least, create images to help us in the design process.

But I really did fall in love with graphic design. With zero background in the field, I read and looked at everything I could get my hands on. From idea annuals to tech manuals, I immersed myself in the discipline so I could really BE a designer.

I was not artsy. I was not funky. I have always been linear and clean in my approach. But I decided early on that I would be a servant of the message at hand, not the focus of it. (Note: my therapist would tell you that I was the complete opposite in my personal life, but that’s for another post.)

Then I had a baby. Then I got a new design job. Then I had another baby. Then I quit my new design job because I just didn’t make enough to have two kids in daycare and feed them, too.

I enjoyed a year of not working which included being home with my baby boy and preschool girl, and a 9-month stint on Paxil. I knew I needed to get back to work in some capacity. Both my life and our bank account needed it.

I began to freelance for a handful of clients and for the next few years, managed to keep busy and bring in a little bit of income. And then in 2002 it happened: I walked into a scrapbook store and all Hell broke loose.

Some of you may know this story, or if you’re new here you don’t. It’s pretty simple. I walked into an Archiver’s scrapbooking store in Roseville, Minnesota, and fell deeply, madly and irrevocably in love with scrapbooking.

I bought some adhesive, a paper trimmer, some card stock and some patterned paper. I came home and made this:

And aside from creating two human beings, it was truly the finest hour my creativity had theretofore seen.

And yes, I heard a choir of angels in my dining room, the place I still scrapbook today.

And that was it. I was all in, baby.

But how did that lead to this? Making my living in the craft industry? Having a blog that became an integral part of my business? How did I go from making that first page to being here?

That story coming tomorrow.

 Read Part Two

Read Part Three

Read Part Four

Cathy ZielskeAnatomy of a Rebrand, Part 1

39 Comments on “Anatomy of a Rebrand, Part 1”

  1. #1
    Linda W

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new website! And the college pictures…..I thought they were your daughter’s! You two look so much alike…..unbelieveable! Can’t wait for your next class to begin. Keep up the good work!!

  2. #2
    Shawna Zervos

    LOVE the new site! What a fabulous story about the beginning! I can’t wait to read more tomorrow.

  3. #3

    Ditto on the comments – your site is GREAT! Clean, fun, awesome fonts, and the same CZ that I’ve come to know and love! Can’t wait to visit the new site daily!

  4. #4
    Carole J.

    How did I not realize part of your story took place in my own back yard in Coppell, TX?! Love the new website!

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      What? you are a Coppell girl? Minyard Food Stores, baby. I got a part time job with them at their corporate HQ during my last semester at UTA, then they hired me full time. Good memories, for sure.

      1. #4.1.1
        Carole J.

        Technically I’m right next door in Carrollton, but that’s really cool! I remember Minyards. Sadly, there are just a few left now.

  5. #6
    Paige S.

    The new website is wonderful. WTG!
    I love your story. Always have. I’m the Waxahachie Chick. And I graduated from UT Arlington in 1990!
    I wonder if we ever took a class together? Or passed each other somewhere on campus?

    1. #6.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Wow, well we were certainly there at the same time. I started there as a sophomore (my credits from UW did not transfer fully) in 1986. I took lots of communications courses. And remember the bowling alley? Yep. That was my Phy Ed credit. 🙂 And I was freaking GOOD.

      1. #6.1.1
        Paige S.

        I took bowling, too, during my very last semester, because I was 4 months pregnant and couldn’t do anything else. Felt like I was carrying two bowling balls and waddling up to the line. LOL
        The UTA campus has changed a bit since we graduated, but it’s still a great school.

  6. #9
    Christine K.

    Love the story so far. It’s sad that the 2 places where many people got there start are now out of business. I’m refering to Two Peas and Archiver’s.

  7. #10

    Your story totally grabbed me and now I have to wait ’till tomorrow?!!!!! Great to see your reference to Roseville as I’ve lived there and had shopped at Archiver’s many times. I’ve mentioned to my husband, many times, that we have a scrapbooking celeb living right here in the cities. Awesome! Great site – clean and simple!

    1. #10.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Ha! I just didn’t want to make an epic post about the process. 🙂 Roseville is one of my stomping grounds, sort of. Well, you know, it’s where Rosedale is.

  8. #11

    1) Why do we have to wait another day to read the rest?
    2) I didn’t know you worked in haberdashery. Can I wear footie-socks with my leather deck shoes?
    3) Why **aren’t** you the administrator?

    1. #11.1
      Cathy Zielske

      1). All good things to those who wait.

      2.) It was not a habitat for humanity.

      3.) I am the damned administrator. We are WORKING on it. Geez.

  9. #12
    Janet O

    You went to UTA? Wow, small world. I grew up in Arlington and went to Arlington High, down the street from UTA, grad in 86. Gee, maybe I ran into you at the Taco Bell on Cooper. HA.

    1. #12.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Cooper. Man, I probably ate there. Do you remember a woman’s clothing store named Paushé’s? I worked there during college.

  10. #15
    Karen Troup

    Loving the new site! One suggestion for my 50+ eyes – can the links to other sites (i.e small trade association; new design job) be a different color than gray? I am not being critical – I am just needy! You have totally rocked it!

    1. #15.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Karen, I know that is a little tricky. There are some things from the development phase that I signed off on already, so just hold tight. I may have to figure this one off on my own!

  11. #16

    Love reading your story! The site is looking so great! You have and continue to be such an inspiration. Thanks for all you do!

  12. #17

    UTA? What? How did I not know that after following you forever? Can’t wait to hear the rest of your story tomorrow. What a tease.

    p.s. My daughter is a sophomore at A&M. You may have heard of that school while at UT? My baby is 1 year ahead of your baby. Breathe Cathy, breathe.

    1. #17.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Of course I know A&M. I moved to Texas and my parents did offer some choices, but only UT or UTA. I decided to stay close to home. And yes, breathing exercises? Needed right now.

  13. #19
    Nicole Norman

    Cathy – LOVE the new site. You may already know, and maybe you even mentioned it somewhere and I missed it, but your new blog posts aren’t showing up in Feedly. Even when I search Feedly for and try to re-add it, it still shows the “Please join me at my new online home” as your most recent post. I came over to check out the new site and noticed you had put up two new posts.

  14. #20
    Angela Ezzell

    Hi Cathy! I love the new site, and your writing style sounds more like you (even more pithy!). Your About Me page is awesome. : )

    Is there a way to click through blog posts without having to go back to the blog home page? I don’t see a link at the beginning or end of the blog posts to easily go to the next/previous one. Thanks!

  15. #21
    Jenny B.

    Love the new site! It is so you! 🙂 I have somehow missed over the years that you went to college in Texas. How did you end up at UT Arlington?

    1. #21.1
      Jenny B.

      Ah, just looked back through the comments and see that your family moved to Texas. So kind of your parents to give you your pick of colleges. 😉

  16. #23
    Carol Anne

    I fell in love with scrapbooking at the Apple Valley Archivers, and I was in heaven when they opened the Roseville store. I loved, loved, loved the Roseville Archivers — it was the only store that had a Scottie Dog die cut (I am owned by Scotties). I bought the die cut and framed it when they went out of business. It is a prized possession — a reminder of a place where I spent many hours of happy creativity.

  17. #24

    I love everything about your new website! This screams Cathy all over and it is simple, clean and beautiful. Followed you for a long time now and always learning something new. I’ll never get tired of your writing style and hilarious sense of humor. That is why I keep coming back for more!!!!

  18. #25
    Tina Richards

    I’m not a blogger and not sure when I think I’m blogging if I’m really blogging. How do you know these things. From my perspective when I tap post what I wrote goes out into the atmosphere somewhere so how can a few words that I type make an impact on anything or anyone?
    As you might guess I was born in 1958 and have had problems comprehending this virtual world much less navigating it. By the way, is there a class one can take to learn the ropes on blogging and card challenges? I’m just an outsider looking at a screen

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