Stephanie DeLacy | Tall Hair Creative
Meet Stephanie DeLacy, the creative force behind Tall Hair Creative, a full-service creative strategy studio based in Denver, Colorado. Stephanie prides herself on being a gifted writer, fantastic listener, and creative problem solver, and Tall Hair Creative is a platform where she uses her skills to provide women with the education, tools, network, and design they need to thrive as business owners.
Now, onto the fun stuff:
GET TO KNOW STEPHANIE:
1) I'm a certified yoga teacher and I was a political science major at DePaul University.
2) I have 10 tattoos. At least four of them are literary-inspired.
3) Two toes on each foot are webbed together. No one ever notices them until I point them out.
4) I've been to 25 countries, 11 have been by myself.
5) At this very moment, I haven't got my hair professionally cut or colored in a year and a half. I've been trimming my ends myself.....and it's not great.
Q&A Session with A Linderella Story
So, tell me about Tall Hair Creative!
Tall Hair Creative is a full-service creative strategy studio offering brand development for creative business owners. We help people grow into brands, and brands flourish into movements. We offer copywriting, website design, brand development, brand photography, content creation, and step-by-step business coaching. We're kind of a one-stop shop for courageous creatives.
How has Tall Hair Creative evolved since you started your journey?
Ahh. When I first started Tall Hair, I wanted to use my background in Organizational Development and my love of Human Centered Design. I wanted to offer Design in three ways - brand, organizational (consulting and workshops), and life (life coaching). But I think it was overly complicated. So I started to narrow my focus on brand development.
The most surprising change has definitely been offering photography as a service. Sometime in July of last year, I purchased a Canon Rebel, which if you don’t know is the cheapest DSLR camera you can get, and I started teaching myself the art of photography.
My original goal when purchasing the camera was to be able to capture pretty photos for my Instagram, in order to get more followers, and drive my traffic to my blog, which would *obviously* enable me to get a book deal in no time. But, I quickly learned that it was hard, if not impossible, to take photos of myself, especially if I didn’t know how to use the damn thing in the first place.
In order to teach myself, I started offering free photo shoots on Instagram to anyone that would let me practice, which was one of my best decisions I ever made! Photography has become big a passion of mine and it changed the scope of my business quite a bit.
You’ve made quite the transition from receiving a Master’s in Organizational Development to creating a full-service creative strategy studio. What has been most surprising about becoming a small business owner?
How much time you can waste! There are different types of wasting time too. There is time I spend doing something I've never done before, and learning it by doing it, like teaching myself Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. And there is some payoff to that, because eventually, you learn it well enough to not waste time. But you can also waste time trying stuff and "failing", like how I've spent dozens of hours applying to freelance jobs via Upwork, and all I got were the sound of crickets.
Once, I realized that I spent a day and a half designing a portfolio of my copywriting work that I could use to apply to freelance jobs. And while this got me some interviews, I still didn't get any jobs from it.
Eventually, I had to throw up my hands and say, "Yes, I might eventually make some money from this, but right now it's not returning any results and I have to shift my attention somewhere else.
Lastly, there is the time you waste by focusing on stuff that really doesn't matter in the long (or short) run. Sometimes I look up from my computer and realize that I have just spent 6 hours playing around with the font I use on my website, just to continue to be unsatisfied. But that's when I have to own up to the fact that I'm really only doing that stuff for myself. Maybe because I enjoy doing it (that's why I do it for a living), but it's also a safe way for me to stay busy without really putting myself out there. These activities don’t directly drive sales, so I am really trying to focus on stopping myself from those activities and put the vast majority focus of my energy on engaging with potential and current clients.
I think we all fall victim to wasting time. I like your aspect on the different time wasting-categories! What advice do you have for those itching to get into a creative field?
You are qualified. Hands down. 100%. I guarantee it. You are qualified to work and SUCCEED in a creative field.
I grew up in a very non-creative household. Don't get me wrong, my parents appreciate creativity, my dad loves going to concerts and my mom would take us to the art museum a few times of year. But, I have never seen anyone in my family (immediate or extended) play music, make art, write for fun, or anything remotely creative. When I was a kid, I had a yearning to write, but I was way to embarrassed to share it.
One time when I was 16, I started writing a short story on my laptop, and I remember my stepdad found it and read it aloud to himself, and kind of laughed while asking me what it was. I was mortified. I don't think my stepdad intended to make me feel embarrassed, but I think he was genuinely uncomfortable with seeing creativity exposed like that. When it comes down to it, my family does not appreciate or understand vulnerability, and whenever you do something creative, you are being vulnerable.
So going to college and finding a career, it never even occurred to me to do something creative. I strongly believed that I had to work for someone else in a very established organization. I thought it was the only way I could make a living. I knew I could do those things as a hobby, but it wasn't until I was fired and I started to really reevaluate my life and my values.
I started to accept that as long as I am vulnerable and resilient, everything will pay off in the end. I've learned that you don't have to be a master artist to be creative, or even make money from it. Start small and figure it out along the way.
More so, be vulnerable. Don't half-ass your creativity. If you're saying to yourself while making your art, "I hope people will like this", what you are really saying is, "I am scared to put my whole self into this art, because I am scared of being fully seen, so I am going to scale back." And that's a completely natural, very human thing to feel. Love yourself enough that you get over the fear of being fully seen.
Finally, don't give up when it's hard. Don't give up when you've failed. You can rest, reflect, and change directions— but you cannot quit.
How do you stay inspired when you are constantly inspiring others?
I have a wild media diet. I read a lot. Books, but also blogs and articles and I listen to a lot of podcasts. Everyone I follow on Instagram inspires me in some way, at least most days. I love television; I think it's one of the best storytelling methods. Also I find inspiration by simply talking to friends and letting them know what's going on in my head. Meeting new people can be really hard for me and my anxiety, most of the time it's not as energizing as I would hope it to be. But talking to people who know and love me, and having an open and honest conversation with them, is one of the best things I can do to get my creative juices flowing.
What can the world expect from Tall Hair Creative in the next year?
I love this question! But I also don't have a very good answer. What I would really love to do in the next year is establish a clear niche. And I don't mean focusing on one service. My adult ADHD is very real and very strong, so I will always love working on a million things. But, I want to get really clear on Tall Hair’s exact unique value proposition and our niche target demographic.