How I Become a Founder and Creative Director?
My name is Antonella Brunetti, the Founder and Creative Director of Melao Studio, a brand and digital agency located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We specialize in branding, brand communication, and social media. I graduated from High School with honors, thinking that Medicine was my vocation. But when I started college, I´ve realized that even I loved helping others, and that was my major goal, I needed a more creative career choice (I’ve always loved painting, acting, dancing, but I thought of those activities as “hobbies”).
So I’ve started studying Fashion Design. But two years later, I felt that was not enough for me. Half a year later, thanks to a lot of therapy, I’ve finally decided to go for Graphic Design! Finally, 5 years later, I became a Graphic Designer, graduated top of my class at the University of Buenos Aires, happy and proud of my decisions. As a graphic design student, I’ve realized that I needed to gain some experience in the field because here in Argentina, Graphic Design (with experience) is highly demanded buy without experience (even if you’re still a student), nobody wants you.
Every Job interview I went to, they told me that I had a great portfolio and loved my work, but that I lacked experience, so they wouldn’t hire me ( here my wonder was the following “if none of you hire me, I would never gain experience” so it was like “the chicken and the egg problem”). So, one day, I thought outside the box. I had the courage to email a CEO that had recently interviewed me and told him that I didn’t mind the money, that I would love to go and work as a trainee, and that my major goal was to gain experience……and he said the magic words: OK! SEE YOU ON MONDAY! =) so that’s how I got my first job!.
Since then I have worked in different agencies, studios, editorials and I loved it!. Through those years, I´ve realized that I was a good designer, but I especially provided excellent customer service and love to interact with clients and coworkers. So I talked to another graphic designer who was a good friend and started getting our own freelance clients after office hours. First, we´ve started working for people we knew, designing business cards, logos, and flyers. We´ve realized that we loved working together, and clients were very happy and recommended other potential clients. We opened a Facebook fan page, created a website, and worked hours and hours after our regular designer jobs until we’ve decided that we wanted to stop being employees and started to be our own bosses
And that’s how my first design studio was created. 2 years later, our partnership and entrepreneurship were dissolved because working with a friend is not always as easy as it seems. After pouring so many tears and grieving for a lost friendship and business (we had many followers on our fan page), I’ve decided I had what it takes to build my own studio again. And that’s when Melao, my brand, and the digital agency finally was founded.
I’ve started again as a freelancer, working at a room in my parents’ house and meeting with clients at coffee stores. When I earned some money, I´ve finally rented a co-working space. This place was crucial for me because not only could I focus more on my creative work, but it also gave me the confidence to meet with potential clients, at a beautiful office, with coffee, candies, and colorful pictures all around us.
That how I´ve started gaining new clients, growing and building my own team. Now, we are 10 people working in my own studio. Some designers and marketers work with a monthly fee, and some are hired as freelancers for special projects. The key was finding a service that I could provide as a monthly fee (such as social media services, email marketing, and branding content) and loyalty programs.
My advice for you is: find what makes you unique and tell it to the world. Don’t be afraid of becoming a business person. Ask to be paid a percentage in advance for your services, and never sell short. You can do this!
Antonella Brunetti www.instagram.com/melaoestudio
Also read How I Started My Digital Agency