Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I’m Denisa, the founder and lead designer of Kind and Ivy, a brand & packaging design studio helping sustainable and conscious businesses make a positive impact in the world. We mainly work with brands in the beauty, lifestyle, fashion and wellness industries.
What inspired you to start your business and where did the name Kind and Ivy originate from?
I’ve always been creative, ever since I was a child, and experimented with many different ways of expressing my creativity. After finishing my master’s degree in environmental science, I knew I wanted to do something that combined my love of being creative with my desire to help others be more eco-conscious - and so Kind and Ivy was born! I wanted the name to reflect my belief in always leading with kindness and love of nature, so “Kind and Ivy” felt like the perfect fit.
Tell us about your Mission, Vision, Ethos, and Commitments.
Our Mission as a design studio is to help businesses create a positive change in their industry, for a kinder and greener future; we want to empower business owners and entrepreneurs to have the clarity and confidence they need to be able to make a big impact with their audience, while also making a small impact on the planet. A lot of our commitments and brand values come from my own personal values: putting people and planet before profit, leading with kindness and providing value.
What challenges did you face when starting Kind and Ivy?
I’m a perfectionist, so learning how to navigate that as a business owner was hard in the beginning, and still is sometimes. I didn’t want to put anything out there (such as publishing my website, sending that brand presentation) until it was “just right”, so I spent many hours in the beginning going back and forth. But as my skills and confidence grew after every project, it became easier to quiet down the perfectionist side of me.
How do you start your mornings?
I love slow mornings! I love waking up early and spending the first hour of my day quietly and slowly. This fuels me so much and gets me ready for a productive workday, that always starts with looking over my to do list on Notion and setting one intention for the day.
Tell us about the way you work and your design process.
My design process is very collaborative and starts with an in-depth brand strategy stage, which helps us create a brand that’s not only beautiful, but that also has substance. Most of the brands we work with want to make positive, substantial changes in their industry or community, so the strategy stage is essential for us to know how to get them there. I then move on to the creative stage, where I craft a brand identity that truly communicates their brand mission and values. I usually have a few meetings with my clients throughout this stage, as they get so excited seeing their new brand come to life.
How do you ensure your clients respect eco and ethical commitments?
I am so grateful to say that I haven’t worked with a client that has not respected my brand values and I think that’s due to the rapport we create in the beginning. The brands we work with usually have the same ethos and commitments as Kind and Ivy, as they are the brands we want to work with the most. But I always have a virtual meeting with potential clients before we decide to work together, as I like to get a sense of who they are as a person and if we’d be a good fit.
What is your favorite thing about working with sustainable brands?
My favorite thing is hearing brand stories and goals. I love seeing the passion and drive that leads people to open their own business, and all the things they want to accomplish through that business. It’s always so refreshing to listen to and so inspiring.
What has been your proudest moment as a founder?
Probably seeing one of the brands I designed on the shelf of a store. There’s something quite surreal about seeing your packaging designs out on the shelves, among other big brand names.
Words of advice that have been most valuable to you as a founder?
The best advice I’ve ever received came from my business mentor: embrace the slow seasons. There will always be slow seasons in business, so learning how to see them as an opportunity and make the best of them was a game changer for me (and my mindset). I love to use this time to reflect on my business, make plans for the future, and get all those nagging tasks that I keep pushing back finally done.
Any future plans for Kind and Ivy that you can share with us?
We are currently working on more ways for brands to work with us, especially for young brands that might not have the means to invest in full brand development. We are due to release a workbook to help you build your own brand at the end of this month, as well as professionally designed semi-custom brands towards the end of this year.