We're so excited to share our updated brand and website with you! For those of you who may be new friends of The Welcoming District, I'd love to share our journey with you through our first year and a half!
The Welcoming District was founded in 2015 with the hope of helping others give beautifully curated gifts and making our nation's capital a warm, welcoming place to be. I started brainstorming this dream of mine in January of that year while working as an Event Manager at a hotel in Washington, DC. I wanted to create gift boxes that welcomed out-of-town guests with local goodies you could only find here. I spent months curating products by shopping locally, researching online, and using publications like Virginia Magazine and The Scout Guide. Local farmers' markets and Union Kitchen definitely helped, too. It took about eight months before I had a website up and running; it all just couldn't happen fast enough!
During my first year, I absorbed as much knowledge as I possibly could, made plenty of mistakes and quadruple the friends in creative businesses. It didn't take me long to realize that the direction I started wasn't the direction I wanted to continue going. Retail was difficult with perishable products and orders that weren't planned. After receiving a few larger orders for corporations and events, I knew that bundled orders were where I wanted to focus my time and energy. I also wasn't completely happy with my visual brand. The logo was great, but I was using a lot of bright colors of which I quickly grew tired.
In February of this past year, I was asked to participate in my first wedding styled shoot. It was to be held in March at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club. The planner and photographer asked me to create a welcome gift in a wooden gift box with soft blue colors inspired by the bay. I was so excited to be included, but I had to ask myself if this is where I wanted The Welcoming District to go. I knew that my current brand wouldn't match what they were asking, but after some soul searching and wrestling with different ideas, I decided to start offering a new look and products. Below is the gift I designed for our Chesapeake Bay inspired shoot. (Image by Lauren Werkheiser Photography.)
That styled shoot helped me get noticed by another event planner. While in Charleston for my cousin's wedding, Kate from Ivy and Honor emailed to invite me to design a gift for a steeplechase inspired shoot. I was so excited about the theme that I had the entire gift planned in my head before the wedding reception was over. The pretty equestrian styled gift is pictured below. (Image by Mary Neumann Photography.)
And, as you guessed it, that shoot led to being invited to design a welcome gift for another styled shoot. The next one was held at The Loft at 600 F with a color palette of gorgeous pinks and blues including model Jessica Likas as our bride. It didn't take long for our work to be published on the Washingtonian's blog as well as on The Wedding Chicks. The DC inspired welcome gift is pictured below. (Image by Photography By Amy Nicole.)
In between styled shoots and orders coming in, I began to work with other creative entrepreneurs who wanted to build their brands through gifting. It became one of my favorite types of gifts to design and helped these new friends grow their businesses while blessing their clients with fun surprises that made them feel appreciated!
After working with my new clients, I knew that the website with which I started was no longer serving me well. The pictures, text, layout - it all needed updated. I wanted to plan ways to improve the customer's experience and update our logo with a more artisan look. The "WD" mark was a piece of my branding that I loved from the start. It is classic and timeless. I was more interested in updating the fonts to match the refreshed look we were now going for. Below is one of our original logo's on the left with the new on the right.
I also decided to start making wooden calligraphy signs to expand the brand and offer more to our customers. I'm going to write more about that in my next post, but will share with you another logo that was created because of our new offerings.
The Welcoming District has grown in so many ways over the past year and a half. We hope to serve you all whether it's helping you gift or inspiring you with ways to #giftwithallyourheart. Making people feel welcome and included is so important to us - we really do believe that love and inclusion can change the world for the better. Thank you so much for your support, encouragement, and friendship. We hope you love our rebrand as much as we do!
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