Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenna Olsen.
Brenna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Thanks for having me! I started my career at a branding agency in San Francisco in which we worked with huge clients like FedEx, Coors, Skyy vodka, Citibank, Westfield Shopping Malls and many more and I jumped in head first to everything branding. I came back to San Diego in 2008 and I have owned my graphic design business since 2009. I had a lot of different clients and have gotten to do a lot of unique work but was tired of exchanging time for money. I eventually offered a new business model to my bar and restaurant clients and gave them the option of unlimited design services for a low flat monthly cost. They ate it up and CRG (CheapRestaurantGraphics.com) was born. I quickly grew CRG to service bars and restaurants across the nation and am happy to report it is flourishing. Our clients love the value and quality they get for an amazing price.
During all of this transition, I became a mom and was suddenly thrust into a situation in which I had less time to do anything. I immediately became obsessed with productivity and making the most of my time. Simple things started to frustrate me that took too much time or did not work both personally and professionally. I immersed myself in books and podcasts that focused on business, productivity, working from home and time management.
It was around this time that my second child was born and during an exceptionally high-stress morning with two kids, a full-time business and a husband that travels for work, I found myself struggling to get outerwear and a blanket on my baby. She was 6 months old and not having it. I thought, there had to be a better way. That afternoon I grabbed an old sheet out of the closet, cut a few holes in it and threw it over my daughter’s head. She sat there content and warm and my wheels started spinning. That was the day I had the idea for what would become the Chilly Child – a patent-pending wearable baby blanket for babies and children on the move.
Today, CRG is working with amazing clients all over the nation and I am still the president of that business. Additionally, Chilly Child will be launching in November 2019 in time for Christmas. I have been blogging about how my first physical product is being developed and the curveballs I have been thrown along the way. You can follow along with my blog, https://www.mommingout.com/ or follow @chilly.child @mommingout or @cheaprestaurantgraphics on Instagram.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Ha! If you could show me one person that is trying to start or maintain a business that has had an easy time doing it (especially with children in tow), I would be shocked! The truth is none of it is easy and every day there is a bump in the road. Some are small pebbles, some are massive potholes, but we keep on keeping on because we are moms, we are driven and we are passionate about what we are doing.
My number one piece of advice is just to start. Start today. Don’t wait until everything is ready or perfect because that will never ever happen. Start now when things are messy and pick up the mess as you go.
Also, know that you are not alone, there are other like-minded people out there. Surround yourself with people that lift you up and believe in you, even if that means leaving some old relationships behind. No one knows what you are capable of as much as you do. Believe in yourself, believe in your idea and know that you are the only one that can stop you. If there is a will, there is a way, don’t be afraid to adapt. Don’t be afraid, period.
Please tell us about Chilly Child, Momming Out, Cheap Restaurant Graphics – what should we know?
I am known for branding small businesses, namely bars and restaurants. You have seen my work all around San Diego like the logo and menus for Barleymash in downtown, Mavericks Beach Club in Pacific Beach and Sandbar in Mission Beach to name a few. I love branding and logo design is my specialty. Now that I run CRG, I do less of the designing personally but still work creatively in art direction. I have a really talented team that makes CRG look really good too. We are experts at customizing graphics to fit your brand rather than to fit our personal graphic design aesthetic. Through CRG, I am most proud of the value we bring to our clients and the response we get from them. Every week, I get a message about how happy someone is with some aspect of our service like the timeliness or the design work and that is a really good feeling.
Personally, I am the proudest of the fact that I was able to grow a new business and start a new one while juggling a family. Parenthood is the real deal. It is gnarly, there is nothing like it. You always have to be on and without a strong support system, it would be borderline impossible. Hats off to all the single working moms out there, I don’t know how you do it. I am extremely lucky to have an amazing husband who supports my crazy ideas and is the best dad out there. Without him, none of this would be possible.
I am also really proud of Chilly Child. I kind of jumped into something I knew nothing about and ran with it. It hasn’t launched as of this interview yet but will within a few weeks of it coming out and I have to say that it is really rewarding to do something new you believe in, even if it scares you. It was a huge leap of faith both financially and mentally, but we are almost there now and I am so excited to see what happens.
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I definitely do. I grew up with extremely hard-working parents. They never took a day off unless they absolutely had to. Their work ethic is so admirable. They really raised me to be independent and hard working. I started working young and never stopped, sometimes working two jobs at a time. I also played a lot of sports growing up which had a big impact on my drive and competitive spirit.
- CRG graphic design services start at $295/month. Unlimited services are $495/month.
- The Chilly Child launches in November and will be available at chillychild.com starting at $49.99
- Website: https://chillychild.com; https://www.mommingout.com/; https://cheaprestaurantgraphics.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @chilly.child, @mommingout, @cheaprestaurantgraphics