I'm Lauren Hooker

The graphic designer, business strategist, and creative entrepreneur behind Elle & Company.

 

I help creatives transform their passion into a successful, profitable business.

 

THE BLOG

The Elle & Company blog is a gold mine filled with step-by-step tutorials and how-to posts. I share 2-3 new posts each week, all geared toward helping you design, launch, and grow your business. Check it out...

COURSES

Teaching is one of my favorite aspects of this business. While I love writing and designing, courses allow me to go in-depth on topics like branding, visual marketing, and design software like Adobe Illustrator. Take a look...

THE NEWSLETTER

Once a week I send out an email with an actionable tip, insight, or strategy specifically for creative entrepreneurs. Think of it as an exclusive Elle & Company blog post in your inbox each week. Subscribe...

THE LIBRARY

Wouldn't it be great to have instant access to customizable business card templates, workbooks, and even a printable planner for your business? I thought so, too, so I created The Library. Learn more...

ELLECHATS

As a creative entrepreneur, you can't go it alone. These live, informal weekly webinars - Ellechats - cover pertinent topics within this industry and are chock-full of actionable tips for your business. Join in an ellechat...

COACHING

Hiring a business coach has been one of the best moves I've made for my business. Having an experienced, successful entrepreneur give objective, actionable insights is crucial for growth. Take a look at my coaching package...


 

My story

At the top of this page I told you that I’m a graphic designer, online business strategist, and entrepreneur.

What I didn’t tell you was that I never wanted those titles.

The graphic designer one, maybe. But the business strategist and entrepreneur part? I wanted no part of that. 

I grew up in an entrepreneurial household - my dad owned a gym in our small hometown - and I saw how much hard work, stress, and time went into running a business.

I spent many weeknights and weekends in my dad's office or the gym lobby with my art supplies while my dad managed employees, cleaned, answered phones, gave tours, and kept up with finances. Even when we were on vacation he couldn't get away from all the tasks of running a small business - he was always on call.

Members of the gym would occasionally ask me if I would take over for my dad someday and I always replied with an emphatic, "No thank you!"

I promised that I would never, ever own a business.

Instead, I chose to follow my love of design and it led me all the way to getting my BFA in Visual Communication Design from Virginia Tech in 2012. 

I landed a job at a startup right out of school as their sole graphic designer. I made a decent salary for a new college grad and I had benefits...

...but I also had a not-so-awesome boss. (Maybe you can relate?) 

I spent that year working for a company I didn't love, under a boss I didn't love, designing graphics for a brand I didn't love. So I did what any antsy designer who's unhappy with their day job would do:

I started freelancing on the side.

The more work I took on outside of my 9-5, the more appealing the idea of starting my own business became.

I quickly realized something I hadn't realized before: Many creative entrepreneurs start a business because they want to live out their creative passion on their terms. And that's what makes the long hours and hard work worth it.

For my dad, it started with his passion to see others live a healthier lifestyle. 

And for me, it started with my passion for design.

For you, it may have started with your passion for photography, illustration, blogging, cooking interior design, or any other creative field.

So passion is what got me started and gave me the boldness to quit my job and pursue Elle & Company full-time a little over 2 years ago. 

But strategy is what's kept me going.

I learned very quickly that without doing my research and learning more about the business side of creative entrepreneurship, I wouldn't be able to draw in clients and make ends meet.

I was in the red for the first 6 months of my business and searched for helpful resources to point me in the right direction, but I struggled to find any that explained things simply.

So I figured things out by trial and error. And as I came across effective strategies and tips, I shared them on the Elle & Company blog.

And that's when my business began to grow and change.

Now my passion is two-fold. It started as a love of design but it's grown to a love of helping other creative entrepreneurs turn their creative talents into a successful, profitable business. 

I'm so glad you're here and I hope you find the Elle & Company site helpful, whether it's through a blog post, weekly email, course, ellechat, or Library item. Thanks for stopping by!

 

* Photos by Sarah Pascutti Photography