How to begin: My first real project

Piggybacking on last Thursday's post about How To Begin Freelancing, I'll share how I began to take freelancing more seriously.

During college I had freelanced for a lot of wedding clients, created brochures, designed logos for family businesses and created some illustrations for a swim school. I dreamed of creating some actual projects and worked night and day to add to my portfolio.  Fast forward to graduation when I receive an email from Elizabeth Dehn, who described herself as a beauty junky with a new skincare line and signed her email 'don't think I'm some crazy who's just mixing up lotion in my kitchen.' 

From the first email I knew that we would get along perfectly. I was used to being very formal in emails to clients (thanks to Career Services and my mom) but Elizabeth's email was more like friends conversing. A lot of how I currently run my business was determined from this project and relationship. Elizabeth knew she needed someone local, young and with a clean aesthetic so she searched on AIGA/Behance and stumbled upon my page. I'll be talking more about pricing in another series of The Freelance Life later but found that an itemized quote with a range of time clearly explained all the work that would go in from my end and why direct feedback in a timely manner was so important. 

After we agreed to work together, Elizabeth sent over inspiration she loved and why she loved them. I was beyond thrilled to get to work but guess what... my first attempts were a total flop. Looking back I can clearly see where I went wrong - I tried to over design. Elizabeth was amazing at redirecting and pulling out things she did like. Phase two of Elizabeth's project went much better.

During this time I also took a trip to India, got engaged, moved into a house and landed an internship. Elizabeth's labels continued to change as I stumbled over InDesign, understanding how to pass off files to the printer and keeping everything consistent. I applied all the new knowledge I was learning at my ad agency internship to make the labels perfect. I focused closely on the details - spacing, content rag, consistency and created better file formats. 

The final labels turned out amazing and truly represented the product that Elizabeth created. 

Kayd Roy - Elizabeth Dehn Skin Care.jpeg

The new skincare line was featured in magazines, raved about online and ended up on The Dieline. My portfolio gained so much attention during this phase that I received (and sill receive) many emails to help other businesses with design work referencing this project. 

What I didn't realize at the time of agreeing to this project is that Elizabeth knows just about everyone in MInneapolis, especially women who are entrepreneurs. Shortly after the project launched I was contacted by Christina to help with some design work for her business Style-Architects, and that design relationship has been going on strong for 3 years now! 

I couldn't have asked for a better client or project to take my freelance career to the next level. 


Due to the manufacture closing, the original skin care line is no longer available. But because the product was out of this world One Love Organics quickly collaborated with Elizabeth to bring you Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics. The packaging... beautiful. The product... simply amazing.