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Community Highlights: Meet Christina Shay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Shay.

Hi Christina, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My life started in the suburbs of Chicago in a small town called Oswego, but I have always been determined it would not end there. As a high-energy kid excited to do everything, suburban life never really suited me. Playing competitive soccer on a national tournament team was a natural fit, as it instilled a love of building something better and being a leader within me. When it came to creativity and competition, I always had a foot in both worlds.

I couldn’t wait to escape and see how the rest of the world lived. So it was no surprise that I found myself far away from my little Midwestern town – off to the deep south of Alabama for college. When I was accepted to Auburn, there was no looking back. I felt honored to be there and worked multiple jobs throughout my academic career to stay afloat. From selling clothes at Dillard’s to working the register at fast-casual dining spots, every working experience taught me something new and helped me learn to be patient while building a path to my dream future.

Academics were actually really hard for me and I had to study constantly to keep up with the pace of everyone around me. Luckily, I quickly learned my writing skills translated well into business writing and sent me on the path to pursuing marketing as a career. After graduation, I entered the corporate sector and realized pretty quickly it wasn’t the right fit. I had amazing mentors and learned so much, but the magic was missing.

Creativity and passion were absent from the path I had chosen and I didn’t want to waste time doing something I hated. To my mother’s dismay, I turned down multiple corporate jobs offers to wait tables while becoming an event florist in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was incredibly stressed out by choosing a path that wasn’t a part of my plan. I had student loans, was trying to make ends meet, and knew this was a massive risk. I was completely following my inner guidance, even though I was terrified. After a little over a year in Colorado, my floral design aspirations led me to a shop in Seattle called Terra Bella Flowers.

Working in floral design was a life-changing experience for many reasons. The owner of this shop described herself as a “goth florist”, drawing inspiration from the moody Pacific Northwest and the Dutch Masters in the 1800s. She was vintage-yet-hip and brutally honest. I loved it. Working with my hands and being surrounded by artists was a new experience for me and truly brought me back to life. It allowed me to meet different aspects of myself that I didn’t know were there. I quickly began taking on side projects to see what I liked the most. I did florals for an entire wedding by myself, I made floral headpieces that made it into a Kodak film campaign, set designs, creative photoshoots and so much more. I was so out of my comfort zone the entire time and I loved it.

I thought a path in formal business was no longer an option until witnessing the many hats creative business owners wear. I saw a need for unique marketing help that I could definitely provide. I also quickly realized that having a career in floral / event design would limit the amount of travel that I wanted to pursue. I needed a way to merge my need for creativity, business, and the ability to roam freely.

Luckily the owner of the flower shop took a chance on me with their email marketing and the rest is history. I began building my client base in the Seattle area by connecting with wedding vendors and photographers in the role of a brand manager. I started off by managing their business systems, writing blogs, newsletters, social captions, on-site styling, video content creation and so much more. It was A LOT but I knew I had to hit the ground running to gain momentum and figure out what stuck the most! After two years of offering a wide variety of marketing services, I decided to niche down to what I love doing the most: writing.

Today, LUCEO is an organic growth marketing studio that serves conscious leaders who create impact. The mission of my work is to creatively assist leaders and businesses in raising the vibration of the planet. I’m here to help share stories and create connections. My services include content strategy, email marketing, and search-engine-optimized content writing. My approach is based on the belief that sustainable marketing builds brands and businesses that last.

I deeply admire those who have the courage to follow their heart and create a unique path. Even though my work is just beginning, I feel wildly grateful to be of assistance.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Starting a business from scratch is not for the faint of heart. I felt completely overwhelmed in the beginning and lacked boundaries with my clients. I said yes to everything because I knew I was green and needed as much experience as possible. It was messy at first, but I got to know myself on a deeper level. When everything is on you, there is no hiding or blaming. It was fantastic for my personal development!

I feel excited to step into this next season of business with well-earned wisdom and laser-sharp focus.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about LUCEO?
What truly sets LUCEO apart from other agencies is the longevity of relationships. I thrive on building long-term relationships with my clients. One of my superpowers is quickly understanding the needs, writing tone, and style of my clients. After knowing each other for a short period of time, there is usually little communication needed to knock out deliverables that make the client feel proud and deeply seen.

Due to the special nature of my clients, I only have two spaces open for the rest of the year! If these services sound like the right fit, please email me at christina@luceo-creative.com. I’m eager to connect with the remarkable leaders and businesses of the Denver community!

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
My greatest lesson from starting a business at the beginning of Covid-19 was to be strategic. Having a solid foundation before going full-time with an entrepreneurial pursuit is wise. I had no idea the pandemic was around the corner and had just quit my full-time job to pursue my marketing studio. Thankfully I have grown my business by 100% each year but it has not been easy! I had to hustle 10 times harder and use a credit card at one point to make it through. Creating a sustainable plan for success is sexy! I’ve learned that building slowly allows your work to be more potent and effective.

My greatest personal lesson is to lead with compassion. We’re all going through it. Be kind when you can.

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Image Credits
Jon Taylor Sweet florals – Sandra Coan Photography

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