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Meet Karyn Savory of Sweet & Savory Designs in South Denver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karyn Savory.

Karyn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ever since I was little, I dreamed of being an artist. As I grew older and was introduced to the world of graphic design, I knew immediately that it was my true calling and officially started interning at a local design firm in my senior year of high school. This new passion then led me to California, where I attended Cal Poly and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a concentration in Graphic Design. From there, I worked at various design departments, small firms and marketing agencies following my creative journey.

Eventually, the mountains were calling me home, so I moved back to Colorado and had to find a new path. After working a little while longer at a local design firm, I felt like I needed a change of pace. I had lost my direct connection to clients and the relationships that invigorated me and my work. I craved more flexibility to travel and no longer being stuck in the daily 9 to 5 grind. I had always worked best with leadership, a steady routine and a list of tasks to accomplish, but suddenly it felt too restricting. I guess I was breaking out of my shell and ultimately out of my comfort zone, desperate for a new adventure (in more ways than one).

The growing need for something different and a more fulfilling connection with my clients blossomed into a crazy idea that I NEVER envisioned myself doing in life… I was going to start my own graphic design business focused on all that I love in life; food, culture, and creativity. The story behind Sweet & Savory Designs began when my grandma, Dorothy Sweet, met and fell in love with my grandfather, Leonard Savory. He was her chemistry professor while studying at DU. You could say they not only had “chemistry,” but the perfect flavor profile for a fulfilling life together. Meant to be, the marriage of Sweet & Savory was officially rejoiced on June 10, 1947. Their love story then became mine. I like to think my name and its origin explain my obsession for all things, food and beverage. I’m always thinking about my next meal and the happiness it brings.

In celebration of my grandparents, my vision is to create memorable experiences and spread happiness to others through food, culture, and of course, design. My travels and love for food, paired with my creative passion, brought Sweet & Savory Designs to life.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not entirely. I’ve definitely hit a few bumps in the road, but none that I haven’t been able to push through or overcome. Financially, I was lucky enough to have a decent savings to dedicate to my business and all of my living expenses as things slowly took off. Without it, I never would have been able to quit my job and jump in to entrepreneurship head first.

Quickly enough, though, the financial stress started to weigh on me. I needed business and I needed it right then and there. As an introvert, I struggled with the idea of having to sell myself and my services. I hate feeling like I’m pushing anyone to do something without it having been their idea first, but I knew I had to start somewhere. I hit the ground running and started networking like a madwoman. I joined a variety of professional groups and attended as many social happy hours and events as I could manage. Marketing myself is still one of the hardest challenges I face each day, but I’ve found ways to do so without feeling too “salesy.” As long as I get out, connect with others, tell my story and be myself, business eventually comes my way.

Another obstacle that I still struggle with today is fear. Imposter syndrome is no joke. Am I really qualified to offer these services? Can I actually charge this much? Do I know what I’m doing? Was this a total mistake? The questions consume you and plant seeds of doubt in all that you do. This sense of doubt and uncertainty kept me from doing the necessary things that’ll help my business thrive. Things like ask for business, reach out to strangers and write a monthly blog. The best cure for fear, at least in my case, is to surround myself with a supportive and inspiring group of women business owners alike. They build my confidence, encourage me to trust myself, and lift me up when I’m down. I couldn’t do it without them.

Lastly, my health (both mentally & physically) has been a major roadblock. For years I’ve battled chronic headaches and told myself, “this is your normal… just push through it… you can handle it”. And I could handle it, but once I entered the entrepreneurial world, everything crashed and burned. The headaches got worse. I lost focus, I had no energy and felt like my body was controlling me rather than the other way around. You never realize how much you and your business are connected. It breathes life from you, so if you’re not healthy, happy and confident, you definitely can’t expect it to be. My friend is constantly reminding me that I am the number one resource in my business and I continue to tell myself that every day. I made improving my health my top priority and once I did that, everything else fell into place.

Please tell us about Sweet & Savory Designs.
Sweet & Savory Designs is an embodiment of myself. I’m a design connoisseur with a food fetish. As a graphic designer and self-proclaimed foodie, I help food & beverage companies create top-shelf visual brands that directly impact both the vitality of the business and the bottom line. This is includes restaurants, food trucks, food services, consumer packaged goods, breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more. Using visionary thinking, a commitment to excellence, and a deep understanding of the industry, I create everything a delicious brand requires. Logo design, illustration & packaging are my bread and butter.

Logo design and branding is my specialty. It’s not only my area of expertise but also my absolute passion. I find it invigorating to help create the image in which a business’ personality and mission shines through. Your brand is the most powerful piece of your business. It is the lifeblood behind your product or service that allows it to live, grow and evolve. It is more than just a name and logo. Simply put, your brand is your customers’ experience with your company. You want your brand to work for you and get you the results you crave and I love providing the tools to get there.

Illustration is another obsession of mine because not only is it a wonderful form of creative expression, but it’s an incredible tool for storytelling. Carefully curated custom illustrations can do wonders for businesses and make them stand out from the crowd. Label design and packaging is my favorite challenge. Our customers are wired to respond to the visual world around us, so I help brands harness the power of effective design and its triggers in all of their packaging & marketing efforts. Through fonts, color, layout, content and imagery, I’m able to help elicit a specific reaction, feeling, or decision from customers.

Sweet & Savory Design’s core values are definitely what sets me apart as a designer and design firm. My goal is to spread joy and simplify life for my clients. I provide innovative and scrumptious branding solutions. I create brands that inspire and captivate your customers. I use my industry knowledge and passion to guide your projects. Delightful, fresh, visionary and insightful describes everything I do and how I approach each job and client relationship.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel like my open-mindedness is my key to success. It drives the way I approach my relationships, my work and how I face challenges and find solutions. I believe this quality stems from having grown up overseas as well as my travels. Before high school, I lived in five countries; the US, Canada, England, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and each one has shaped the way I interact with life and all of its opportunities.

This overarching open-minded quality has naturally developed an abundance of other characteristics that define who I am. I am optimistic and hopeful. I am honest and reliable. I am creative with a powerful imagination. I am compassionate and highly empathetic. I am respectful and non-judgemental. I am considerate and trustworthy. What it all boils down to is that I CARE, with every fiber of my being.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Eric B. Johnson Photography

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