Artisan Blog

Gift Ideas for the Creatives on Your List

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gift Ideas for the Creatives on Your List

Santa is not the only one making a list and checking it twice--we at Artisan have been finding some great gift ideas for the creatives in our lives all over. Wonderful design and clever ideas come together to make some really cool gifts this year:

You never know when or where your friend might get a brilliant idea, but if they jot it down in one of these Moleskine Evernote Notebooks, those ideas will never be forgotten. Take a photo with the Evernote Camera and their wireframe idea, doodle or blog topic will be saved in their online notebook as well as on paper. They come as journals or sketchbooks. 

Designers think in color and drink a lot of coffee to keep to their deadlines. You can combine the two with these Pantone Coffee Mugs or if they don't drink coffee but do love color and you have a pretty big budget, how about a full set of Pantone Color Swatch Books?

If your coffee-drinking friend is a copywriter, they might appreciate these mugs when they are proofreading. Sure to make them go "Arrgghh!"

And to keep all that coffee warm while they are working at their computer, how about a USB coffee warmer?

Don't know why I love them, but tea towels are some of my favorite gifts. These tea towels designed by former Art Director, Writer and Creative Director Emily McDowell are perfect for your creative foodie friends:

We were really inspired by this list of 100 Gifts for Freelancers at Design Blender and here are a couple of our favorites:

Solar Phone Charger--even works stuck to an airplane window! 

The 13th Edition of The Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines--Freelancers are always nervous about how much they should charge for their work and how to handle difficulties with clients. This should help in 2014.

Make their year with a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Only 8 days to Christmas! We would love to hear what your favorite gifts for the creatives on your list are this year!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Gifting to Your Network: LinkedIn Recommendations

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Gifting to Your Network: LinkedIn Recommendations

Wondering what to get your favorite colleague for a holiday gift? How about an amazing LinkedIn Recommendation!

Hard to request and rather intimidating to write, a polished LinkedIn recommendation on your LinkedIn Profile can be a lot more valuable than bath oil beads to a rock star member of your network. Here are some tips on writing something your friend will appreciate for years to come:

Don’t bury the lead--Just as with a great job description, if you don’t start with something compelling, a reader might stop with the headline. What is your friend’s best quality in her professional life? Put it right up front.

Ask for the target--If your friend has asked you for a Recommendation, find out what his next goal is and focus your recommendation on the qualities he brings from his past experience that would make that goal attainable. This is especially important if he is changing careers or industries.

Offer a preview--When I write Recommendations, I always send them to the recipient in an email before posting. Your friend might want you to mention a particular accomplishment. And another set of eyes proofreading for any errors is always a good idea.

Show your connection--Someone looking at your colleague’s Profile can figure out where you worked together, but don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Include the context of your relationship.
Keep it brief--Hiring Managers don’t have a lot of time. Pithy is best.

If you know that a colleague is planning a job search, looking for a promotion or making a change and you have confidence in his or her abilities, offer to write a Recommendation. Your friend will appreciate your proactive desire to help and not have to sweat about asking you first.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

5 Tips for a Great Office Holiday Party

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

5 Tips for a Great Office Holiday Party

The holidays have arrived and office parties are looming on our calendars. Artisan’s annual holiday luncheon is today, as a matter of fact. As much as we want everyone to have a great time at these festive events, we all know someone who has embarrassed themselves by making some unfortunate choices. Instead of sending a wish list to Santa this year, we would like to send you our list of ways to make your holiday office party what it should be--fun and successful.

  • Dress up--A little or a lot, depending on the specific event. Choose a festive accessory and do keep professionalism in mind.
  • Think ahead--Take the time to remind yourself of the names of co-workers’ spouses and children. Ask about activities they or their families like outside of work. Have a brief story ready for when you are asked, “How’s it going?”
  • Ask before you take photos--If you love to post pictures of life events on social media and want to take some here, make sure you have permission first, unless you are the company’s Social Media manager, in which case they’re probably used to you!
  • Keep it positive--The office holiday party is not the place for gossip or badmouthing. Happy holidays is the theme of the day.
  • Say thanks--The person in charge of the party has probably been under a lot of stress about it being perfect. Make sure to thank him or her for a lovely time.
Office parties are an opportunity to get to know the people in your company who may not be in your department, strengthen bonds within your team and make human connections that you don’t have time for during working hours. I know I’m looking forward to getting together with my Artisan colleagues today. Everyone at Artisan hopes that you have as much fun great time at your professional holiday gatherings as your personal ones.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Being Your Own Mentor

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Being Your Own Mentor

At Artisan Creative, we are big fans of mentorship. Artisan Founder Jamie Douraghy is passionate about mentoring and being mentored. There are times, however, when we find ourselves without a mentor for a situation we are trying to navigate. Can you be your own mentor? 


We went back and took a look at our interview with Jamie to see if any of his advice applies to being your own mentor:
  • Mentors help you learn from their mistakes. Make sure you don’t miss any opportunities to learn from your own.

  • Believe in yourself. Use positive language in your self-talk, just like the positive language you would get from a great mentor. You are capable of more than you think.
Some other ways to mentor yourself:

Consciously seek inspiration--Read, go to cultural events, practice activities that inspire you and bring you joy. Inspire yourself.

Explore career options--Your skills and passions may lead you in a different direction than you think. Let them.

Set goals and hold yourself accountable--Develop a system for checking on your own progress. Software that works as a tickler or scheduled email reminders work for us.

Seek out professional development opportunities--Learn new things and meet new people. You don't always need an introduction. Who knows, you might find a real-life mentor!

There are insights and encouragement that can only get from another person with different experience and a unique point-of-view, but even if you find yourself between mentors, you don’t have to give up all of the advantages a mentor brings to your professional life. Give yourself a present this holiday season--be your own mentor!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

How to Get the Best out of Your Recruiter

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Get the Best out of Your Recruiter

For some job seekers, recruiters are a necessity in their job search. If you’re working full-time, new to a city or generally unsure of how to approach prospective employers, a recruiter can turn what could be a long and daunting process into a pain-free and simple one. But how do you get the best out of your recruiter and how can you make the recruiting process an easy one?

Recruiters have to be prepared for the unexpected. Jobs can go on hold, candidates can change their minds, budgets can be cut and the market can be competitive. Working with a recruiter should work both ways. As a candidate, you should be up-front and forthcoming with information. After all, you’re trusting a recruiter to represent you to a future employer. It’s up to you to get the job; the recruiter just paves the way.
  • If you’re a freelancer, update your recruiter with your availability. Did you just get booked for several months meaning you’ll be off the market? Email your recruiter and let them know. That way they will know to get in touch when your contract is drawing to an end.
  • Realize that you may not be the perfect fit for that dream job you saw advertised. On paper, you think you have the exact qualifications and experience for a position, but aside from skill-set, there’s also cultural fit which, at times, can be equally important. You could be the wrong fit for a multitude of reasons: design aesthetic, years of experience, background, education, location. It’s nothing personal.
  • A recruiter’s day is a hectic one usually filled with multiple calls, meetings and a mountain of emails. If you don’t hear back from a recruiter right away it usually means that you aren’t the right fit for the particular job they need to fill that day. If you don’t hear back after a few days, follow-up with an email.
  • Be proactive. Send a bi-weekly email to check in with your recruiter and see if they have any new positions. Check their job postings regularly and if you see something you like, get in touch. If you know of a company hiring and think you could be a good fit, ask your recruiter about it. They may be a client or have an existing relationship.
  • Be honest and up-front about your experience and situation. The clearer you are about your experience and what you can and can’t do, the easier and quicker your job search will be. 
  • Refer people to your recruiter. Not only will your recruiter appreciate the gesture, it will forge a stronger relationship between you.
  • Engaging your recruiter doesn’t always have to be work-related. Connect with your recruiter on LinkedIn and Twitter. Invite them to industry networking events and make a connection outside of the office.

Working with a recruiter can be a great experience. Friendships and long-lasting business relationships can be built, so it’s important to choose a recruitment agency that puts candidates first. Have your own experiences or comments? Tweet me at @LauraPell_ or email at

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

The Big Move

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Big Move

Changing careers can be a daunting experience, especially if you are moving to a new city (or country, for that matter). There are many factors to consider. How do you decide if you’re making the right decision? Is it the job for you? Will you enjoy the new city? I recently moved from London, England to Los Angeles, California and decided to put together a few tips to help others making the big move for a new job.

Research: Whether you’ve already accepted a position or you’re hoping to land a job once you arrive, first things first, research. Look up agencies that specialize in whatever it is that you do. Contact them directly, introduce yourself and be honest. Do they have Yelp reviews? Where are they located? Look up employees on LinkedIn. Read their Tweets and Facebook posts. This will familiarize you with the company and if you can begin to visualize yourself working there, you’re off to a good start.

Get to know your company: Interviewing can be pretty scary and an unnatural experience for a lot of people. Suggest to your new boss that you grab a coffee or go for lunch, that way you can get to know one another in a more relaxed, neutral environment. Maybe invite your new team, that way you’ll have several new people just waiting to be your friend.

Explore: This is one of the best things about moving to a new city. Look at sites like MeetUp to see if there are other people who share the same hobbies as you. Los Angeles is a great place to explore! There are so many hikes to choose from (my favorite is the Hollyridge trail which takes you right behind the Hollywood sign) or new restaurants to discover. If you’re in the tech industry, check out groups like LA UX Meetup, UX Book Club of LA and Digital LA and start networking

Be patient: There will be times when you feel homesick and lonely but be persistent and patient. It takes time to settle into a new place, make new friends and see results from a new job. The times that you feel low will be the times that you put in the extra effort to make it work. Be willing to take yourself out of your comfort zone and throw yourself in head first. 

If you’re currently re-locating or have your own suggestions, we’d love to hear what worked for you. Tweet us @ArtisanUpdates and tell us what you think.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

Laura's Report from Website Weekend

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Laura's Report from Website Weekend

Tucked away in the center of China Town you will find Kleverdog Coworking, a shared office space for LA’s creative industry. This weekend it was home to Website Weekend LA, who were hosting their very first event – a hackathon dedicated to creating websites for non-profit organizations around LA. Always one to give back to the community, Artisan Creative sponsored the weekend and went to see the volunteers in action.

Speaking with one of the non-profits, Jonathan Skurnik, we talked about the importance of needing a website re-designed to increase coverage for such an important topic. “The Youth and Gender Media Project contains five films shown in communities around America aiming to improve inclusivity and train teachers, parents and students about how schools can be more tolerant towards students who are bullied.” Jonathan needed help with getting the message out there, so Website Weekend volunteers worked closely with him and presented ideas to build him the site that he needs to get that message across.

At Artisan, it’s vital to us that we give back to the community in some way. We’re active within the non-profit space, LA’s creative industry and as individuals; we try to do what we can. So how do you decide whether you want to give back and why is it so important

Skills: Not only do you get to help out with local organizations, it’s also a great place to acquire new skills and build upon existing ones. If you’re a designer, a developer or say, a project manager, there’s no better place to learn from new people and have new experiences when you’re choosing to help out. 

Career Advancement: Impress future employees by showcasing volunteer work. If you’re applying for jobs in a competitive market, there’s no better way to stand out than by having additional work experience. It’s also a great way to change career paths – if you’re struggling to get into a particular industry, try volunteering in order to get some relevant experience beforehand.

Networking: Volunteering is a great place to meet new people from all industries. Take the time to get to know people you’re working with – not only will you make great friends; you’ll also make some great connections.

Rewarding: The impact that volunteering has on your community is a positive and worthwhile cause. Find a cause that utilizes your existing skills and is also fun for you; see how rewarding you find it.

Website Weekend was founded by Natalie MacLees who is involved with multiple UX and tech meet-ups around the city. Thanks to Natalie, non-profit organizations that previously had no online presence can now have a whole team dedicated to building, designing and then teaching how to update and navigate their new site. 

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition for Artisan Creative

Networking After Networking Events

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Networking After Networking Events

Going to networking events--or industry events where networking is appropriate--can make all of us nervous at times. We feel like we need to have the perfect elevator pitch, the perfect outfit. We need to be outgoing but not overwhelming, interesting but not self-involved. Passionate but not too intense.

If you have managed to put all of that together and meet some people, the next steps may not be clear. Here are our tips for making that ten minute conversation the beginning of a real relationship:

  • Use your database--Whether you collected paper business cards or QR codes in your smartphone, add that information to your contacts and don’t forget to note where and when you met and a word or two about what you discussed.
  • Sort for follow up--Put each person you met into a category for a particular level of future contact. Do they need a simple “It was nice to meet you at…” or do they warrant an invitation for coffee or a request for an informational interview? 
  • Follow through--Did you offer someone assistance? Get in touch with them first thing the next business day so they know you were serious. And then follow through. It's very easy to let offers like this fall through the cracks, but those are missed opportunities. Think like an entrepreneur.
  • Send invitations--Invite your new contacts to connect with you on social media. Be sure to personalize invitations and remind them where you met and what you talked about. On Facebook, you can add them to a business-oriented list if you don't want them to see all of your personal posts, and then make sure you customize your posting status groups. Don't neglect LinkedIn!

Showing up at networking events seems like the hard part--and in many ways it is. But it can be a waste of time and energy to do all that if you don’t keep the real goal in mind--building relationships. 

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Don't Let the Fall Catch You Crying

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Let the Fall Catch You Crying

The Autumnal Equinox has come and gone. Our eggs have fallen over once again and--hard to believe after the recent weather in Los Angeles--it’s actually chilly, at least in the mornings.

Fall is here and with it can come a burst of energy reminiscent of the start of a new school year or a bout of anticipatory seasonal depression. Are you sad when summer comes to an end? Let’s take a look at why you might be feeling a bit low now that autumn has arrived and what you might be able to do about it:

Your Accomplishments

Maybe you didn’t write the Great American Novel or find a cure for cancer this summer, but you definitely accomplished something. Pat yourself on the back for what you did, even if it was more along the lines of refreshing and reviving your creativity for the fall.

Your Plans

You might have to give up swimming for the year, but It’s a new season for some great outdoor activities and now that it’s not so hot, they might be even more enjoyable. Take a hike in the mountains, go to the zoo, play in some autumn leaves and take some pictures. Get inspired.

Your Future

If you are on a job search, you might have gotten stuck in a rut over the summer or lost some momentum--many people do. Let the fresh fall air remind you of new school years of the past and try some new job search ideas. Go to some fall networking events and add some new people to your circle of colleagues. Take a class and meet some new people in your field. Find a new mentor or mentor someone else.

Your Goals

Rather than feeling like the end of the year is approaching and you are behind on your list, fall is a great time of year to revamp your goals. Do you still want the same things? What do you think you can get done by the holidays? Break down some of your long-term goals into smaller pieces and start in on those. You can get there.

Even in beautiful Southern California, it can get cool enough for a cozy sweater and a cup of hot chocolate. I’m going to enjoy this fall. How about you?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative
Check out our curated newsletter, Artisan Creative Weekly

Note: There is some controversy about whether an egg can only be balanced on the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. This blog does not take a position on that point. And you're welcome for the ear worm.

Tweet Your Way to a New Job, Part 2: Companies

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tweet Your Way to a New Job, Part 2: Companies

Last month we talked about using Twitter as a personal branding tool. We hope that you have set up a handle that gives people an easy way to identify and remember you and populated your profile with interesting and relevant information in case someone decides to find out more about you. We hope that you have also been Tweeting great content and engaging with people in your field.

Now it’s time to look for that perfect role.

You could spend every waking moment on Twitter looking for jobs--like job boards, there are so many listings, so many companies and only so much time. We don’t recommend this approach. A carefully limited strategy, however, could help you find the opportunities that are just right.

Target Companies

You’ve researched and found your favorite ten or so companies that you think will have the kind of culture you want, the right salary range, have a mission you could be passionate about and are in the right geographical area. They might have one Twitter handle or more; follow the accounts that are relevant to your search.

Search for hashtags to narrow your data even more. Some great examples to try:
  • #jobopening
  • #hiring
  • #HR
  • #employment
  • #jobposting
Engage with the people posting to your target company’s accounts. Retweet their content, comment on it and try to establish a relationship. It may feel tenuous, but it is real.

Every relationship has to start somewhere and Twitter is a great place to have a conversation with someone you want to meet but don’t know how or where. 

And if you want to see all of the Open Jobs at Artisan Creative in your Twitter Feed, follow us @artisanupdates and search #jobs. We would love to hear from you!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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