Spotlight: Kim Barron

Hometown:
Born and raised in Stamford, CT. Yes, I can remember downtown Stamford BEFORE there was a mall.

I live with:
My youngest daughter Emma who is 17, my husband Denis and Sadie, the cutest little dog that ever lived. I also have two adult children Denis who is 33 and lives in San Francisco with his new bride and Briana who is 27 and lives in Boston.

Tell us about the work you do. How did you wind up here?
I own and run a full service graphic design business. I focus primarily on digital and print work for corporations, higher education and non-profits, although I do also have clients who are small to mid-sized businesses as well.

My first job ever was working in a very small print shop in Rowayton, CT as a production assistant. There was a young woman there who was our freelance designer who was super creative and artistic and would come in to work on her own schedule, most of the time in jeans or shorts and flip flops. I thought to myself “whatever she is doing I totally want her life!”.

From that point on, and with the benefit of a few serendipitous events, I started learning all I could about design and began taking full-time jobs that allowed me to use and hone those skills. With the birth of my youngest daughter in 2000 I asked the company I was working for if they would allow me to work from home in order to extend my maternity leave, and they agreed.

I had a great relationship with them and I was pretty much working completely unsupervised so it felt alot like I was running my own business (or so I thought!). I did that for about a year and was also doing freelance work at night. I eventually felt that that I really had all the skills I needed to be running my own business so I let the owner of the company know I was going to leave to start my own business and asked him if they would be interested in being a client.

What I didn’t tell him was that I NEEDED him to be my client in order to make this work. Fortunately for me he agreed and for many years they were a big part of my business. In retrospect it amazes me how boldly I followed my intuition that this was a good idea and everything would work out. And that I convinced my husband as well! This year will be my 18th year in business and I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of it.

What did you want to be when you were a little kid? How does that play into the work you do now?
I was a pretty creative kid. Always drawing, painting, sewing, building dollhouse furniture… I loved to lose myself in things like that. I always wanted to have some kind of artistic job and thought I would become an art teacher. When I was young we used to have an old standard typewriter and I would take the children’s books that I had on my bookshelf and recreate them by retyping the stories and redrawing the illustrations. Looking back it was kind of a precursor for design and layout that I do now.

What problems do you solve for your clients? 
Graphic design is really about organizing information. So the bottom line of what I do is help clients communicate messages to their audience(s) through visual means in an organized, easily digestible, aesthetically pleasing way. I think my clients feel confident that they can hand over to me what feels to them like a tangled mess of information and content and know that I will come back to them with a beautifully designed deliverable that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Tell us the best part of what you do. 
I think what I love most is that I get to work on a variety of different projects with a variety of different kinds of people. I have been very lucky to have the most wonderful clients and so many different kinds of projects. There is really never a dull day. My business has grown primarily through word of mouth and for that I am very grateful.

What’s your personal motto or mantra? 
No ego. No attitude. Just design.

Who’s your role model? 
You know, I don’t think I have just one role model. I can honestly say the women entrepreneurs that I have met over the years, especially through EWC and groups like it, have been the best role models. I admire them, have learned from them, been mentored by them, hired them, laughed with them and at times cried with them. They remind me constantly why I do what I do and reflect back to me the joy I feel in being a part of this amazing, crazy, inspiring group of women business owners

Where’s your favorite place to relax? 
Oh, definitely on the beach in North Carolina. I get shivers just thinking about it.

Tell us a favorite accomplishment. 
I would have to say my three kids. I know every parent thinks their kids are the greatest, and I’m no different. And like other parents, as they were growing up I wondered almost all of the time if I was doing the right thing. But now that they are older and I see the great things they are doing in the world, I can take a deep breath and relax a little and let myself believe that my husband and I really did do a good job. Sometimes in spite of ourselves. 🙂

How can clients work with you?
Feel free to call me at 203-962-1636 or email me at kim@newleafgd.com.