We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly McElroy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, what do you attribute your success to?
I’ve found success by embracing (and sharing!) my ‘out-of-the-norm’ way of thinking and appreciating the world. I’ve never seen things the way that others do, which used to make me feel like an outsider, but has now become one of my greatest assets as a business owner! I’ve always questioned and ultimately rejected the ‘old way of doing things’– whether it comes to design, running a business, parenting, personal style or anything else for that matter. As a designer, my job is to translate each client’s unique vision. That means truly listening to the intended message and aesthetic he/she is hoping to achieve. Unlike many designers, I never box-in clients with trends or bland templates– which means each and every project is totally unique and custom-made with love! This appreciation, as well as my own background in Fine Art, has led me to connect with some of the most inspiring creators– psychics, painters, makers, artisans, etc. and seeing their dedication & passion firsthand is what inspires me to create my absolute best work (& never compromise!) through this crazy entrepreneurial journey. I’ve forged my own path through art & business, which has probably taken longer than the ‘expected’ route… but in doing so, I’ve discovered a much more meaningful destination. My business is now truly aligned with my original dream & intention, rather than anything I thought I ‘should’ be doing before I decided to take the leap. I love supporting people that may have been told their dream is too ‘out-there’ or ‘weird’, and setting them up with the beautiful visuals needed to make it a powerful reality!! This judgement-free acceptance & celebration has created long lasting client relationships, lots of repeat work, and an unmeasurable amount of purpose in my daily life!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started as a Fine Artist that craved a problem to solve. Leaning into this love of finding solutions led me to eventually fall in love with Graphic Design and the appeal of creatively translating a direct message & aesthetic through visuals. While working as a professional designer in the industry for the past 10+ years, cranking along at agencies, freelancing on the side, as well as designing for ‘big name’ companies like Disney & Element, I’ve always maintained my love of art and handmade, passion-filled work. So when I took my business full time and launched Star Castle Studio, it only made sense to tie my art background into my design process and client offerings! My experiences allow me to truly connect with my clients and meet their unique needs as no other designer could. It was hard for me to accept the ‘expected’ way of running an online business. I’m not a fan of Facebook, I loathe the stale predictability of Canva templates, and I avoid design trends like the plague, choosing to focus on client intention and passion instead. I truly believe the best way to make the biggest impact online is through having 100% custom visuals made just-for-you & your brand. I can’t count how many times I’ve had this notion dismissed as unprofitable by other business owners… I ignore the judgment and continue making one-of-a-kind work for my clients facing the same type of naysayers. I pride myself in ensuring that Star Castle Studio celebrates the transformative magic that occurs in a truly explorative approach to design. There’s no such thing as too ‘weird’ or ‘out there’ in today’s world. There really is a market for everything, you just have to speak directly to that unique audience and use your brand visuals to make an unforgettable impression. 🔥
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Lots of Starbucks runs and late-night chats. Assuming quarantine is over, we’d visit the beach a few times, go to the mall and spend more than we probably should, and eat out at a few fancy restaurants. My little beach town has a ton of great ones that over scenic ocean views and outdoor eating 🙂 We’d go on walks, swim in the pool, and enjoy the florida sunshine! + Have a painting party and bake delicious sweets 😀
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So thankful for my parents for believing in me and encouraging me to commit to my dream. Also would never have gotten to this point without the loving support of my husband, the purpose our little one brought to our lives, and bunny snuggles from our fur baby, Pepper! 🐰
Headshots by Ariel Marie Photography, arielmariephoto.com