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  • Writer's pictureJen Schmaltz

Boutique Schmoutique!

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

What's in it for you... when you choose a small (but mighty) boutique design studio?

I've gotta' be honest, I struggled with the word 'boutique' before finally taking the plunge and putting it on my first biz cards, just a little over a year and a half ago.

With words like 'artisanal' being bandied about by fast food chains and 'small batch' at risk of being cleverly co-opted by big box stores... I certainly didn't want to join the ranks of disingenuous nomenclature.

But you know what? I'm a solopreneur, gee-dee-it, and yes, I am also a boutique agency... ahem... studio (because there is only one of me 'in the studio').

And {now} I love it! I totally own it. Boutique fits perfectly: who I am, what I do, and how I deliver my one-off-knock-your-socks-off design goods to my clients.

Okay, sounds great Schmaltzee... but what does boutique really mean anyway?

And what value will your Schmoutique-y-ness bring to my life? My brand?

You ask, I answer!

The TOP FIVE reasons to choose a boutique shop – if it's mine... even better – for your next design and branding project.


In a one woman show (gawd, I hate that term, I should delete it, but I type on)... Okay, how about this... as a solopreneur the buck stops one hundred percent with me. Missed deadlines, random type-os, soft 404 errors (yup that's a real thing) all start and end with moi. There is no one for me to throw under the proverbial bus except little ole me. And I sure as heck don't want to have to do that.

So, I'm structured with timelines and expectations, I'm exceedingly thorough with proofing and approvals and I will over-communicate the hell outta' what I'm up to, where your project is at and what is expected of you next.

This type of ownership works for me, and seems to work for my clients too, who are able to sleep at night knowing a plan is in place and their brand is in the capable hands of someone who cares... a whole awful lot.

"From a small seed a might trunk may grow." – Aeschylus

The Takeaway: Small is the new BIG. A whole lotta' power, momentum and creativity can come from a single concentrated source.


No, not the headstrong bad kind of pride. Okay, well my stubborn side could show her face if you want to use comic sans in your layout, that one I might dig in on. But that's pretty much a whole other blog (stay tuned...)

I'm talking about the pride and passion – and intensity – that I pour into each project. Every shred of paper with your logo on it and every digital asset that houses your brand is something both client and designer should be mega proud of.

Sometimes the road to get there is rife with iterations, collaborative changes and in-depth discussions about font size, but the end result is oh-so worth it. Don't let the design intensity scare you. I'm really like a little cute bulldog, you can't help but pat my head when I bring you the final proofs on time, on budget... and of course: ON BRAND!

"Though she be but little, she be fierce." – William Shakespeare

The Promise: My process is fuelled by a passion for precision and backed up by ooodles of industry experience to deliver high quality and relevant results for your brand.


While I wouldn't consider myself a real risk taker, I would definitely put myself in the category of envelope pusher. In life I've always marched to the beat of my own drum, and I've been lucky enough to leverage that sensibility in my work. Bringing to each project and interaction just a dash of 'je ne sais quoi'.

There is nothing worse than boring, humdrum design, with obvious copy that is trying to speak to everyone.

Better to knock the pants off a targeted and totally engaged audience, with visuals and voice that really resonate. And if we take a few brand appropriate design risks in the process that is a very good day!

"If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary." – Jim Rohn

The Expectation: Our journey together will be one of surprise and delight... never a dull moment with me on your team.


Oooh... am I ever a stickler. Ask my family. Then again don't. They'll have too much to say on the subject, like my excessive label-reading, persnickety coffee selection, the cushion curation for the new sofa... the list is endless.

Suffice it to say, I have a thing about quality. It has to be good, or it's no good to me.

Lucky for my clients, I can apply such aesthetic benchmarks and discernment on your behalf. In other words: I'll be incredibly picky when it comes to your brand. So picky in fact, you may (at times) secretly wish for a sloppier, less astute designer. But trust me, it is all worth it in the end.

"Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort." – John Ruskin

The Upshot: I will cherish, nurture and love your brand, like it is my own. And will only send it out into the world absolutely screaming of quality.

5. LOVE!

Okay don't go getting grossed out on me. I'm talking about the kind of client-designer intimacy that creates a priceless shorthand when working together. When we embark on a design journey for your brand, we ARE going to get to know each other! Because the truth is, I won't have it any other way.

This wee boutique of one is brimming with love not only for design, but for people. It's often the obscure gems I mine for in discovery sessions or random tidbits that bubble up during informal chatter that greatly inform the process and the results.

So if a designer not getting all up in your personal life –How many cats do you have? Do you like your mother-in-law? Coffee addict or tea enthusiast? Favourite shoes of all time? Have you ever howled at the moon? – is just too much probing, then we might not be a fit.

If this kind of fraternizing sounds too icky for you and your business. Get back on the google and get yourself a big-ass agency. No harm (no body contact) no fowl.

"From a tiny spark may burst a mighty flame." – Dante

The Deal: From mind-reader to apt listener, hugger to truth bomber I'll be there for you... AND, you get awesome design for your brand TOO!!!

Sure, at the end of the day, it's true, I am just one woman, but that is exactly how I like it. Don't get me wrong, I collaborate with lots of other entrepreneurs and experts to access their talents and abilities, both inside and outside of business. I'd be stupid not to!

But when the brief arrives or the deadline looms, it's this girl that's going to get the job done.

So, if you're looking for big agency results, with a warm and fuzzy boutique feeling... I'm your girl! (Hint: You should check out the packages here).

Jen Schmaltz... that's the name! Branding and design... that's my game. *


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