The Big Reveal – We’re Starting a New Company

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Career

I’ve been bursting with excitement the past month. In July, Charlie and I made some big changes that we’re going to officially launch in November after the wedding. Because of this huge change in our lives, it has forced us to really think about our future TOGETHER (which makes me so happy!). Yes, we’re excited for the wedding but we’re even more excited about what lies ahead for us.

In 2005, I started my event planning business: Daydreamer Events. We specialized in the planning and execution of social events, mainly weddings. In 2007, Charlie and I formed Inked Print & Graphics with the goal of creating a graphic design agency for small businesses. While DE was my focus and Inked was his, we saw ourselves crossing paths and sharing business responsibilities for both businesses. After attending MTH in November of 2010 it dawned on me, we should combine the businesses!

While this might not be a clear connection for some, it was clearly the right move for us. Both being in the creative field, Charlie and I came from FIDM with Graphic Design degrees (hence our Inked company). During college I held 2 jobs in the wedding industry which introduced me to my love for the business (which led to my creation of DE). Throughout the 4-6 years we were in business something just felt “off.” I knew that we had jumped into our businesses very quickly with no clear plan when we started. We were a very typical start up, one with lack of planning. As time went on and I learned more, I quickly realized that this wasn’t the way to go about a business. I then tried to set up a business plan for both businesses while trying to tackle our clientele but it still wasn’t working. I was finding that there were things that were already in motion that I later discovered I didn’t want to pursue.

During this time, I realized that I wanted to start fresh. I realized that I wanted to pursue something creative, both in the wedding and graphic design industries. I loved creating concepts for events and executing them. Showcasing the personality of each client through art, functionality, and aesthetic. Weddings should be about the couple, and I knew the goal of my company was to showcase just that. Every wedding we did from then on had 1 theme and objective – to showcase the couple through design. That’s when it hit me, branding and graphic design has the exact same objective as events. Our goal is to showcase the personality of the owners and what the company stands for through design. It was like a lightbulb that went off in my head!

Charlie came up with the name: Charlie Ortega and Carissa Ortega: Creative Cartel (CO: Creative Cartel). We decided to have 2 branches of this company, one for branding and graphic design and the other for event styling. We’ll be offering logo design services, marketing collateral design and printing, business card design and printing, web and blog design, among other things. The event styling company will be specializing in custom pieces. We’ll be offering comprehensive design services on-site as well as create custom lines that people can order from online. Our online shop will consist of different products with a design concept that people can purchase and give to their designer. Vases, cake toppers, hanging decor, wall decor, etc.

So when, do you ask, will all this be available? We’re planning on our official launch on Nov. 8, 2011. We’ll have our website up and ready to view. Soon after, our blog and online store will be available as well. We have a lot of fun things in store for people to be able to access online. And slowly, we’ll be revealing little by little prior to the launch what we’ll be up to. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates!


A New Roof – The Intro to my Goals as a Woman, Entrepreneur, and Future Wife

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business

Well hello, Internet! Long time no see. Forgive me, everyone, it’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged and read blogs. But I promise it’s for a good reason. :)

The countdown continues! Charlie and I are getting married in 4 months. Check out our wedding blog here. Since the beginning of June, we’ve turned the dial on Wedding Mode onto HIGH. Decoration projects, payments, more deposits, more vendors, more guests…more More MORE! Honestly, Charlie and I just can’t wait to be married. We’ve been waiting for this day to come for a long time so we are more than excited for this day to come already. If I could forgo all this planning, I would! (Ironic, I know)

I truly feel that this wedding will mark the day of an extreme change in the both our lives, personally and professionally. I know most of my posts on here have been pretty casual and personal lately, but I assure you that the working wheels in my brain are still turning. Business is what I love, business is what I do..and no matter how many personal things I have going on business will always be a passion of mine. That being said, I think I’ve come to learn a thing or 2 about where I want to take my career from here…

1. My personal and professional life are forever intertwined. It’s not a “job” if you love what you do.
2. I’m passionate about art, design, and creativity – especially when it comes to weddings.
3. I’m passionate about helping people.
4. I love evoking emotions through sight.

Though I’m not ready to reveal what’s going to happen, all those things above are going to be incorporated under a whole new roof. Oct. 8, 2011 is going to mean even more than it has before. It’s going to be such a life changing day and the closer the day comes the more excited I am for what’s going to happen after it.

God has truly blessed me. He’s given me this time to really reflect on my goals as a woman, entrepreneur, and my future goals as a wife. He’s slowly revealing what I know is my destiny and my life’s purpose. As Oct. 8 begins a new life for Charlie and I, it also begins a life full of love, happiness, success, and passion.


Redefining my Businesses

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business

When I started Inked and Daydreamer Events, I had no idea where I would end up. I was a young girl with a dream of being a business owner. Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of both my parents, it was inevitable. I was going to own my own business. Let’s just back track a little bit in time…

Honestly, I didn’t want to own my own business. I remember telling my mom and dad when I was younger, “I don’t want to have to work on the weekends!” All the way up until my last year of college, I was sure that a 9-5 job was my destiny. Until one day, I can’t even remember what led me to this decision, I decided to start a wedding planning business. 2 years later, Charlie and I opened up our partnership – Inked.

Though there were (and are) times that I wonder if it was the right decision to be a business owner rather than working a regular job, I always find passion in my businesses. I was on the verge of closing them down many times, but something just kept me from doing so. Today, I’m so glad that I chose not to.

My business has evolved through the years. Being a newbie at starting a business allowed for me to start with a completely blank slate…COMPLETELY blank. I let people guide me to where I thought I wanted my business to be, which was good and bad. It helped me to really dip my feet into different aspects of my business which led me to really refine my plans. Plans that speak more of what I want to accomplish…not just in business but in life. I have finally let go of all the expectations of others and have now stepped into a door where I have a clear picture of what I want to accomplish, not what is expected of me.

For those that might feel they are in the same place – wanting to redefine your business to be a clear description of you.

1. I sat down and wrote all the good and bad since I started the businesses.
This is harder than it looks. I had to be really honest with myself. Writing down the good was the easy part. Writing down the bad, now that was tough. I had to be open to the fact that there were mistakes, there was failure, there was a learning curve. When I wrote them down, it made it real. But after reading it, it was kind of like a sigh of relief. Knowing that I’m not perfect and I don’t ever have to be, knowing that I did experience it and it has helped me to become the person I am today, knowing that if I share it with others like me I can help someone.

2. After I let that sink in for a day or so, I started to evaluate my life (personally and professionally) to figure out what I REALLY want out of all this.
This isn’t just short term, but for the long run. Where do I want to be next year, in 3 years, in 5 and 10 years? Thinking about this in a personal and professional stand point instead of just one or the other helped me gain real perspective on my life. Sometimes my goals personally didn’t match with my business goals and vice versa. This led to making decisions I didn’t (and don’t) want to make, but I know it’s for the best. And that gave me the strength. This is an ongoing task that everyone should always continue to work on. Sometimes there are changes in life that will give you the need to reevaluate and update as you go. This is a great thing!

3. Now this is the hardest part of all. Putting all my lists into ACTION!
It’s one thing to write all about what you WANT to do, but it’s another thing to actually DO it. We can all talk about the great ideas we have, the plans we are making, our hopes, and our dreams. But until we actually work (work hard) at it…that’s exactly what it is: TALK.

So much has changed in the span of 5 months. Things will continue to evolve and I am so grateful for everything that has happened, good and bad, so far. Without these things happening, I wouldn’t have built the character, personality, morale, faith, and want that I possess today.



Inked has a New Look!

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Career

For the past month, I’ve made some difficult decisions in my life. Life is changing personally and professionally. To be honest, I don’t know how I’ve been able to hang on as long as I have. Since then, I have seen more clarity, bonded closer to God, acted on my ideas, and reevaluated my professional career.

The moment I decided that I needed to make a change, I set myself up with a plan. A realistic plan. I’ve been working really hard to give all my businesses a new look, new feel, or new aura for 2011. I’m so excited for the new year that I can hardly contain myself. Soooo, I’m going to give a little sneak peak of what’s in store for Inked. Though I’m still a week and a half away from being ready I’m so floored! I’m so thankful for these last few days of 2010 as it has given me time to think, pray, and figure out what I want out of next year.

Inked is going to be taking on a new leaf in 2011 with 2 divisions of the business: Inked Print and Graphics and Inked on Paper. Inked Print and Graphics, in its 4th year of business, will continue to offer business solutions while Inked on Paper will focus on wedding and event invitations and personal stationery. Though I have been doing invitations on and off for the past 2 years I think I have finally found my calling in the world of graphic design and have decided to focus more time and energy into this facet of our business. Did I already mention I.AM.SO.EXCITED?!

So here’s a sneak peak of what I’ve been working on for the past week. I’ve been coding up a storm and finally have the websites where I want it. All that waits for me now is our launch on Jan. 1 and finishing up my collections. :)

I have forgotten my love for web design. Thankfully being a business owner has given me a chance to continue to work on this art. Ah, web design, good ol’ web design…how I love it. Not flash based web design, but true SEO compatible, fully coded, CSS filled web design. Gotta love it. More on this later. :)

Happy holidays everyone! Whatever holiday you celebrate, celebrate it with love, laughter, appreciation, and gratitude.


Inspring Space

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Personal

Because of this whole house debacle, my office has been put on hold. Since we’ve had to begin our search for our home all over again, I kept telling myself it seemed pointless to unpack all my things only having to pack it all up again once we find our new house. So I left it, unpacked, unarranged, uninspiring. Looking at the space it looked like a tornado of paper, nicknacks, and JUNK had hit the back half of our living room.

But thanks to an inspiring conversation with Eve from Oohlala Weddings I decided it was time to make some changes, even if I have to pack it all up again later.

It feels so good to have my office back. It feels serene and a place where I actually want to spend time in.

Anyone else want to share what their office looks like? :)


ME – Kissa – Entrepreneur

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Career, Personal

I’m taken away..taken away to a place I have not had the opportunity to visit for a long time. And I miss it here.

I anticipated it before I even walked through the Westin LAX that yesterday would be a life changer. But I was wrong. It wasn’t just that. In a way, it was more of a “taking me back to a life that I was happy with” sort of day. A much needed reminder…no…eye-opener. But enough of that. Yesterday’s events deserve its own post dedicated just to that. Stay tuned for that later today. :)

I am itching, though, to show off ME. And yesterday is helping me to investigate who that is. I’m not really sure who “me” is just yet. And I don’t know, maybe it’s just going to be a continuous soul search. What I’ve come to realize is that’s okay. I need to appreciate and love who I am now, who I was, and who I will be. Thank you to everyone that touched my life yesterday. I have all of you to thank for that.

Yup, this is me. HELLO WORLD! Nice to meet you. :)


What the Hell is Going on?!

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Career, Personal

2011 is fast approaching, I know you feel me on this one. Before I know it November will be over. Thanksgiving, Black Friday festivities, a move to a new house, a long string of shows and performances, and a possible vacay in Vegas will be behind me. And yes, you guessed it, that’s JUST November’s agenda. Then here comes December, with the Christmas shopping, the holiday card printing, the orders of pastries by the dozen, the time with family and friends, the parties, and the hustle and bustle that everyone goes through to end the year “on a good note” as a good omen for 2011 comes in a near second in the race.

Well, I’m no different. I want to set that good omen for next year. Today, a few minutes before I decided to write this post, I am making plans. The days of my living day by day are now over. The plans for the future are what’s most important, and first on the agenda: PRIORITIZE. I’ve got to funnel some things out. I have to evaluate what is most important to me and make the magic happen. I’ve realized 2010′s theme was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. So for the record, it ends here. I’ve got to do my damage control, clean up a few messes, capitalize on opportunities, and start running. I’ve got to make the decisions, hard decisions, that will shape my future and be good for the long run instead of search for instant gratification now.

My life is changing and though I know this it’s hard to admit. Sometimes the things I hang on to is that part of my adolescence, my start in my career, the things people tell me I shouldn’t let go, but have to. As time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult for me to figure out where I belong. And I think these 2 months left in 2010 will be a push in the right direction. Okay maybe not a push, because I feel I’ve already got that. But more of a momentum to keep me going. Thankfully I’ll have the Make Things Happen Tour coming up in a week. I think it’s coming at just the right moment in my life.

SO, here is me. Just me. Being proactive. I’ve made this myself and the internet. And I know what I’ve got to do. So beware, step 1, I’m coming for you.


Blog Cheating

Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Personal

It feels wrong. Doing something similar with another party. I’m not the victim, I’m the one that acted upon it. I’ve never been the victim in a case like this and I’m very thankful it’s never happened to me. This must be what the mop in the Swiffer commercial feels like.

Yes, I’ve decided to pack up my bags and move to a new blog. *sigh* I’m working on it as we speak and I’m very excited for it! It’s something much more custom and something I feel will scream my personality which is very important to me. When it’s ready I’ll start posting up there and probably take my favorite posts with me.

But like I said, I feel like a cheater. One window has my new blog open and in edit mode all the while here I am in another window typing in an entry. But I’ve got to keep blogging! I can’t help but do it. Sorry, blog, I hope one day you’ll forgive me. It’s not you, it’s me. :P

Thanks Blogger! You’ve truly been good to me. You’ll move on, I’ll move on. We both know it’s for the best.



Author: Kissa  :  Category: business, Design, Weddings

Recently, I partnered with Envelopments as another option for invitations and stationery. I have been a big fan of their items for a while now and have recently made a decision to become a dealer for them, and I’m so happy I did! I received their design studio a few weeks ago and love the way everything is laid out. The moment I received it I couldn’t help but skim through the books and all the information. I’m so excited to add them to my services.

Folks, if you haven’t seem their papers and options brace yourselves. There are so many possibilities and there’s more coming soon! I’ll be working on my own samples in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for the pictures!

A Dreamer’s Guide to Life: Business pt. I

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, business, DG2L

Yet another topic I can write (and talk) about forever…yes, EVER! Business. After all, it’s the “American Dream” right?! Well, I don’t know if it’s the “American” dream, but it’s definitely a dream of mine and many other people. Business is what makes the world operate. Meaning it’s what provides people with jobs, education, items that we need to survive, and more.

Business: n. the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce

I’m all about business. I live, think, breath, and dream about business. I love talking to business-minded people, hearing what they have to say, their ideas, it’s all very exciting. I own 2 and help operate a third. I’ve even got another one on the way! Why do I love it so much? Because possibilities are endless. You can make anything a business. As long as there is a need, you’ve got a business. And that fact with such an open ended answer is something that drives me. Crazy? Yes, some times. Actually, many times. But in my opinion, all of it is worth it. So, you interested? How do you get started?

1. Have a concept. Believe in that concept. As long as there is a need, your business can thrive.
2. Name your business. It can be straight forward, it can have hidden meaning. As long as it’s not too difficult to pronounce, you’re good. :)
3. Write a business plan. This is a very, very important step to your business’s success. Many people think that writing a business plan isn’t necessary because their business is “small” or they’ll figure it out when they get started. WRONG. Having a plan for your business, no matter how small or large, will spearhead you into the right direction. Sure, I’ll admit, the unexpected can (and probably will) happen. You might even fall off track or need to update your plan, that’s okay. Hire a business consultant to write it for you if you have to. Just make sure you read it. :P But outlining your goals for the start-up of your business will be a key component to your success. Trust me on this one.

Okay, let’s stop there. That’s enough to keep an entrepreneur busy for a while. Really think it through, take it seriously right from the get-go. Don’t “see how it goes.” Put yourself on the track for success. Think big in the beginning and push hard to achieve it. It starts with believing in yourself and what you have to offer the world. And believe me, you have a lot to offer. I know, I know. I sound cliche and over-positive, but I’m not lying.

For more information, a great resource is the Small Business Administration website.