We had the good fortune of connecting with Sirena Carpenter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sirena, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’d been working in advertising agency settings for years and handling some very well-known accounts in the roles of Graphic Design, then Art Director, and finally Creative Director. Although I’ve always entertained the idea of starting a design business for myself, the pandemic was truly the catalyst for its inception. While I loved working on large- even some global- brands, it became more and more difficult to maintain tunnel vision and design for these big businesses while small businesses all around me were forced to close their doors for good. I understood a key difference between the big business success and small business failure: the power of branding. There’s a reason that big businesses pour millions into branding and marketing every year- it works. Small businesses too often view branding (and by “branding” I mean every single touchpoint where a potential customer may interact with a business and the overall impression it leaves upon them) as an expense, rather than an investment with proven ROI. My mission became clear: to take that agency-level experience branding big businesses from concept through production and scale it down to meet small business needs at a fraction of the cost of an advertising agency. Thus, Muse Creative was established, where I transform small businesses into big brands through Graphic Design and Marketing, Website Design and SEO, Social Media Strategy and Implementation, and more!

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
It was by no means “easy”. I wasn’t sure what career I’d pursue. I’ve always loved the arts, both visual and performing, but there were so many possibilities. I attended Savannah College of Art and Design and earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design with a concentration in Art Direction. I had every intention of working as an intern in an Advertising Agency I’d been connecting with and moved to Miami upon graduation to pursue it. At the eleventh hour, the internship was cancelled, and I was suddenly without a plan. With student loans rolling in and no income, I auditioned on a whim for the Walt Disney World Resort. I was hired full time as a performer and spent the next five years working long hours in the Florida heat and moonlighting as a freelance graphic designer after my shifts. Even though my days weren’t spent designing as I’d hoped, I was learning invaluable lessons on how to maintain professionalism in high stress environments and connect with people from all over the world in a matter of seconds. I also met hundreds of incredibly talented fellow performers who would later become business contacts. In 2016 I accepted an offer with an Atlanta-based advertising agency and worked my way up from Senior Graphic Designer to Creative Director throughout my professional design ventures.

In hindsight, this unique journey that was once viewed as a disadvantage is now what I consider to be part of my “special sauce”, what sets me apart from others and offers perspectives that I would not have had if I’d followed the traditional “college, intern, junior, senior” advertising career trajectory. Being highly adaptable, for me, has been essential in overcoming obstacles. I’ve also found that remaining open-minded to following a different path than you’d originally planned can lead you to exactly where you want (and need) to be, as well as offer you new perspectives and skills that will come in handy down the line.

What do I want the world to know about Muse Creative? I treat every client as unique. I don’t take a one size fits all approach to my service packages, because I understand firsthand that your experience and needs will not be the same as other small businesses, and even others in your industry. Your story is your own, and I’m here to help highlight what makes you and your business special so your customers connect with you and choose you over everyone else.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, I love this question. Atlanta has so many great places to show off to visitors! I’d definitely want to take time to show the many “cities within the city”, as residents understand that each part of town has its own distinct personality. For food, I love to take people to Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market, somewhere in East Atlanta Village (maybe Argosy), definitely an all you can eat sushi spot. Again, I’m trying to keep this list short but know that if we are having this conversation in person, I can rattle off dozens of great food spots! Drinks- there are so many hidden gems in midtown, whether it’s on a rooftop or a hotel bar, drink spots are easy to find here! Maybe for something a little different I’d take them to a speakeasy like Red Phone Booth or Roaring Social. As for tourist must do’s, you can’t go wrong with Piedmont Park or the aquarium, and for shopping I’d take them to Avalon and Halcyon. If there’s a Braves gave or Atlanta United match, we’d have to attend! I love that we’re also surrounded with nature, so I’d want to take them somewhere like Kennesaw Mountain, Stone Mountain, the Chattahoochee River, or along the Silver Comet bike trail. There are endless options for a great time for visitors. Actually, I have family coming in town from various countries this year, so this is good that I’m thinking about all these places! For anyone visiting, just search “events in Atlanta this week/weekend”, and you’re sure to find a festival, farmers’ market, sporting event, or concert taking place.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to Dan Fadida, who has been instrumental in helping me build and develop Muse Creative from an idea into reality. His business prowess and firsthand experience has saved me enormously in time and from making common mistakes as I navigate this entrepreneurial journey, and I am immensely thankful for his mentorship, support, and constant encouragement.

Website: MuseCreativeCo.com

Instagram: Personal: instagram.com/SirenaLindsey Business: instagram.com/MuseCreativeCo

Linkedin: Personal: linkedin.com/in/sirenacarpenter Business: linkedin.com/company/muse-creative-co

Twitter: Personal: twitter.com/Sirena_C Business: twitter.com/Muse_CreativeCo

Facebook: facebook.com/MuseCreativeCo

Image Credits
Photo of Sirena Carpenter by Greg Hernandez

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