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Gisou Pop-up: Small Business Branding
Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration

Today, I want to talk about Gisou’s pop-up branding and why I feel as though it is important to a business (especially a smaller one). Plus, if you aren’t living in New York and missed out on visiting the pop-up I want to share some pictures I took while there!

If you know me, it’s no secret how much I love the Gisou products (I’ve done a post raving about the hair oil here) and IRL I talk about how inspiring and creative Gisou is as a business. So, when the brand created a pop-up in New York, I had to go visit, knowing that it would be designed down to the last detail. And, I was not disappointed.

Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration

What I loved about the Gisou pop-up

// Every last detail was thought of

Two of my favorite details about the pop-up were the shopping bag you received after purchase and the napkin holders on the table. I love that things on this level were thought of and it makes, as a customer, you feel like the brand really cares. Plus, as a designer it is so insanely cool to see the amount of creativity that went into concepting everything and gives me so much inspiration for my own work!

// They brought in brand values to the store

Another detail I loved was that they decided to have deals that were special to the New York pop-up. One deal was refills that were cheaper than buying a new product. It was more environmentally conscious (and probably a margin hit) for them to offer this and I feel like it ties into their brand values of working to be better as a business for the planet.

// The real Gisou team was there

O.M.G. I loved that the Gisou team was actually in the store! It felt more authentic to have them there and really gave you a unique experience. 

Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration

Why Pop-up Branding Is Important To A Small Business

// It is the first time many people are interacting in real life with your brand

I think this title says it all, but really for most pop-ups it is the first time people are able to go into the store and look at the item they are thinking about buying before they purchase. It is also the first time people will be able to really physically see a representation of the brand and I think that can really make a big impact.

// You need to make a statement to attract attention

I loved that Gisou’s store was in a Papaya Dog! Although the concept sounded a little strange at first, I felt like it was a stand-out concept that intrigued me so much that I needed to see it in person. Not to mention how creative it was!

// You want to leave a lasting impression

This one is obvious I feel, but everything I have mentioned above is designed to leave a lasting impression. Without that lasting impression, I wouldn’t feel connected to the brand and am way less likely to purchase again. But, after leaving the Gisou pop-up I know due to their amazing products and even cooler brand, I will be a life long customer.

Did you go to the pop-up? What do you think of small businesses opening stores in major cities? Let me know your thoughts below :)




Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration
Styling A Dress As A Shirt
Spring outfit ideas, spring outfit 2019, spring outfit casual, spring outfit ideas for women, hacks every girl should know, life hacks, Fashion trends Summer fashion, fashion dresses, fashion tips and tricks, fashion tips for women


This idea came about super randomly. When, a few weeks ago, I put this dress overtop my jeans, just so I could have the cute bell sleeve in an Instagram flat-lay. But, I realized, if I just tucked in the dress it makes an amazing boho flowy shirt.

So, this was something I started doing for the in-between weather for Spring. On days where the weather is nice, I can wear this amazing For Love And Lemons dress as a dress, but when the weather gets a little colder (or I want to cover up my pale legs) I can wear this dress as a shirt.

I wanted to share with y’all this tip/idea! If you have a thinner dress that is really flowy, try tucking it in in the front and leaving the back flowy and long. Just make sure you are tucking the fabric in a lot in the front, so as to give yourself a waist and hide the extra fabric. It’s really as easy as that!

Hope that helps you get more milage out of your current wardrobe. I know it will help we wear more pieces different ways and for all types of weather.



Pin it!

This idea came about super randomly. When, a few weeks ago, I put this dress overtop my jeans, just
How To: Cut Down on Screen Time
how i stay off my iphone tips and tricks..jpg

No, this isn’t another blog post about how phones are ruining our lives. That’s a little dramatic, even for me. I’m here to let you in on a few simple tricks that help me worry less about what’s going on in the world of Instagram and focus more on living my life. These tips keep me from getting distracted 24/7 and help put my phone in the background of my life, not the forefront.

I also want to note that this isn’t a new thing for me; It’s not just empty advice that I don’t even follow myself. I’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve had an iPhone (aka a really long time) and it works.

For my lock screen, I made sure of a few things to help discourage me from always tapping/glancing at my phone.

Turn off “Rise to wake”

This feature honestly bugs the crap out of me. I recently changed phones and it automatically turned on. Basically what it means is if I’m holding my phone while walking or doing literally anything, it lights up every time there is sudden movement. This might sound like a great feature in theory but in reality I was constantly accidentally skipping songs or disabling my phone by accident. I’m not about that so I turned it off and you can too. It’s so easy!

Go to Settings > display & brightness > tap button to turn off rise to wake

Keep your phone on Do Not Disturb

WOW. What a life changer. To activate Do Not Disturb just tap the white moon icon on your drop down menu. When turned on, it stops your phone from lighting up every single time you get a notification.

I find that this helps me keep my attention on what is going on around me because I have to make a conscious decision to click my phone to see what the notifications are. Not being constantly bombarded with notifications and messages also helps me feel less stressed (especially in NYC).

BUT, be sure to put those people whose calls you don’t want to miss on your favorites list because if not they will automatically be sent to voicemail.

Settings > do not disturb > turn on “Do Not Disturb” toggle

Turn off Banner iMessage Notifications

This one may seem extreme because pretty much everyone uses this feature but, trust me, you won’t miss it. This turns off the notification you get at the top of your screen every time you get a text message. I find that with them on, I get so easily distracted and always immediately tap the text message to respond. It’s important to remember that it isn’t a crime not to answer someone right away (or at all) if you don’t want to.

Settings > notifications > messages > unclick “Banners”

I feel like these 3 easy steps have not only helped me stay focused during moments like important conversations and meetings, but have given me the time I need to start learning how to fully live my own life instead of being constantly worried about how others are living theirs. Making checking my phone a conscious decision instead of a mindless habit is a major key to have a little more balance between real life & digital life.

Instagram Story Advertising Design Trends 2019
Instagram stories design trends

Instagram is a huge advertising business these days. You see ads in your stories around every 3 people you scroll through. As designers, we have to stay current on what the competition is doing and what is popular in this space. I loved over the past month and a half putting together a list of these design trends so that you can just look through and be knowledgeable about the topic! Scroll through to see what trends are happening on Instagram stories today.

Instagram advertising trends - stories

Picture with text and “See more…” / Mimicking influencers stories 

For this trend. I’ve seen so many brands throw a photo on Instagram and put paragraphs of text. It almost mimics Instagram influencer’s stories and I think that’s the point. They want it to look more organic showing up between your stories so you are more likely to swipe up. As a designer, I don’t think it’s the most aesthetically pleasing, but if it’s the most effective way, then I would consider it.

A photo with layers and simple text

Here we see a lot of brands putting high quality photos with simple text. A few even add in more of a collage element that likely looks like their other digital advertising (i.e. email marketing and website designs). This is definitely a little more appealing of a trend and I would be curious to know if it is more/less effective.


A lot of brands are using GIFs in their advertising and not just video or photo.

Simple video with no words

{Sorry for the low usability here, I am limited with-how I upload videos on Squarespace}

All of the video advertising on stories that I have seen are all just simple videos of the clothing/products the company is promoting. A.K.A there isn’t someone talking in these stories. Also, as shown in the Cult Gia advertisement, they add in multiple videos in one to maximize the time allowed in the stories by showcasing more than one product.

I would love to know if anyone has seen any other trends, or if you have any thoughts about these?! Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Small Business Branding: Insta Highlights

Today I wanted to talk about highlight covers on Instagram. Why they’re important, a client example I created, and how you can do it yourself!! 

I personally believe as a graphic designer that companies (especially small companies) should take every opportunity to brand themselves. And highlight covers are not exception. You might think that they are something small, but they can have a huge impact on your Instagram page. Let’s get more into why I think they’re important and how I make them for my clients + how you can DIY it!


Why is branding your highlight covers important?

  1. You are showing your brand’s personal style, so people will immediately know if their personal aesthetic goes with your brand

  2. You are seen as a more legitimate influencer, company, etc because you page will look extremely more professional and polished

  3. You are given the opportunity to make your profile more unique and stand out against the crowd. Using icons that aren’t the same as your competition will set you apart.


Client Example?

I think highlight covers are different for each client based off of their brand’s style and aesthetic. It is important that the highlight covers go seamlessly with the rest of their products/blog/company/photos.

When given the opportunity to create highlight covers for @emily_luciano I studied her brand and decided that hand drawn was the right course of action! 

To do this I used Procreate on my iPad to hand draw each of the covers. I tried to give them each a unique flair that other cover I saw didn’t have. I also kept the background to her brand colors. 

Below is a video of how I created the “house” cover, hope you like it! Below are my tips on how to do it yourself, sans iPad!

instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers

How can you do this yourself?

If you are really on a tight budget and are unable to pay someone to create these for you, I’m here to help! Of course, if you would like to use my services you can, but I get the hustle, so here are my tips to making your own highlight covers!

First, make an account on Canva. This is essentially a free online and simple version of Photoshop. Here you can select the “Instagram Stories” template or create a canvas that is 1080 x 1920.  think if you want to have a more “icon” look or a “hand drawn” look. I have tips for both!

For hand drawn:

Option 1: I would look up inspirational photos online and print them out.   Then lay a blank piece of paper over this photo and put them both on a window with a lot of sunlight coming through.  This will create a light box effect, so you can trace over the photo you printed out. Then you can scan this using your iPhone and send to your email. You can plop the image onto your Canva template and this will create the right size image. 

Option 2: If you want to get fancy, you can use Illustrator to trace your photo and export it as a .PNG. This way you can put a different color say our background.

Option 3: Use Procreate app on the iPad Pro

For icon:

Option 1: Use Canva’s icons! There are free ones and ones that cost $1, so it is really easy to find something on a budget! 

Option 2: If you want a more “icon” look with clean lines, my favorite service is There you can search for vector images that are free to download and customize! All you have to do is attribute the website on your image, which you can do very discretely at the bottom!

I download the .ai file and try to get just the outline of the image that I want, then you can change the color and put it on different backgrounds to create your own personal style.

Comment below if you have any questions!




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