Gemma Storey is a brand designer from the realm of Infinity Creative, known for conjuring up the perfect love potion to make you and your dream clients fall back in love with your branding and website again. With the help of her magic wand (apple pencil) and creative supervisor (Salem the black cat), she specialises in making you look good online and offline and will craft an authentic and star aligned brand that attracts your soul tribe and inspires them to make a magical and lasting connection with you.
To learn more about Gemma’s entrepreneurial story, just keep reading to discover why Gemma decided to give the middle finger to her soulless 9-5 job and took the steps to follow her dreams and creating her business, Infinity Creative with limitless opportunities.
Infinity Creative had a Beginning
You know the saying. Infinity has no beginning, and no end. But for my business there had to be a beginning – though, hopefully, there won’t be an end! .. At least not until I’m ready to retire to a Greek island surrounded by hundreds of cats by the age of 50.
I have been in business for just over three years, and in just that short space of time it’s been quite the rollercoaster of ups and downs, but it has been a wonderful and rewarding journey of self-discovery, incredible friendships, freedom and valuable lessons.
It has to be said that being an entrepreneur is very much like my favourite Miley Cyrus song (The Climb). It ain’t about how fast you’ll get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb. Now, I bet I’ve got that song stuck in your head, right? You’re welcome.
I’m a firm believer in sharing your businesses story, as you just never know who you might inspire to go after their dreams. So in that spirit, I want to dive in and share my entrepreneurial story with you.
My Lucky Break to becomming a brand designer
In the early 90’s I discovered Crayola crayons and that was the moment I fell in love with art, and so I started drawing when I was two. A few years later at school, I was encouraged by my year 3 teacher to nurture my artistic skills, which later won me an Art Scholarship.
Fast forward to my early teens, I found a deeper love for my creativity at college where I learnt to combine art with computers and that solidified my creative path to grow my experience and curiosity in Graphic Design at university. When I graduated, I achieved ‘Best Project & Student of the Year’ – so it’s safe to say I know my craft!
However, my journey hasn’t always been rainbows and unicorns. Prior to starting my own business, I found it hard to break into the design industry without a degree. So instead, for a while I found myself floating from job to job, not really staying more than 2 years in each place.
I’ve been a sales assistant, waitress, barmaid and beautician – which surprisingly, each one has taught me life skills I still use today. Although, I don’t miss working the late shifts at the pub, as I came home with sore feet and clothes stinking of beer.
I eventually found my lucky break as I was scouted by a top design agency in Hampshire and worked for them as a Junior Designer. It was a real pinch-me moment, as for many years I dreamt of working for this company and I really admired everything they created and often thought they were out of my league.
Nevertheless, I strongly believe in the power of the mind as I used to have a photo of their logo pinned to my vision board, and would often daydream about working there. Visualisation, cosmic ordering, law of attraction – call it what you will, but it’s such a powerful tool and you should certainly give it a try.
I loved working for the agency as it was a real taste of what it was like working as a REAL Graphic Designer on REAL projects with REAL clients. I was so fortunate to have worked with big clients from Google, Starbucks, Paypal, JP Morgan and many more. I gained so much knowledge and experience, which was an exciting start to my career. But as they say, all good things must come to an end.
The Wake Up Call
Over time I started to become quite irritable and restless at the design agency. I started to notice flaws in their system and often questioned their ethics and the way they went about business, financially undermining their clients. I would sit at my desk, disgusted by their morals and a voice would creep in and say.. “You should start your own design business, you’d do a much better job!”.
Doubtful of my thoughts, another year passed, and I was starting to feel like a caged hamster grinding away on the corporate treadmill into the early hours of the morning, often working 18hrs days and weekends with no incentive or recognition.
My blood would boil seeing my directors and senior colleagues stroll out the door dead at 5pm headed to the pub, while us juniors were expected to stay on and slave away on projects we were told about 15 minutes before close, which was due the next day. It was a total joke!
The real kick in the teeth was when I discovered my male colleague who joined the agency at the same time as me and was also working on the exact same projects, but he had been given a £10,000 pay rise! I was the only female in the firm, and that was the moment I realised the gender pay gap really does exist. Feeling frustrated and hopeless at the fact I had no control over this controversy, I would bring my anger home with me often taking it out on my partner, Adam.
Most Sundays I would cry in the bath, dreading Monday at the thought of having to repeat my week over and over again with the same corporate bullsh*t. I would tell myself.. “But this is adult life right? We eat, sleep, work, repeat.” Another unwelcomed thought would follow with, “You should be lucky you have a job, so quit your complaining!”. I’ve soon come to learn we have inner saboteurs, and I like to call mine Regina as she is a mean girl – nowadays I pay her no attention.
One cold day in December with the run-up to New Year, I woke up in hospital on a drip. I was there for three days with very ill health, and I later found out I had caught a chronic sinusitis infection which was caused by a mouldy air-con unit that hadn’t been maintained or cleaned in years, which unfortunately was positioned right above my work desk! With my constant exhaustion and failing health, this was the wake-up call I needed to leave and find a new adventure. At this point going solo wasn’t on my radar, I just knew I had to get out for the sake of my physical and mental health.
Shockingly, my letter of resignation was rejected as they couldn’t understand why I wanted to leave, especially without a clear explanation of where I was going. I hadn’t figured out my next step either, but I just knew in my heart it was the right decision and this was the first time in a long time I followed my intuition (I now call this my north star) A north star is your inner compass to finding your true purpose and happiness in life, always trust it as it knows the way.
Four weeks passed, and it was my leaving do at Prezzo (an Italian restaurant) and I vividly remember my drunk creative director stumbles over to me and slurs in my ear “Ya know Gemma, you can just come back to work on Monday as freelancers aren’t successful, especially female ones”. That was the moment I felt a fire rumble in my belly like never before and my inner voice screamed.. “Screw you! I can and I will – watch me!”
I packed up my pens and started out on my own – and that’s when Infinity Creative was born. I had a lot of nay-sayers out there who thought I couldn’t make it on my own – including family members! But they became my fuel. I was determined at the age of 27 to prove them all wrong, and show them that I could, and would, make a success of myself. That was back in March 2018, which makes me a pretty young business in the grand scheme of things.
But I’ve worked with a huge range of wonderful female-led businesses, learned a lot in terms of process, best practices, and creative influence. I’ve also roped my fiancé Adam, who is a whizz with websites, to build the sites I dream up for my clients. My business gives me the freedom and creativity to build a life I am proud of – with no limits!
Injecting The Magic
One of the biggest transformations Infinity Creation has been through is a rebrand. It might seem quick, but bear with me here. When I first started, I wanted to appeal to everyone and everything, like a lot of start-ups do. I designed myself a very generic logo and built a plain corporate website, and even though I didn’t really like it myself (never a good sign), I went ahead with it. And guess what? I got terrible results from it. Because it wasn’t authentically me, and it wasn’t attracting the kind of people I wanted to work with. A no-win all round really.
So I gave myself a kick up the bum and joined Trudy’s Happy Business 4 month coaching programme, which literally was a game-changer for me and my business. She taught me to embrace my weirdness and really showcase my true personality to my clients through my new branding.
I had to let go of the fear of what people might think of me, and focus on the positive outcomes by sharing my fun and magical side with the world. Trudy also helped me to discover my niche in branding and position myself as the expert in my field, which is why I’ve lovingly coined a new nickname for myself as the Brand Alchemist, which feels truly aligned to my business and values.
Now I’m over the moon and in love with my branding. I’ve attracted clients who think just like me, and who I love to work with. This is what I preach to my clients now. Be yourself, and just like the universal law states that like attracts like, you’ll undoubtedly attract your vibe tribe too. After all, you can be the ripest and juiciest peach in the supermarket, but not everybody likes peaches. And that’s ok – so it’s best just to be yourself. There’s only one you and you have your own unique stardust and message to share with the world.
The Sky’s The Limit
We have to remember our “why” when starting a business, and I feel a successful business is built on more than just wanting freedom and earning money. For people to buy from you, they need to feel connected and aligned with your mission and values. As Simon Sinek once said at a TedTalk, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. After I heard this for the first time, a light bulb went off inside my head and it changed the way I approached my own business as a whole.
Nowadays, I focus more on supporting my clients 1:1 through my branding and web packages, as my soul’s mission in life is to inspire, elevate and empower women who are on their own journey of north star discovery and wanting to create a life and business of their dreams.
Through this collaboration, I want to form a long-lasting friendship, whilst being their biggest cheerleader in business by giving them the tools to be seen and thrive online. Building a business can be a really lonely and scary thing, so I believe it’s important to surround yourself with ambitious and inspiring business friends.
A Connection Of Daisy Ladies
I really do credit my confidence and business success to being a part of a truly amazing and empowering community of women online, known as The Hampshire Women’s Business Group. The group is run by Trudy Simmons and she is a confidence and clarity coach who has worked with hundreds of women giving their business a huge transformation where they have seen their business grow and thrive – including me!
I’ve been a member just over 3 years now, and I’ve come to realise one key and important factor to running a successful business, is having what I like to call your “vibe tribe” as these people become more than just friends, they support you through your entire business journey, the good, the bad and the ugly.
If you like to hear more about my entrepreneurial story as well as many more inspirational stories from female-led businesses, then please have a listen to the Shine On You Crazy Daisy podcast channel.