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Client Story Bernadette Smith

Client Story: Bernadette Smith Beats All Odds

We are proud to highlight another client, Bernadette Smith, Founder & CEO of Swatch Junkie Creative. Bernadette is also a Celebrating Dreams 2020 Virtual Showcase Business!

Swatch Junkie Creative is a consulting firm that helps startups and small businesses connect with their customers through human-centered design, modern technology and digital communication. As a consultant, freelancer, and volunteer, Bernadette works with global clients at all stages of their digital transformation journeys. She helps her clients achieve their goals with strategic and creative solutions that drive results.

Bernadette discovered her passion at an early age. When she was a teenager, she took a graphic design class. The class happened to be during a difficult time in her life. The design class was the only class she was passing and excelling in and her success there led her to determine that graphic design was what she would pursue. She received her degree in graphic design and built a career in marketing. She worked with an architecture firm and then went on to construction. During that time, Bernadette learned how to take the things that she was good at and capitalize on them in the corporate world. This helped her rise up through the ranks quickly. The 15 years of experience in small business and large corporations, provided her with a bird’s eyes view of what makes a business successful and how important it is to have the right people on your team. With that in mind, Bernadette founded Swatch Junkie in November 2019.

“I’ve helped marketers at startups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies make their websites work with and for them, helping improve the timeliness and effectiveness of their campaigns. I often help clients figure out where to start, whether it’s to evaluate goals, research options, or even recommend a company that’d be a better fit. I work across teams at large companies, handle specific tasks for agencies, and function as a full-service agency for startups and small businesses.”

Take a look at Bernadette’s interview below!

Interview with Bernadette Smith

What part of consulting do you like the most and how do you find clients?

“I like to solve problems and having my hands in everything. I really wanted to dive head first into figuring out how to run a business from start to end. I wanted a challenge and one that was going to be rewarding for me personally. This has always been something I wanted to do, but for the first time in my life I really felt like it was time to take the risk and to get out there and do it. I have learned so much. I have been in a professional world doing marketing for 15 years and I feel like I’ve learned enough to be able to pass on that knowledge and help others by doing the things that I love to do anyway. I enjoy helping people get familiar with technology in a way that helps them focus on what they do best, which is making an impact in their communities.

I typically find clients by word of mouth. I also do a lot of volunteering and that turns into a business opportunity. It has been a little tough because I just moved back from Texas so I am rebuilding my network. I often reference an experience I had in Austin when deciding how I do my work and how I choose my clients. I ask myself questions like ‘Does it feel good? Is the relationship going to flow? And can I genuinely help them?’ I am also really trying to find a balance between saying yes to everything and prioritizing those clients. I am working on that and learning how to manage relationships that can be long standing.

I am also offering my services at a discounted rate so that I can show results. I am committed to doing that for the next year even if that means I don’t necessarily meet my revenue goals right away. I want to build a strong base line of results essentially.”

Small businesses have a positive impact on neighborhoods and communities. Does Swatch Junky embody that value and how do you approach that as a business owner?

“The first thing that comes to mind is empowerment for women of color. I have always struggled with who I am. Oprah was one of my role models and I have always aspired to be a unique or unlikely success story – the person that beats all odds. A woman who had a child at a young age that was able to turn those lessons into things that made her fearless is my personal story. Swatch Junky was created to inspire other women to take risks and become business owners, not just in a work place, but in life and relationships.”

What has being an entrepreneur in this industry taught you about yourself?

“I’m a procrastinator and that is a habit I would have rationalized away. I think that being an entrepreneur has taught me a different kind off discipline. I have always been fairly disciplined, but it was always based on necessity and survival and having to raise a daughter by myself. However, within the last 6 months I have realized that I am the master of my destiny and that requires routines and commitment. I tend to be more intuitive and a more ‘just go with the flow’ person, but when you are in business with yourself, you have to establish a real baseline and a plan of action with steps to take. Launch & Grow really helped me get into that week-to-week routine.”

Tell me more about working with Business Impact NW and the Washington Women’s Business Center.

“I connected with Business Impact NW about a year ago and attended a square one class. After that I dove into the Launch and Grow Class. My experience has been fantastic! I am guilty of being a bit of a know it all. I went into it thinking that I knew most of what I needed to know in order to make this business run successfully but I quickly learned that I didn’t know everything. There is always something for me to learn. Many times, the things that I have yet to learn are not things that I can research or read in a book. It’s more about having discipline and seeing the value in a routine or understanding why planning is necessary. I learned that I don’t know everything and that’s okay. I went into every week feeling like I had to have it all together and have all the answers however, being in class with people with businesses at different stages helped me remove that armor. It relieved a lot of self-imposed pressure and made me feel more confident.”

Part of Business Impact NW’s mission is to provide services to minority groups and the under-served, particularly women, people of color, veterans, refugees and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Do you identify as a member of any of these communities?

“Yes, I identify with and as some of these groups and I think it is extremely important. My decision to leave my former company had a lot to do with not seeing anyone that looked like me in leadership roles. They weren’t receptive to diversity and that gave me insight into how people who look like me and have similar experiences can often feel victimized. Sometimes those in power say they want to help the less fortunate, but only to the extent of not relinquishing any of their power. I want to change that. I hire from diverse backgrounds because diversity is something we could all benefit from.”

What are the next steps for your business?

“My next steps are to refine my messaging and figure out how to start creating content that resonates with my audience. My primary audience are nonprofits and I want to grow that network and become that go-to-resource for them. I want to support organizations that focus on human experiences and have philanthropic missions that impact individual lives.”

About the author

Ashley Minter
Communications Officer at Business Impact NW

Ashley Minter is a contract Communications Officer at Business Impact NW. Ashley is a public relations and communications professional and has worked for numerous organizations in Georgia including the City of South Fulton, City of Union City, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, and Fulton County. Ashley is also CEO of Ashley Nicole Communications, a boutique public relations firm in Atlanta.

1 thought on “Client Story: Bernadette Smith Beats All Odds

  1. ANITAMARIE DONATO - July 25, 2020

    What a great article. Full of insight and first hand information. I plan to follow your client stories and learn more about willful hard working folks.

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