Business

Say Hello Big Idea

Hello Big Idea brings expert branding and design to budding Midwestern entrepreneurs.

Story by Kalsey McCall

Call it kismet or an ah-ha moment. Either way, there’s no denying that fate played a hand in bringing local business owners Abbie Smith and Ashley Mahoney together—fate and Instagram.

After meeting each other and reaching out over shared interests on the social media site, Smith and Mahoney met for coffee to discuss starting a business together.

For months, the duo shared a Google Plus account aptly titled “The Big Idea.” Serving as a virtual think tank, it was there that Smith and Mahoney honed in on their mission—using professionally branded graphic design, social media and the Web to help underrepresented Midwestern entrepreneurs break into the marketplace and grow their businesses organically.

And so, Hello Big Idea, the women’s branding and design company began to take shape and officially launched in September 2015.

The company is a dream come true for Smith and Mahoney, who share a passion for the creativity found on social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Using their collaborative marketing and graphic design backgrounds, Smith and Mahoney realized quickly that they had something to offer entrepreneurs who were trying to reach the masses with their products through social media.

“What you find yourself enjoying and focusing on in your spare time is often a good jumping off point for what you should be doing for a full-time job,” Abbie says. “For us, that’s helping small, creative, mostly (but not all) female-owned businesses represent themselves and grow.”

Hello Big Idea is a branding studio that specializes in designing new brands from the ground level and helping entrepreneurs reach the marketplace through Web design, blogs and social media.

“When clients come to us, we ask them to use Pinterest to create a shared board that helps us craft their brand,” Smith says. “That way we can get a feel for the things they like and really capture the spirit of the business.”

Starting at the most basic level, Hello Big Idea helps clients develop a logo and gives new brands a cohesive style through other graphic elements such as color, photography and typography. In addition, clients have the option to enlist Hello Big Idea to design and develop their Web sites, blog sites and online portfolios.

Since launching in mid-September, Hello Big Idea has helped dozens of clients with their marketing and design needs.

“We are the answer for anyone who knows they want to do something big but doesn’t know where to start,” says Smith.

For Mahoney, a former teacher with a graphic design and photography background, and Smith, a former marketing executive and graphic designer, Hello Big Idea is the perfect culmination of their collective passions and talents.

“We want to be known as the Midwest hub for entrepreneurs,” Smith says.

To that end, the duo plans to begin hosting workshops and networking events for creative entrepreneurs in the region, teaching local business owners about logos and social media and serving as a source of encouragement for new businesses.

“We took a leap of faith to do this, and we want to encourage other people to do the same,” Abbie says. “Just do it. And if you need help, that’s what we are here for.”

Perhaps the biggest break for Hello Big Idea came just last month when, on a whim, Mahoney (a Royals fan since birth) designed a charming Kansas City heart and crown logo.

“During one Royals game, Ashley posted the graphic to our Hello Big Idea Instagram account,” Smith recalls. “She promised to print and sell the shirts if the team won that night.”

The demand was overwhelming, and by night’s end, the girls had received more than 100 orders. The orders kept rolling in over the next weeks, giving the duo a good financial cushion with which to catapult Hello Big Idea as a brand.

“For us, the Kansas City T-shirt is a way to show love to the Midwest,” Smith says. “This market is extremely underrepresented in terms of small, female-driven graphics businesses, and we have set out to change that.”