Updated: Feb 3
Our journey started in 2006 when the owner, Amanda Honeywell started creating art for her home in the form of abstract paintings. She would sign her paintings, "A. Honey". In 2009, she put away her paintbrush and replaced it with a camera and a computer. She taught herself how to take portrait photos starting with friends and family under the name A. Honey Photography. She also taught herself how to use the Adobe Suite software and worked for her parent's print shop as a graphic designer. In addition, she had the pleasure of working for two other local print shops from early 2011 (when her parent's shop closed) until late 2016 when she branched out on her own.
During this time in her life, she realized a few things about herself; she had found a career path that filled her with passion, passion she knew she wanted to continue for years to come and she realized that she loved helping businesses succeed but wanted to help them in her own way.
"While I enjoyed working for the other two print shops, I felt I was being held back. It was my job to provide the customer with what they asked for, but I couldn't help myself... I wanted to understand why they were asking for it.
When customers asked me for a flyer to print, I’d ask why? “What was your goal for this flyer?" Sometimes it led customers to go down a completely different path… maybe what they really needed was to place an advertisement on Google instead of a flyer for distribution. Sometimes this meant that they had to go someplace else to get what they needed."
What Amanda wanted to offer customers was a complete one-stop-shop, a solution to all of their on and offline marketing needs. She had put herself in situations where she was offering services above and beyond her job responsibilities.
"I'd complete orders from start to finish; from initial client contact, to quoting, to invoicing, to customer relations, to seeking out new leads–all while doing my actual job. Then, I'd offer more than just graphic design services for printing... I'd offer digital marketing pieces, interactive forms, I'd offer insight and would strategize with customers."
Amanda stopped being a just a graphic designer and printer and started to be a department manager and multimedia designer.
"This got me thinking… did I just want to complete the task customers gave me and not ask questions or, did I want to offer them more? And if I wanted to offer more, could I at my current position? The prints shops I worked for had their own vision, after all.
In her down time, she continued to develop A. Honey Photography where she was getting paid to take portraits for weddings, graduating seniors and newborns.
"I LOVED it! But there is a lot of competition in our area and a large base of very good photographers. I knew I couldn’t branch out on my own by offering photography services alone. I had a lot of self-growth during this time and ultimately decided my path needed to change just a bit more."
She continued to expand opportunities for herself in 2014 when she created her first website. She had just given birth to her second son and during her maternity leave, she spent a lot of time doing research, watching YouTube tutorials and playing around with different drop and drag and web design platforms. When she went back to her job after her leave, she was not given her full-time position back. Amanda says this was a blessing in disguise because if it weren't for the "unfair demotion" (as she calls it), A. Honey Creations, LLC may not have ever been born.
"So, I was taking portraits, building websites and working part time as a graphic designer and printer. I was kind of all over the place. I knew I didn’t want to brand A. Honey Creations as a web design company and I knew I wanted to keep A. Honey Photography separated as a hobby, so I decided to call that particular skill set Hillsdale Web Design and started offering actual web design services on the side."
Amanda left her part time job to go work full time for another local printing company where she worked creating signs and applying vinyl to vehicles. Amanda would work her full-time day job and at night would work on building Hillsdale Web Design. She worked about 70 hours a week. This went on for about a year and in late 2016, she quit her day job and focused 100% of her time to Hillsdale Web Design. She cut back on A. Honey Photography only offering commercial photography for businesses and headshots and started offering products and services to clients. But she didn’t stop there!
"I didn’t want to go on this journey alone. I knew that I needed help from other talents and in order to successfully build a brand for myself, I needed to take pride in who I worked with and honor them with respect for their skill. So, I sought out local talent."
She started to offer clients leads to other local professionals who could help them with their needs, needs the business couldn’t fulfill. In 2018, after finding a group of ladies who she trusted and respected to help her accomplish what she was after, Hillsdale Marketing Group was born. Hillsdale Marketing Group came alive because of the ladies Amanda had by her side. Sarah Gray, Christine Bowman and Connie Sexton all bring a key element to our group which ties everything we do together nicely–it’s what sets us apart!
"I intend to build further on A. Honey Creation's decade-old commitment to understand the importance of individuality. It is not about the bottom line but caring about the bigger picture of doing what's right for our clients."