Creative Director, Marketing Strategist, Brand Entrepreneur
design, branding, marketing, editing (copy editing + proofing), marketer, editor, photographer, business creative
Director // Royal Family KIDS Colorado Springs
Owner|Designer // Grey River Market (woodworking)
Owner|Designer // The Blonde Dutch Girl (photos/design)
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, surrounded by farmers and cornfields and dairy cows - pretty black and white dairy cows - and lots and lots of Dutch people whose names started with "Van" and "Ten" and other variations of typically Dutch names. And our own little "urban farmette" where we raised puppies, kittens, bunnies, fish, gerbils, and any stray animal that crossed my path. So I figured (and was told) I would be a veterinarian. But, God planted a seed in me for justice, compassion, creativity, and an insatiable curiosity about science and life. And so my story begins.
A Kindergarten art teacher told me, "Melissa, you're so good at painting and drawing. You're a great artist!" So I did the logical thing. I studied pre-Vet Biology in college. And then, my brain needed creativity to balance out the facts, figures, and details of Biochemistry, Physics, and Organic. So I started taking art classes and an art professor said, "Blonde Dutch Girl, have you ever considered being an artist? You're great!" But, since I always thought I would be a veterinarian, I got into vet school...seven times! But each acceptance letter made my stomach drop. But I really wanted to work with children, global health, photography, and design.
So I finished my Masters in Public Health, told the vet schools, "No, thank you!" and now work as a freelance photographer, designer, marketer, and public health aficionado, traveling around the world on medical missions, meeting beautiful children all around the globe, and serving and loving God's people locally. I'm passionate about the local Church, the sanctity of human life, urban development, and community outreach, and love to serve in ministry by engaging culture and loving people. Ahh, I feel so blessed to do what I love doing and bring photos of the world to your home.
My design style is clean, contemporary, simple. It's meant to be crisp and clear with white space. But, I design and create and consult with you to communicate the look and feel you want. I consult and bring my experience and expertise, gently nudging when needed. I work with you asking questions, giving examples, and working on your behalf. If you want vintage, grunge, clean, mysterious, professional, dignified - whatever it is - we can come up with it together.
Taking photos of people is my favorite, but someone once said to me during a wedding shoot, "You can bring emotion to a leaf, Melissa." I love capturing a genuine smile, a hug, a tear, a poignant moment between two people about to be married, or a parent and a toddler holding hands. Travel photography is one of my favorite things to do. People everywhere are so beautiful. They have so much value and worth and story to tell. That's what I want to capture. Story. Because everyone is living one and has a tale to tell. And...I'm willing to travel and be on-location anywhere in the world!
I edit. I write. I research. I plan. I communicate. I draw and paint. I strategize. I dream. I create. I implement. I work hard to think through the details. I write and design curriculum. I care about your dreams and hopes and goals. I love to listen. I love to advise when advising is requested or required. I create logos, brochures, CDs, flyers, websites, books, t-shirts...and anything else that needs designing on paper or screen or on stage. I love to take photos and bring things to life - to capture moments that should be remembered. Moments that need reflection. Moments that need to be relived. Moments that bring a smile or memory. I guide and process the legal steps needed to self-publish a book. I collaborate with printers and artists and radio or television people to bring your project to life.
I'm married to an incredible man named Justin. We live on 7 and a quarter acres in Colorado Springs and love watching the sunsets, looking for wildlife, drinking coffee, and having fun entertaining family and friends.