An Interview :: Anastasia Casey of The Identite Collective

I will never forget the first time I met Anastasia Casey. We were meeting at The Driskill Hotel to talk about The Refinery - I had just sat down with my coffee when she walked in with the brightest glow you've ever seen. She also happened to be baring gifts - a candle and beautifully written note on her beautifully designed stationery. (Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am a sucker for yummy candles and pretty stationery.) I knew we were going to be friends!

I recently had the fortune of working with Anastasia and her team at The Identite Collective to develop The Refinery's brand and overall feel.

I am excited to share an interview with the founder of the company that made The Refinery's branding look oh so fresh and clean - World, meet Anastasia!

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What was your first job ever?

I was a host at an Argentinean steakhouse in a fun neighborhood of Orange County.

 What did you study in school?

I went to a private art school in San Francisco (founded by the editor of Sunset Magazine!). My major was Advertising and I minored in Graphic Design. It was literally the best part of my education - we got to try all kinds of different mediums and learned so many technical schools. I left school feeling so prepared for a real “job” when so many of my friends were struggling to find work after the 2008 market crash.

What brought you to Austin, Texas? What is your favorite thing about the city?

My (then boyfriend, now husband) Quinn and I were living in Union Square of San Francisco and outgrew our apartment, and rent had outgrown our bank accounts. We didn’t want to live in the suburbs, so we picked a new city to move to that was more affordable. Our two choices were Austin and Nashville - I just happened to get a job offer in Austin first.

My favorite thing about Austin is the people. I’ve lived in 9 cities and nowhere compares to the level of genuine, gracious, friendly and welcoming people in Austin. Being surrounded by people of that caliber, truly transforms your quality of life.

What did you do before started The Identite Collective? Walk us through what brought you to create this beauty of a company!

I had been the Director of Marketing at a luxury real estate brokerage here in Austin. It was such a dreamy experience because my boss was so open to creativity and ingenuity, we were really doing things beyond industry standards. After three years, I had maxed out my earning potential, but more importantly, my creative potential with the company.

I had already been designing websites for brands around town, and I had seen the struggle that so many creative entrepreneurs face around building luxury lifestyle brands on conservative budgets. I wanted to take what I had learned in corporate marketing, fine tune it, and apply it to small businesses.

My passion lies in helping female entrepreneurs work to build their own dreams, not someone else's. So using my skills learned in 10 years of corporate marketing and design, I began creating bespoke brands for interior designers, beauty professionals, lifestyle and travel brands.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love creating my own schedule. Honestly,  my brain goes full ADD mode between 1 and 3pm every day, so I use that time to clean house, run errands, and prep dinner. And I like working late at night, I’m most creative then and can accomplish so much in 2 hours of late night working.

I’ve made travel a priority in my life right now before Quinn and I have kids,and the flexibility of my job let’s me do that, without ever having to take “time off”. I work 3 months out of the year from San Francisco, and spent a month working from Spain this spring.

But honestly, I LOVE being in full control of my own income. It’s kind of a crazy thought to look back and think, someone had put a numerical value on my worth of an entire year’s worth of work. And aside from a bonus, or potential raise, that number was firm. It is so EMPOWERING to know that you are in control of your pricing and how many clients you take.

Describe your average morning routine. What keeps you motivated to hop out of bed and slay?

When I started my business, I would wake up and lie in bed checking emails and responding to Instagram comments. Then I’d walk the whole 20 steps to my office and sit down and start working. That meant my day was literally 18+ hours of screen time. Gross.

So recently, I made some changes. Now I wake up, leave my phone on airplane mode, take our rescue pup Kennedy for a walk through Hyde Park to grab coffee. I come back, make the bed (this prevents me from mid-day nap temptation), and tidy up the rest of the house. By tackling all my chores before 8:30, I limit the number of distractions I face during the day.

What is your favorite breakfast taco in the city?

It’s technically a breakfast burrito, but it is my favorite meal in Austin. Get the Burnet Road Burrito from Taco Shack, but substitute black beans for the eggs. You end up with bacon, beans, cheese and potatoes wrapped up in heaven.

What is the one thing in your closet that you just cannot live without?  

 A white shirt dress.

Describe your ideal work environment - What are the elements that really get your creative juices flowing??

I really love bright natural light because my old office at my corporate job was literally in a closet with no windows. I need a clean desk, an extra monitor and some sort of house plant. Because I need someone to talk to throughout the day, obviously.

Million dollar question: Where do you see yourself and your company in 5 years?

In five years I plan to have three or four employees to help with coding and web development, file formatting in InDesign, and client relations. We’ll have a private studio for us to work and photograph in. I imagine we will have started our family by then, and I’ll have condensed my work week to three days. Oh - what a dream!

What one piece of advice would you offer to someone looking to launch a branding/design studio of their own?

Don’t wait. A branding and web design studio takes virtually no overhead cost. All you need is your laptop. Learn as you go. There is never going to be the perfect time to launch your business, but today sounds a lot better than three years from now.


Connect with The Identite Collective!

www.theidentite.co | @theidentitecollective

Hayley Swindell