Unique Tips for Making Canva Graphic Designs

canva designs, graphic design tips, faceted media, how tos, marketing, sales tips, creative agency, hire fm, kimberly hogate

Hi there! If you’re here, you might consider yourself somewhat of an advanced user of the free graphic design creation service, Canva.com (the amazing!).

There are a number of incredible things that Canva does, but in this video, I’ll show you a few “secret” tricks that can help you make your Canva designs even more unique (to stand apart from the crowd).


Using Transparent Layers

One of my favorite tips is to do a Google Search for patterns. Take it a step further by using Search Tools and choose “transparent.” This way, you’ll get a “top” layer and then you can Google a bottom layer to make a really unique pattern. You can also find transparent accents and images this way by using Google Tools, a rarely utilized tool except to the Google obsessed like we are!


Shapes to Frame Text

Some pictures work perfectly to have text on top, but others cross into white and black for example, obscuring the text. What to do? Use “Shapes” in Canva. Choose a square or rectangle (usually my go-to) and use the “arrange” button to place it behind your text. Choose your color, or change to gray and use the transparent filter to lightly offset text from the image. Measure your  shape around your text and you can make your text more readable over the image in Canva.


Using Illustrations to Make Designs

Another fun technique for creative users of Canva is to use the “Illustrations” section and searching for items that are often decorative. Some examples are: leaves, stars, flowers, ferns, swirls… Then, pull them into the corners of your graphic to create a frame or use instead of a line to separate text. You can also expand them, use the “arrange” function and push to the back of everything, then use the “transparent” tool to make the design the base of the background. This additional layering can add interest to your piece and set apart text as well.


The More You Know!

I constantly encounter not-so-great circumstances made from the best intentions when it comes to marketing. There are just so many details that only someone who lives and breathes this stuff is going to be able to help you with. If you’re a small business who has been doing it all yourself, consider a break and an upgrade. I’d love to chat with you about both. Click here to schedule a time to meet. 


Marketing Internship : Paid

As you may know, I love speaking to the empowerment and entrepreneur classes at Denver Public Schools. Working with youth to help them avoid the pitfalls of trying to find work after school is a passion of mine. I have been a rotating keynote speaker for several years and…

…now we’re taking the program to the next level in the form of our Marketing Internship with Faceted Media. 


  • You like designing
  • You use social media often
  • You are a pretty good writer
  • You love creating and creativity
  • You are familiar with computers
  • You want work experience and a recommendation
  • Some level of computer experience and feel fairly confident
  • Want marketing, graphic design, website build, technical and practical experience

We also ask that all applicants fill out this form in order to apply. Compensation is commensurate with experience. Schedule is flexible. Please email kim@facetedmedia.com or call 970-308-6844 with any questions.

What You’ll Gain:

  • Basic Website Building
  • Graphic Design Experience
  • Video/Photography Editing
  • Social Media Practices
  • Copywriting for Marketing
  • A Bit About Search Engine Optimization
  • Blogging Best Practices
  • Some Event Marketing Practice

My style is low-key and practical with the goal of getting you REAL LIFE experience so that it is easier for you to find a well-paying and enjoyable career after high school while you go to college or while you enter the workforce. Marketing is fun, creative, can be a bit high pressure, but it’s a great feeling to see your work out there reaching the right people. Creatives and entrepreneur-types, this opportunity is for you!

Thank you and I look forward to meeting you!!

Stock Photo Giveaway! (Holiday, City Edition)

stock photo giveaway, faceted media

It’s a challenge to find royalty-free, high resolution photos for free. Stock photos must be paid for, and sites like Pexels and Pixabay are becoming more and more well-known which means you start to see duplicate photos across the web.

You don’t want to duplicate your colleague’s stock photos. You’re a beautiful snowflake that is original… right? Ha. Totally.

Okay, back to the holiday stock photo giveaway…. In this photo giveaway, it’s simple. Just enter your email address and you’ll receive an email with the Google Docs Link to:

199 royalty-free, original, high resolution stock photos.

…you can use these however you wish, you do not need to add credit. This is another Faceted Media Photo Gift!

What’s In This Photo Stash, Kim?

This stash features photos taken in New York City and Denver during the holidays. It features patterns, subway signs, subway entrances, Christmas lights, Santas, snow, city streets, construction workers, holly and berries, horses at Central Park, cityscapes, skyscrapers, steps, pigeons… you get the idea. (Gorgeous & Quirky Too!!)

stock photo giveaway, faceted media stock photo giveaway, faceted media stock photo giveaway, faceted media





stock photo giveaway, faceted media







It also features restaurant and office stock photos including menus, beverages, coffee, salt shakers, patterns and keyboards.

K, Great. Give Them To Me.

Okayyyy!!! All you have to do is just enter your email below and voila!

Enter Your Email to Get a Free Photo Stash!

* indicates required

The Pineapple Story

A lot of people ask me how I got started in Faceted Media or how I decided to start my own business. It was a combination of a lot of things. I usually have followed my own path. I tend to be very decisive and once I make a decision, I go for it.

If there are obstacles, I figure them out. If people say that it will be too hard, too complicated, not possible, etc. I ignore them. If it hasn’t been done before, I do it. That is just my personality.

Yet, if there was one defining moment when I knew that I wanted to work for myself. It was the pineapple. Here’s the story and how it was rewritten.

When I talk to kids at area high schools for career panels and entrepreneurial talks, I always tell them the pineapple story. And, now, I add: be like a pineapple, stand tall and wear a crown (and be hard on the outside, soft on the inside!). Yet, the pineapple was actually a symbol to me that came from deep pain. Now, I like the symbolism as a badge of honor.

I had gone from going to school for Journalism to graduating when the newspaper industry was completely dying. Sadly, it was also this strange in-between time when only a small number of people had smart phones to read the news, yet the Internet was fully utilized by everyone finally.

What was I going to do with my degree?

I found out quickly. Nothing. No one wanted me. I applied left and right, up and down. I walked into businesses, I sent resumes, I went to workshops and job agencies. Finally, I had to nearly completely make up a resume just to get a job waitressing. 

I felt really out of place. For the last several years, I had studied, worked two full time jobs while going to school 18-22 hours a semester and babysitting in between. I graduated in three years from college and graduated from high school a semester early. I won scholarships and worked hard for my 4.97 GPA. I was published and thought I had value. Once I entered the “real world” I felt extremely value-less.

I never gave up.

I continued to seek leadership positions in my various jobs. Eventually, my managers saw my strengths and I was given more and more responsibilities. I found myself gravitating toward marketing and sales, which when I thought about it, had a strong correlation to writing and communications, just like I was doing while in Journalism school. Perhaps I was on to something here…

So I continued to thrive in my positions, and at this point, I was in an administrative position that I had added a sales feature to. I had negotiated some commission and was really making a lot of sales! After about a year, I took my carefully compiled report of how much money I had made the firm with my new outreach. We cordially chatted and then got into the details.

I left the meeting hoping for the raise I had asked for. The next morning, the pineapple was there.

I was immediately informed that while my request for a raise had been declined, the boss and his wife had gotten me a lovely and delicious pineapple at the farmer’s market. “Have a nice day!”

Pretty much from that day forward, I created my escape plan. No longer would I work and put in the time only to be disparaged and devalued by someone who was profiting off of me. In this case, I was literally making the firm money, yet instead of a small raise, they chose to just give me a percentage and keep the rest.

In return for my hard work, I get a pineapple. Why am I continuing to do this?

I knew that I had to create a situation where I would never have to sit across a table and explain my worth unless it was of my doing. I knew that I was worth more than a pineapple.

I first started a law firm with a colleague, using my background in the legal field combined with administrative, writing, sales and marketing skills. We thrived until I again discovered that even a partnership wasn’t for me. I was born to stand out and grow my own way. 

So I did.

Now I speak to high schools and remind them how special and unique they are and to never let anyone tell them otherwise. I also remind them that if they have the stamina, they can create their own paths by starting their own businesses.

I think the message was received:







Email Clean & Total Organization – One on One Sessions

This is not a workshop. This is a WORK-shop.

I just want to be clear that this is not a workshop…. You won’t be just learning tips and taking notes. We’ll be working together hands-on for 2 hours and actually making a difference to get your inbox in tip-top shape. (Ahhhhh!!! I can see it now!! Ommmmm.)

You see, here’s the problem: Too many emails, getting subscribed to lists you didn’t sign up for or that are irrelevant now, getting behind, duplicate emails, missing opportunities (and then never following up because you’re embarrassed), having important and non-important emails in one place, forgetting things or falling behind because you keep your to-do’s in email form. Pretty much a hot mess in digital form.

It’s an issue nearly everyone faces nowadays. If this sounds like you, trust me, it is how nearly everyone is… except your girl! Yes. I am here taking personal 2-hour sessions to help you finally go through your inbox, organize it, catch any leads, and set up filters and labels so that it stays manageable. 

“I never knew email could be so complicated. I had missed 26 leads that I could have followed up on when I needed business most. And, I missed an email from a contractor for an ongoing request. Now, all my emails are separated in folders, labeled, and filtered so that I see new leads first. I also got through every single email with Kim. It’s completely refreshed.” – E

Email didn’t start off very complicated. And, if you’re okay with 20,000 emails in your inbox, this isn’t for you. If, however, it’s really frustrating you, causing you grief, just plain annoying, and reading about how to organize it gives you a migraine, well, then, this is definitely for you. I’m charging a flat rate of $250 to meet with you for a full two hours and go through your email and set up automatic organizers and filters for you so that your inbox stays organized too.

Plus: I will share my top secret email tip for instant automation right in your inbox. This is something I only share with clients and has literally changed their business and how much time they have for living life! (hint: time saver and game changer.).

100% Refundable.

That’s right. I do ask though that once we schedule a time, you keep your chosen time and day (subject to major emergencies). But, yep, if you decide later to cancel before we meet or if you need to postpone this, I will refund you 100%. I may not be able to reschedule with you if this happens based on availability and other factors, however I will refund you 100%! No risk here. Just honest work and getting you super clean and clear in your inbox! 

Uh… Sign Me Up!!!

Okay, cool. You will not regret this. Here’s what we’re doing. In order to reserve your spot, please click below and send me a note.

F-ing Fantastic. Yes!


Vision Quest: Take Yourself On a Creativity Fieldtrip

faceted media, vision quest, channel your creativity, creatives, creative entrepreneurs, denver startups

This summer, I was really feeling like I needed to take some space and silence for some clarity and to get some creative work done. You see, in my practice, I have to constantly switch from being a very technical, almost mathematician (hello SEO, AdWords, Analytics, keyword research), to being a creative writer on topics I usually have to research as well (I write about anything from psychology to parenting to fashion and more), and then in the midst of all these silent tasks, I have to jet back into a communicative mode and be expressive for meetings, videos, events and speaking engagements.

I often feel like I work at a button factory (aka my keyboard).

So, to counteract these feelings, I do yoga, I run and stretch, I walk, I bike, and I do really extreme s#$@ like deciding to go to Moab for my birthday and do a 14-mile bike ride and some pretty serious hiking. I had wanted to check out Moab ever since I drove near it on my way from Vegas back to Denver one time. (Long story why I was driving, and while I’ll never do that again, it was gorgeous!!!

faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners

I didn’t regret taking this trip one bit and I got so much done and a well-needed reset. After I got settled in to my hotel downtown (after the 5-ish hour drive from Denver and seeing a friend in Leadville along the way), I got dinner and had a glass of wine while checking emails and crossing off to-do’s. The hotel had so many awesome areas that were not being used by any guests that were perfect for me. I watched a lot of sunsets (and got free breakfast!).

Mix Pleasure and Business. Travel is Good for the Entrepreneur Soul

Obviously not everyone is able to have the freedom that we as entrepreneurs have in our lives. Yes, we cram in meetings, events and often wake up before sunrise and go to sleep after midnight or much, much later to get all of the work done and cross off all of the things that we endlessly have to do… but if we plan ahead (we’re usually also good with this), we can get away, pay less for travel because of our flexibility on days of travel, and we can work anywhere there is WiFi. For some businesses, you may also require an office manager or assistant, but trust me, you can do this and have this life.

Obviously family commitments, especially young or super active teens, can make your travel plans need an adjust. However, there are so many ways to travel abroad and domestically, even with family, and especially when you are an entrepreneur. I highly recommend taking advantage of as much travel as you can, while you can. Experiences are worth so much more than things (though make sure you have savings for emergencies and for later first of course). And, if you dare… go alone.

I Recommend Going Solo, Scared? This Isn’t for You Then.

Does that freak you out to think about??? Some of my friends were terrified of that idea. Others couldn’t imagine why I would ever want to do that. Still some (and my favorite response), was, “fuck yes, you independent woman you.” And, that is totally what it’s about. For me, I do so much for others that it’s nice to have some time where you decide what you want to do (or not do!) and when. Literally every decision. All. Day. Long. So, for two days, here is how I spent my time. Not pictured: the most amazing facial and massage for my birthday gift to myself. 

faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners faceted media, moab, vision quest, vision quest for entrepreneurs, marketing in Denver, Kimberly Hogate, creative ideas for business owners


Variety is the Spice of Life. If You Work Hard, You Can Also Stock Up Your “Life Spice” Cabinet

In no way, shape or form, is what I am describing, easy. NO. You have to set your mind to your goals, set your time for working and get it done. You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. You have to do what you say you do. I’ve met so many “would-be” entrepreneurs who see the freedom that I have and want it, but don’t understand that behind the scenes and leading up do (and during) these trips, I am working my ‘lil tail off.

It helps that I love what I do, but still, know that on these trips, I am waking up early before everyone, getting to know the early morning coffee guy and how to get on the WiFi. I drink less at night and try to work out each day. I juice. I drink water. I pretty much act as if it were any other day… yet with a moving, live, piece of art called the world! Then, I get my work done and go exploring.

Do one thing every day that scares you – Eleanor Roosevelt

Solitude and Meditation: The Joy of a Vision Quest

Okay, back to planet Earth. Is that where we are? Yes. Though sometimes it feels like a dream because it’s all self-created when you’re an entrepreneur. You create your reality. And, while actually everyone creates their reality, entrepreneurs realize there is a certain magic to simply dreaming and seeing it become reality. To us, nothing is impossible. Anything can be created and all you have to do is come up with a good idea, then figure it out. And, if we fail, we try again.

This can be draining. I’ll say it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the land of being self-employed. Some days, you wake up panicking about money. Some days, you have to own up to a mistake. Other days, you may have to let a team member go. Maybe you forget a meeting. Maybe you didn’t prepare. Maybe you spent too much time on one thing, but you should have spent it on something else and now you’re screwed. Or, the ultimate… the Internet it out!! (Cue apocalypse!)

So, what cures these anxious feelings? Nothing more than water, rest, exercise, vegetables, fruit, yoga, meditation, and…. travel (for me!). On this vision quest to Moab, I was able to combine meditation and healthy eating with spa services, journaling, art and intense physical activity. For me, it was everything I needed to feel awesome again about my work. Not that I wasn’t feeling great before, it’s just that anything, ANYTHING gets old sometimes. Do I think I am doing my life’s work, totally. But, everyone needs a break and if you can take a trip (even nearby, short drive), schedule yourself a massage and just hang out in a hot tub with your favorite book, even just once a year… can do wonders for your mind, body, soul, relationships, career, parenting, anything.

Creativity Outlets. What Can You Do to Channel Your Creativity (25 Ideas!)

Looking for some ideas about getting your creativity sparked? Here are some ideas both near and far:

  • Get a deck of oracle cards (can be the 4 Agreements deck or another one, there are tons)
  • Do 25 jumping jacks right now
  • Fold a basic origami (you tube for ideas)
  • Walk to the store, get something with peppermint in it, walk home
  • Do a plank right now for 30 seconds
  • Journal: prompt is “describe a magical land, who’s there, what does it look like? cue: unicorns”
  • One downward dog… now
  • Visit mymodernmet.com
  • Go to the library, bring a huge tea to sip in a to-go cup and your laptop or a book
  • Read a poem, any poem
  • Write a poem, any poem
  • Draw a self-portrait doodle
  • Look up flights and browse trip advisor
  • Wikipedia random s$#% for 15 minutes
  • Visit stumbleupon.com
  • Go to Iceland (such cheap flights!)
  • Plan a day trip in your own town, choose city or country, pretend you’re a tourist
  • Pack yourself a picnic and bring a marketing book or other book, lay outside and read
  • Do Yoga
  • Or, just stretch for 15 minutes
  • Color
  • Take an art class
  • Get a Chinese massage (affordable, amazing, rejuvenating)
  • Organize something
  • Write a card to a friend and send in the actual mail

Interested in the Travel Part?

Inspired? I hope so! Okay, now are you wondering how you can incorporate this into your yearly schedule and entrepreneur life? Or, for my employed friends, do you want to figure out how to travel for as little as possible, and find the best stuff (because you seriously do not have time to research?)

I recently launched www.facetedtravel.com which is my affordable, doable, make it happen, best researched travel concierge company. You see, what I found was, I approach travel like I do with a client project. I score the research…. (And, I have top-secret research tools that are freaking genius). Next. I pour through the reviews (construction going on? nope. etc.). And, I look up the “cool” stuff to do off the beaten path as well as figure out the very, very best deals (you’ll go cray) and best quality experience. I’ll advise you of anything to be aware of and when the best days/times are to do various activities. I’ll also set up Air Bnb’s, bike rentals, airport transfers, find places you can get work done while traveling, and advise you on the best credit card to get to get the most points (so you get a discount on your next trip.)

So far I have been to: British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest (Washington coast, Portland, Ashland, Sandpoint), San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma County region, Los Angeles (Venice Beach and Hollywood are my faves), Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita, Cancun, Tulum, Amsterdam, London, Zurich, Bern, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Swaziland, Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls and the Zambezi river), Montego Bay, Negril, the Florida Keys, Miami, the Everglades, Orlando, Disney World and Disney Land, San Diego, New Orleans, Austin, Houston, St. Louis, Santa Fe, Chicago, New York City, Phoenix, Las Vegas (dare I say 3 times?)… and you wouldn’t believe the deals… If you’re interested in planning a trip, visit www.facetedtravel.com for more info.


Friendship Elephants + Visual Storytelling

Visual storytelling is an art form that can draw attention to something seemingly unrelated in a really unique and eye-catching way. For example in this story, we’re highlighting the Santa Fe Museum of Folk Art by showcasing two palm elephants that I bought while on a girl’s weekend with my best friend.

This photo story came to creation organically, (just two girls needing some friendship elephants after a trip to the museum, duh!) but then, using my marketing brain here, I decided that it could be used to tell an even bigger story about how to use guerrilla marketing and visual storytelling to show a personal experience. Using visual storytelling also allows your marketing to remain authentic and show personality.

visual storytelling, marketing, photography, elephants, faceted media, pr, public relations, marketing tips, guerrilla marketing, grassroots marketing, kim johnson, kimberly johnson marketing denver

Stories like these could be used to creatively market so many types of businesses, groups, organizations and events. Art galleries, museums, libraries, retail stores, restaurants, nonprofit organizations, yoga studios, theater companies, workshops, events, you name it, could all benefit from a visual storytelling campaign via their websites as well as social media. Not seeing it yet? Here are some examples:

Library/Bookstore – Photos of books at the places they describe such as Little House on the Prairie standing in deep grass with the sky above or Scarlet Letter laying in crimson velvet from the fabric store.

Yoga Studios – Photos of unique yoga poses at totally unexpected places. Think: median on a busy city street, in front of public art, government buildings, a bar, an ice cream shop?

Real Estate Agents – Photos of “a day in the life” glossing nothing over. Perhaps show the hard work, the mud you had to step in to get to the house, abstracts of funny decor in homes, pics of the gorgeous potential home, and happy clients jumping in the air with you at the end.

…for example.

The goal these days with marketing is to do things the opposite way that everyone else is. Visual storytelling allows your marketing to be unique

So, it began went I went to Santa Fe with one of my very best friends. We are soul sisters and pretty much agree on most things including how to have a good time! On this particular day, we were browsing around at the eccentric (and amazing!) Museum of International Folk Art. If you haven’t been, it is definitely work a look-see if you are visiting the area. It’s hard to describe, but in the words of the museum overseer to us that day:

Museum Staff: “Girls, put your rollerskates on!” It was awesome.

So, off we went. It was a blast. But this article is about the end of the visit. In the gift shop, which by the way, which was one of the coolest gift shops we’d ever seen, we decided to look for friendship bracelets to commemorate our amazing trip together.

Being the weirdos that we are, we decided that friendship elephants were a much better idea. Done! We left with these two incredible elephants.

visual storytelling, santa fe, marketing tips, faceted media, kim johnson marketing denver, art, folk art, palm art, graphic design

Do you think the museum gift shop employees ever find out where the art that visitors purchase ends up? Probably not! So, we put together the story of what happened AFTER the elephants left the museum, all set in visual storytelling.

visual storytelling, elephants, marketing, faceted media, kim johnson, pr, guerrilla marketing

Had this been a story written internally or had they any clue what I was up to creating this “contemporary folk art project,” I would have included information about the beginnings of palm art, the areas and peoples that created them, and showcased an exhibit within the museum. It could also be used in preparation of announcing a new or visiting exhibit.

visual storytelling, guerrilla marketing, santa fe folk art museum, palm art, faceted media, marketing, kim johnson, graphic design, canva

This project was to commemorate the incredible experience at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, a ridiculously fun time with my best friend, and to show how to use a unique medium to bring attention to your cause, organization or business.

“You can make art anywhere!” – Kim Johnson, Faceted Media

I also encourage you to be a human in your marketing! Have fun, make jokes, don’t be so serious or standard in your marketing (no one will remember it and you’ll hate creating it anyway). Have an idea you think others will laugh at? That’s probably your best one. 

graphic design, elephants, visual storytelling, faceted media, km johnson, marketing, guerrilla marketing

Thanks for reading! And, make sure to get yourself down to the International Museum of Folk Art. It explores word religions, art, includes interactivity, and one of the most unbelievable collection of unique miniatures. I spent hours in there imagining what each scene would be like if it came alive. You’ll have to see it in person to really experience the art here. The characters just look like they could start walking and talking to each other if given the chance. …next project!


The 90% (Autism and the WorkPlace) | Spotlight on Social Enterprise | Blue Star Recyclers Tour + Q&A

Congratulations to Bill Morris and Blue Star Recyclers for your 2017 Social Enterprise of the Year Award!

Note: This tour was coordinated by Danielle Norris, CEO and Co-Founder of Sovenco, a Denver Social Enterprise that Aligns Business and Humanity. Special thanks to Laura Franklin, Sovenco Co-Founder and Bill Morris, Owner, Blue Star Recyclers. All photos, video and article provided by and written by Kimberly Johnson, owner, Faceted Media.

blue star recycling, ewaste, recycling, Bill Morris, Kimberly Johnson, Faceted Media

(Sovenco Founder Danielle Norris goes LIVE with Blue Star Recycling Founder Bill Morris)

Take the tour! Watch the video.

The Truth About Electronic Waste Recycling

On a recent tour of local e-waste facility, Blue Star Recyclers, founder Bill Morris informed the group that over “50 million tons of electronic waste gets thrown out or recycled each year.” Que instant thoughts of massive landfills and undersea garbage jungles.

And, according to a collection of e-waste facts from DoSomething.org, only 12.5 percent of e-waste is currently being recycled in the world.

These are certainly staggering facts. However, organizations such as Blue Star Recyclers, a hybrid for and nonprofit operation with three locations in Colorado, is actively growing to help alleviate those numbers. There are several reasons why recycling hasn’t “taken off” even despite its lengthy track history.

One is that businesses are not required by law to recycle any portion of their waste. And, not all e-waste can be recycled for free, leaving little incentive to companies unconcerned with environmental impact. Lucky for Morris, more and more companies are going green and feel a sense of corporate responsibility to contribute to good causes. In Morris’ case, he offers two: environmental and social.

blue star recycling, ewaste, recycling, Bill Morris, Kimberly Johnson, Faceted Media

(Here, Valuable Copper is Scrapped From Old PC Motherboards)

Employees Can Be Great Workers And Be Autistic

Not only does recycling at Blue Star help reduce your carbon footprint, every time you use their services, you are also contributing to helping employees with autism maintain self-sufficiency – aka their jobs at the recycling center.

“In 2008 I watched a group of young men at a disability center taking things apart like alarm clocks and a tv. It was a place where people cared for people, not where people worked, but this group of young men had a talent for taking things apart. It was like a puzzle for them,” says Morris.

In fact, they were so good at what they were doing that Morris had a thought. What if, instead of simply living at a center, these men had real jobs, making real money, and did what they did best?

(Sovenco Founder Danielle Norris goes LIVE with Blue Star Recycling Founder Bill Morris)

(Blue Star Recyclers Employees take apart electronics for reuse)

The employees are Blue Star are the heart of the operation. Almost silently, they toss electronics with a loud crash when they hit the bins. Moving robotically with precision, they carefully disassemble each motherboard with their safety goggle on, making sure to extract the valuable copper and precious metals from each one. Tossing it again into the bin. Crash!

Morris explains that repetitive jobs are a great match for those with autism. In fact, he adds, “Our lunch break time can have the opposite effect on our employees. Whereas you and I might find it to be the most relaxing part of our day, these guys find it to be extremely awkward, wanting to simply eat and get back to their jobs. They know they do their jobs well. Conversation with others can be another story,” he says.

Another benefit? Morris’ employees usually show up on time and rarely are no-shows. Hangovers at work? Not a concern typically for Morris. And, by operating as a social enterprise by employing the “unemployable,” Blue Start Recyclers helps bridge the gap – autistic employees as a whole experience approximately 90% unemployment rate.

While training can take longer, Morris says that employee retention is at constant high. He adds simply, “They are really good employees.”

The Bottom Line and an Invite

‘Nuff said! Clearly the aspect of being a social enterprise is not only helping Morris’ bottom line, but also helping him to grow. He recently expanded into Boulder, Colorado, the “Silicon Flatirons” as it is beginning to be called (a new Google just landed there).

blue star recycling, ewaste, recycling, Bill Morris, Kimberly Johnson, Faceted Media

(Old electronics are sorted into bins at Blue Star Recyclers; note Danielle’s photo bomb 11 o’clock)

It’s so important to stress how making a direct impact like Blue Star is can help impact the world. What it takes it really understanding your business and who and what you can contribute to make the world a better place and help someone in a brand new way, while simultaneously sustaining your business and growing at a steady, upward pace.

These might seem like insurmountable goals, but simply starting your business seemed impossible at times. Thinking outside the box as far as what ways your company can contribute to the global greater good? Get an advisory board together by contacting Sovenco. They’ll take you through a comprehensive analysis of your current operations, talk about your passion and “why” you do what you do. Then, they create a gameplan that will help your company scale, get noticed, include the right players and cut costs while allocating funds in the right places. There’s no better time to start then now. Imagine your story here…

blue star recycling, ewaste, recycling, Bill Morris, Kimberly Johnson, Faceted Media

(Bill Morris, Founder and CEO of Blue Star Recyclers, a top-notch Colorado social enterprise)


#FMDOESNYC | A Quirky Travelogue of an NYC Business Trip

faceted media, pr, media, photography, green, new york city, NYC

Recently, Faceted Media got the opportunity to spread into NYC, the Big Apple, New York City! (You know….where they make salsa!) Just kidding, that’s a retro joke from the 90’s if you ever watched TV and happened upon a certain commercial.

Back to NYC. We are delighted and enamored (yes, both) to have a fabulously talented and incredibly special client in Manhattan. Being a virtual business, Faceted Media can work from anywhere globally. And, we do. When we get a chance to meet our clients in person though, it is so uniquely special. Thank you to New York City for being everything we could ever dream of and more.

faceted media, NYC, fmdoesnyc, travelogue, New York City, flat lay

Getting ready for the trip….

What Went Down in NYC

Well, of course, we did all the touristy stuff we could pack in. When we say touristy, we’re a litle more offbeat than the rest though. For us, touristy was seeing Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Victor Wooten at the Blue Note, followed by Book of Mormon the next day and a stroll to our favorite thinking spot in NYC, Strawberry Fields in Central Park.


Additionally, being the entrepreneurs and go-getters that we are, you better believe we came prepared to make genuine connections with people who “got us.” That’s really the secret to the puzzle by the way, just go where it feels right. Do what feel right. Connect with people who you relate to. The rest will fall into place.


That said, we searched for socially conscious meet-ups and events and found the Centre for Social Innovation (awesome!!). We also scheduled meetings ahead of time with peeps we admired from afar that live in the NYC area. Being that it was Christmastime (note to self), this was more difficult than usual because many groups were skipping their December meetings and having a members-only party. Regardless, we forged onward, determined to put our neon/tie-dye/hot pink/rainbow/leopard footprint on this great city that we so adore…

To prepare, we created a “Faceted Media NYC Game Plan.” Every business trip should be an attempt to try to do the best you can to get your message across in the best way possible. So, we prepared:

Faceted Media’s NYC Game Plan Check List:

  • Stickers with business name and catchy slogan!!! (Let’s sticker the town, she says!)
  • Business cards & rack cards (You always need these and we sure did on Monday night!)
  • DSLR cameras (Stay tuned for our NYC stock photo giveaway)
  • Meet-Ups and Networking Events
  • Hashtag (#fmdoesnyc)
  • Instagram Story!

The Follow-Through

As we know, all good plans start with a great idea. But many bad plans start with a great idea and just stop there. That’s why they’re bad. They aren’t real. So, we conquered and made sure to attend networking events. My fave? The improvisational storytelling class offered at the Centre for Social Innovation Building in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC.

centre for social innovation, faceted media, public relations, marketing

At the event, we had a blast playing improv games and getting to know each other. The co-working space is supremely impactful in this neighborhood. It was bumpin’ up in there with social change do-gooders! Just our style! We met so many people and heard so many stories. We also learned how to tweak our storytelling to capture audiences even better than before. Thank you!!

The Insta-Story!

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting patiently…now it’s time for the #fmdoesnyc Instagram Story. We’ve mixed fun and business and of course lots of NYC footage. Using Instagram Stories is a great way to share special micro-moments with your peeps! And, it can also be used to explain a process, a product, restaurant review, travelogue as we did or really anything you can think of.

One of my favorite Instagram Story profiles to follow along with is the National Geographic Instagram page and their stories. I learn a ton and you can see how they use chronological sequences and text to visually tell a story. If you’re thinking about using Instagram Stories for your business, check theirs out, it really shows you how it’s done. Of course, we’re partial to our Faceted Media travelogue, so without further ado…

In Chronological Order…

Oh my. How excited we were at this moment! We were so ready to take a bite of the Big Apple on our trip to New York City to represent Faceted Media. Here’s us….3 – 2 – 1…..

Here we come NYC! Faceted Media is a global, virtual PR, Marketing, Sales and Tech company that vibes so well with the big city. We’re born and bred Chicago peeps, so it’s natural to want to visit our big sis as often as we can. Here’s me, talking all sappy about my dreams.

Here we are, flying in to NYC on a Faceted Media business trip. This trip, we circled around and flew into La Guardia Airport from the East. We got a prime view of the Statue of Liberty and here you’ll see us flying over Manhattan.

Here we get a little avant guarde wit it and the hotel art. Also, we are glad to have landed after a 3 hour flight. Ironically, it is a 5 hour flight back. #whoa #fmdoesnyc

Welcome to the streets of Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is thick with street vendors galore. Yes, I indulged QUITE a bit out there. Pizza, hot dogs and….Halal! My favorite is falafel and chicken mixed together….yum yum yum.

Pump it up. Here is an arguably ridiculous T-shirt you could get at the Central Park Christmas Market in New York City. Definitely a potential gift for your favorite Millennial EDM fan for their next rave. It trapped me for a moment in a small, dimmed box full of these things. For that moment, I wanted to just stay there for the rest of my days in the soothing liiiiiiight.

And puppets, because why not! I wished I had someone or some reason to buy one. The skeleton was calling my name for sure. Maybe for my next gig at at Dia de los Muertes party.

Here we are, leaving New York City, trying to get a nice street shot outside the Colbert Show, but right there at the last minute, a fellow Faceted Media team member had to go an “arm bomb” our Instagram Travlogue. But, hey, we’ll keep him (and the clip) anyway to show that we aren’t perfect. And, we like working with other humans too.

Ahh. My favorite. Of course, because I put my heart into everything that I did while in New York City, I would stumble across this particular necklace at a pop-up shop right next to my hotel. It truly speaks to what we do. If you never give up, and always follow your heart, all of your dreams will come true.

Can’t Wait to Come Back Soon!

I hope you enjoyed our fun, quirky little travelogue. These fun projects are just a small sample of how we help our clients tell their stories to their fans. We also help you get published in the news, appear as a speaker, design fab graphics, manage your social channels, optimize your website and so much more. Follow us if you like! Right here: www.instagram.com/faceted.media

Faceted Media is a company that offers socially conscious public figures and businesses find a voice that is colorful and memorable. We also love to give back to our community and the world by addressing topics that deserve attention such as human rights and conscious actions. Thanks for reading! Comments? Send us a note here!

© all photos and graphics are originals and owned by Faceted Media, LLC

Snoopy & Friends Set Loose from Long Running MetLife Branding Campaign

metlife branding campaign, snoopy, peanuts, marketing, branding, Faceted Media

Metlife Branding Campaign Begins

I remember as a small child the MetLife Snoopy commercials. In fact, upon researching this, I discovered the Metlife branding campaign did indeed start in the 1980’s. I recall watching with much confusion as Snoopy seemingly went on vacation on the television. And, what was MetLife? I presumed it was a travel agency. In reality, it was depicting a life of leisure in early, secure retirement through the reliance on the MetLife Insurance Company.

As confusing as I was when I was little about Snoopy and MetLife working together, to reasonable adults, they saw one of their favorite childhood characters enjoying life. The Peanuts characters have always evoked a spirit of comfort and a time gone past. Specials like It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas are heartwarming. They also remind us of the important things in life, such as enjoying the ride and loving those around you. These are healthy symbols for a life insurance company! If you want comfort and joy, get MetLife….sort of thing. And, I like it!

Snoopy Fired From MetLife Branding Campaign

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, commercials were a prime form of marketing. Using an animated favorite like Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the gang, made insurance….dare we say…lovable?????

“We brought in Snoopy over 30 years ago to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant,” Esther Lee, MetLife’s chief marketing officer, said in a press release.

And, it seemed to have worked. For over three decades that is. Now, in a recent statement, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (shortened to MetLife around the same time the Peanuts Gang was introduced), has decided to cut the leash on using Snoopy in its branding campaigns.

MetLife Branding Looking Forward

Next, what’s on the horizon for the insurance giant? They plan on targeting a corporate audience and pulling back on such previous initiatives as blimps at sporting events. Marketing changes constantly, so it is only fair for MetLife to be able to shift its gears to stay afloat. And, the Peanuts brand is a classic. They won’t be “unemployed” for too long we’re sure. Either way, let’s jam the holiday classic and enjoy what’s important this holiday season, just like Charlie Brown would do!