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Meet Tara Johnson of AlchemyThree in Concord

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Johnson.

Tara, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I was an art kid to the core: I loved to paint, draw and hide in the art room during my free period in high school. All I ever wanted was to make thought-provoking art, play in a rock band and sleep in till noon.

When I went to college, I discovered an undeniable passion for photography. I went on to earn my BFA in Photography from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Again, all I wanted to do was make art, live in the dark room and surround myself with creative, thoughtful and inspiring people. I also hated computers and avoided them like the plague.

As I moved through life–waiting tables with a healthy photography side-hustle–I began to take an interest in print and graphic design. I slowly realized that art isn’t the end-all, be-all for communicating with an audience in meaningful ways. Design is amazing in that it can elevate a message and encapsulate a brand in a single mark. There is a need for design everywhere you look and it often strikes me as a kind of superpower: I can support small businesses, nonprofits and various important causes by creating work that transcends language and cultural boundaries.

I eventually made friends with computers, by the way. And now, of course, they are at the very epicenter of my craft!

In 2005 I went back to school and earned my Associates in Graphic Design, proceeded to work in-house for several companies and freelance on the side (as so many of us do!). In 2014 I struck out on my own and in 2015 I created AlchemyThree: a digital design and marketing agency focused on supporting passionate entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses striving to do well in the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting and running your own business is never a smooth road.

I am a mom to 2 young boys, so the path to business ownership was never straight or without turbulence. Time, energy and focus are precious resources when you have small children so learning to juggle projects, home life and self-care has been one of my biggest challenges.

As an artistic-minded person, there were also lots of basic business concepts that alluded me. I’ve had to become very self-disciplined, ask lots of questions and push myself out of my comfort zone. This approach has allowed me to forge lasting relationships, reach a more diverse audience and, in turn, help to support the growth of my clients’ businesses as well.

Please tell us about AlchemyThree.
We are a small but experienced group of creative professionals who work tirelessly on behalf of our clients. We are known for our storytelling, professional photography, brand and content creation, social media management, lead generation, custom website design and web care maintenance packages. We have a highly collaborative style and pride ourselves in meeting the client wherever they may be in the process.

I am very proud of the business that I’ve built, though my pride stems not from our outward successes but from our vision as a company. The cornerstones of AlchemyThree are as follows: mutual respect for all, transparency, and open communication, the importance of continued education, patience and humility. The concept behind the name AlchemyThree is this: the whole is simply much greater than the sum of its parts. We all do better when we work together!

We do have a few differentiators that tend to set us apart. Firstly, we are small: I work with a team of developers, trusted writers, a virtual assistant and handful of specialists that I can assign projects to as needed. This allows us to create stellar work and provide ongoing support for our customers while also keeping the cost down.

Another element that sets us apart is our friendly demeanor and accessibility: we make ourselves available to our clients and are a great fit for ongoing, creative support for small to medium sized businesses. Whenever our client has questions, concerns, or is a specific challenge, we aren’t afraid to jump in and get our hands dirty! If we don’t have an immediate solution, we will leverage our vast network of professionals to create a game plan that best suited to their unique needs.

As the business owner and lead creative director I do wear many hats within the business. I create and manage all brands, determine the approach, design style and trajectory of each campaign and am the initial contact for all clients. I am also a marketing consultant, wordpress consultant and photographer, so I tend to stay pretty busy!

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