Last month during my virtual Cold Plunge inside my creative writing membership, The Tide Pool, we wrote to the prompt:
“When it wrapped up, you were on cloud nine.”
(We all show up for a live co-writing call where no one knows what we’ll be writing about until I reveal it!)
As it turns out, I was just on the cusp of polishing up this website — and I was pretty close to cloud seven-ish. ☁️
I quietly pressed publish on the site this month…
… And before I tell you how long it’s been in the works, or how it all came to be — I thought I’d start by sharing the raw + real piece I wrote in the moment during that Cold Plunge.
(Don’t worry, I get into the nitty-gritty right after!)
I wanna say it’s part poetic, part essay-ish, which is to say: 100% me.
One year of trying to ignore the voice in the back of my mind saying… You’ve changed.
Six months of going deep — like really, really deep into the seams of my business, my purpose and my future.
Three months of visualizing: how do I want to show up in this next season of life and business?
Two weeks of finding the perfect website template, changing my mind three times, returning to my gut feeling. “You can do this yourself,” I remind myself when it feels like I can’t.
One month of frantically scouring Zara for outfits that may or may not fit, looking for the perfect photographer, canceling and rescheduling because when two moms are doing business together we just understand that Life Happens.
One night of staying up late, analyzing my pores, face masking, packing green and white and teal tones into my husband’s suitcase to haul across the ferry the next day. Sleeping with hand cream and nightmares of missing the bus at 5.46AM.
One sunny winter morning in her photography studio, catching the light, the perfect makeup artist, a coffee in hand, moisturized and primed and holy hell is it possible to look like this everyday?
Hours of awkwardly pointing at the camera, wringing my hands nervously, attempting not to sweat through the suits I need to return tomorrow. (I ended up keeping them.)
A sigh as I wipe the makeup off.
Tears when I receive the photos.
Relief when I pull them all together into a new digital home that finally looks and reflects Zafira 2.0.
The entrepreneur who embodies her worth. The writer who owns the title Writer. The storyteller here to share and show others to do the same. The mother who nurtures by nature and holds safe spaces. The creative catalyst for voices that want to come to the surface.
(Reading this again makes me teary!)
Now that we have the feels outta the way…
… If you clicked on this blog post, I’m sure you might be wondering:
- How did I decide it was the *right* time for a rebrand?
- How long did the process really take… And who was involved?
- What tools have I used to bring it all to life?
And that, my friend, is the reason for this epic long blog post.
Sink in and grab a cuppa of your favourite beverage (or a bag of chips — no judgment!) and let’s sink our teeth into this.
How I Knew It Was The *Right* Time To Rebrand
I officially took the months of August 2021 – February 2022 off for maternity leave (my daughter arrived at the end of September 2021). And while I was so happy to ease back into work by running my mastermind Empire (which I’m no longer offering), I was definitely feeling stuck in how I wanted to show up online.
People always told me a baby would change me, but I had NO idea that it would be a head-to-toe-heart-to-soul makeover.
Much like trying to wriggle into my old jeans (no chance), I couldn’t shake the feeling that something felt off, and that perhaps I’d outgrown the identity I’d worked so hard to build over the years.
These were ALL the things that were circulating nonstop in my mind:
- I realized that half the offers I started out with on my website were already retired.
- I noticed that I’d customized my previous brand photoshoot to those old offers — and the pics didn’t quite resonate with me anymore.
- Since the last time I had my website designed, I had really claimed my worth, upleveled my expertise and worked with tons more clients and members — and felt like an entirely different entrepreneur.
- The themes, metaphors and imagery I had in mind were totally different to what I was putting out there. (Might be because I’d moved to a small coastal town in the year prior!)
- I was feeling ready to lean more into the identity of writer vs. copywriter and super excited about teaching and helping folks embrace *their* inner writer.
- All in all, it felt like the right time to refine and elevate to Zafira 2.0.
And just like that, the *perfect* opportunity to work through all the above dropped into my lap.
Enter: Sarah Ashman of Public Persona.
I’d been biding my time until I was *ready* to work Sarah over the years, having watched her apply her creative mind to the rebrands of so many folks I respected in my industry, from mentors like Kira Hug to peers like Hillary Weiss.
She seemed to be this secret force behind making a brand totally unforgettable and 100% intentional — not to mention there’s an intuitive and woo-adjacent side to her that I totally resonated with.
Just as I was wringing my hands trying to adjust my offers, she opened up enrolment for her signature program, MirrorBrand, in May 2022.
This was a DEEP dive into who you were at your core, who you wanted to embody in your future, and how your brand could literally mirror the parts of you that already exist — so that you could integrate it effortlessly into your life.
Let it be known that when you undertake this type of process — you have to really give it your ALL.
While I was starting this six-month journey, I was in the midst of holding my home fort down with sweat, tears and grit (my husband had just gone through knee surgery, we had also just recovered from COVID, my kid was starting solids, I had new childcare starting and was actually returning to work for three days a week).
Needless to say, my MirrorBrand time looked a lot like let’s not do the dishes at naptime and do this instead and when we finally sleep trained our baby, it was MirrorBrand before bedtime.
It would have been SO easy to tell myself: this isn’t the right time, there’s too much going on, wait until the next round…
… But it would have felt so much harder to hear my brain echoing back: we can’t put this off any longer.
My energy type has always been one to Do The Thing as soon as I know it’s the right time, and sitting around waiting (when I know I’m ready for a big shift) was the one thing I knew hadn’t really changed about me. So I told myself: we can make this work.
You’ll know it’s right when you’ll do whatever you can to make it work FOR you, and when the process is genuinely lighting you up!
Back to MirrorBrand: over six months, I learned to meet all the parts of me that wanted to surface.
Child Zafira who loved mermaids. Teenage Zafira who always had her nose in a book. Adult Zafira who loves wellness, retreats and romance. Mama Zafira who loves cold plunges in the ocean and loves to nurture others.
And towards the end, it all came together in a beautiful dossier and mood board, which you can take a peek at here:
As you can tell — I was inspired by the vibe and energy of poetess Rupi Kaur, as well as the textures and emotions of the ocean.
Rupi has always been a role model for me since I saw her performing live in Vancouver years ago — watching the rise of another Brown writer globally (have you seen her tour pics??) means the world to women like me, and so much of this process showed me how important it was to embody *my* personality with a similar fearlessness, authenticity and strength in order to truly set myself apart… And maybe pave the path for more folks like me.
So, that’s the end of MirrorBrand — next up, it was time to implement!
How Long Did The Process Really Take… And Who Was Involved?
After I wrapped up MirrorBrand in September 2022, I started poking around looking for photographers and the right option for designing my website.
Phase 1: The Photoshoot
I’ve always been drawn to the editorial style of Nicole Robertson so we booked in a slot for December 2022. We had an ocean shoot on the books too, but Vancouver had an unexpectedly cold start to winter — so we’ll have to get to that in summer 2023. (Your girl loves a cold plunge but she does NOT want brand pics with goosebumps and blue skin!)
Together, we mapped out a fresh mood board for the shoot, which looked a little bit like this:
Some great tips Sarah shared with me prior to this photo shoot:
- A white suit (with no top inside!) is ALWAYS a classic shot.
- Playing with movement and styling can be so key. Because I wanted to evoke feelings of flow, we did “structured” clothes (like suits) with loose, flowy hair (yay fans!). And when I had more casual clothing, I had more “tamed” hair instead.
- No jewelry and accessories lends itself to more timeless and less distracting photos (if you look closely, I barely wore any during my shoot).
- Photographs against a more neutral background call for more colorful outfits. Photographs against colorful backdrops call for more neutral outfits.
After a couple of hours at Nicole’s studio in early December…
… I got to work on Phase 2: The Website!
Phase 2: The Website
In the months prior, I had battled mentally between choosing a designer or going the DIY route with a beautiful template.
(Fun fact: back in the day, I used to *also* be a graphic designer and have designed manyyy a website!)
I actually really miss having visual design be a part of my day-to-day, and I knew I could pull it off on my own.
I’d been eyeing the gorgeous templates from TONIC Site Shop for years, but I was operating on a Squarespace site previously. I knew I was ready to switch to Showit (better SEO *and* more design flexibility? YES!) and that this was gonna be a serious undertaking, even if it WAS a template.
All in all, I realized designing the site myself was the best option because:
- I would have creative control if I wanted to change things in the future.
- I wanted to understand the backend of Showit myself, and took it as a creative challenge.
- I genuinely LOVE designing websites, and I had the time available to me to make it happen!
- I realized that much like our homes and wardrobes, we really DO crave a change every 3-5 years — so I know that THIS iteration of the site isn’t a forever thing; why not have fun with it? (And do it all again in a couple of years?)
So, I settled on the Bijou template from Tonic ^^ and over six weeks, kept my head down while I cranked out the copy, customized it with my new brand palette (even though half the reason I picked it was that the palette and vibe was literally MADE for me and the new vision I had in mind!) and when I finally received my photos back from Nicole (swoon), it felt SO complete.
Along the way, I also had to:
- Switch my site settings from Squarespace to Showit
- Update my quiz and its corresponding result pages
- Integrate new freebies like my 30-Day Writing Challenge and my Writing Ritual Mini-Journal + write their corresponding welcome email sequences
- Design a new sales page and waitlist page for my creative writing membership, The Tide Pool
It’s one thing to have a website “ready”, but it is a whole OTHER thing to make sure your funnels and new resources are set up, tested, and working before you press *launch*. I probably spent a week just making sure nothing was going to break!
So, if you’re liking what you’re seeing on the site — you may find this next section super helpful:
What Tools & Resources Have I Used To Bring This Website To Life?
Here’s every human, tool and resource under the sun that was involved in the process!
- MirrorBrand program with Sarah Ashman
- Custom brand photography with Nicole Robertson
- Stock photography and video from Pexels
- Makeup by Happi Kaur
- Showit web platform
- TONIC Site Shop for Showit web templates (use the code ZAFIRA15 to get 15% off!)
- TryInteract for my quiz setup
- ConvertKit for email funnel setup
- Canva for lead magnet design
You can also check out my site credit page for extra deets.
I hope that if you’ve been wondering about undergoing a rebrand yourself or if you’ve had questions about mine, this post has done the trick.
Got more questions? Leave a comment below! I’d love to know if this resonated with you or if you have anything on your mind that I can help answer.
And if you made it to the bottom, THANK YOU for reading!