The Design Business Show 090: Becoming a Branding Specialist with Sarah Ashman

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | May 3, 2020

Sarah Ashman is the founder of Public Persona Studio, a company focused on helping entrepreneurs and influencers uplevel their business, elevate their influence and increase their perceived value through branding. She has over fifteen years experience as a brand strategist and creative director for influencers, thought leaders and business owners, developing and creating compelling and cohesive brands that are memorable and attract attention. She works for thought leaders such as Amy Porterfield and Nikki Elledge Brown, as well as fortune 500 companies such as Estee Lauder, Vogue Magazine and Mercedes-Benz.

And if you haven’t listened to episode 35 of The Design Business Show, please check that out because we really go into the story of how Sarah became known as the “Pitch Bitch”, how she’s revolutionized her business and the brand industry and her great work.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

  • Why I invited Sarah back after talking with Hillary Weiss and learning about Sarah’s Creative Direction Certification Program
  • How Sarah left the corporate space to and started focusing on personality led brands in the online space
  • How Sarah has a passion to help people first become the most powerful version of themselves and then help them wrap an incredible brand around that
  • How Sarah uses left brain strategy and positioning along with this fun and creative direction
  • What prompted Sarah to start her own business was that she felt a calling to make more of an impact by helping  people rather than big brands
  • How Sarah felt frustrated with the limited creative freedom she was receiving and how she was looking for something to latch onto that felt meaningful
  • How Sarah has always been fascinated with fashion and personal style which led  her start a fashion blog, called Public Persona in 2008
  • How Public Persona gained media attention and how through that clients started coming to Sarah
  • How Refinery29 and Nylon Magazine did a feature on Sarah which led to people asking her to style them
  • How Sarah saw that styling her clients was helping them feel better and show up in a more confident way
  • How styling clients got Sarah thinking about how this might apply to brands and small businesses, which is how she made Public Persona as it is today
  • How personal styling began to feel surface level when she realized she wanted to do more in the entrepreneurial space in the way of building brands
  • How Sarah created this surface where she was helping people figure out who they were on a deeper level and then figuring out how to express that which turned into her service, Privé
  • How Privé is now her core offering and a prerequisite for any other service Sarah does for clients
  • How Privé helps clients think about their brand in a deeper way to help them see themselves very clearly and to help them show up more confidently
  • How Sarah realized she loves doing the deeper work which is why she got away from doing logos and design work
  • The story behind Sarah’s MirrorBrand™ group program
  • How Sarah was challenged with making a program that someone else can follow versus using the thinking and process she uses for one on one clients where she’s doing the work
  • The first time she launched MirrorBrand™ she only used word of mouth and told a few clients and people she knew
  • Why Sarah only runs MirrorBrand™ once a year because she likes to be personally involved in it which makes it more than a course or program
  • How creatives taking MirrorBrand™ fell in love with the process which resulted in them shifting further than surface level and into a brand strategist role which opened more possibilities for them
  • How creatives in MirrorBrand™ asked Sarah to teach them how to do what she was doing which lead to the creation of her Creative Direction Certification
  • How Sarah is in her first round of the Creative Direction Certification which is a nine month program in a mastermind format
  • The different aspects of Sarah’s Creative Direction Certification and how it can help creatives with their bigger picture vision to help clients
  • How Sarah’s Creative Direction Certification has those enrolled bring in a test client to go through the process so they can problem solve as a group to help these clients
  • How Sarah’s photoshoot styling service came about from doing website work for people and wanting specific photos that they didn’t have
  • How Sarah’s background in directing large scale campaigns helped her with her photoshoot styling service
  • How Sarah’s photoshoot styling service spread by word of mouth and is the only really hands on service she has kept because she loves it so much
  • The story behind the photoshoot Sarah helped style for Nikki Elledge Brown on Nikki’s website
  • What Sarah’s next steps are and how she feels called to step into the teaching role and mentor which means a little less doing for clients one and one and just teaching her methodology
  • How Sarah would love to see other people benefit from her methods to create a ripple effect
  • How you can listen to episode 35 of The Design Business Show to hear more about Sarah’s story
  • How most of Sarah’s business comes from word of mouth and how doing good work for clients will result in referrals


Links mentioned:

Sarah’s Website 


Connect with Sarah on Facebook 

Connect with Sarah on Instagram

Nikki Elledge Brown’s Website 


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