VoyageLA Feature

I’m honored to have been featured by VoyageLA in their LA’s Most Inspiring Stories column. Take a look at my article below or view it on VoyageLA.com.


From VoyageLA.com:

Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Manitius.

Courtney, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Five years ago, I hit a turning point in my life. A “quarter-life” crisis if you will. I was living in Baltimore, single, and working as an in-house designer from 9 – 5 at a company where I couldn’t grow. I wanted to change. I had always dreamed about living in California, and this felt like the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. I put in my two weeks at my corporate job, packed up my Hyundai and headed west – with no full-time job lined up.

Fortunately, when I put in my two-week notice to my corporate job they offered me a position to stay on as a freelance designer and ultimately became East + Sunset’s first client, although it technically wasn’t E + S at the time.

Over the next two years of working in restaurants and picking up additional catering shifts on the side to make enough income to sustain a lifestyle in LA, I slowly but surely grew my client base. In July of 2016, East + Sunset was officially formed.

In January of 2017, I moved my office out of the living room and into the newly opened WeWork Vine in Hollywood. My client list has nearly doubled. I’ve worked with some amazing people on incredibly awesome projects and am currently looking to expand my team and hire my second design assistant.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, and I’m not sure the road is even smooth now. One of the biggest challenges of owning your own business is financial insecurity.

When you work corporately, you have the security of a steady paycheck: the same amount, every two weeks. When you work for yourself, you have good weeks and bad weeks and your paycheck reflects those ups and downs. The good weeks are great and then the bad weeks, well, they makes you wonder what you’re going to put on the table for dinner.

I’ve been very fortunate to have more good weeks than bad, but no business is immune to the downward swing of customer acquisitions. Another obstacle in owning your own business is playing all the roles within the company. I enjoy playing the role of sales director and obtaining new clients and maintaining current client relationships. I LOVE playing the role of a designer. After all, it’s what I’m trained to do!

What I don’t love is playing the role of accountant or financial director and hunting down clients to pay their invoices. It can be extremely difficult to be the good and the bad guy at the same time. I don’t like having to chase clients to pay or add fees when invoices aren’t paid, but at the end of the day, a girl’s gotta pay her bills!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the East + Sunset story. Tell us more about the business.
East + Sunset is a branding and design agency. We specialize in building brands from the ground up. Starting with a logo and finishing it off with web design. We also do all the in-between for brands that are already established.

Some services of E + S include branding, social media management, social media promotions, trade show design, flyers, posters, package design, web design and much more.

I like to think E + S is approachable which sets us apart from some of the larger agencies. We’re easy to work with, fast and reliable. What more could a potential client want?

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
My industry is constantly changing as design styles are constantly changing. We’ve already seen the shift, but I think we will continue towards more digital design over print design. Items that used to be printed are being formatted for strictly online visibility.

Ten years ago building a website was strictly desktop and now we have to make sure everything is mobile friendly. As technology changes, how we see and present design will change.

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