We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Francis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Grace, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I graduated from CU Boulder in 2020 and found it very hard to land a job during the pandemic. I started building my freelance business by reaching out to friends and family to create my own clientele. As the year went on, jobs were still very difficult to get as I was in a pool of candidates that ultimately had a lot more experience than I did. Since my freelance business was doing super well, I decided “Why not start a sole proprietorship and make it official?” Then Deku was officially born in January 2021.

What should our readers know about your business?
Other than my professor inspiring my work ethic and determination, my clients are how I got where I am today! My first client, RxEssentials, jump started my business and eye for product photography. Katie Andonian, the owner of RxEssentials, allows me to create content for her brand the way I want, with her input of course. It helped me start to create my own style and experiment with different types of visual marketing.

It is not easy to go out on your own and figure everything out. Google has been my best friend of 2021. I have spent countless hours researching and trying to educate myself to be better. I have learned that to create a successful brand it takes determination as well as several drafts, experimentation, and ultimately a story. It is extremely important to know that no matter how much you already know, there is always room to grow and learn.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to Little Italy! I live there and it is a great area to explore and EAT. I am a huge fan of food and there are so many tasty spots to try. One of my favorite burger joints is Samburgers. The same chef also owns a few other restaurants in Little Italy called Not Not Tacos and Graze by Sam. If you are into delicious food — those are your go-to’s. There is always fun stuff going on down near the water front as well, including food trucks every Sunday at the park. I would probably pack a picnic and take my friend to the beach and finish it off with card games in Kate Sessions Park. There are so many great things to do in San Diego!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of my professors at CU, Michael Stoner, played a large role in the foundation of Deku. I learned a lot from him in college and would not be where I am today without him. My family also helped me tremendously, could not have gotten here without them!

Website: https://www.studiodeku.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/studiodeku/

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