Drewe and Kate adds Wilmington style
DREWE SMITH and KATE SUPA’s relationship started the way so many other relationships in Wilmington start: through a wedding.
Well, a wedding magazine. The two founders of Drewe and Kate Branding Co. connected while Smith was editor-in-chief of Focus on the Coast. The magazine was launching a wedding edition, and Supa, a well-known local wedding photographer, came in to meet with the sales team about buying an ad.
“I had been following Kate’s work on Instagram for a while,” says Smith, “and I loved everything she was doing. I really wanted to meet her, so I actually stole her sales meeting from one of my people.”
The next time the magazine needed a staff photographer, Smith hired Supa. It was an instant friendship. Later, when Supa had a client who needed help conceptualizing a photoshoot, she recommended Smith to style it. “Kate called me, and I said, ‘No one is ever gonna pay me to do that. That sounds ludicrous. I don’t even know how much you charge for something like that. That sounds like a made-up job,’” Smith says, laughing.
The two found they had amazing work chemistry together, with equally exacting work ethics. Never one to sit on an opportunity, Supa threw out an idea.
“The shoot went great, and when I got home that night I called Drewe and I said, ‘So what do you think about doing this as a business? I’ve already registered our Instagram handle, it’s DrewandKate,’” and I put her name first so hopefully she would just say yes,” Supa says.
Now, almost four years later, Drewe and Kate Branding Co. is a full-service creative studio, dedicated to helping small businesses elevate their design aesthetic with cohesive brand packaging.
Long gone are their days of being “just a photographer” or “just a stylist.” Their services are now packaged to help businesses build a complete look, offering logo design, branded photography, website design, and social media management all done by Supa and Smith (Smith also serves as one of WILMA’s stylists). And, in the era of COVID when foot traffic has become so unreliable, bringing people to you through a polished, effective aesthetic is more important than ever for small businesses.
“You want to make sure that what you’re selling matches your aesthetic online,” Smith says. “You don’t want there to ever be a disconnect from someone looking at your social media to when they walk in your store or when they go to your website. So, that’s where we come in.”
As Supa points out, people often underestimate what goes into a photoshoot.
“What are you wearing? Does your outfit match your brand? Did you get your hair and makeup professionally done, because that makes a huge difference,” Supa says. “We’re selling a feeling more than anything else. We want people to look at your clothes and see themselves in them; see themselves in that lifestyle. If you’re a local boutique, we’re gonna shoot a lot around town so people can see them in places they recognize.”
“There have been so many times that we’ve spent hours discussing whether this location matches their brand pillars,” Smith adds, “It’s a lot of preplanning. For example, we’re shooting someone’s holiday campaign next month, and we’re bringing Christmas trees. We’re not just rolling into someone’s Christmas decorated house. We’re talking color palettes and brand colors, making sure the ornaments match the blue in their logo, making sure their outfit doesn’t clash with the brand color.”
From helping clients pick a new business name to coaching social media management strategies, the duo quickly made a reputation for themselves in Wilmington as branding gurus. And, the two women are constantly challenging themselves to offer their clients even more.
“Things are always moving and changing, and our business needs to move and change with the times, too. So, if we need to learn something, like website design, we’re going to do it; we’re going to figure it out. That’s just how media works,” Supa says.
Approaching their fifth year, even in the uncertainty of 2020, both Smith and Supa are excited about the future.
“I definitely think we want to expand – keep doing what we’re doing but find a way to do it on a larger scale,” Smith says. “Getting to watch people’s businesses not just survive but thrive, and how excited that makes me, is not something I anticipated in my life. Those little wins our clients have feel better than anything else.”
“I don’t think we’re the kind of people who like to just maintain,” Supa adds. “We can’t wait to grow. We love supporting small businesses, so we wanna keep those kinds of clients, and if we can maybe provide jobs for people in the community in the next few years, that’s even better.”
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