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

Hi Allison, how do you think about risk?
I have befriended risk, realizing that when we usually see “risk”, what we’re actually looking at is a reflection of our own fears. When I am faced with a “risky decision”, I realize that the answer I seek is within me, and what I really should be doing is inviting my fears to the table, thanking them for protecting me, and letting them go in peace. Risk is merely a perception, as risk naturally lives in the future.

After growing up as an accomplished young musician, I quickly realized the duality of risk taking. On one hand, as a child I never envisioned a future for myself where I wasn’t performing. However, on the other hand, I understood that oftentimes professional musicians are left disappointed and bitter by the cutthroat industry and nature of monetized arts. It was a total toss-up: Do I risk not following my dreams, or do I risk not having a reliable foundation for my adult life?

I chose to risk the path untraveled. I knew I could always come home to music; it was more important to me to continue loving music. The truer risk, I realized, was risking trading my love for resentment, and that was the deciding factor for me. Upon entering college, I originally chose a broadcasting program that showed its malalignment with my heart within weeks, leaving me vulnerable and questioning everything. After a serendipitous conversation and a few spontaneous meetings, I realized that being a musician or broadcaster didn’t work out for me because what I was actually being called into was Graphic Design.

I eventually found my footing and proceeded to settle into a comfortable life track – with a partner, 9-5 office jobs, and all the other details that signify a young American adult is following expectations and building a life for themselves. However, that too was not meant for me. After years of stress, traffic, uncomfortable clothes, and unhealthy relationships, I woke up to realize that I had been swallowed by corporate culture, burnt out and spit on by inhumane demands and a complete lack of accountability in leadership.

I was once again greeting by Risk, but this time as an old friend. I learned along the way that Risk is not meant to drown you in fear, but to call you into the light of your own greatness. I hold comfort in knowing that when it is Risk at my doorstep, and not Danger, then I will be okay. I must trust that this Risk, or rather Opportunity, is meant for me.

So, I “broke-up” with corporate culture. I stopped waiting for others to meet my expectations, and instead took matters into my own hands. Today, I am a proud business owner where I guide my clients in branding, copywriting, and event consultation.

Even in my business model I have made non-negotiable decisions that others may consider risky, such as total transparency with clients, building a personal relationship with them, and never convincing them to purchase a service I don’t truly feel is a good fit for them at the time. In my corporate experience, teams are so hungry for the bottom line that they pinch and pull projects to fit their highest needs, not the client’s deepest desires. Ethical teamwork and mutual respect are the foundations to my business model. That may not sound very risky, but like many things in life – it’s easier said than done. However, I am committed to reshaping how businesses work with each other to rise together and build a better tomorrow.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Personally as a B2B graphic designer, I consider myself less of an artist, and more of a creative problem solver. My design style is anchored in hierarchy, legibility, clean layouts, interesting yet timeless typography, and unique color palettes.

I have had a myriad of positions over the years in both small business and large corporate offices. My experience is my weapon of choice, having worked with hundreds of clients and varying brand styles. I consider myself a design chameleon; adaptability, curiosity, and grit are the champions of my creative process.

What sets me apart from other small design businesses is my devotion to interpersonal relationships and attention to detail. I have a unique way of cutting through the noise most business owners experience and boiling it all down to what truly matters – and then we get to work.

I am a devoted teammate and consultant that takes pride in uplifting my community for a better tomorrow. My ultimate goal is to help business owners delegate important messaging decisions so that they can continue to lead, unencumbered by small details. Don’t get me wrong–small details are what often makes the most impact with the consumer– but as a leader, their task is to organize the big picture ideas. Let me do the researching, the editing, the ordering. I got your back!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Having moved from rural, western New York to Phoenix about seven years ago, I have hosted friends and family several times over. They often come requesting lots of time in the warm sunshine, authentic Mexican food, and an up-close-and-personal encounter with the desert. I love this Valley because no matter the time of year or who’s coming to town, there is always something to see, eat, and enjoy.

Favorite Mexican Restaurants: Barrio Queen and The Mission

Favorite Italian Restaurants: The Sicilian Butcher and DeFalco’s Deli

Favorite Asian Restaurants: Sizzle Korean BBQ and Tampopo Ramen

Favorite Outdoor Activities:
• Hike Sunrise Peak and Fat Man’s Pass
• The Desert Botanical Gardens
• The Boyce Thompson Arboretum
• Trail-riding on Horseback at Superstition Mtns.
• “First Fridays” Art, Music, and Food festival downtown
• Drive to the top of South Mountain for sunset

There’s also a ton of hidden bars and speakeasies around the Valley, too!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I am most grateful for my partner, Jesse. He has watched my career and dreams ebb and flow, while remaining steadfast in his support and love. I would not be who I am today without him in my life.

To my family and friends who have listened, vented, brainstormed, laughed, cried, and edited with me – from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You’re the kind of community I prayed for all my life.

To the teachers, mentors, and general badasses in my life – thank you for being a constant source of inspiration, hope, wisdom, grace, humor, and love. It is from you that I learned to have a bottomless wellspring of love in my soul.

Website: www.xoportfolio.com

Instagram: allisonpaige_xx

Other: Since I am in the process of building my website for my small business, feel free to also include my email as an option for contact: apmcreate@gmail.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.