Designers on a retainer

Why we’re challenging the status quo

Rebecca deHaas | Director/Designer
Bee Creative, Hamilton NZ

A creative soul, adding beauty to the world, one design at a time.

Enni Tuomisalo | Creative Director
Bee Creative, Hamilton NZ

A designer who loves books, packaging, branding and finding the right words.

When we launched Bee Creative, we decided to rethink the way we work with our clients. Here’s why.

The pain of quoting

When we first went into business, we quickly found ourselves overwhelmed with providing quotes and waiting for approval, trying to avoid overbooking ourselves when we never quite knew which jobs would come through and when.

This process wasn’t only taxing for us. Our clients had to go back and forth, asking for quotes and seeking approval, losing valuable time and creating tighter deadlines.

There has to be a better way, we thought. And it turns out there is.

Bee Creative opened its doors on 1 April, 2023 in Hamilton, New Zealand. Our little office space has since filled with pretty books (we design a lot of books), random print samples and various coffee cups.

Designer on a Retainer

Drawing from our experience as in-house designers, we developed Bee VIP – our own subscription model. There’s nothing revolutionary about this – it’s commonly used by many industries and global platforms. Our model is a bit like that but more personal. We’re still your local designers. We want to know your business. We want to understand your long-term goals and short-term priorities. We’re available to meet you in person.

Bee Creative is like a virtual extension to our team. They got to know our business quickly, and started adding value right from our first meeting.
Amber Bremner, Central Kids

How Does It Work?

It’s like having an in-house designer you can tap into each month. We reserve you the hours you booked; you decide what we work on. When there’s nothing too urgent, we keep working through your priority list, ticking off those nice-to-have tasks that often get pushed aside. We ask questions as they arise and send regular updates on our progress. Need us to drop what we’re doing and pick up a more urgent job? Just email. Really, it’s like having a team member.

Keeping Track of Hours

What do we actually get done in two hours or eight hours? What if the hours aren’t enough? To help you plan, we provide hourly estimates before starting and monthly updates on hours spent. If more hours are needed, we can schedule them at the same discounted rate. If not all hours are used, they roll over onto the next month.

Ultimately, it’s all based on mutual trust and understanding. You can always start by commissioning a job or two in the old-fashioned way, with quotes (we still provide them if needed). Once you know how long things generally take, you’ll be more comfortable with the subscription model.

Even if you’re not looking to rebrand, we love starting with a light brand review. To keep the continuity, it’s sometimes best to make little tweaks rather than invest in a time-consuming redesign.

Deliverables, not just billable hours

We’re senior designers, so we work reasonably fast. But we also like to work to our strengths, dividing up work accordingly. We don’t want to do things the hard way. Sometimes, that means we come back to you with a new idea. We want to make the most of your time with us.

The time saved with the Bee VIP model is a game-changer. If we were going through the whole briefing and quoting process for every piece of work, we’d never get anything done. The retainer model has allowed us to discuss the big picture, set priorities, and just get on with it.
Amber Bremner, Central Kids

The benefits of context and continuity

You can buy design from anywhere. It’s not that hard to make something look a bit better. What’s more difficult is building a consistent, memorable brand. Buying design services here and there often results in a mishmash of visuals that don’t quite fit together, making it harder for your clients or customers to recognise you.

Who is it for?

Bee VIP is geared towards small and medium-sized organisations. Maybe you don’t quite have a budget to hire an in-house designer. Perhaps you do have someone in-house, but they need help. Maybe you do everything yourself, and balls are starting to drop.

Let us help.

 Interested in Bee VIP?
Check out our monthly packages.