Circa Creative Studios
Laura Deleot co-founded Circa in 2015 along with her partner, Tori Thomas. From humble beginnings (the first office was a closet – a walk-in closet, but a closet nonetheless), she has helped steer the Circa ship on a path to growth and development. As Executive Creative Director and the Chief Operations Officer, Laura’s expertise and leadership has been instrumental in growing the little graphic design and branding studio that could into a business with locations throughout the country.
Before Circa, Laura served as a freelance designer for businesses throughout the community. She holds a design degree from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta and a BA in Art History from the University of the South, Sewanee. Her first business was a photography venture she launched during a summer break from college, which had Laura taking family portraits and developing them in a dark room (it was the pre-digital camera era, after all). She began her career in New York City at the Valentine Group, then worked for Chronicle Books in San Francisco as a senior designer in their gift division and was later an Art Director for American Songwriter magazine.
As a mom to two active boys, she is always shuttling them to sporting events and lacrosse tournaments. She also loves hiking with her dog, Lucy (who converted her to a dog person), fly fishing with her son, reading stacks of books, and traveling with her family (she hopes to have reached all seven continents before her next big birthday!).
What is a personal piece of advice (business advice/saying/quote) that you lean on and could pass on to others?
”Keep your eye on the horizon.” That’s how you successfully grow a business. (That’s also why you have a mission and a vision.) Ultimately that’s what Circa is all about: sustaining value, now and into the future through brand.
Best business book you’ve ever read?
I can’t pick just one, and as much as I love to read a physical book then place it on my bookshelf, I mostly listen to business books then go back and reference a copy or bookmarks. Thank you Audible! Some of the best books we have used to guide our business are listed here:
Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself By: Mike Michalowicz
Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less By: Jim VandeHei , Mike Allen, Roy Schwartz
The Win Without Pitching Manifesto By: Blair Enns
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business By: Gino Wickman
We're All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging By: Mike Robbins
Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration By: Leigh Thompsom
Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need By: Todd Henry
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days By: Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen By: Donald Miller
One misstep you took in your business that you could caution others about?
Growing too quickly (or too slowly for that matter!).
We have had experience in both and as we understand better business and financial fundamentals, we are able to implement more careful assessment. The tools I gained in the Catalyst program when I first took it back in 2017 were a huge step in the right direction. I am participating in Catalyst again this year as an EO member and continue to benefit from the assessment framework it provides for my business as well as the tools and guidelines.
How to you de-stress after a particularly hard day?
Depending on the weather and other responsibilities I would take any of the following:
A walk in the woods with my dog
A bath + candle or incense in my quiet bathroom
A glass of wine and simple recipe to cook in the kitchen while my kids are doing their homework
What’s something about you that would surprise everyone reading this?
I started my career as a creative because I wanted to be behind the computer creating (I am an introvert). Now I am out in front, selling the business and managing the team.
What EO benefit has been most valuable to you?
EO has provided accountability (Forum and Catalyst) and space to think and reflect on my work and achievements as well as inspiration from the other members and businesses I am exposed to.
Any exciting plans for 2023?
I have a big birthday this year and am turning 50. A life goal was to visit all 7 continents by my 50th birthday. I am still short 2 but am planning a trip to Antartica in the next few years that will help me achieve my 6th continent and hope to make it to New Zealand on a family flyfishing trip (that’s close enough to Australia right?) soon.