Odette Hartzenberg: Designer, entrepreneur and mother
Odette Hartzenberg combined her passion for design with a desire for excellence as a graphic designer. She is above all, a photographer, busy entrepreneur, and mother-of-three. Odette Hartzenberg gives us an insight into what motivates and inspires her to be her best.
Odette Hartzenberg was born into corporate business. Her father was the regional director of a corporate company. From an early age, he would encourage her to be productive and find solutions to problems. “From around the age of six, he would return from work in the evening and ask me what I did that day that was constructive. He instilled his work ethic. Especially the idea of doing my very best.”
In a sense, choosing her line of business was relatively clear-cut. Her strong artistic streak would dictate a creative working environment. After obtaining a Fine Art Diploma at the Pretoria University of Technology, she did her Graphic Design Diploma. Firstly, she gained extensive experience in both print media (including magazine layout, photography, and styling). And secondly, digital media industries.
This experience paved the way for Iconic Marketing. She established this company with her husband and business partner, Hardus Hartzenberg. Iconic Marketing specializes in brand identity development and management, online marketing, and advertising. They also offer SEO, web design, and social media marketing. Most of all, their company offers a turnkey service with creative solutions for existing or future challenges. Especially, tailor-made for individual clients.
To create something beautiful out of nothing is Odette’s biggest motivating force. As well as the thrill of a challenge of course! She admits that she doesn’t give up easily. Because her perfectionist nature and ruthless eye for detail simply won’t allow it! She sees her dedication to excellence rather than a financial reward as a potential drawback in the business world. But, at the same time, holds her value system dear. “Success means different things to different people. Completing a project on time, and exceeding expectation is what I define as success.”
Working with clients
Educating clients on the value of expertise is a challenge. Especially since the advent of create-your-own design websites competing with experienced, qualified designers with a wealth of knowledge in the industry. “You can only really appreciate an industry if you know what it involves. And also what the hallmarks of good design are. It’s like wine or diamonds: Knowledge of the product adds value.”
As an entrepreneur
On the upside, the rewards of owning her own business far exceed the drawbacks. “I love that my time is mine. I don’t have to feel guilty about running errands or working irregular hours,” she explains. Seeing her work on display, be it on a large billboard or a magazine rack in a bookstore, is a reward in itself. She regards it as a privilege to help businesses improve their visibility, even if only with an advert or good photograph.
The year 2020 and Covid-19 presented their challenges. But, they also forced entrepreneurs to refocus and adapt survival strategies for a changing world. Even in the smallest of industries, it reaffirmed that going online is certainly the way forward. This evolution creates new business opportunities for Odette’s company. It sparked a strategy rethink, the introduction of new products, and a repackaging of the company’s existing services.
Looking to the future
In 2021, Odette wants to get back to basics. Specifically modernizing her company brand and website. “I have to practice what I preach. As a graphic designer, I never seem to have time for my own branding and marketing.” On a more personal level, she wants to update the family album, editing and printing pictures of her three gorgeous young daughters. “I’m a photographer, but my own family is always last in line,” she laughs.
She is positive about the future and acknowledges the role SACBW mentors have played in both her personal and professional development. A naturally reserved person, the organization has given her the support and encouragement to let her guard down and form valuable connections and enduring friendships. As a networking opportunity, it has also proved invaluable. If she could offer advice, it would be to know the market and make sure you are unique. “With so many DIY and quick logo design websites, you have to stand out among the crowd. In this industry, being original is the greatest advantage.”