A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME

Kristen Schwartz photo

Kristen Schwartz • she/her

“I believe kind, clear, engaging communication is a gift that ripples out. When we effectively convey our humanity and ideas—we can connect with the people who need us most.”

These words are at the heart of everything I do in my work. However, early in my career studies, as an introverted, highly sensitive person (HSP) who was, at times, painfully shy—I struggled to communicate nuanced ideas the way I wanted. I was desperately trying through words, design, and imagery to do so in an engaging way that felt more personal. But my professors were focused on traditional advertising and marketing concepts that felt superficial and sometimes manipulative. I felt very alone.

I knew if I was going to make the impact I wanted, I needed to pursue what resonated with me—creating heartfelt communication that connected people with what they cared about. It was hard without a mentor, and I flopped many, many times. Still, when I finally succeeded, it no longer mattered that I wasn’t following traditional advertising and marketing techniques because it was effective. Finally, I achieved audience engagement at the level I was going for. My confidence soared like never before.

I didn’t realize then that I was incorporating my love of storytelling into my communication style. And my HSP traits, that I was sometimes led to believe were weaknesses—(empathy, compassion, noticing subtleties, being deeply moved by art, music, and story, etc.)—were precisely the skills I needed to become a more effective communicator. That combination helped me shed my shyness and develop a career spanning over 30 years.


A decorative font glyph for the number 3 from the font Stringfellows Ornaments.

All that is to say, I know how difficult it is to communicate core principles that are important to your business, identity, or just plain important to you. However, you don’t need to use jargon or tactics that don’t resonate or dedicate countless frustrating hours trying to fit into an ill-fitting mold.

You have strengths you may not think are strengths, and you don't have to figure everything out alone.


A decorative font glyph for the number 3 from the font Stringfellows Ornaments.

Very few of my clients set out to go into business. As a result, they're often reluctant marketers, unsure how to create an effective online presence, and lost in the terminology and constantly changing algorithms. Then they forget who they are in their struggle to figure everything out. And when they try to find an easier way, they get tangled up in the loudest advice and gimmicks being peddled on the internet as surefire methods to rake in six figures. In other words—a big load of BS. (Yuck!)

That’s usually where I come in. I’m a guide and collaborator for my clients to help them get to the core of what they do and want to say. I listen, ask questions, and elaborate on ideas—always with their unique goals at the forefront—whether developing marketing strategies that match their strengths, creating branding and visuals, or building custom, user-friendly websites that bring it all together. Your online presence—thoughtfully crafted words, design, and imagery—is all about using clear communication that fits you and your core message. And the fantastic side effect is that the clarity you achieve can increase your confidence and make sharing what you do more effortless and joyful. Marketing then becomes natural instead of a dreaded task that feels separate.

Even if you’re quiet, shy, or introverted, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to say or need to market uncomfortably.

Instead, we’ll start where you are, look at how you do things best, and develop your message and the communication that fits YOU. That way, you're more likely to connect and engage with the people who need you most.

If my work and mindset seem like a fit, contact me to schedule a chat to see how I can help you. Or, if you're clear on what you need help with, feel free to schedule a consultation.


Always an artist. Images of Kristen painting at 5 at an easel wearing a smock and setting off to art school with her portfolio

Painting at five (left) and off to art school (right).

I grew up in an art gallery. (Yes, I did.)

I got into business early. For one venture, when I was 12, I made little creatures called “Nice Mice” and sold them at the India Street Art Colony Jazz Festival.

I have been using Apple computers since 1980.

In the 80s, I worked for a software company called Beagle Bros. that made games and utilities for Apple computers.

Image of the Beagle Bros staff from a 1983 article in SoftTalk magazine

1983 SoftTalk magazine article with the Beagle Bros. crew.
That's me (aka Minnie Assembler), second from the left.

I have been living, working, and playing in South Lake Tahoe, CA, for over 30 years.

One of my first jobs after college was doing paste up for a newspaper. (If you don't know what paste up is, here's a video explaining this lost art. If you don't know what a newspaper is, things have become dire.)

In the early 2000s, I developed a method for printing on raw silk and was featured in a Rochester, New York, art show with fellow art printing innovators.

I had the tremendous honor of being chosen to work with author/illustrator Yuyi Morales in the 2009 Nevada Mentor Program through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

I wasn't aware of how much I use my hands when talking until I animatedly described some illustrations during a live radio interview. I managed to unplug all the sound equipment with one enthusiastic gesture.

I wear many hats in my life, many of which are helmets.

Our grown child, a computer scientist/linguist, is a Ph.D. student studying fairness and privacy in natural language processing. (We don't understand everything, but we try!)

Photo of our black kelpie dog

Our brave dog.

When we rescued our dog, she was afraid of trash cans, tree stumps, people, other dogs, and shadows. She is currently only scared of our houseguest—a cat named Wren.

The most validating thing a publishing house art director ever said to me:
“You can obviously draw the hell out of anything.”


A decorative font glyph for the number 3 from the font Stringfellows Ornaments.

My focus is on websites and online presence, but I'm very passionate about many other projects I've done. Some include illustrating, designing, and writing engaging educational exhibits, designing and illustrating books for all ages, and creating illustrated multi-audience public interest stories aimed at protecting nature.

A SAMPLING OF CLIENTS IN A RANDOM WAVY ORDER:

BioSpirit Day Spa
Artful Leather
Maverick Carving
Nikki Shannon Smith
Tahoe: Lost and Found
Kathy Harmon-Luber
Tahoe Art League
Trudy Levy Arts
The Tallahassee Ballet
Tahoe Distinctive Video
Sierra Nevada Snow Removal
Society of Young Inklings
The NoGlobe Alliance
Tahoe Writers Works
Millicent Meng
Bona Fide Books
Thorough Web Press
Range of Light Publishing
Mountain Girl Mysteries
Good Dog Press
Makoto Press
Behind the Seams Publishing
Dream Weight Blankets
Rearview Miracles
The Studio Lake Tahoe
Grass Roots Natural Foods
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Lake Tahoe Acupunture and Wellness
Jim Stamates Wildlife Photography
Kimball Chatfield LAc., OMD
Alpensong Healing Arts
Kalena Associates
Dr. Annette Childs
Attorney George Keller
Strategic Marketing Group
Tahoe Summers