Alex Pemberton working on a laptop at home

Inside: how APHQ studio came to be – from registered nurse to brand strategist & web designer


Every business has a story. Some business owners start out all gung-ho, ready to do whatever it takes. Others take a slower, more reluctant path. I'm somewhere in the middle.

Military life affects my career

As a military spouse, I’ve been moving around the globe every few years. During overseas assignments and shorter tours, I’d go unemployed because there simply weren’t enough jobs for military spouses. 

(Did you know that the unemployment rate for military spouses has been around 25% for decades? Crazy, I know.)

Then when we returned stateside or got a longer assignment, I’d find a job at a local hospital. I’m a registered nurse, which means finding a job isn't all that hard, but the good ones are few and far between.

With this kind of stop-and-go employment, there's no good way to build a career. You're always starting over. 

I decide to start my own business

The last job I had was at a small hospital on the East Coast. I saw things I couldn’t change – like inefficient systems and unethical behaviors – so it was a relief to get orders overseas and quit that job. I don’t appreciate having to choose between what is right and what the hospital leadership expected us to do. 

Then I set out to create myself a “job” aka business, where I could set the ethical standards and streamline everything for beautiful efficiency.

I'd come across Jennifer Maker, who shared how she turned her blog into a thriving business

This gave me just the solution I needed. We would go overseas yet again, but this time I wouldn’t be unemployed – I’d be self-employed. And I’d have the whole three years to get this business off the ground.

With that, I started a blog about decluttering and simple living.

Design is my life

Now, I’d been blogging since 2004 – about sewing, knitting, and jewelry making – my favorite hobbies. 

*** Cut to childhood ***

I've been designing and creating clothes since I was a kid. My grandmother taught me to sew, an aunt taught me to knit, and I was off and running making my own pants, dresses, and sweaters.

I rarely made anything exactly as the pattern said. Nope, it was all about putting my own stamp on things, making them look just as I envisioned. 

*** Cut to 2015 ***

I was alone in Germany, my husband deployed to the desert for six months.

Having already sewn up a whole new wardrobe (as I had nothing else to do), I was looking for jewelry to match. Only I couldn't find anything I liked in the stores. 

Undeterred, I bought a ton of polymer clay and all sorts of tools to work with it – and started learning how to create the bracelets and pendants in my imagination.

*** Back to 2019 ***

I bought a domain, totally customized the look of my new WordPress theme, and wrote a few articles about decluttering.

Transition to web & brand design

I joined a few blogging groups and started participating in the discussions. It quickly became apparent that many people there were utterly overwhelmed by the tech aspect of blogging and websites in general.

That was fascinating because the tech part and design came so easily to me. 

So I’d answer questions and help people, and soon enough I was getting requests for tutoring, troubleshooting, “can you make my website look like yours?”, and more. 

And I thought, forget decluttering. I decided to put my existing design skills to use, learned to code, and APHQ studio was born. 

Where I am now

Helping people set up their websites was a lot of fun. Clients often came to me without any branding in place, what with being relatively new bloggers, so I'd help them pick a few colors and fonts that looked good together.

Soon, I realized we can't just go picking fonts and colors out of thin air. So I studied brand strategy to make sure I could help you build a solid foundation for your brand.

In 2021, I added a certification in ethical marketing to the mix to help you even more. With everything I learned, I can now also help you:

  • create an irresistible offer,
  • write compelling copy to sell your irresistible offer, and
  • build a beautiful funnel to turn your audience into happy clients.

Not the end…

My story is still evolving. I keep learning, adding new skills and knowledge, and re-evaluating my offers to make APHQ studio a fabulous solution for your entrepreneurial needs.

To follow along on my exciting adventures, bookmark my website or sign up for my weekly-ish emails!

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