BABE #264: GARIELE WRIGHT - Founder, Rad Girls Collective
Gariele is a web designer and brand strategist dedicated to bringing the ideas of her clients to life. As the founder of It’s Gariele, she’s helped various travel bloggers and adventurous spirits create websites that best represent their business and brand. As the founder of Rad Girls Collective, she’s fostered a community that inspires women to explore the great outdoors and share their experiences with fellow globetrotting babes. Her creative spirit, attention to detail and love for exploring has garnered much success, and we’re excited to see where she wanders next.
Hometown: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Current city: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Alma mater: Camosun College
Degree: B.S., Business Administration (Marketing)
Very first job: Cashier at the local grocery store!
Hustle: Founder, Web Designer + Brand Strategist - It’s Gariele & Rad Girls Collective
Babe you admire and why?
Sarajane Case, as she has made a career from chasing her passions and creative pursuits. She is joyful, kind, humble and gracious. She recently created an Instagram account called Enneagram & Coffee that went viral within its first week. I’ve loved reading her positive comment replies and engagement with her community. Truly inspiring!
How do you spend your free time?
I love going on adventures, whether hiking, beachcombing, sailing or camping in my converted van. I also love photography and can rarely be seen without a camera in hand.
Favorite travel destination to date and why?
Iceland, as it’s where I got married. My husband and I eloped beneath a waterfall. We got sprayed with glacial mist, witnessed a circular rainbow and kept each other warm even though it was freezing.
Tell us about your hustle.
As a web designer and brand strategist, my job entails working closely with my clients to discover the best path forward for their brand-new website. I design custom sites on WordPress, which takes a level of creativity, strategy and tech knowledge. As a solopreneur, I also handle all marketing, social media, sales, finances and onboarding for each client. I wear a lot of hats!
What does your typical workday look like?
I have created an enviable schedule, wherein I work only two days per week. The rest of the time I reserve for being with my family. I begin my usual workday around 9:30 to 10 a.m. and finish by 4:30pm. In that timeframe I usually work on client projects, designing concepts and live websites. I also have discovery sales calls a few times per month to book my open client slots.
Have you always had a passion for design?
I have always been a creator. Growing up, I was trained in classical singing and opera. I loved using my creative chops! But I never thought I would become a designer. I always believed I was “bad at” drawing, so I wouldn’t be able to do a job like design. I decided to pursue this career when I realized how much I enjoyed it after creating my first website out of need.
How has travel impacted your life?
Travel has given me many opportunities and ideas. It seems that whenever I return from a trip, I feel inspired to create. I decided to focus my business around travel and adventure because I love those two things! More so, I saw a need for travel bloggers to have better website designs. All of them were using the same themes and I knew they would benefit from my services.
What’s your creative process like?
I begin my creative process by having my client fill out a deep-dive questionnaire and create a Pinterest inspiration board so I can get a feel for their style preferences. I then use their responses to craft a mood board. I thrive in this process as I get to work with photos to pull out the color palette. Once that’s set, I have a better vision for how the website design will look. I am deeply inspired by photography and make sure to honor the images my clients choose for their sites. Over time, my process has gotten more tight and I’ve been able to tap into my creative source more easily.
What’s your approach to running and growing a successful business?
I live by a mantra: Work less, make more and do what you love. I keep my business lean and leave time for the most important things in life: family, friends and self-care. If you’re thinking of taking the entrepreneurial route, fall in love with what you do. Some days you’ll be asked to step outside of your comfort zone or expand your skill set, and it’s vital to have that passion to fall back on.
Tell us about Rad Girls Collective.
Rad Girls Collective is a community I created to inspire women to explore the outdoors and share their adventures. The idea came to me when I was backpacking through Costa Rica and realized I wanted more women in my life who shared a love of adventure. Little did I know that thousands of women around the world felt the same way. Today, the community has over 100,000 audience members on social media.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
My biggest career milestone happened last year, when I landed my first five-figure project. It felt like I finally hit “the big leagues,” and it was proof I was destined for something greater. It also showed me that when I value my work, others value it, too.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
Women are vastly underrepresented in the tech industry. I believe more companies and clients need to learn to trust women to handle complex tech issues, and they need to actively look for female (and non-binary) business owners to bid on projects. I also believe we can share more stories from female entrepreneurs, much like Babes Who Hustle does. Being a woman has given me access to insight, instinct and empathy. I believe it’s made me appear more trustworthy, easygoing and open to possibility.
Are there any female-specific challenges you face in your work?
I’ve had past clients treat me differently because of my gender. One client a long time ago asked me to come to his house instead of meeting in a public place, because he needed troubleshooting help. I’ve had people, other women included, try to push me around, so I’ve become very strong in my boundaries. On the other hand, I have made some of my closest friends because of my business. I’ve been able to connect with other women and bond over things on a deeply personal level. I’ve met people who will stay by my side for years to come. I don’t think I would ever have reached that level of intimacy with male peers.
What’s the gender ratio like in your industry? Do you see it evolving?
The tech industry as a whole is made up of mostly males, but that is changing! Groups and initiatives such as Ladies Learning Code help bring web design and development to the forefront. As more female designers talk about their careers, that drums up the interest from other women who were possibly considering a similar move.
Who are some women in your field that you look to for inspiration?
I look up to designers like Erin Flynn and Christine Thatcher, who have made careers out of showing other designers how to run the business side of their design work. I also look up to female developers like Krista Miller and Nikole Gipps who make highly complex tech issues look like kids’ games.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Stay diligent, even if your mind isn’t always inspired. It’s important to stay laser-focused on your goals, whatever they may be, and keep plugging away. Even when it feels like you’re not making progress or the tasks seem too big, choose one tiny thing to work on and keep pushing the cart forward.
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