For those that may not be familiar, tell us about yourself and what you do.
Hi! I'm Rachelle and I'm the owner and designer behind 86th & Trend, a web design boutique for creatives. I work with clients who are looking to be beautiful online and improve their customer experience.
I was born in Calgary, Alberta making me a proud Canadian! I’ve been living in the U.S. now for 2 and a half years with my husband, pup, and now our new 4-month-old baby boy. If I have free time you will most likely find me at a yoga class, out hiking, running, or sitting on a patio having a glass of wine. Although, between my son and my business I don’t have much free time anymore!
How did you get into web design? Is it something that you've always been interested in, or was it something you fell into?
I have that same story that so many of us do! I had been working in the Corporate world in a Community Investment group for a large oil company based in Calgary. It was such a cool opportunity to get involved with smaller communities outside of the City, helping to support local programs and give back to the areas where my Company worked.
I loved my co-workers and the work I did but had always wanted to start something of my own; something that would allow me to express my creative side and be my own boss! Three years ago I got my opportunity as my husband was offered a position based in Pittsburgh and this was the start of our next adventure.
Web design and working with fun, energetic, creative businesses was always something I’ve wanted to do! I’ve always been interested in color, design and helping a business bring their identity to life. I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to dive in.
Does a beautiful website (and online presence in general) really make that much of a difference?
Yes, yes and yes! It’s amazing how quickly and how much of our world is moving online. Businesses that understand the true power of the internet and social media have such unlimited potential!
A beautiful online presence allows you to communicate directly with your target customer anytime, all without you saying a word. It allows the customer to explore and learn more about you, your businesses, and services you offer on their timelines.
Tools like Facebook, Instagram (and Instagram stories), SnapChat, and blogs allow you to build a relationship with your customers in a way that has never been possible before. This helps to create trust and ultimately makes it more likely they will work with or purchase from you.
What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to websites? In other words, what are people doing wrong and how can they fix it?
I love a clean, visually powerful website. Images and videos are such powerful tools that can evoke emotion in such a short period of time. When websites are overcrowded or have too much information it can cause confusion and frustration for the user.
My motto is, “Be simple, be short!” I know there is a lot you want to tell your potential client, and you want to ensure they are informed. But the truth is, the majority of people don’t read your website (SHOCKER) … they skim it! And within a few seconds of landing on your homepage, they have made a decision on whether they will click through or leave.
Cut the fluff and only include what matters most and what is essential to your business. You want to ensure what you are offering is clear, and that it is easy to find! If you need to include additional details or information, I would suggest having a “subscribe” button so they can sign up for your mailing list.
Peek is a really cool tool to test the usability of your site. A live person will navigate your site and give you their honest feedback on what they think you offer and general thoughts on your site.
What has been the best part of being in business for yourself?
I LOVE being my own boss!! But it can definitely still be a challenge! I also love the creative freedom this job and my clients have allowed me to have.
Until I started 86th and Trend, I really didn’t realize how structured my work life was. Don’t get me wrong, structure and routine are still so important when you're self-employed, but it’s different.
The ups and downs of it all can be scary, but it’s so worth it in the end!
What has been the biggest struggle?
The biggest struggle for me FOR SURE has been trying to figure out all of the behind the scenes stuff! I know that is a big category but I mean there are so many programs out there, so many social media channels, so many areas people say you should be focusing on.
For me, it was letting go of the idea that I had to do all of it all at once. Instead, I took the approach to focus and become an expert at one thing — Web Design. Through networking groups and social events, I have met so many great people that are willing to partner and complement my business. From experience, I can tell you its so much better to be great at one thing, then only mediocre at several things.
What's on the horizon for you? Any new projects, services, or collaborations in the works?
I’m so excited to be launching new packages and pricing this Fall! I’ve learned so much the past 3 years, and have had amazing clients to push me and help me grow!
I’ve also met some amazingly talented individuals in Graphic Design, Photography, and Coaching that I can’t wait to partner with this year. There is nothing more gratifying than working together on an exciting project and bringing it to life!
Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who are looking to create the most impact online?
Start with a great website!! Of course, I would say this being a web designer, but I TRULY believe it. It doesn’t have to be complicated or even expensive, in fact, it should not be! Start with a simple, short, and clean website that EXPRESSES your business and yourself.
Customers want to connect with those who they are working with. They want to see your site and feel like they’ve met you. Later on, you can expand thru added layers such as Social, but start simple.
The last thing I would say is strategizing and thinking about how your website will lay out, and the experience you want your customer to have will push you to be sharp on your messaging and clear on your objectives.