The following is an blog post from Drio’s left brain, Rachel’s, interview with Agency 102.
Check out the blog post on their site here! A big thank you to Agency 102 for this feature.
As a woman-owned small business, our team at Agency 102 is always looking to make connections with other female-led companies in the marketing world — especially those located in the Baltimore area. We recently got the opportunity to catch up with Rachel McFadden, civil engineer turned graphic designer, and cofounder of Drio. Rachel and her business partner Hazel founded Drio in 2011 and have been providing businesses with top-notch website design and digital marketing services for service-based businesses or purpose-driven organizations ever since. Keep reading to learn more about our conversation with Rachel, including what it means to be a woman-owned business, and predicted marketing trends for 2023.
Tell us about your background and Drio. What’s your “why”?
“My background is in engineering. Before starting Drio, I worked as a civil engineer in both design and construction management.
In 2011, I began looking for an alternative to my daily grind working as an engineer. While I really enjoyed the work, I didn’t enjoy the rigidity of the engineering world and I wanted to find something that allowed me to use my left brain skills, but also allowed for creativity. I teamed up with my business partner, Hazel, who has the right brain skills and we started Drio at the end of 2011.
We created an opportunity for ourselves to work directly with business owners to impact the bottomline of their business through their digital marketing. We love being able to work with owners and business leaders at companies of all sizes and helping them realize their potential for growth when they work with us. For us, it’s about showing them an outside perspective, that as business owners, it can be hard to see for ourselves.”
What does being a woman-owned business mean to you?
“It’s one of those things that you don’t really think about at the time when you are getting started and you just think that you are the same as any business. Over the years we have realized that being a woman-owned business is something that we want to lean into. As web developers, we are working in a predominantly male field. We are not only woman-owned, but we also work to contract with other woman-owned businesses.”
Why is it important to collaborate with and support other woman-owned businesses?
“It’s so important to lift up and support other women in business. We are under-represented in the business world and underpaid. As women, we want to change that narrative. We want to show that we are a part of the solution.”
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a woman who is trying to start her own business?
“Success isn’t in a silo. Find your tribe, your support system, a friend, someone who you can lean on for advice. When we started Drio we relied very heavily on some other women business owners to get ourselves up and running. We joined local groups of women creatives to find like-minded women and we currently are part of a CEO Collective where we can bounce ideas off of women business owners and keep ourselves accountable.”
What are some of the biggest challenges about being a woman-owned business?
“When we first started, we felt the stigma of being a woman-owned business and moms. We didn’t want to deny that we had families to take care of, but we didn’t want people to think we were just stay at home moms with a side hustle. I think it was a very touchy subject for us. In reality, we started Drio when our kids were very small, so we were working around their schedules all of the time. We felt we needed to hide that. It didn’t feel right, but we didn’t feel like we had an option if we were going to be taken seriously.”
That stigma is part of the reason why Rachel and Hazel founded the Monument Women’s Creative Alliance. Their mission is to support women creatives by cultivating a community that enables connection, inspiration and education. They host learning workshops and social events, and offer local volunteer opportunities that impact the local community.
What are some predicted trends for 2023 surrounding web design and what it means for the marketing industry?
“As we all know, mobile is huge. We have always designed for desktop and then created mobile as part of the process. I think we are going to see more mobile-first designed websites. This means that we would design the mobile experience and then the desktop experience. This just means, as marketers, we have to follow the analytics. When we can see what Google Analytics reports to us as far as usage, we should take that seriously and ensure that if the majority of our users are on mobile, the overall strategy should shift to mobile.”
Why is it important for businesses to have a professionally designed website?
“We say that simply, your brand should stand out online. Users will go to a website first, before they call you or show up at your brick and mortar, they’ll check you out online. This first impression is so important and can be the difference between you and your competitor.”
What is the one piece of advice you would give to business owners looking to improve their online brand presence?
“Don’t look at the cost of improving your online brand presence as a cost, look at it as an investment. We have had many clients thank us for upleveling their business with a simple website update. These clients have often made the cost of their website back within days of their new website launch and the quality clients it can draw in for them.”
To learn more about Rachel and Drio, visit their website, and stay tuned for more “Women in Business” Spotlights from Agency 102. If you’re a woman-owned business and would like to be featured in this series, send us a message!