January 31, 2022 by Laura Winters and Hilary Jenison
A few years ago, we cooked up this crazy idea to start a hyper-local digital resource for the town of Hingham. We would call it Hingham Anchor and share local news and events in a sleek, beautiful and easy to navigate platform. The only problem? We had absolutely no idea how to design a website. (And then, further down the road, no idea how to update one) Enter, our hero, Donna Mavromates of MavroCreative. Over the course of several months, Donna took our vision and turned it into reality. Besides being a pleasure to work with, she was able to take our minimal direction and create exactly what the city needed adding features that had never occurred to us. Over the years Donna has created countless tutorials to help us learn how to edit and use the site properly and has fielded more than a few late night or weekend emergency calls, “I think I ‘ve broken the website”.
When she’s not creating beautiful websites, Donna can often be found walking her dogs, strolling around town, or enjoying the view of the harbor from Bathing Beach.
Today we are proud to introduce you to Donna.
Hingham, this is Donna.
How did you enter the world of web design? Is it something that has always interested you?
I have worked in marketing communications for over 25 years and have worn many hats throughout my career. While leading a marketing communications team for a large financial services company in the early 1990s, I was introduced to “desktop publishing” – that’s what graphic design was called – and very first websites on the World Wide Web had just been developed. .
When my twin daughters were born in 1997, I left the corporate world and started my entrepreneurial journey providing marketing consulting services to small and medium sized businesses.
In 2010, I was working with a client for whom we were providing marketing consulting services and one day she called me and asked, “Do you know anything about building websites in WordPress?” My nephew made a site for me and I thought it was pretty. easy to do but I can’t figure it out for the life of me. I bought the WordPress For Dummies book but I just don’t have time to learn all about it.”
I replied, “I’ve never used WordPress before, but I’m sure it’s something I can figure out how to do.” And so I set out to create my first WordPress website. I’ve been addicted ever since.
Beyond design, what other services does MavroCreative offer clients?
My favorite websites to work on are the ones we work on their branding first. Because we spend a lot of time getting to know the client, what they want to achieve and what the business goals are, we have all the “essential” details we need for the web project. It all stems from the branding process through to the creation and development of the site…and the results are usually far beyond what the client even expected them to be.
We also provide graphic design services to the clients we have worked with so that we can carry their brand in all aspects of their marketing, from creating social media post templates to a Facebook page header, a speaker sheet, brochures, annual reports and more.
Once we launch a website, we offer ongoing website support and updates with our monthly care plan.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on? (In addition to The Anchor, of course!)
Ahhhh…that’s hard! We’ve worked with so many different types of businesses, and each holds a little piece of my heart for different reasons. If I had to pick one, I’d say it was the Spoon Hingham brand and website. It was such a joy to work with Martha Falvey, the owner of Spoon. I loved working on this project because she had been thinking about starting her business for years and being able to play a small part in helping her make that dream a reality was so rewarding for me. Plus, the gorgeous photos of her soups made designing her site so much fun!
With digital marketing constantly changing in the world of app updates, algorithms and new technologies, how do you keep up to date?
I am a lifelong learner. I’ve lost count of the number of online courses I’ve enrolled in over the years and most of them are about web design or entrepreneurship. I’m also involved in a few different Facebook groups that are specific to web design and having access to people in those communities is huge. Algorithms and updates definitely keep me on my toes!
What advice would you give to someone who is starting or renaming a business and needs an online presence?
The first step before even contacting a designer is to identify your target market. You need to know who you want to attract so that your message and content speaks directly to your ideal customer. Your company’s brand isn’t for you, it’s for them. He represents the business, not the business owner. The brand must first resonate with customers and consumers.
The next step is to clarify your business goals. Understanding WHY you want a website for your business will give you clearer direction and set the stage for all the remaining steps in the process.
If you had another career, what would it be?
I should say interior designer or stunning homes. I’m just “mildly” addicted to HGTV and constantly re-doing stuff in my own house. Homegoods is definitely my happy place!
What is your favorite place in Hingham?
Main Street, especially in the fall when the trees are colorful. There is so much history in Hingham and driving down this street feels like the epitome of a quintessential New England town. A close runner up would be grabbing lunch with my husband and sitting on a bench at Hingham’s swimming beach. I like being able to escape in the middle of the day and admire the view of the water.
What’s one thing on your to-do list?
I have never been to Italy and would love to go to Lake Cuomo. Maybe for my 30th wedding anniversary in a few years (fingers crossed!)
What’s your favorite meal in Hingham?
It’s easy: a medium-rare cooked rib eye steak with a side dish of mashed potatoes and Tosca-style asparagus. And an extra dirty martini from Tito, straight up with two blue cheese stuffed olives!
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can sing but not on songs on the radio. I was in a choir all through high school and we had the most amazing music teacher, Mr. Carbonneau. He formed an elite group of madrigals and I sang alto. Mr. Carbonneau taught us to sing in Latin and Italian and there is a song in Italian that has always stayed with me.
Fast forward 10 years to my wedding and a few of my high school friends who were there serenaded me with this song. Much to my husband’s surprise, I participated and remembered all the words. He had no idea I could sing!
What advice would you give to a Hingham student who wants to get into your profession?
I strongly believe in doing something you are passionate about and learning as much as you can about it. Today’s students have grown up with technology, and many of them are already using the platforms that will give them a head start in a career in graphic design or web development. There are great places to start learning online.
Skillshare is an amazing, accessible resource for all things creative, including marketing, graphic design, and web design. ( https://www.skillshare.com/ ) Courses are generally very digestible and affordable, especially if you get a monthly subscription. Ideal for students!
I would also suggest finding projects that you can contribute to, whether at school or as an extracurricular activity. You will see if the design is something you really like.