January 31, 2022 by Laura Winters and Hilary Jenison
A few years ago, we cooked up this crazy idea of starting a hyper-local digital resource for the town of Hingham. We would call it the Hingham Anchor and share news and local happenings on 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. In addition to being a pleasure to work with, she was able to take our minimal direction and create exactly what the town needed adding features that had not ever occurred to us. Over the years, Donna has created countless tutorials to help us learn how to properly edit and operate the site and fielded more than a few late night or weekend emergency, "I think I broke the website," calls.
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 the Bathing Beach.
Today, we are proud to introduce Donna to all of you.
Hingham, meet Donna.
How did you get into the business of web design? Is it something you've always been interested in?
I’ve been in marketing communications for over 25 years and have worn many hats throughout my career. While managing a marketing communications team for a large financial services company in the early 90’s, I was first introduced to “desktop publishing” - that’s what graphic design was called - and the very first websites on the world-wide-web were just being developed.
When my twin daughters were born in 1997, I left the corporate world and began my entrepreneurial journey, providing marketing consulting services for small to medium sized businesses.
In 2010, I was working with a client that we provided marketing consulting services for and one day she called me and asked, "Do you know anything about building websites in WordPress? My nephew set up 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 the time to learn all about it.”
I responded with, "I haven't used WordPress before but I'm sure it's something I can figure out how to do." And so I set out to build my first WordPress website. I've been hooked ever since.
Beyond the design, what other services does MavroCreative offer clients?
My favorite websites to work on are those in which we get to work on their branding first. Because we put a lot of time in getting to know the client, what they want to achieve, and what the business objectives are, we have all the “nitty gritty” details we need going into the web project. It all flows from the brand process right into the site creation and development … and the results are usually far above what the client even expected they could be.
We also provide graphic design services to those clients we’ve worked with so that we can carry their brand across all aspects of their marketing, from creating social media post templates to a Facebook page header, 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 that you've worked on? (Besides The Anchor, of course!)
Ahhhh…that’s a tough one! We’ve worked with so many varying types of businesses, and each one holds a little piece of my heart for different reasons. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say that it was the branding and website for Spoon Hingham. It was such a joy working 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 to be able to play a small part in helping her make that dream come to fruition was so rewarding for me. Plus the gorgeous photos of her soups made designing her site so fun!
With digital marketing constantly changing in the world of app updates, algorithms and new technology, how do you keep yourself up to date?
I’m 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 with a few different Facebook groups that are specific to web design and having access to the people in those communities is huge. The algorithms and updates definitely keep me on my toes!
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who is starting or rebranding a business and needs an online presence?
The first step before you even reach out to a designer is to identify your target market. You need to know who it is that you want to attract so that your messaging and content speak directly to your ideal customer. The brand for your company isn’t for you — it’s for them. It represents the business, not the owner of the business. The brand must resonate with clients and customers first.
The next step is getting clear on your business goals. Understanding WHY you want a website for your business will give you a clearer focus and will set the stage for all of the remaining steps in the process.
If you had a different career, what would it be?
I’d have to say an interior designer or flipping houses. I’m just “slightly” addicted to HGTV and I’m forever redoing things in my own house. Homegoods is definitely my happy place!
What's your favorite local spot in Hingham?
Main Street, especially in the fall when the trees are colorful. There’s so much history in Hingham and driving down that street just feels like the epitome of a quintessential New England town. A close runner-up would be grabbing some takeout for lunch with my husband and sitting on a bench at the Hingham Bathing Beach. I love being able to escape in the middle of the day and just take in the view of the water.
What's one thing on your bucket list?
I’ve never been to Italy and would love to go to Lake Cuomo. Maybe for my 30th wedding anniversary in a couple of years (fingers crossed!)
What is your favorite meal in Hingham?
This is an easy one: a ribeye steak cooked medium rare with a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus at Tosca. And an extra dirty Tito’s martini, straight up with two blue-cheese stuffed olives!
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can sing but not to songs on the radio. I was in choir throughout high school and we had the most amazing music teacher, Mr. Carbonneau. He formed an elite madrigal group and I sang alto. Mr. Carbonneau taught us how to sing in Latin and Italian and there was one song in Italian that’s always stuck with me.
Fast forward 10 years to my wedding and a few of my high school friends who were there serenaded me with that song. To my husband’s complete surprise, I joined in and remembered all the words. He had no clue that I could sing!
What advice would you have for a Hingham student who is interested in going into your line of work?
I’m a big believer in doing something that you’re passionate about and learning as much as you can about it. Students today 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 some great places to start learning online.
Skillshare is an amazing and approachable resource for all things creative, including marketing, graphic and web design. ( https://www.skillshare.com/ ) Classes are usually very digestible and affordable, especially if you get a monthly membership. Great for students!
I would also suggest finding projects you can help out with, whether at school or with an extracurricular activity. You’ll get to see if design is something you really enjoy.