This article is part of our new Wix Partner Awards series recognizing the exceptional work of Wix Partners. Each month, we’ll select and spotlight a different Partner who is pioneering within the digital sphere. We’ll share the inspiration, insights, work goals and secrets that set the company apart. The first winner is Chicago-based De La Foye Design Studio, excelling in the superior functionality category.
Meet De La Foye!
While the idea that people travel to ‘find themselves’ might appear clichéd to some, it’s a way of life for others.
Just ask Denise Foy, founder of De La Foye Design Studio. Her trip to Bali set her on a career path pursuing her passion – designing websites for business owners and discovering their voices online.
The idea came after Foy was introduced to Aaron, a Canadian restaurateur whose business had no web presence. Struck by how difficult his restaurant was to find online and what he termed ‘destined to fail,’ Foy offered to spend her trip in Bali designing a website to save the business. Aaron accepted Foy’s offer, and three months later, armed with a new web presence, his restaurant ranked number one in the area. Today, he runs six successful restaurants in Bali – all with their own websites.
“That story really touched my heart,” says Foy, who had previously spent 20 years working as an IT project manager. “Working in the corporate world, I could never really help an individual like that. Instead, I was coordinating implementations for big web projects, so it wasn’t helping one particular person. I remember feeling very underwhelmed and that I needed to make a change in my life. The universe was saying to me: ‘this is not what you're supposed to be doing anymore.’ And so, I decided I would start my studio because if I can help another person the way I helped Aaron, it would be such an honor.”
In 2018, De La Foye Design Studio (a nod to Foy’s Huguenot ancestry) was born. Headquartered in Chicago with an additional office in Asheville, the studio helps businesses across the globe find their inner creative voices to enhance their brand and online presence.
Foy uses Wix Editor, Editor X and Velo to build premium sites across a variety of verticals for clients, including Restaurants, Events, Stores and Bookings. Her team comprises specialists in graphic design, copywriting, SEO, marketing, social media, analytics and photography. Through its services, the studio is helping businesses increase revenue by more than 25% in three months.
Work Worth Recognizing
Reflecting on its client project for Comfy Fitness, Foy says one of the initial challenges was developing an online presence in line with the client’s brand identity. “Comfy Fitness had a person in California doing all of their branding, and admittedly, I was a little overwhelmed at first as there was so much color. I sat down with all the colors to figure out how to create movement. That's something they were really passionate about. Being a fitness company, it's all about movement.”
Once the branding was finalized, Foy says the project became a true team effort. Building the site using Editor X, Foy and her client got collaborating. “It was a very collaborative project with the women who run Comfy Fitness,” she says. “They were amazing: very methodical, very patient. Their site has a lot of functionality, which challenged me in many ways, but it’s the most rewarding to build and makes me a better designer, thinking more outside the box and strategically.”
So what was the client’s response to the final design? Foy unveiled the website over Zoom so that she could witness their genuine reaction. “They were super excited and absolutely loved it,” she says.
Another rewarding aspect of this project for Foy has been the client’s consistent use of the site’s functionalities and features since its handover, such as the members area, blog and bookings. “I really love and appreciate that they are constantly making posts on their forum and trying to engage with their community,” she says. “I love that they're really engaged with their business online. A lot of people simply create a website and forget about it. But they are very proactive.”
The project was deemed a major success by both sides. Although it was done entirely remotely, it helped the studio develop a strong client relationship with Comfy Fitness, shown in a recent Instagram post.
Building on Wix
De La Foye Design Studio continues to build exclusively on Wix, with Foy having recognized the value of using the platform right from the beginning.
“I started using Wix to build websites from the moment I started my company,” she says. “I’d tried using other platforms, but they didn't give me the ‘blank canvas’ feel I was looking for, and I couldn't move things where I wanted to move them. So I stuck with Wix because there wasn't another platform with the functionality I wanted.”
Foy says she particularly likes how everything works seamlessly together on the platform as well as its automation and CRM capabilities. “There's so much that you can do,” she says. “One of my favorite tools is the booking feature. It's an easy-to-use scheduling system that lets customers book services online. I use it on my own website, as well as on the ones I build for clients.”
Having seen the impact her work has had on entrepreneurs and businesses, Foy is now keen to pass on her knowledge and is launching a new masterclass for those who want to become more involved in their own branding strategy. “It doesn't go into any sort of technical details, but it helps people with their branding, content and UX testing and covers the design do’s and don’ts, integrating Google Analytics, Hotjar and more,” she says.
“Now I'm able to help small businesses that don't have the funding to afford to pay me. But I can help by giving them bits of information to take along their journey to starting and developing their businesses. So that also makes me really happy.”
After all, that was Foy’s impetus for starting De La Foye Design Studio and where her true passion lies – helping other business owners succeed.
“I mean, it brought me a little to tears retelling that story about my experience in Bali because sometimes I need to remind myself where I came from and why all this started,” she says. “But yeah, every time I'm sitting at the computer building a website for someone, I always have a smile on my face. I never thought that I would have a job that I love and am so excited about every day.”
And a final piece of advice for agencies at an earlier stage than hers keen to grow their business? “I talked to someone recently who was just starting out, and she was like, ‘oh, I'm so afraid that I'm going to get all of this work and I'm not really going to know what to do with all of it.’
“I told her I wouldn't be afraid of that. Getting new clients is not easy. You really have to put yourself out there and network and meet as many people as you can so that they'll trust you to do that work for them. So embrace the work, trust in yourself, and see where it takes you.”
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