04 May Around the Corner: Sponsor Spotlight on Mavin Creatives
Mavin Creatives’ mission is to enable creatives + small businesses to realize their full potential. We are proud to partner in the 2nd annual Around the Corner event celebrating our community’s young artists while supporting their growth within Chicago’s Northwest Side art community.
Branding. Web Design. Content Strategy. Social Media Marketing. Graphic Design.
Nikki Spencer, co-founder of Mavin Creatives:
It’s a little cliché to say adventure and romance have led me to Chicago and to build Mavin Creatives, but it’s the honest truth. I like to think of the story as a romantic comedy full of love and adventure à la Woody Allen, but that might just be my own personal bias.
I grew up in Idaho on a goat farm in a town of 3,000 people, surrounded by beauty and great communities, but never really felt like I was “home.” I grew up drawing and daydreaming with a desire to do things a little differently. I did not grow up around creatives or entrepreneurs, but I was raised in a very non-traditional family environment and through that found opportunities to make my own way.
I applied for and accepted a position at Harrington College of Design here in Chicago in 2003 to pursue an education in Interior & Textile Design. I’d never been to the Midwest, or anywhere really, and knew only the admissions counselor I’d spent hours on the phone with. But I wanted to study design in a city that was thriving with culture and opportunity, without the comforts and fallbacks I was used to. I have always found inspiration in change and thrive off the energy of opportunity.
I lived in the Far West suburbs for the first 10 years working, going to school, and starting my own family. My children were in daycare all day, I wasn’t doing the work I wanted and I was struggling to keep it all together. In my free time, I did freelance design and illustration work that was referred to me by friends and word of mouth.
In the early spring of 2012, I made the jump and left all my creature comforts to open my own business. A single mother with two kids… it was more than a little risky, but I knew I would regret never trying. I was blessed with having some very strong female influences come into my life and through them saw that it was possible to live all those daydreams—my own terms, my own business, raise my children and actually enjoy the hustle.
A good friend of mine called a few weeks later and asked if I was interested in working on a project for his band. They needed photographs and a storyboard for an upcoming video shoot. We set a date, met up, waited for the lead singer to arrive, and talked about the project. That lead singer walked in—full of energy and excitement, and as I watched him talk about this project, being a freelance musician, and felt the energy from this group, I knew two things: (1) I was never working in corporate again—I’d made the right decision. And (2) I was going to marry that lead singer! Less than a year later, I moved in with him on the Northwest Side and started freelancing web design / graphic design and photography for local businesses as NerdyGirl Designs, the business that would later morph into Mavin Creatives.
It’s really difficult to choose one or two specific things that I’m proudest of, because each finished project—logo, website, product launch, etc.—makes me pretty giddy. It’s exciting to see the things I have helped create go out into the world and create success and happiness for my clients. I have worked with creatives and small businesses all over the country and am really proud of being able to say that a lot of these clients have become personal friends and teachers—people whose experiences carry weight. My business has grown solely through their word of mouth and referral.
Mavin Creatives is a collaboration between myself and my good friend Michelle Lange, a fellow creative freelancer here on the Northwest Side. She has a background in journalism and publishing. Both of our individual business were created through a lot of hustle and peer connections. We created this project together with the goal of being more than just a web design and marketing agency, but also a conduit for connections.
Northwest Arts Connection is also focused on connecting people so we feel that our partnership is a great fit and look forward to future collaborations.