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Meet Delia Bonfilio-Cobb of Sweet FireBrand

Today we’d like to introduce you to Delia Bonfilio-Cobb.

Delia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Queens, New York. At the age of thirteen, I entered an art competition and was selected along with four other NYC students to travel to Japan with their art teachers as delegates of the Asia Society to promote goodwill through art. Little did I know that this incredible experience in using art as a communication tool would set the tone for my career and life’s mission to follow.

I went on to graduate from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communication Design and developed a career in publishing as a Designer and Art Director. During this time, I also began to build a side business, designing logos and promotional materials for various small to mid-sized companies. In 1998 I launched Bonfilio Design, operating from a small studio in the heart of NYC’s Union Square. The studio went on to create the NYC 2000 logo for the City of New York and branded the Millennium Celebrations that occurred throughout the year – including the famed New Year’s Celebration in Times Square. Since then, my work has adorned products and promotional materials for many well-known brands and organizations.

As a long-time animal lover, I started to become an active advocate in 2003 – attending vigils, volunteering, and going on a few rescue missions with my sister. As I learned about the various ways we use animals for human benefit, I became a vegetarian and gradually began to make different choices both personally and professionally, moving towards a more compassionate lifestyle.

In 2011, I met Michael – the love of my life and moved across the country to a vibrant beach community in Southern California to be with him. I continued with my design business and donated my time and services when I could, and finally transitioned to a cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle on New Year’s Day of 2014. I became a part of the vegan community in Santa Barbara, branding and creating an online presence for Vegan Studies UCSB. Life was wonderful. We had Xena the cat and adopted a little dog named Dalai Mama…and then two more little dogs – Roxy and Harley – down the road.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve of 2016, Michael woke me up in excruciating pain. We went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He passed away six months later. It’s honestly still unbelievable to me, that it happened…that he’s gone. Knowing what I know now about cancer as it relates to diet and the environment, I had become more determined than ever to promote a plant-based, vegan lifestyle and needed to refocus my work towards doing that.

Then, one day out of the blue, digital marketing maven Doreen Fleming – a fellow business owner and animal advocate – contacted me with the idea of forming an all vegan agency. Call it serendipity. Call it a guided path crossing. After many years of running our own agencies (she in digital marketing and me in design and packaging) and with a shared desire to promote a vegan lifestyle, we decided to join forces and put our talents and expertise together to form Sweet FireBrand.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Professionally, I’d say that once I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, I could no longer work on projects that didn’t reflect mindfulness toward the treatment of animals, and it was challenging to market this new conscious ethos while displaying a portfolio full of the other kind of projects.

I’d say that the experience of losing Michael has been by far the biggest struggle that’s affected me. Personally, I feel lucky to have been loved by him and so blessed to be there as he transitioned. I’m heartbroken but profoundly grateful for our connection. Professionally it has changed my trajectory, narrowed my focus, and furthered my cause.

Sweet FireBrand – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Sweet FireBrand is a creative agency for brands and organizations in the vegan and eco-friendly space. We have a deep and broad expertise in design and digital marketing technologies. Our team delivers killer creative services with a distinctive, harmonious look and feel across all touch-points – each brand is embedded into every element – online and offline. We expertly facilitate digital promotions including strategy, design, technical development, maintenance, search engine optimization, search engine advertising, and analytics reporting so clients know where best to focus marketing efforts for future promotions.

We’re most proud of our mission to promote cruelty-free, plant-based living – for the animals, for our health, and for the environment.

What sets us apart from other agencies is that we’re a vegan-owned and operated business, serving a very specific community. What this means for us is that since we share a mission with our clients, we double-down with a creative force of passion to achieve their goals.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’m lucky to say that I’ve had more than a few proud moments in my career. Seeing our designs on store shelves never got old. I have to say the one that stands out the most was my first proud moment. Bonfilio Design created the NYC 2000 logo for the City of New York and branded the Millennium Celebrations that occurred throughout the year – including the famed New Year’s Celebration in Times Square. It was a big deal. The logo was everywhere. I literally cried the first time I saw it on a street pole banner on 5th Ave and 34th Street. Still brings a tear to my eye thinking about it!

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