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Meet Vani Gundara of Design Spinners in Chatsworth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vani Gundara.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born and raised in the Valley. Yup I’m a “Valley Girl!” I’ve always been drawn to color, shapes, design and all things creative. My parents say they knew they had a budding artist when they caught me with a crayon in my hand sliding up and down the staircase at age 2 marking up the walls to see what pattern it would make as I descended. Luckily for me they encouraged and provided me with all the tools I needed to explore my passion. By the age of 10 I had a full portfolio of all my drawings which included my renditions of my favorite Disney Characters including my favorite of all time (Maleficent). By middle school, I started to dive into the modern / graphic arts and stopped copying stuff I had seen but started to draw and paint my own mixed media creations. I colored on everything from my favorite shoes to my backpacks.

Pivotal Moment: The summer before I turned 11. I spent the summer at my dad’s office.

His team had created a system to aide designers and architects with computer generated interior design environments and had developed a graphic design program (we’re talking pre-Photoshop).

My dad gave me a computer of my own with this design program on it and told me I could draw and design anything I wanted with this new tool.

So, I got to work on the computer. The best part was he had a large format printer in the office, so when I finished my creations he had them printed out poster size. When I saw my art printed that large in full color I was blown away, and immediately knew that this was what I was going to do for a living! I went into school in the start of 6th grade, pinned up the posters I had created to the board, brought in my favorite robot (Omnibot) and told the teacher that I was going to be a Computer Graphic Designer when I grew up. The rest is history.

Highschool, I was always a pretty good student, but preferred doodling to paying attention to lectures. I always had a sharpie in my pocket and a sheet of hole punched blank white papers in the back of all my binders, so if lectures got boring I could draw.

Those doodles ended up becoming the portfolio that got me into UCLA’s Design | Media Arts Program. It’s amazing, you don’t think about it when you’re growing up, but if you really have a passion for something you should be doing that activity every single day….and for me that was always art.

Post UCLA, I ended up working as a graphic designer, worked for some smaller companies and then spend 8 years of my career at Boeing as a User Experience / Versatile Technologist. I know it’s a mouthful! That was the best thing that could have ever happened. Suddenly, I went from a print media / web graphic designer to being exposed to technology meetings and being responsible for not only interpreting the wishes from a corporate level but working on wireframing and helping to design and build internal solutions and systems in collaboration with the engineering departments. It was here I really fell in love with the communication, and blend of technology and design.

I started Design by Vani right out of college. This was my freelance outfit where I would take on evening, and weekend jobs for businesses that were looking for creative graphic and website design help. I always knew that I wanted to start my own company, but I also knew I had to learn the ropes of how the business world worked first. So, this was my way of working in Corporate America and keeping my creative entrepreneur hat on.

Design by Vani and the amazing clients I worked with is how I made a name for myself and when the time was right, I opened Design Spinners and hired my team. I started in my dining room with 1 contractor, and ended up renting our first office space a year into the creation of Design Spinners.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life is too short to stress and worry about things. Yes, running a business and being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding. I always knew I wanted to open a company and that it had to be something creative that I could really shine in. I’ve been blessed. I grew up in a very nurturing home, although we did have moments where my mom thought I might be a starving artist on the side of the road when I told her I wanted to go to Design School rather than major in Business! Between my parents and my husband, I’ve been lucky that I’ve always had support and guidance when needed. Yeah, it’s not the easiest thing opening a business. Being an entrepreneur is hard. You must be willing to work and work and work.

With my freelance business, I was working until 5, coming home, grabbing a bite to eat and then I would tackle my projects until 2, 3 in the morning and wake up the next day at 6 to do it all again. That was my regular schedule for a good 5, 6 years, but I have a passion for this and I love every moment and it’s what allowed me to grow and build lifelong relationships with my clients.

Finding the right team to balance out your work ethics, and your style is tough too. I believe that you learn with every misstep and you get stronger each time. My team now is AMAZING, they are truly my rock stars and I appreciate each of them so much.

Please tell us about Design Spinners.
Design Spinners is a creative design agency. We support businesses that are large, small and somewhere in between. We specialize in full custom graphic and web design solutions for many different industries including technology, law, retail, marketing, fashion and more.

Some of our most popular service offerings include: branding / logo design, website design and maintenance, print marketing, large scale trade show graphics, presentation design, online social media marketing design, packaging and accessory design.

We love working with Marketing Professionals. Many of them have clients who need assistance bringing their marketing plan to life. That’s where we shine. We can work hand in hand with these teams on executing their ideas across email design campaigns, PowerPoint presentations, white papers, and all types of graphic and web design projects.

Our clients come to us because we are responsive, professional and creative. We are based in Southern California and love to include our clients in all decisions and the design process along the way. If you are looking for help in building your branding and need a team to design and guide your marketing efforts, build your site, create your logo, and help design your next idea we are here for you.

We are different from a lot of the other website and design shops out there for one reason. Communication. We will pick up your call. We will return your messages. If you’re local we will meet in person. If you’re not local, we’ll jump on a skype video conference. We are responsive. We are easy to work with. If you want to work with a U.S. Based team, and you want to be able to talk to someone real time to go over your feedback we’re here. Yes, we are experts in our field, but if there is something you’re looking for that is not in our immediate wheelhouse we will always try and connect you with the right team and partners that can help. We are excellent at taking your vision and turning it into reality.

We will help limit the technical jargon if that’s daunting and will do everything we can to simplify your process and make the project fun and exciting for all parties involved. We will become an extension of your team – we are YOUR creative team.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Be positive. Be honest. Take on what you think you can handle plus a little more.

Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and test your capabilities. Surround yourself with smart, positive and creative people.

Remove the negativity in all assets of your life – it doesn’t help you or anyone around you. Dream, Work Hard, Set Goals and Keep Growing.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Mike Martucci
Epic Vision Studios http://epicvisionstudios.com/

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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