Danielle Hardy, co-founder of Urbanwalls, shares how her business started as a creative outlet and turned into a full-time family business. Her fresh and modern decals have been used to make homes, studios and other spaces brighter and more individualized. Read on to find out how Danielle had support from her community and used her experience as a graphic and web designer to foster positive relationships and enjoy her journey along the way.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and the unexpected path that led you to create Urbanwalls.
A: I’m a mom of 2 boys and a girl. Been married for a little over 14 years, but started Urbanwalls about 8 years ago. In 2009, after the birth of our second son (Max), I was searching for a creative outlet where I could put 10 years of graphic design and print experience to work. As a stay-at- home mom with a husband who often traveled, I didn’t have a ton of spare time…but I did have nights and a rather large cutter taking up space in the garage.
On a whim, I decided to design a few wall decals—decals that I would actually want to hang in my own home, nothing tacky or dated. After experimenting with the cutter to create my own designs, I listed a few on Etsy. Maybe others were searching for a way to make their homes a little brighter, their spaces more individualized? I woke up the next morning with my first sale and I thought, “Well…I guess it’s time to invest in some vinyl!”
Q: What has been your biggest struggle so far with building your business?
A: By far, my largest and most challenging struggle is balancing family and work life. There is no formula and it is forever changing…especially as the kids get older and the business grows and changes. It’s almost like having a fourth kid!
Q: You’ve mentioned that you had help from your community to grow your business from the ground up, can you tell us how you created such a solid support group?
A: I couldn’t have done this without my husband Paul. He’s my biggest encourager and challenger. I know that no matter what we are facing, that he will be the first to pick me up and lend an ear, offering solid, sound advice.
Q: Have you had any standout experiences in your past that helped lead you to where you are today?
A: Graphic design and print design. I had 15 years of experience as a graphic and web designer and 4 years in print. I think this is really the cornerstone of designing decals that people will actually want. Working in digital design and then in print has really helped me visualize how our Urbanwalls digital compositions come to life in print form.
Q:What has been your favourite moment with Urbanwalls?
A: The connections that I have made along the way. Whether through collaborations and partnerships with local businesses and artists or the amazing gals that have joined the team, I have LOVED working with people. They have encouraged me with fresh ideas, creativity, new perspectives, and challenged me to open my mind. I think we’ve fostered a really beautiful work environment where successful partnerships are born from positive relationships and building one another up, both personally and professionally.
Q: What advice do you have for the wimmin in our community who are starting their own business?
A: To enjoy the journey. There will always be times of highs and lows, but accept whatever stage you’re in as an opportunity to be challenged and strengthened. Take the time, slow down, and enjoy the seasons of growth and success. I promise that every challenge or rough patch will prepare you for the next steps if you take the time to embrace it and grow from it.
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