Christina Gwira is the CEO of NOYADesigns, a one stop shop for all your design needs.
Together with her brother, Daniel and sister Sarah-Jane, she provides clients with a vast range of services including web design, branding, photography, videography, social media management and social media paid ads. NOYA, which means beautiful in Hebrew and Japanese is more than an apt descriptor of the quality work they produce.
A business of this magnitude isn’t formed overnight. Christina’s entrepreneurship journey started long before NOYADESIGNS when her father, who is an entrepreneur in the telecommunications industry, recruited her to help with his business. Unfortunately, when the financial crisis of 2008 hit, Christina was left to run the business by herself. At the time she didn’t know much about entrepreneurship, but being the resourceful go-getter that she is, Christina put her web and graphic design skills to good use. With Kijiji’s computer services category as a place to attract clients, she was able to slowly but surely build a client base and thus the seeds of NOYADesigns were born.
One day, on a casual scroll through Instagram, Christina came across an ad for the Brampton Entrepreneur Centre’s (BEC) co-working space. She filled out an application, got accepted and since then the BEC has become a place for NOYADesigns to call home. Thanks to the available meeting rooms in the space, the NOYADesigns team have implemented weekly strategy meetings which have positively transformed their workflow. They also regularly consult with the on-site business advisors for various reasons, including guidance on optimizing platforms such as LinkedIn and advice as they traverse through the world of business.
Examples of NOYADesigns Booklet Branding
Christina has also enrolled in the Starter Company Plus Program, a business training and mentoring program hosted by the BEC. “The program was intense but I loved every minute of it”, Christina explains. It helped her determine the direction of her business, dig deep into the company’s financials and plan out a clear trajectory for future operations.
As her business continues to develop, Christina has learned a lot of lessons along the way including: how to best price her services, turn leads into sales, and build meaningful client relationships. Recognizing the importance of networking with people in her industry, she started seeking out opportunities to network with others. While attending different events she noticed that she was usually “the only Black woman and the youngest person” in attendance. This experience inspired her to carve out an inclusive space for people to learn and network in the tech industry. In partnership with the BEC, she started hosting Brampton WordPress Meetups, for local WordPress enthusiasts, developers, designers, publishers and small business owners. She has successfully created a safe, inclusive space where people can get together to share their knowledge and experiences while building meaningful connections with like-minded people.
NOYADesigns website mock-up
Christina’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Not everybody is meant to be an entrepreneur and that’s ok!” She goes on to explain that, “being an entrepreneur is a lot of work especially if you want to do it properly… dig deep and truly determine if entrepreneurship is right for you.”
As NOYADesigns continues to grow, Christina looks forward to seeing her business plan come to fruition. She also hopes to open a non-profit wing of her business to support Black creatives. It is undeniable that NOYADesigns, especially with Christina at its helm, has a bright future ahead.