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18 May 2016

It's the Village

By Talie Smith

A story of friends, neighbors, and a little bit of business mixed in. The story of Smith & Connors is one of community.

How Does a Business Grow?

We started Smith & Connors by working with friends and people we knew, slowly building our book of work and reputation. Friends became clients and ultimately partners in creating tools to help make process/work/business flow better, with better outcomes.

In all aspects of our lives and careers, we’ve relied on things happening organically, rather than forcing or jumping in too fast. This has proved to be a very smart approach. When it came time for us to move out of our home offices (both in PDX and Boston), we applied the same principle: when it felt right, we’d jump, but until then, stay the course.

In Boston, Becca joined the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), a bustling, vibrant shared space where entrepreneurs and freelancers come together from many industries, but mostly tech and digital.

For our PDX location, we looked all over town at spaces in big buildings with fancy amenities in bustling areas. How cool would it be to be amongst other innovative, creative folks closer in to the center of Portland! But we still have young kids, and a vibrant community we love near Mt. Tabor. Why would we want to be away from the area we love.

How lucky we felt when we realized a space was available right under our noses —10 blocks from our house! — and owned but our lovely neighbors and friends: Kimberly & Bruce Kent. A brand-new building, beautifully constructed, and owned by dear, trusted friends in the neighborhood.

Because we weren’t quite ready to take over the whole space, we looked, again, to our community, and started talking to our dear friend, neighbor, and an early client, Sarah Doll, the director of the nonprofit Safer States. She and Deena, her colleague, jumped at the chance to share it with us.

Our First Hire

We realized that we needed help, so once again reached out to our amazing Portland community of colleagues, who helped us find our first hire, Sara Magness. At our first meeting with Sara we knew she was the right fit for Smith & Connors: We could see she could roll with the big personalities of three owners who had their hands in all pots and strong (but open) opinions. We hired her soon after as Producer, and a little over a week in, we couldn’t be happier to have her. She is helping us revamp our internal process and is a great contributor to the humor, spice, and self-deprecation that abounds amongst our team.

We’re looking to hire a designer next...know anyone looking to join a small design firm?

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