The power and value of online communities

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Communities are formed based on a need, like education, mentorship, or camaraderie.

Melissa Mendez, creator of The Flow Party, and Claudia Cafeo, founder of Floxies, built their inclusive community hubs for Webflow developers and designers because they felt the same needs that other designers felt—a need for community, for support, and for a place to learn and grow. 

We arefortunate enough to have had them both share their experiences building communities with our own Webflow community. Below, learn more about their paths building online communities and hear their advice for building your own. 

Community building is a journey

During the pandemic, Claudia was looking for a career change and became interested in building websites. After looking closely at her  options, Claudia decided to build on Webflow and began taking Webflow University courses to learn how to build her sites on the platform. 

“I dropped a message in a Facebook group [I was a member of and asked], ‘Hey, girls, I want to become a Webflow developer. Is there anyone that would like to study with me?’ With this single message, she received 70 replies from women all over the world, which completely blew her away. This kickstarted her  drive to build a space for fellow women designers and developers. 

Melissa’s story is a bit different. She was well-versed in Webflow when she received a message from another Webflow user seeking mentorship. Melissa had learned how to use Webflow on her own, and she was excited to help out others in need. “Before Webflow, I was in artificial intelligence, and before that, in fashion — they're not inclusive communities,” explained. “And that's really what hit me about Webflow. I remember finding “Webflow Twitter,” and my mind was just blown away because everybody was so supportive.” 

Through her experiences connecting with fellow Webflow users online, Melissa recognized what a more structured community might look like and how it could positively impact other developers and designers — especially when they could chat and learn from each other. This, along with her desire to help and mentor others, inspired her to team up with Claudia and create a dedicated community for fellow Webflow users that would be a space where they could support each other’s work, businesses, and one another. 

The impact a community can have can’t be understated. Today, Flowparty provides a safe, inclusive, and fun space for website developers and designers. And Claudia’s community for women developers is committed to creating an environment where designers and developers can practice their craft while supporting each other.

Authenticity and consistency are the keys to community development 

No two communities are identical, and each serves a unique need among a cohort of people with shared interests and goals. Whether it’s a place to share ideas, network with folks in your field, or ask questions, —every community is a space to bring people together. 

For anyone looking to forge a virtual or in-person community of their own, Claudia advises organizers to start from a place of kindness. “Start by being kind and be true to yourself,” said Claudia. “That's the best way to grow your community because it's organic.” Claudia says authenticity is core to community development, and points out that “the desire to help people is what makes communities so special.”

For Melissa, one key factor is critical to building a long-lasting community: consistency. “It's very easy to start something, but it's very hard to keep constant with it every single day, for years,” she cautions. So for anyone just getting started, she recommends planning ahead and making sure you’re always listening to your community member’s needs to stay on track and organize relevant programming. 

Collective growth is good for all

Both Melissa and Claudia understand what it means to learn a new skill as a pathway to changing their lives. They recognize that the ability to help each other learn has an exponential positive impact. 

“There are enough resources out there in the world and opportunities for everyone to thrive, but unfortunately, there are some places where these opportunities and these resources are still kind of hidden, or only some people can access them,” said Claudia. Creating an international community, where resources and knowledge are freely shared, turned out to be very empowering for many designers the world over. 

In their eyes, the future of these communities is not division and silos but further collaboration. Both Melissa and Claudia run organizations with similar goals, but they were quick to point out the power they have when they come together. “Merging communities, doing events together, learning together, and collaborating,” said Melissa.

“At the end of the day, we’re doing this for the same reason: supporting and motivating each other.” 

A platform where community is second nature 

The future of visual development is online, it’s asynchronous, and it’s international. But people still have a desire to gather and learn from each other. Webflow is a platform with an engaged community already part of the foundation. We’re proud to have built a place for visual developers to feel comfortable and stretch their creativity to the limits. If that’s something you want to be part of, request a demo today.

For more from Melissa and Claudia, watch their full session here. 

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July 21, 2023



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