About this episode
In this episode, we'll hear about her journey from a young girl's desire to own an advertising agency to falling in love with web design and founding a design agency where she gets to build cool stuff with friends everyday.
Matthew: Hello Melissa, it's a pleasure to speak with you today.
Melissa: Hi, Matthew. How are you?
Matthew: I'm good. I hope you're well.
Melissa: I'm very good. Thank you so much for having me here.
Matthew: Let's get started, why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself.
Melissa: Yes, so I am Melissa Mendez. I am originally from Columbia, but currently living in the US in Orlando, Florida, actually. I am a web designer and web developer, and I'm the founder of an agency called Eureka, and also the creator of the Flow Party.
Matthew: Very nice. When did you start on this journey of web design and development?
Melissa: So I started at the end of 2018. That's when officially I found Webflow.
Matthew: Then when was it that you started the Flow Party community?
Melissa: I started the Flow Party actually almost a year ago. I was actually going back to our history and I think the first party was January 28th, if I'm not wrong, of 2022.
Matthew: So a year ago. Okay. Very nice.
Matthew: So I want to learn more about your workspace environment. And I know, and maybe you can explain a little bit, I know you're not in your normal workspace right now. So maybe just let's start by describing where you are currently, and then describe your regular workplace.
Melissa: Yes. So right now I'm actually in Carta Hana, which is my hometown in Columbia. I'm at my parents' house inside of my dad's office, actually.
Matthew: Let's go to your normal kind of everyday work workspace and let's paint a picture here. What does that look like?
Melissa: So I obviously work from home, and I have one of the rooms, I turned it into my office. I'm a very visual person, so everything not only in my home, but specifically in my office, needs to be really inspiring to me. So I got this really, really cool sort of marble looking desk that's just very modern. It's sort of like gray with marbling on top. And behind me, I have a mood board of just things that inspire me and they all follow the same color palette. And then I also have a plant, and that's just basically what it is. Everything needs to be very neat and clean for me to feel good to work.
Matthew: So for the mood board, does that change based on projects you're working on, or is that just kind of your personal style inspiration board?
Melissa: You know, I guess every designer has a little bit of OCD. So initially I wanted to add personal things as projects went on, and that's what I had. But then the pops of colors were throwing me off. So this one I have in my house, it's just static. It's just things I like and they need to follow the same colors.
Matthew: Mm-hmm. What colors?
Melissa: Everything is just muted. It's like white, grays, some pops of black and beige.
Matthew: Is there maybe an interesting object, maybe on your desk or that's normally around you, like something that has a bit of a story?
Melissa: I think it's my desk, honestly. It just, personifies– I think that's how it's said in English, yes– my style 100%. And something that I actually added lately was the State Of Flow little award that we got at the end of the event, for helping organize it. And I have it there in my little corner and it's just super nice to just see it and remember that awesome event we had this year.
Matthew: Do you listen to any music while you work?
Melissa: Oh, 100%. I'm always playing music. When I was growing up, my brothers used to tell me, “You do not stop listening to music.” So for me, as soon as I wake up, I have to have some type of sound in my house. And then when I sit down on my desk, I open Spotify and usually play my favorite playlist, which is just mine. It's called, “Feels Like Mine.”
Melissa: Because everything I saved there, it just feels like me. So depending on the vibe that I'm working on, that's the music that I'm gonna play.
Matthew: That reminds me of your personal mood board that you said is on the wall. That’s a visual personification of you, and the playlist is the musical personification of you.
Melissa: Yeah, I guess that's an interesting take on it. And then also, I have to have a croissant and coffee as soon as I sit down at my desk. If not, I feel out of sorts. So I think maybe I tend to stimulate my senses when I'm working, because if I'm feeling off, creativity just doesn't flow, and usually what I'm doing all day is designing, so it makes sense.
Matthew: Yeah, I mean your environment, it definitely does play a factor in what we might call productivity or focus for sure. Environment is actually a big key factor that I think can often get overlooked.
Actually, I do have another follow up question: Do you have a window in your office space? What's outside your window? What do you normally see out there?
Melissa: Just green. So in front is the front of the house. So there's a big yard there and I see my neighbors in front. And then on my right hand side, I have more green, so it's like the side of my house. It's just very chill and relaxing to look out when I'm just trying to think and come up with ideas.
Matthew: Yeah, for sure. Green. Green is definitely a soothing color and nature is very good for inspiration, I found anyway.
Matthew: Let's switch and talk about what you do, like what is your role? And can you describe what kind of a normal work day looks like?
Melissa: I'm the CEO of Eureka, the agency that I run, that I co-founded. Tyler Huey is my partner right now. My day-to-day basically is a lot of project management. So I'm dealing with all of our clients, making sure all of the projects are on time, running smoothly, making sure that all of our people are, you know, working smoothly and having everything they need. And then apart from that, I design. So if we have a project, I'm basically on Figma all day.
Sometimes some days I'm going into Webflow doing edits and just smaller things that maybe the team hasn't done or maybe we just need to edit things. But most of my time is talking to clients and designing on Figma.
Matthew: Is this what you imagined that you would be doing at this time? Did you ever picture something different for yourself, or is there something maybe that you are aspiring to get to from here?
Melissa: No. Yes and no. So when I was growing up, I was never the girl who was like, “Oh, I want to be a mom.” I was never like that. I used to say, I remember this, “I want to move to the US. I want to own an agency, and I just want to be like an executive, like a professional.”
Matthew: So you already had imagined that you wanted to own and operate a design agency.
Melissa: That was exactly what I wanted, but in the beginning it was advertising because my dad is a publicist.
Melissa: I grew up with that. I always thought that it was going to be an advertising agency. Obviously Webflow didn't exist at that time, so that's why I say no and yes. Because yes, I wanted the agency, no, because I never thought it was going to be basically web design.
Matthew: So with the agency work, do you solely focus on web design or do you still do advertising and other media as well?
Melissa: I was focusing only on web design because I just absolutely love it, but because we also have branding and strategy, social media sometimes. When clients are really happy with our web design work, they ask if we also have these other services and we offer it to them. It's not something that we advertise a lot because we do mainly web design, but we also do branding and these other things.
Matthew: What excites and motivates you to get up every day and to do the agency life?
Melissa: You know what, I was actually thinking about this yesterday. Somebody posted– You know how everybody's always talking about opening an agency or staying freelance?
Melissa: For me, freelance life was very stressful because I basically had to do everything and the clients were… I had a lot of clients. I didn't want to say no. So I didn't really have boundaries and it became really stressful. Now that I have my agency, I work with amazing people who I admire so, so much.
My favorite thing is waking up, getting my coffee and my croissant, putting on some music, and just jumping into Figma or Webflow and designing with an awesome track on with my friends who are in my agency. So it's just, I feel so lucky that I'm able to do that because it truly excites me, puts me in a good mood, and I just go in the flow.
Matthew: Who else in the community inspires you?
Melissa: I would say Joseph Berry has to be a huge inspiration to me and somebody that I have learned so much from. Tyler Huey, my partner, he also is just so inspiring. So I think these two are just the people that I always look up to, to be a better designer and developer.
Matthew: Is there any advice that you would share with those in the community, maybe who are thinking about starting an agency or kind of have that drive and passion like you do?
Melissa: I think that my main advice is first, you have to love this. Because without passion, you're just going to create projects out of necessity and you can tell the difference. I would also say be very mindful of the administration of your business. Be very organized with money. If you need to hire that out, do it. It's really money that is well spent and you will have peace of mind.
And third, if you don't have the right projects right now or the projects that you like, then create passion projects and use Made In Webflow to showcase them, and then distribute that to social media. It’s the best way to get the clients you want. And on top of that, you get to practice and do what you love.
Matthew: Thank you, that's some great advice.
Matthew: How can others in the community reach out and connect with you if they'd like to?
Melissa: Yeah, so, you can reach me on Twitter. My handle is @melaydelmar06. That's Melay with a-y. On Instagram, I'm Melissa Delmar Mendez and eureka.com. Oh, and then the Flow Party Circle.
Matthew: Well Melissa, thank you for chatting with me today. It's been a pleasure.
Melissa: Thank you for having me.