Aleah Dunfield: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Aleah Dunfield is a talented young entrepreneur in Calgary. She’s got the looks, the artistic touch and a BFA from Emily Car University. After spending time in Southeast Asia, Europe and Northern Canada, Aleah returned to Calgary where she currently runs The Creative Patch Design Studio…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
The Creative Patch works with companies to devise strategies on how to best make their business excel through the use of our marketing and design applications. We work with businesses to assure their objectives are met by utilizing modern design, user optimized strategies and new technologies. 

The Creative Patch Design Studio focuses on the user experience and providing excellent customer service. We provide businesses with websites, apps, billboards, branding, online marketing and any other creative work that helps to best serve your businesses needs.

Our policy: Great design, user optimized and functional online solutions to meet and exceed your expectations. 

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
There are a few reasons why I started my own business:

For starters, I wanted to start my own business because I come from an entrepreneurial family and it never really occurred to me that there could be other options. I guess you could say it runs in the blood. I also have a passion for art and design. The Creative Patch is really the best bridge between fine art and business, bringing the aesthetic world into a more practical application. 

I was also fascinated with marketing and psychology from a very young age. I found it fascinating how something visual could affect loyalties and consumer behaviour. I wanted to impact and help businesses to improve their efficiencies of their use of the aesthetic language that exists in our everyday world. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I love helping customers develop unique strategies and solutions to help their business. I also love introducing customers to new ideas on technology and design. It’s so exciting to watch good marketing help grow a business. 

The most challenging part of my job is the entrepreneurial aspect. When you start a business by yourself you are not allowed to have an “off” day as business never stops and you wear a lot of ‘hats’. Vacations are also somewhat of a challenge.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
Continuing to grow the services that I currently offer. I really want to focus on the development of apps used in Calgary businesses. I’d also like to branch out and collaborate with other tech companies in San Francisco and Los Angeles who are doing some exciting things and innovating industries. There are some pretty cutting edge things happening with technology right now and I would love if The Creative Patch had some involvement in some of them.

What does success look like to you?
It would involve working with bigger customers in Calgary. I’d really like to work more with the bigger oil and gas companies in town and continue to seek out people and companies whom I could collaborate with in California.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I would say my biggest accomplishment is growing my business from one person to a team of six in three years. I’ve been able to double my company for each year of business, which makes me proud.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
For young entrepreneurs I would give the following advice:

Contracts are important. No matter how small the job, or the company, makes sure you get everything in writing. That lesson has served me well.

Leave the house to get business going. I think that many people think they have to sit at home and wait for a call but you need to put in some legwork too. And remember, you’ll hear ‘No’ many times before you’ll hear a ‘Yes’. 

It’s important to establish a solid work routine. Self-employment can be a hard transition to make. Get an accountability partner to help keep you on track. I recommend talking to another friend who is also self-employed and call each other on a regular basis to talk about the progress you’re making.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am part of the Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial. I volunteer in the community and on a District level. My company did the marketing for Rotary District 5360 for 2012-2013 and I have continued in Rotary’s marketing efforts and website. Giving back is so important!

What is Notable to you?
Notable fills a need for young professionals in Calgary. It connects you to events and keeps you in the loop with music, arts and events happening in the city. Notable is also a good source for new and existing professionals to network.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I love dancing and I run on a regular basis. It’s important to have “me time” to recharge and to stay happy. 

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Klukas