For Esther Mejia, founder and creative director of ECreative, design is more than a hobby — it’s her life.
Founded in 2011, ECreative assists in web design and brand development for nonprofits and some for-profit businesses.
At the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Mejia said she was more interested in fine arts, rather than graphic designing. A professor steered her toward the path of visual communications later on in college.
“While I did listen to his advice, I really had a hard time making the switch from being a visual fine artist to a graphic designer,” Mejia said.
After taking a graphic design class, and getting advice from her professor, Mejia said she felt she had been “freed” and knew she wanted to continue in graphic design.
“I could marry the fact that I was a fine artist and marry that with the design aspect,” she said. “And knowing that I had the background in fine art, which really is about having balance and knowing your colors, and having that artistic eye, it really lends itself well to the creative direction and execution of design.”
Mejia said she was inspired to launch the business after freelancing for a few businesses. She had a “blend” of skillsets to help her get started.
“I started doing a lot of freelance on the side working in corporate America, but I was doing this just to get some creative freedom outside of the corporate context,” she said. “Through the years, I started getting busier and busier and I always had that entrepreneurial spirit of wanting to do my own thing. I got to a place where I was pretty busy and needed to make a choice.”
ECreative started doing work for Vic Gutman and Associates, and soon formed a partnership with them, now sharing an office space downtown. Mejia said this partnership “aligned with their values of work.”
Mejia has two people working with her — Kate Revollo and Annette Romano. She has known them for many years.
“I don’t like to call them ‘employees’—they’re people I work with,” she said. “There are things you can’t teach, like motivation, drive and having a great attitude. You can’t teach that, and they have that. Plus, they’re talented, so I’m really fortunate that way.”
Though they are working the majority of the week, Mejia said she and her coworkers value having fun in what they do.
“We love to have fun together, just because we’re together for a lot of our time during the week, and we might as well enjoy our time together,” she said.
Revollo, the project coordinator, started at ECreative in 2016, and has known Mejia for more than 10 years. She said Mejia is an “authentic” business owner.
“She is who she is, and she’s very, very in tune with her clients,” Revollo said. “She really gets into the client. She really listens to what they say and sees them from a whole different point of view.”
Mejia said she wanted to do work that “aligned with her values.”
“We want to make sure that we’re working with clients who enrich the lives of those they serve,” she said.
Some companies ECreative works with are First National Bank, The Tri-Faith Initiative, Girls Inc. in Omaha, Justice for Our Neighbors, the Women’s Center for Advancement and the Omaha Farmers Market.
Kylie Feilmeier, the event project manager for Vic Gutman and Associates, has been working with ECreative for almost three years. She said Mejia and ECreative are “very easy to work with.”
“Esther is so creative,” she said. “She always goes above and beyond our expectations. Once she gets going on things, she has so much fun with it.”
Having a relationship with the clients is one of the most important aspects of her job, Mejia said.
“It’s understanding their needs and having an intuitive skill where you really, truly want to address what their vision is,” Mejia said.
When it comes to her own design work, Mejia said she wants to find the right path for her clients.
“I think most creative directors are perfectionists,” she said. “They want to explore and make sure there’s nothing left to explore.”
Mejia said in order to start a business, it is important to be clear on what the person is passionate about, which is what she aims to convey with ECreative.
“When you’re starting your business, it is your life,” she said. “It’s within you.”
Mejia said ECreative has shaped her as a designer and business owner.
“I know this is my passion,” she said. “You don’t work this hard for it not to be. You live, sleep, think about this all the time, and you still have that creative energy to give to your clients.”