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Meet Trailblazer Raven Ponder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raven Ponder.

Raven, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story has been through so many turns but I’ll start officially in 2016 when I started freelancing a year after graduating from college. I landed a few different jobs but nothing truly in my field and I always found myself writing out my ideas during lunch breaks and mornings before work. One day I decided to remove all fear and go for it. I started teaching myself to code because I wanted to be a front end developer at the time. Things changed when I kept finding myself being drawn back to art.

I combined my entrepreneurial spirit along with my passion for all things design to build my own digital studio. My studio is a balance of artistic vision and minimal design for those looking to narrate their paths through visual design.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For young women, specifically, the creative brown girls who don’t fit the typical box or who may be unsure of their paths, this is for you.

Working for a company that didn’t align with me really set the tone for the path that I wanted to take. I think that experience has been my biggest struggle to date because it allowed me to realize my worth and what I was capable of.

That experience expanded into a lot of things in my life all at once: me moving back home with my parents, connecting more spiritually, learning the importance of budgeting, and mapping out what I really wanted for my future.

Through that process, I taught myself coding and researched a lot about business, ethics, and design. I started taking on paid projects from my parent’s basement and even connected with other creatives. To those of you questioning if your journey is for you – keep pushing, believing, and expanding your vision. It will reveal itself to you at the right time. Trust the process.

We’d love to hear more about RP Digital Design Studio.
When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a multi-hyphenate creative – in short, I do it all. I build and design websites, offer branding services, and custom illustrations. My personal work is an extension of myself as a black woman in the creative space and I try to exemplify that in everything that I do within my design studio. While I work with clients of all races and genders, I attract clients who see themselves in my work. My following may be small but it speaks volumes, so I love that it resonates with others.

Initially, I was the girl who created fliers for Greek events and local political campaigns. Now I’m gaining more interest in my illustrations when designing and coding websites were my first loves. I think what sets myself and my business apart is that I’m not just one thing. I like that I change the narrative of what a STEM woman looks like and I want to continue to push this within my studio.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Most definitely because growing up, I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. There is one experience I will never forget: when my late grandfather taught me how to make my first sale through food. Although I was young at the time, I was (and still am) a self-proclaimed chef – I would make food and sell it for local family gatherings.

Through that experience, I learned about the power of word of mouth, negotiation, time management, and what it meant to truly be proud of a product. I think that the foundation he set for me early on taught me how to succeed in business.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Raven Ponder, Demi Wells

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