BizOnDeck Case Study: Sea Salt Design

Vanessa Raven-Vipond (VRV) owns Sea Salt Design here in the Comox Valley. She grew up in Ontario, but several years in the Martimes convinced her that she “had to live by the ocean.” In 2010, after 11 years in Victoria, Vanessa and her family moved to the Comox Valley where she says they are enjoying both the outdoors and a “wonderful, supportive community.”

Sea Salt Design offers custom illustration and graphic design services for web and print. Vanessa is also working on a line of printed products including t-shirts, posters and cards, and gift items. Products and services are available online at Vanessa put the business “on deck” in Fall 2017.

LIFT: What inspired you to start Sea Salt Design?
VRV: As a child, I’d always wanted to be a children’s picture book illustrator. As I got older I started exploring graphic design. My first assignment, designing a sign for my parents B&B when I was a teen, led to work with a local sign shop. After high school, I started my own business as a portrait artist. That was my first experience as an entrepreneur. I then went on to study visual communications and illustration. I worked as a freelance for many years while I studied. I worked for a magazine and in-house with printers, but I always wanted to get back to owning my own business again.

LIFT: What was your “ask” at your BizOnDeck workshop?
VRV: I wanted feedback on whether I should continue with web design, which has been my bread and butter, or whether I should drop it altogether and focus more on illustration and print design. I also asked about the best way to go about getting back into T-shirts and gifts, as these are my passion.

LIFT: What were the biggest takeaways from your BizOnDeck?
VRV: I loved the feedback! While all agreed that I should continue to offer web along with print design, they also encouraged me to get out more, to be the face of my company, because I was so much better at selling my services in person.

LIFT: Has putting your business “on deck” helped grow your business?
VRV: Yes. I gained several new clients from my exposure from that one BizOnDeck, and since then I’ve been busy, primarily with illustration work.

Last words
VRV: I am now working on a graphic novel for a writer in Nanaimo, branding a new RMT, and re-branding a local potter. While I had a snag in the release of my online store for T-shirts and gifts, I’m anticipating a launch this year soon.

Please tell LIFT members that Sea Salt Design is offering 25% off all custom illustration and graphic design services, including print design.

FMI about LIFT & BizOnDeck
LIFT helps entrepreneurs, small business owners, and non-profits grow their businesses. To put your business or project “on deck” in the Comox Valley please fill the blanks at Or call HPM at 250-792-1408.

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