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Conversations with the Inspiring Chelsea Flaming

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Flaming.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Chelsea. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Six years ago, my co-founder and I saw an opportunity in the market to create a new model of “creative agency” that merges brand storytelling and digital experience design. With the rise of the digital economy, we wanted to show that your digital story should lead your brand efforts. At the time, there were many branding agencies and many digital agencies and the standard approach to brand building was to first create an identity and then create a platform or website that embodied that identity. In many cases, it was like trying to force a square peg in a round hole, leading to a less than compelling brand story and first impression with users online. We wanted to re-engineer that process to create a digital-first approach to creating user-centric experiences and brands.

Before we started Oui Will, I actually met my co-founder, Guillaume Hamon, through Awwwards. At the time, he was working as a digital art director at a well-known digital agency in Paris and I was in San Diego. I reached out to him on Facebook and we began discussing this new model which including having an international team of designers and engineers in Paris and in the US so that our agency could work 24/7 and be hyper-efficient. After several meetings and a trip to Paris, we decided on the name Oui Will, which is a nod to our duality – European aesthetic and American Can-Do Spirit. In the beginning, we had to take all the clients that wanted to work with us, but as we started winning more awards and gaining international recognition, we had so many companies knocking on our door that we were able to be more selective with the type of work we took on. Our dream has always been to use our skill-set to make a big social, political, or environmental impact so now we solely work with mission-driven companies in the “tech for good” sector. For example, we just recently released Rivian, who is launching the first line of fully electric trucks and SUVs. We are also teaming up with Houston-based Kanarys, to build their platform which will gather and analyze cultural and demographic data, enabling individuals to speak up and organizations to build more inclusive work cultures. These are just two examples of the amazing companies we get to rally behind and invest in, which is really fulfilling. We definitely don’t plan to slow down in the coming years. There’s no better time than now to use technology and design as tools for creating a more beautiful, more inclusive, more connected and peaceful world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a wild ride, to say the least. I think the hardest part of the whole journey has been balancing family life with work life. Being a business owner takes a lot of energy and stamina and it can be very isolating. Being able to connect with other female business owners who are also mothers has helped me a lot. As for advice for others who are getting ready to “enter the arena,” as Brené Brown has said, just know that you will undoubtedly get your ass-kicked, but when you overcome it, the payoff will be well worth the struggle.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Oui Will story. Tell us more about it.
What sets us apart from other agencies is our diverse and mission-driven work culture. We have little to no turn-over and our team comes from all corners of the globe. We have the same amount of women and men in our company, which is not true for our competition and our industry as a whole, which is mostly male-dominated.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Solicit feedback from the right people and try not to take feedback personally. There’s so much information out there and so much to learn – take in as much of it as you can, but make your own decisions on what to do with it.

Be vulnerable because it will help you save time and reach your highest, most authentic self, which is the greatest gift to yourself and to everyone around you.

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Image Credit:
Image Credit @ Oui Will, LLC

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