Yvonne Hangsterfer

Credentials: Flowspoke

Position title: Founder, Lead Designer

Major: Marketing

Certificates: Digital Studies, German

Graduation Date: May 2016


How did you end up founding your own company?

I started designing and building websites when I was a sophomore at the UW, and I quickly developed a passion for learning front-end web languages and creating digital designs. During the spring of my senior year, I met the owners of a Chicago marketing agency at the career fair. They hired me as a freelance designer and later asked me to join their team full-time. During my time there, I continued to freelance and eventually built up a large client base that allowed me to quit my job and start my own business. Over the last year and half, I’ve worked on building Flowspoke, a flexible design and web development service. I’m excited to continue growing the company and adding to the team that will be able to help more and more companies.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I recently moved into an office space in downtown Chicago where I work on a wide range of client projects, which usually include web design/development, visual design, and digital marketing consulting. My days are split between creative, technical and administrative work. I typically spend 4-7 hours per day working for my clients. This includes building and editing websites, designing marketing materials, solving technical issues, and communicating or meeting with clients. The rest of my time is spent working on business development, personal projects, and administrative tasks like invoicing and accounting.

How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?

Before joining Digital Studies, I knew I wanted to major in Marketing, but I didn’t feel like that major fostered my creativity and passion for technology. I wanted to build websites and create digital art, and Digital Studies helped me develop these niche skill sets that I was interested in. Digital Studies also helped me develop professional skills in the academic setting; without the certificate, I would have been left to my own devices to learn how to record audio, create vector art, and edit photos.

Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class?

Com Arts 155: Introduction to Digital Media Production with Prof. Eric Hoyt. I loved the variety of projects, which included shooting and editing photos, building basic HTML/CSS websites, recording podcasts, and creating live action videos.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Use your classes as opportunities to practice! You’re paying for the critiques and feedback in your Digital Studies courses. Depending on your chosen career path, that feedback might not be so easily available after graduation. Push yourself to spend a lot of time on your class projects – you’ll appreciate putting in the effort to learn the different skills and softwares that will give you a professional edge.