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CW: What is your name and what country are you from?
Alexandra Neto. I was born in the US, lived in Peru and went to high school in Toronto Canada. Peruvian Mother, Brazilian Father.
CW: What does Otena mean?
Otena is my last name backwards with my first initial at the end.
CW: What is the preferred way to contact you for a graphic design service?
The preferred way to contact us for any graphic design, web design or development services is either by calling us at (754) 223-2918 or my emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CW: When was the idea born about creating your own design firm? How many years have you been in business?
I have always wanted to have my own business. The push to go ahead and do it came in 2010 when Taleo acquired the company that I was working for. Due to duplication of roles I was told I would loose my job. At the time the COO of the company suggested that I go on my own instead of searching for another job. He felt I would be successful at it. That’s all I needed to hear! With that said, I started creating buzz about my new endeavor and building a pipeline of prospects. In January of 2011, two weeks after loosing my job, I converted my second bedroom into an office and founded Otena Concepts Corp. It’ll be 3 years January 11, 2014.
CW: How many people work for you?
We have a team of 7.
CW: What’s your specialty?
We are a full service, graphic design, web design and development boutique studio. Meaning we strive to be the best at what we do while adding that personal touch and keeping a close relationship with our clients.
CW: Where do you see Otena Concepts in 5 years?
5 years from now I would like to see Otena Concepts bigger, with an additional creative director, a few more amazing designers and developers and definitely offering more services. But I definitely want to keep the boutique feel.
CW: Please tell us a little about your graphic design background.
I attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Since graduation I have worked as a graphic and web designer for South Florida corporations such as the Sun Sentinel, Univision Online and Carnival Cruise Lines. Having the corporate experience and having a good understanding of the corporate needs when it comes to branding and graphic design, I decided to work for a medium size company. I wanted to get one on one experience working directly with the CMO, COO and CEO and learn closely how a business is run, which was the experience I needed to go out on my own.
CW: Working as a creative director for a corporate company such as Learn.com – Did you feel that being a woman presented a challenge?
Being a woman, especially a Latin woman, I think most will say it does have its challenges in the corporate world. However, I do feel that if you look passed that stereotype and prove that you are an intelligent and capable woman, people will respect you and trust you enough that all those challenges go away.
CW: Who has been a major influence on your design style?
It’s funny you mentioned “design style”. I don’t feel I have a “design style” but many people have commented that they recognize my work. To be honest I don’t have a direct influence. I’m constantly looking at what other artists are doing; how are they pushing the envelope, what are the upcoming trends and why (technology has a huge influence nowadays). But I may not always look at graphic artists or web designers, I like to be influenced by others as well. I may look at architects, fashion designers or even great artists like Basquiat.
CW: What has been the most challenging job you’ve had since you’ve been in business?
I think for anyone starting a business on their own, the challenges vary. At the beginning it was finding the right employee and type of employee I wanted to work with me. Having the right people working is huge when owning a business. Another challenge was, and is, making sure we are doing everything right to keep our clients happy. But the two more challenging jobs for me have been wanting to be a great boss (I’m still learning and trying) and not being able to turn off – I can be somewhat of a workaholic.
CW: What is your signature fashion style?
I don’t think I have a fashion style, though some may disagree. But I like to think I’m a non-conformist when it comes to fashion – I like to dabble in all new trends, whether they look good on me or not. I think if I were younger and lived in Europe or New York I may experiment a little more. My fashion is determined by my mood and also practicality. I love to dress up! I love make up, accessories, and shoes! What girl doesn’t?
CW: What charities do you like to support?
Currently we support the Humane Society of Broward County. We have a team called Strides for Strays and we do the Walk for the Animals every year. This year I was nominated Fort Lauderdale’s Finest in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which was an amazing experience. And recently we got involved with Handy; we are new to the organization but we’d definitely like to get more involved.
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