Today we’d like to introduce you to Yanique DaCosta.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
I migrated to America from Jamaica with my mother in 2006.
I started college knowing I wanted to focus on a major that I loved so I chose Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design, Photography, and Drawing. That was pretty stressful for my mother who didn’t believe that was a major with long-term financial stability. I wanted my mother to be proud of my choices, so I decided to meet her in the middle. I got my master’s degree in Media Design.
Post-college, even after the master’s degree, I found it difficult to keep or even find a job commiserate with my skills and experience. I had been laid off 3 times before I realized I needed to find a new direction.
Now, I wasn’t laid off because I didn’t do a good job or because my bosses didn’t like me. It was just the nature of the industry. Who needed to hire expensive in-house staff when they would outsource to an agency for 3-4 months and get the same quality work with the HR issues.
That’s when decided I needed to be the agency these companies outsource to and not the soon-to-be laid off employee.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
Building an agency is not easy for anyone.
You have to think about branding, lead generation, and operations, all while having touch-notch fulfillment.
Building a competent team to knock our fulfillment out of the park was the hardest part. Thankfully we eventually got it right.
I spent 35+ hours per week for months on end interviewing graphic designers. I still ended up losing clients and doing a lot of hiring and firing.
It took me a while to realize we didn’t just need graphic designers. We needed qualified and tested graphic designers, supervised by senior-level design managers and coordinated by a dedicated project management system to give our clients the BEST!
Now I have a team of people who:
Are present in the moment
Open to criticism
Find solutions instead of complaining about problems
Understand the importance of collaboration
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
The graphic design firm I own is called YKMD.
We specialize in helping corporate event planners, trade show marketers, and conference organizers get consistent, reliable, outsourced graphic design while being extremely time-efficient.
Our wheelhouse is event teams with at least 5+ events per year, with at least one of them having a one (1) million-dollar production budget (but smaller companies can still benefit). Our service model allows businesses to scale the fulfillment of their graphic design up or down depending on their immediate needs.
With 12+ years of design experience, the United States Department of Labor recognizes me as an expert in Brand Development and Graphic Design by engaging me as a consultant for the federal O*Net program.
I currently sit on the National Executive Board of the Graphic Artists Guild, where the membership elected me National Treasure. I am also the International Council of Design delegate, representing the Guild and teaching graphic artists my ways at varying international conferences and meetups.
Graphic Design is what I do!
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Be willing to pivot.
People have a habit of fighting change, even me.
Every time I got laid-off, I would grieve over the loss ad plunge into depression instead of finding a solution to my problem.
That resistance to change left me in a never-ending cycle for too long.
Once I acknowledged that my problem was a lack of income and not the absence of a job, I was able to look at the problem holistically and come up with different solutions. If one solution didn’t work, I move on to the next one until I found one that did. If a past solution stopped yielding viable results, it’s time to make a change.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me means constantly taking measurable actions toward your goals. Sometimes that means doing the same thing over and over again. Other times it means being willing to change the things that aren’t working anymore.
Some people equate success with having a lot of money or owning a lot of things. I equate success with direction. You can either be on the slight edge up or the slight edge down. It’s the little things you do every day that determines your direction.
What’s next for you?
I will continue growing my client list, team, and industry partnerships.
YKMD recently added the National Trade Show Alliance and Trade Show Solutions Center to our client roster. I think that’s a pretty big win for us. I only see my current client relationship becoming even more mutually beneficial as we have a stellar referral program.
As a member of the National Executive leadership of the Graphic Artists Guild, I will continue to find ways to add value to our membership and bring more diverse faces into leadership roles.
I am also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. I have been a member of the organization since 2009.
My time spent with both the Graphic Artists Guild and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc has continued to renew my passion for mentorship and service. I will be building out a robust internship program that gives minorities interested in the graphic design industry the ability to learn and grow within the field.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
They can visit our website and apply to speak to us:
Or follow me on Instagram or Twitter @YaniDoesStuff