Chamber Spotlight is a regular feature sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Today’s spotlight is on Teresa Sikes, owner of TeresaKatherine Designs, a web- and graphic-design firm.
Reston Now: Why did you decide to start your business in Reston?
Teresa Sikes: I moved to the area to take advantage of the wealth of science and technology businesses in the Dulles Corridor. Reston has a town-like feel and is growing immensely, so I decided to position myself in the middle of that growth.
RN: What are the challenges and rewards of being a business owner?
TS: It’s so rewarding helping my clients see their visions and ideas come to life (often in ways beyond what they dreamed). Being a business owner affords me the possibility of working on projects I am passionate about. The challenge is getting others to see why your services are unique and essential, especially with many of the template-based designs out there.
RN: Name something about your business that most people don’t know?
TS: This business was born out of necessity; I am a scientist-turned- designer passionate about uplifting STEM-related ideas and research. A mentor once put it to me, designing for STEM is not sexy, that’s not why people go to art school. But I love it and I want to get the best ideas out there and in to action. The only way for that to happen is for researchers and companies to get funding, and to get funding you have to win over your colleagues and competitors. If no one can understand your figure and your materials are hap-hazardly put together, who will take your idea seriously? I started TeresaKatherine Designs to fill this niche and allow me to use my training and help others in the realm of design.
RN: What is the unique value proposition your clients get from you?
TS: They know they will receive a well thought-out and custom design based on careful research for their needs. I’m a scientist, I look at a diverse set of sources for inspiration and am very thorough.
RN: Describe a typical day at your business.
TS: I like to get all my busy work and so-called boring tasks done in the morning as I’ve found I’m much more creative at night. One day a week is reserved for business TLC; this allows me to save any specific business-related needs to tackle together so I’m not interrupting my work with finances nor I am letting business upkeep get out of hand.
RN: How has the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce helped your business?
TS: I’ve been a member just over a month and thus I’ve made great connections and hope to continue making more leads.
RN: What is the quote that best describes your business?
TS: Bonding art and science.
RN: What is your advice to someone who is thinking about owning a business?
TS: To me, it feels like getting married (I am not married, but what I imagine it would be like). You go into the courthouse and get in line with everyone waiting for a marriage license, sign away at the dotted line, and vow to stick with it through thick and thin. Though you feel giddy, you know it’s going to be a hard road ahead. It’s a huge milestone, but it’s exciting and I love what I do, so I say go for it.