Posted originally by Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal on Jun 9, 2021and Hollyann Serp for
Samantha Nardelli is the founder, creative director and web designer/developer at Shanty Town Design, a web and graphic design agency that provides website and logo design along with creative direction.
Shanty Town operates 100% remotely with a team spread across Northeast Pennsylvania and Colorado. Shanty Town works with fellow marketing teams and small businesses as their design department using web-based platforms such as WordPress and Zapier to help businesses automate their.
In 2013, Nardelli graduated from Marywood University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. That same year, she started Shanty Town. Originally from Olyphant and now residing in Jessup, she has spent most of her life on the East Coast. About five years ago she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she learned more about herself, her goals, creativity and how to confidently run her business. Nardelli says that the most rewarding part of having her own business is the flexibility. She has been able to follow where her soul leads her, both physically and creatively. This flexibility allowed her to take her business across the country. Nardelli moved back to NEPA to be closer to friends, family, and find her dream country-farm home. She lives with her fiancé, Michael, and three dogs.
Nardelli started freelancing in 2010 and knew she was going to do something artistic. After taking graphic design classes at Marywood, she knew her dream would be to work for herself. Two of her personal values — creativity and curiosity — led her to start Shanty Town as a way to brand herself as a freelancer to evolve and adapt. After the business grew, and despite Nardelli’s workaholic attitude, she knew it was time to get help from a team. Once she was about a year and a half into freelancing she realized that she could not do everything on her own. which led her to hiring interns and other freelancers.
Despite Shanty Town’s successes, Nardelli has faced challenges. For example, with an art school background instead of business school background, she had to figure out a lot of things on her own. The biggest challenge was narrowing the services that Shanty Town would provide and how to train a team to do it. Nardelli tried out various creative services over the years, but found this was not sustainable. Over the past four years, Shanty Town has found its niche and gained a specific vision in web design and creative direction. Nardelli is happy with how organically things fell into place.
As technology evolves, Shanty Town will evolve — staying current, continuously learning and aiming to understand where their audience needs them to be. Nardelli seeks more nimble solutions for her clients so that their systems and designs work effortlessly as the internet expands. In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of her clients started shifting to more digital platforms, which resulted in increased demand for her business. Nardelli wanted to ensure that Shanty Town’s solutions were sustainable and efficient and not just suitable in the short term. Therefore, many issues needed to be solved quickly. Nardelli mentions that she is “excited to see how technological advances improve the world as a whole for the benefit of everyone.”
Nardelli offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: trust your gut, try everything and ask questions. She advises that if you have an idea to propel you forward and it is practical, then do it: “You never know who is going to be receptive to your idea and it could lead you down the exact path you are meant to take; Even if you fail, it is a learning experience.” Nardelli suggests finding support that makes sense and asking questions. She finds her support through Facebook Groups where she learns more about herself, her business and how to better serve her clients. Lastly, Nardelli recommends the book “No Rules Rules” by Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix. This book has been an eyeopener for her in regards to ethical work environments and how she envisions the management of Shanty Town.