It all began when she helped a chef turn an ailing restaurant around by getting it online. As a result, a failing business became a roaring success. Denise thought to herself, “If I can help another business owner succeed, I’d be incredibly honoured.” And since the launch of her own boutique design studio in 2019, she’s been doing just that.
De La Foye Design Studio describes itself as a place “where businesses come to find their inner creative voices when enhancing their brand and online presence”. Denise and her team work with businesses worldwide to enhance their web presence, brand identity and marketing engagement.
Denise is a Wix expert, and the studio specialises in building premium sites using Wix across a variety of verticals including Restaurants, Events, Stores and Bookings. It has also leveraged Editor X and Velo for several client sites. Comfy Fitness recently stood out among its client websites, supporting the Wix Partner Spotlight for superior functionality.
Here, Denise tells us about the background behind the company, its driving vision and the web building tech it uses to bring clients’ dreams to life.
Way back in the ’90s, just out of high school, I learned HTML coding. Then I got a degree in finance and became an IT manager for 20 years, so it never really turned into anything. But I’ve always loved design – fashion, visual design, interior design, and more.
When I was 36, I traveled and spent a month in Bali. My brother Ron reached out to me when we were in Seminyak and suggested I visit his friend, Aaron, who owned a restaurant there. So after Googling it, I couldn’t find it anywhere online.
Eventually, I got there, and Aaron, the owner, was this big, tall, burly Canadian dude named ‘Moose’. He was a chef and had this beautiful restaurant overlooking a rice paddy on this very hidden path that no one would ever find, much like its online presence. So I spoke to him, and he admitted, “I’m a chef; I don’t know anything about this technology stuff.” And that was it, the beginning of my website design business.
At that moment, Aaron couldn’t sustain himself, and I knew I could help him. So, I spent my last week in Bali creating his online presence and, essentially, his future. Three months later, Scratch was the number one restaurant in the area. Now he has six different concepts, he’s married with two kids, and he’s not worried about sustaining himself any more.
That experience touched my heart because, working in corporate, I could never help an individual like that. At that time, my role included coordinating implementations for big web projects. It wasn’t helping any particular person, and I felt very underwhelmed and needed to make a change.
I attempted to get IT project manager roles, but I’d get to the final two, and they’d always pick the other person. It felt like the universe was saying: “This is not what you’re supposed to be doing.” And so I took the plunge and decided to start my own studio. If I could help another person like I’d helped Aaron, that would be such an honor. And since then, I’ve never looked back.
Thanks to Wix, I’ve been helping businesses increase revenue by more than 25% in three months.
It’s so rewarding to compare the before and after analytics. I get to see how much traffic they’re getting now, how much pride that they have in their business, and how reinvigorated they are because of the work I’ve done for them.
I started using Wix to build websites from the moment I started my company. I’d tried using other platforms, but they didn’t give me the ‘blank canvas’ kind of feel I was looking for, and I couldn’t move things where I wanted to move them. So I stuck with Wix because there wasn’t another platform that had the functionality that I liked.
With Wix, I love how everything works seamlessly together. The automation is great: there’s so much that you can do. One of my favourite features is the booking feature. It’s an easy-to-use scheduling system that lets customers book services online.
I use it on my own website, as well as the ones I build for clients. That means that every time someone wants to schedule a time with me, I just have to say: “Here’s my link, put some time on my calendar.” And I also appreciate that it goes into my CRM, so I can keep notes of each person if I wish to. The CRM capabilities of Wix are really great, and that’s one of the things that I sell to my clients. I ask them: “Is the calendar app you’re using able to give you all of the contact information from those who’ve submitted meeting requests?”
Comfy Fitness came to me because they liked the way I work. I’m very right and left brain, so with my IT project management background, all of my projects are super structured. And with Comfy Fitness, specifically, they had to be involved because there were a lot of decisions that I wasn’t going to make on my own.
Comfy Fitness had a person in California doing all of their branding, and admittedly, I was a little overwhelmed at first as it was so much colour. I sat down with all the colours to figure out how to create movement. That’s something they were really passionate about. Being a fitness company, it’s all about movement.
Once I started to get into it, Editor X, a fully responsive website creation platform made especially for designers and agencies, gave me new ways to move website elements, and I had so much fun. I could meet all of their needs, and this is the biggest project I’ve done on Editor X to date.”
It was a very collaborative project with the women who run Comfy Fitness. They were amazing: very methodical, very patient. Their site has a lot of functionality, which challenged me in many ways, but it’s the most rewarding to build and makes me a better designer, thinking more outside the box and strategically.
I love and appreciate that Comfy Fitness constantly posts on their forum and engages with their community. They’re very engaged with their business. Some people create a website and forget about its importance, but Comfy Fitness is very proactive.
It was also great to see their reaction when they first saw the website, they were super excited, and their feedback was so rewarding.
I have a great team with some specialist contractors I loop in, plus Geoff, a talented graphic designer, who creates a lot of the personalised logos that we work with some of our clients on, as well as illustrations and branding collateral of all types. Angela, my data analytics guru, creates dashboards on Data Studio and helps educate people on how that information can help their businesses grow. I also work with several different copywriters, photographers, videographers, social media experts and marketing folks.
If I could pick a dream project, I’d love to design any attorney’s website because they could do with some life, and it’s such a competitive environment. Especially in Chicago, there are a million independent attorneys, and all of their websites are so clunky and overwhelming. They don’t speak to the average person. They speak to people who understand their language, which is no one unless you went to law school!
I think I make a lot of impact with the businesses I’m working with: they trust me to do what I do.