Meet The Disruptors: Shyne Webster Of Designed by Shyne On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Be true to yourself — it sounds cliche, but the more authentic you really are, the more aligned opportunities will come your way. Some of the best opportunities in my career have come naturally.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shyne Webster.

Shyne Webster is a brand strategist, designer, Adobe Express Ambassador, and the founder of Designed by Shyne, among other hats she may wear. She started her first business at 17 years old and founded her studio a year later; today, at 20, she’s helped nearly one hundred brands grow. Shyne is a leader for fellow rebels and disruptors, blazing her own “bright orange trail” through the industry with her anti-hustle, human-first approach to brand building.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

When I first started Designed by Shyne, I was selling t-shirts and stickers with my art on them to my local friends and family. However, I had no intention of it being my career path or lifelong business. About a year after DBS began, I pivoted into freelance graphic design. I learned “on the job,” and realized my passion was for helping people embrace their creativity and express themselves to connect with their communities, which is what led me deeper into branding and the strategic side that I specialize in now.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The work I’m leading at Designed by Shyne is disruptive in a number of ways. One, I wasn’t formally educated or trained in branding, so the entire process and framework I use with my clients is original to me — it’s not derived from what some business expert says you should do; it’s derived from what I’ve seen to be true, what works for my brain, and what I’ve proven through past client work. I’m leading by example and shaking things up in the creative and marketing industries by showing the next generation of entrepreneurs and thought leaders that they don’t have to build businesses like anyone else. I want people to know [and I teach them] that you can do things your own way and still be highly successful. The way I build brands has been extremely effective without having to copy someone else’s method.

My brand building approach is human-first, not business- or profit- first, meaning I keep it simple and personal– your brand is a bridge from your soul and philosophy from your ideal client’s. Beyond that, we don’t just build brands that look good; we build cultures, communities, and movements. My work is all about building brands people can believe in and live out daily; so I’m not afraid to ignore traditional marketing metrics and focus on how people feel instead.

My human-first approach goes back to how I operate my business as well. I don’t use manipulative marketing tactics to sell, I pay everyone on my team fairly (even my interns), and I make sure my team members feel heard and encouraged to bring their whole, authentic selves to the workplace. This summer, I started paying my team a bonus for spending time outside every day because wellness is so important to me. That’s disruptive, in my opinion, to believe in your values so much that you live them out in every single way, not just with your clients.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh my gosh, this is kind of embarrassing, but I’ll share it because it’s solved now…When I was first starting out, I didn’t understand sales tax; so I didn’t collect any sales tax on any products, and then I ended up owing money to the state. I paid it off and got legally legitimate, but who can blame me? I was a high school kid back then! From that, I’ve learned to do my research and become more financially literate as a business owner.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had some amazing mentors from various areas of my life, but a couple I’d like to shout out are Chris Wright, Isabella Silverio, Sara McCabe, and Dexter Washington Jr. They’ve mentored me as a creative, business owner, and human in different ways; but the biggest thing I’d like to emphasize is that all of my mentors have helped me be a better, more authentic version of myself. They encourage me to do my best, to figure things out my way, and grow without imitating anyone else’s path.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

This is a great question — a lot of people want to be “disruptors” because it’s trendy, or a buzzword, but if you don’t understand a system, you shouldn’t (or can’t, really) disrupt it. I think disrupting an industry isn’t so positive when you rush into it without considering carefully the ramifications of your disruption. For example, in most science fiction movies, when scientists create artificial intelligence; that’s a great disruption in the moment, but eventually it causes a ton of other problems. I would say, if you’re truly passionate about changing a system, you should understand how it works, what doesn’t work, and what could go wrong before trying to alter it.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. Ask for help — nothing good in business happens alone, so don’t be afraid to collaborate or ask your support system to help you when you need it. Good leaders know when to bring other people into the vision.
  2. Be true to yourself — it sounds cliche, but the more authentic you really are, the more aligned opportunities will come your way. Some of the best opportunities in my career have come naturally.
  3. Care less what people think — nobody else’s opinion matters. Your journey is your own, and nobody can critique that, especially people who have never done what you want to do in life.
  4. Be less cerebral — by this I mean “get out of your head.” It’s easy to overthink when you have a lot of responsibilities, but sometimes you just need to get back into your body and ground yourself through exercise, fun times with loved ones, or rest.
  5. Always be learning — no matter what you’ve accomplished or how much you know, there’s always something to learn. A humble heart and open mind will take you further than you “expertise” ever could.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I’m just getting started! I’m shaking up the way brands and communities are built by focusing on collective contribution and co-creation, as opposed to “building a cult following.” I can’t reveal too much (otherwise it wouldn’t be very disruptive), but I’m working with some really visionary brands in the web3/crypto/NFT space that are going to change culture.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Garden City by John Mark Comer has deeply impacted how I think about work, rest, and “the art of being human.” By reexamining my relationship with work, especially as an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to build a business that fits my life, not the other way around. A lot of people in the startup and tech spaces are overworked and constantly burnt out, and I realized I don’t want to go down that path with Designed by Shyne.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One quote that sticks with me comes from C.S. Lewis, “It is not your business to succeed, but to do right. When you have done so the rest lies with God.” I believe the reason my business has been so successful is because my focus has been to love people and genuinely serve them. Only by keeping a pure heart with pure motives and being a faithful servant have I been able to get this far in my career so quickly.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’ve actually just begun this movement called “Slow Girl Summer,” or #slowgirlsummer. It’s an anti-hustle, anti-hurry cultural shift from toxic hustle culture and a cure to burnout. Through this movement, my goal is to show people that they can thrive professionally without sacrificing their personal wellbeing. I don’t want people to choose profit over peace when they can have both!

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me at @designedbyshyne on Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, and LinkedIn.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Meet The Disruptors: Shyne Webster Of Designed by Shyne On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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