Abbey Estep, the creative mind behind Wayfarer Design Studio, grew up in the mountains of West Virginia where she basked in long and slow days. She grew up in a town where one could take comfort in the familiarity of community. The rural landscape gave rise to small and unique businesses. As a response, Abbey saw the potential to help these business create brands they could be proud of.
Tell us about Wayfarer Design Studio
The name Wayfarer means “traveler by foot”. That is how I see my clients and myself. To start a small business, you have to have an adventurous spirit. You’re embarking on this long and difficult journey without really knowing where you’re headed. Wayfarer describes me because I’m running my business while traveling. My husband started his professional basketball career overseas, so this summer we were living in Brisbane, Australia. We just moved to Copenhagen, Denmark to start the second season so I’m not based in a particular place. This can be challenging at times, but I’m excited for the opportunity to connect and learn from small businesses all over the world.
Your tagline is, "Design that does more". Can you elaborate and tell readers what this means?
When I started my business, I knew I wanted to find a way to pay it forward through my work, so I decided to donate 7% of all proceeds from each project to a nonprofit or charity. My father is a pastor and he taught me that giving isn’t just something you do because it’s nice, it’s a part of being human; we’re here to be kind and find ways to help each other. So that’s why I made giving an important part of my business - I want my design to do more than just help my clients grow their business. I want to show people how simple it is to give a little extra.
What are the charities that you support and why do you support them?
International Justice Mission is an organization I really respect and have been involved with for a few years. They work with lawyers, social workers, and law enforcement all over the world to fight modern day slavery. If you follow them on social media, they’re constantly posting new stories about rescuing people from sex trafficking, domestic slavery, forced labor mills, and more.
AFRIpads is another organization that I love! Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about the lack of menstrual products in some parts of the world and the huge impact it has on women. AFRIpads makes and supplies reusable sanitary pads to women in these situations, getting rid of that huge obstacle that keeps them from staying in school, going to work, and enjoying everyday life with confidence.
And a new cause that’s really personal to me is the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. This summer, the place where I grew up experienced a major flood that destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. The damage was so severe that months later people were still trying to put their communities back together. But they've come together to form groups like WV VOAD to make sure every person gets the help and support they need.
Those are just some of my favorite organizations, but I always ask clients if they have a certain charity they’d like to donate to. I think it’s more meaningful if the group they give to is something they are passionate about.
What message would you want to tell readers who want to link design with social good?
Design does a lot of good on its own, but anytime you can push it even further and go the extra mile to make a difference, it’s always worth it. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can with what you have where you are,” and that’s what I’m trying to do. I am trying to do as much good as I can with what I have and know. You can always can find a creative way to make what you are doing grow into something bigger than yourself.
Photos by: Abbey Estep