Our next Inspiring Women feature is one fancy lady who was instrumental in the creation and relaunch of The Spoiled Mummy site. She is Patricia Villa (also known as Fancy Girl online) — a loving wife, a hands-on-mom, a work-at-home entrepreneur and a talented artist. She is the web designer and graphic artist for The Spoiled Mummy, and hundreds of other beautiful websites popular in the virtual world today.
I first met her when I started planning my website in the first quarter of 2012. We were introduced via email since she was (and still is) based in Singapore. After several months of planning and research, The Spoiled Mummy site went live July of that year. And since then, we’ve never lost touch, as we were always talking about ways on how we can improve and make the site better. Fast forward to almost two years later, I went to Singapore for a holiday, and that was the only time I met my designer in person!
If you have been reading the blog since last year, you would know that I did a major makeover (new look, new style, new everything!) and relaunched The Spoiled Mummy version 2.o in September 2014. So yes what you see now, which is the new, prettier and much more reader – friendly site that gives you a better experience, is due to Pat’s skill and talent! I surely would not have done it without her! (Thank you, Pat!!)
Let’s now take a look and get inspired by the life, works and story of this creative and fancy lady, Patricia Villa.
Tell us a little bit about who Patricia Villa is.
Like most women I know, I wear many hats. I’m a mom to two amazing boys and a wife to a wonderful husband who supports me in everything I do.
I’m also a web and graphic designer, artist, psychologist, geek, frustrated interior decorator, and design junkie! On a regular day, you will find me in front of my iMac, at my desk that happens to be inside my son’s playroom.
How did you start your graphic and web design business, Fancy Girl Designs?
A decade or so ago, I was teaching Psychology at UP, and my days were filled with classes, research papers, and academic conferences. I left that life to form my own design firm (back home), working mostly on wedding-related stuff. It was doing really well, and I knew I found my true calling in design work.
We had just married when my husband was transferred to Singapore, and I left everything behind to go with him and start our new life as a couple here. I was already pregnant with my first born, and the adjustment wasn’t easy. But we were together, and that’s all that mattered.
I tried to stave off the loneliness by blogging, and then of course, me being me, I wanted to find out how to prettify my own site. That’s when I discovered the joys of web designing! I started out by designing for friends, and then pretty soon I had referrals, and it just grew from there. I didn’t even have a marketing plan!
Aside from being a graphic artist and web designer, you are also a freelance artist. Tell us more about this other passion of yours.
Yes, I also paint and sketch! I love painting with watercolours and acrylics, and I’ve sold a few paintings over the years. All of the art that hangs in our walls are mine. (I can’t afford to buy art, so I make them myself! hahaha!) Sometimes a friend comes over to visit and buys one painting. Or sees something I made and commissions me to paint something for their wall.
Lately, I’ve been having so much fun doing custom illustrations of women. I’ve had requests for a photographer in Paris, a home cook in her kitchen, a work at home mum at her desk, a woman with a suitcase, and even a portrait of one of the well-known beautiful ladies there. These illustrations are really fun to create, and they make such interesting blog headers! I’m offering them on my site now, and I can also send the original illustration by mail if the client wants to frame it.
You are truly one talented artist! I can see from your website and Instagram feed that you also love decorating the home and making all things around you pretty! Is this why you are called Fancy Girl?
Yes, that’s exactly why I’m Fancy Girl! The name Fancy Girl was suggested by a dear friend who lives in the UK. I’m a girly girl who loves to prettify everything! I have an innate aversion to mess, grunge, hip hop, movies where the characters are dirty and unkempt (yes, weird, I know), and for better or for worse, also sports. hahaha! When I was growing up, I wanted to be a princess! No tree climbing or rough sports for me.
I’ve always been passionate about art and design from as far back as I can remember. I pour over interior design magazines all the time (I subscribe to House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Real Simple and Domino), and I also love visiting Joss & Main, One Kings Lane, and Horchow for online inspiration. Our home has seen so many attempts at redecorating and re-arranging, that my kids have actually started giving suggestions for the next round.
Going back to your professional life … What is the best thing about being a graphic artist and a web designer nowadays? And what is the worst thing about it, if there are any?
The absolute best thing about my job is that it’s always exciting! Every new project is a challenge that allows me to grow in knowledge and skills. I love learning new things all the time, and being a web designer allows me to do that every day. Oh, and I normally handle more than 10 projects at a time, so I’m always busy, always working, never bored!
I can’t find anything bad about it except for the few times when I run into difficult clients. Change topic please! hahahaha!
And because I know I am the least artistic person out there, I am curious to know how you do these things. What is the creative process like for you? How do you begin designing for a client’s website or blog?
I’ve been in the business for quite a number of years now, and I’ve worked on hundreds and hundreds of websites, so now I have put in place a system that works (for me). It’s not absolutely fool-proof, but it makes designing easier.
The client gives me the design direction (through my own design questionnaire, mood boards, and intensive discussions), and I try to translate it into visual form. There is a lot of consultation involved, and in the process, I really get to know my clients and what they want.
Basically what readers see now on The Spoiled Mummy site is the final product of our several months’ of research, discussions and planning. What they didn’t see were the nitty-gritty details and the hundreds of emails that were exchanged back and forth to come up with that ONE unified look that encapsulates The Spoiled Mummy.
So thank you Pat, for turning my vision into reality!
Your job requires artistic and technical skills, aside from a lot creativity and imagination. Plus, you have a huge international client base. Given all that, what are the other challenges you face and how do you handle them?
The most challenging of all is managing my time. I have two kids and no full-time maid! And my husband and I are very OC people, so I can’t just turn a blind eye to any mess around the house. I just try to work really fast and work really smart so I can finish all my tasks for the day.
I restrict all communications to emails so that I have the freedom to reply whenever I am available. My clients are from all over the world, so if I have to wait for each of them to be online, I’ll be awake for 24 hours!
You’ve been doing this for a good number of years now, which tells us you really love what you do. Can you share with us your best projects yet?
Oh, it’s so hard to choose! There’s too many!
Any plans for the future? What can we expect from Fancy Girl Designs this 2015?
I haven’t had time to plan anything yet! I hit the ground running after the New Year!
You are a good example of a work at home mom who is a successful entrepreneur as well. You really are inspiring! Where do you get your daily dose of inspiration? What inspires you?
My family, prayer, other designers, and coffee. Lots of coffee.
With a very busy daily schedule like yours, how do you balance your time between your work and your being a mummy and wife?
In order to preserve whatever amount of sanity I still have, I make sure that I don’t work on weekends. Weekends are sacred family time.
I always say that there’s a “Spoiled Mummy” in each of us. What do you think makes you, Patricia Villa, a Spoiled Mummy?
Oh, I’d say that I’m really lucky (and super grateful) to have a husband who adores me and tries to fulfill my every whim (at least those he can afford to give). He treats me like a queen, and even helps me with house chores no matter how tired he is after working the whole day.
My sons are also really affectionate, and I love them to bits! They understand when mummy needs to concentrate (like when I’m coding a website), and will play quietly by themselves. They’re wonderful!
To see Pat’s own take about the creation and relaunch of The Spoiled Mummy site, click here.
To get to know Pat some more and see the rest of her work, visit : www.fancygirlsdesignstudio.com
To see our previous Inspiring Women story, click here