Dymika Harte’s company UNSGND is new but her experience as an entrepreneur has already come a long way thanks to her time at George Brown College
Just months after being named George Brown College’s (GBC) entrepreneur of the year, former graphic design student Dymika Harte has now launched her own company, UNSGND.
UNSGND is a creative all-female agency which seeks to support small business and recording artists with their first steps into the big industry.
Harte took her first steps at a young age, while she was in grade nine.
“They (the teachers) were tired of me playing on Photoshop in class because I was pretty good at it. So they asked me to design the yearbook,” Harte said.
During her time at the Falstaff Community Centre, the budding creative artist met one of her mentors, Ernestine Dunkley.
“She took me under her wing and started teaching me a lot more like advanced design skills and how to become a business person,” she explained.
Bursting with skills and through her connections, Harte landed her first paid job which was to design a cover for a toolkit for the City of Toronto.
“At that point, I think I was 15. So it was a pretty big job and I end up getting a lot of connections out of that. That’s how I got started in graphic design, saying yes to a bunch of things,” Harte relayed.
She said yes to a cover book and then to the City of Toronto. When opportunities knocked on her door, she thought “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” One after the other, great things continued to come her way.
A few years later, she stumbled upon a dual credit program offered at GBC.
“I got an email saying: ‘Hey, do you have a business idea? Why not come here?’ And I didn’t have a business idea but I could figure something out,” she said.
This begun her Youth Startup Hub at the college. Her first business drafts were to create a music magazine, but her passion for music, graphic design and some advice from her now partner, Kiana Eastmond led her to change her mind.
“You are a graphic designer, you like music, so why you don’t you brand artists instead?” Harte said was her friend’s advice.
And again she said yes. But it was not easy for her to be a college student and a company owner at the same time. In the beginning, the duo ran the company by skipping lunch to answer emails.
Listen to The Dialog’s podcast to hear all about Harte saying “yes” to life’s possibilities
“I will be very honest with you, it wasn’t all roses and happiness. It was a lot of me saying no to hanging out. I had to block out my time really well to manage things because I had real clients asking me where the work is. And I had my assignments to do at the same time,” the entrepreneur recalled.
But before launching UNSGND, Harte was naturally developing her entrepreneur skills. She did several freelance jobs in which she learned how big companies work and also how to manage a team.
She noted that her second big gig, designing a magazine for a health company, also helped her along the way.
“I had to manage and hiring other freelancers to do different things. That was my first real taste of how I would manage a team,” she said.
And now with a team of her own, Harte feels the pressure and responsibility of it, but also, it pushes and encourages her in the right way.
“A lot of my staff are on contracts. Which is fine but when I find someone that I really like, then the pressure is on me because I need to make an extra amount of money to pay full-time,” added Harte.
Although Harte still likes to dip her toes in Photoshop and design, the good part of having a staff is that now she can focus on the company and how to make it bigger.
For the first time, she spending less time as a graphic designer and more as an entrepreneur, roles that she has been interchanging ever since the beginning of her career.
Moving away from her 15-year-old self who was just saying yes to things, Harte now knows how to run a business. More than that, it proves that she knows where she is headed.
“We definitely want to be the leading one-stop shop. We focus on the strategy to the design and printing, which is a big point for a lot of small business and artists. So we want to be that “go-to space.” That’s what we are working towards,” said the GBC entrepreneur of the year.