Founders at the Intersection of Tech + Design

We interviewed founders making waves at the intersection of tech, brand + design. Read more about their backgrounds, insights on their processes and how Breef aligns with their goal of making great work happen.

Steph Liu, Founder + CEO, Levitate Foundry

Steph always knew she wanted to work in tech⁠ and eComm, building world-class consumer brands⁠ from the ground up. Today, she's built Levitate⁠ Foundry, a growth marketing firm helping top DTC⁠ brands grow + thrive.⁠ Meet Steph and learn more about⁠ Levitate Foundry:

Q: What inspired you to enter the marketing / eComm field?

SL: I always knew I wanted to be in tech and eComm –– building companies. I took a massive pay cut from a typical investment banking salary to jump directly into a career in tech + fashion for that reason. I paid my dues at companies like Amazon, Gap Inc., Sephora and The Honest Company. Now I’ve been in eComm for over a decade and have no regrets!

Q: Levitate Foundry is a growth marketing powerhouse! Describe your approach to meaningful growth:

SL: To us, meaningful growth comes from meaningful strategy. You have to know what will create the most impact and how to leverage it quickly. Luckily, we’re a team of left + right brain thinkers who are hyper-focused on growth. We’re an agency of people from DTC brands with deep insider knowledge, and we’re driven to make the DTC playbook accessible.

Q: The future of marketing is...

SL: Digital, but more specifically, it’s native. It’s user-generated. It’s community-led. It’s experiential. More than ever marketing is user-first.

Q: What are three tips for emerging founders + marketers?

SL: 1. Be an agile learner. Let go of approaches that aren’t working while you learn what does!

  1. Embrace the challenge. If you can navigate it successfully, you’ll find it to be the best teacher.
  2. Go all in on eCommerce + DTC. In a post-COVID world, digital experiences are hyper-important.

Q: A project you're most proud of...

SL: Launching Levitate... and becoming THE largest Female Founded Shopify Plus Agency in the U.S. in just 3 years! I’m so proud of our diverse team, our industry-leading work and our client successes. I’m even more proud that this growth has given us the chance to serve our greater community — this year, we’re launching a new program to train underserved students on media buying. To sum it up, every project we put our name behind, every member of our team and every client that works with us…they are why Levitate is my proudest project.

Q: Why Breef?

SL: Breef is a great platform — there’s nothing like it! It creates the perfect environment for brands to connect with premiere agencies. We are SO happy we found Breef.

Desiree Almodovar, Founder + Creative Director, The Inlay

Desiree was inspired to start The Inlay to build more valuable creative and digital products for brands –– built around social, emotional and physical customer needs with artistry + data-driven insights. Meet Desiree and learn more about The Inlay:

Q: What inspired you to enter the creative field?

DA: I wanted to build more valuable creative and digital products for brands by gathering business leaders, technologists and artists. This trifecta of skillsets is in the DNA of everything The Inlay produces. I am also heavily inspired by how MIT Media Lab Professor, Neri Oxman, employs engineering + biology to invent novel design technologies.

Q: The Inlay is a tech + branding powerhouse! Describe your approach to building digital products:

DA: From web to mobile apps, our approach to building digital products keeps human needs at the center of development. We tie together the social, emotional and physical customer needs with artistry + data-driven insights. This creates truly differentiated and unforgettable digital experiences.

Q: What are three tips for emerging creatives?

DA: 1. Partner with brands that excite you. The more you can focus on passion-driven projects, the better your work will be.

  1. Effectively communicate your concepts. It’ll strengthen your relationships. Study how people you admire have mastered public speaking.
  2. Never stop learning! In our line of work, tools + approaches are ever-evolving. We need to evolve alongside them to build effective products.

Q: A project you're most proud of:

DA: It's hard to choose one! Getaway, the company that builds thoughtfully designed tiny cabins in the woods, comes to mind. Since we built the identity and expanded it into everything (From the web app to interiors!) –– we were able to build a true 360 experience.

Q: Why Breef?

DA: Introduction to a client can be tricky. Some clients have never worked with a studio before, or may be green to a particular project. This can create confusion around standard processes and fees.

Breef helps to seamlessly bridge that gap so that our introduction + relationship with a client can be much more effective.

Rahmi Halaby, Founder + Executive Creative Director, Linden Ave. Studio

Rahmi founded Linden Ave. Studio with the goal of marrying his creativity and interest in business. Today, Linden Ave. is a multidisciplinary creative studio with a design + tech focus — but at the core, they are passionate storytellers. Meet Rahmi and learn more about Linden Ave. Studio:

Q: What (or who!) inspired you to enter the creative field?

RH: My father was a great painter, sculptor and sensory artist. He introduced me to many different creative fields at a very young age. However, he was not a great businessman. My goal has always been to find a way to successfully mix my creative interests with a strong business foundation.

Q: Linden Ave. is a branding + design powerhouse! Describe your approach to building brand identity:

RH: We like to say that we are storytellers first. Before designing, we take the time to understand + craft the client's story –– that is what consumers identify with. From there, we ensure every part of their branding helps tell that story to the target audience.

Q: A project you're most proud of:

RH: One project that I am extremely proud of is our partnership with the W Hotels. We have been organizing intimate discussion panels where attendees are able to discover the commonality across design in a discussion-based setting. This project is untraditional from most of our work, but I am really proud. It has brought Philadelphia's creative community together and allowed people to look at ‘creating’ in a non-traditional sense.

Q: Why Breef?

RH: We joined Breef about a year and a half ago as an extremely new agency. Since then, Breef has been extremely beneficial in helping build our portfolio and put us in front of potential clients + partners. I am excited to continue to grow our team alongside Breef.

Founders at the Intersection of Tech + Design