CRESWELL – Graphic designer Ellyn Mole has found a new business community in Creswell.
She set up her studio on Oregon Avenue in September — a dream that she’s been drafting since high school.
Mole attended Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria, Calif., where she competed in swimming and played on the water polo team, and also took graphic design classes.
“My parents were very practical,” she said. “They are both teachers and wanted me to get a degree so that I could get a job and a 401k and live off a salary. That was drilled into my brain forever and I did not do that … I tried to push out of that.”
In 2019 at 21 years old, Mole married her high school sweetheart, Troy, and committed to a long-distance relationship after Troy, a Marine, was stationed in Hawaii.
At the time, Mole was attending Allan Hancock College, taking graphic design courses.
“I was visiting back and forth but every time I went out there I didn’t want to leave,” she said.
“It was a really big motivating factor to go to the University of Hawaii, but it also had a really good design program. I was like, ‘I’m going to follow the boy and going to go be an art student,’” she said.
In April 2021, the Moles relocated to Creswell after Troy was accepted to the University of Oregon.
During the move, Mole worked as a freelance graphic designer for some clients in Hawaii, but wanted to be more involved in the community as a local graphic designer.
After a year of doing freelance, Mole went to get her taxes done by Thomas Ellis at 65 W. Oregon Ave. in April of 2022, only to find that the front space was available for rent.
“It was pretty ugly at first. It had really bad floors and the walls were all beat up. … It was very dusty but I could see the vision,” Mole said.
Upon the landlord’s approval, Mole replaced the floors, put in tile, painted, and moved in a few months later.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had been doing this out of my house but now I had a storefront,” she said.
Wanting to get some advice, Mole reached out to Oxa at Oregon Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (Oregon RAIN), a nonprofit organization that works to advance the formation of startup companies.
“I was comfortable working from home, but I wasn’t as productive. I found that I needed to take a big leap of faith,” she said. “Opening my business really helped me to get out of my bubble and forced me to be social. I got really comfortable at home being isolated, but it wasn’t good for me. I’ve always been on a team and my family is pretty outgoing, too.”
After attending networking events with RAIN and presenting at some events, RAIN encouraged her to apply for the South Lane Venture Catalyst position, of which Seth Clark, owner of Blue Valley Bistro, was stepping down from.
“I helped so many businesses and it’s such a blessing to have an organization where people can go just to ask for help. Sometimes I don’t even do anything other than just listen and make a referral or two. Sometimes people just need to talk to someone that is on the same page and there’s benefit there,” she said.
Now serving as Oregon RAIN’s South Lane Venture Catalyst and owning her own graphic design studio, Mole has acquired 11 local clients, including Blue Valley Bistro, Creswell Wellness Center, and Humble Aviation.
“I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m definitely on my way,” Mole said.