From staff reports
This spring, Glory Days Magazine is launching a new online feature called “Meet the Staff.” We want our readers to get to know some of the great people who own and work for local businesses who are supporting area high school athletics.
Rachel Albanese and Laurie Staller both worked from home as graphic designers before they decided to team up in 2016 to form Design Nation, which designs everything from T-Shirts to unique and personalized gifts. Their shop is located at 5209 Atlantic Avenue in Ventnor and is open every day of the week, including 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Laurie was destined to be a designer when, in third grade, her principal asked her to design a logo for their team mascot. From then on, she was entering local art shows and winning awards left and right.
She went on to graduate from Atlantic City High school and then headed to the University of Pennsylvania to study painting and art history. She also decided to take some classes at the Wharton School of Business.
“I knew I would one day have my own business, so I took advantage of one of the best business schools around,” Laurie said.
She then graduated with a degree in Fine Arts & Marketing. Not quite sure what to do with her degree, Laurie moved to Washington, D.C., with some of her classmates to work in politics. Soon enough, she realized she needed to follow her passion and do whatever it took to break into a more creative ﬁeld.
An avid outdoor enthusiast, she moved west to Boulder, Colorado, for a couple years and then on to San Francisco. Once settled, a friend gave her the break she needed and hired her as a junior graphic designer.
At night, she studied tutorials on Photoshop & Illustrator until she became an expert. She then landed a job as Director of User-Interface for a start-up called Guru.com, a place where freelancers could come to ﬁnd gigs. After 5 years at Guru.com she realized she wanted to live the life of the freelancers she was helping, decided to go out on her own and never looked back.
Life as a freelancer had begun.
After having her daughter, Hannah, in 2006, Laurie decided to go back to her roots and move home to the beach to be near family. It was there that she met her neighbor, Rachel Albanese, a fellow graphic designer, while walking their dogs. Being like-minded, they decided to ﬁnd a space to work together.
Once they found the shop in Ventnor, the idea came to them to sell custom T-shirts, and Design Nation was born.
“We realized right away we had tapped into a highly sought-after niche on the island because we had multiple orders even before we ofﬁcially opened our doors. What started with just T-shirts has turned into pretty much any type of apparel. Since opening, we have quickly built a reputation as being the go-to place for creative, one-of-a kind apparel as well as graphic design services,” said Laurie. “And our business-to-business bulk orders keeps us extremely busy all year long — not just peak tourist season. So our doors are staying open 12 months a year, which is rare in a seasonal beach town.”
Laurie lives in Margate with husband Peter, daughter Hannah and her rescue pup, Scout. For great, original design work, contact Laurie and Rachel at 609-350-6879.
From staff reports