Happy new year, friends and loyal readers.

2024 is a bit of a landmark year for me, personally. I’ll not only be starting my fifth decade here on Planet Earth; the company I started will celebrate its tenth birthday. To my dear Simpatico: happy 10th. We’ve grown so much together over the last decade, you and I. Today, I celebrate and humbly toast your incredible evolution into the the type of collaborative, caring, creative place where I always wanted to work.

The Simpatico team

I wish I could say that today’s Simpatico was Always The Plan, a by-product of 2014 Tamara’s carefully crafted blueprints. It wasn’t. At the beginning, I didn’t plan to expand my single-person LLC beyond a single person. I also didn’t not plan to. Iterative design is my jam, and Simpatico’s my best ten-year case study; it’s all been one big evolution.

The last decade has provided endless education, along with ceaseless decisions to make. Should I stick with contractors or hire full-time employees? Should I offer health insurance? Should we specialize in WordPress or embrace my UX design roots? Should I take this project? Should I sacrifice my personal well-being for the next month for a longer financial runway and increased stability later on? (For the curious reader, I decided: The latter. Hell yes. Why not both? Probably. Probably not, but I usually do.)

But other things, I knew from Simpatico’s infancy. I wanted to work with wicked smart collaborators who inspire me, are nice, and don’t do “passive aggressive.” I fantasized about working with clients who were doing interesting things, who genuinely needed what my team could offer, and who would appreciate how hard we work and how much we care. I craved the freedom to work remotely, a work environment flexible enough to allow for Life, but fast-paced enough to keep me motivated and intellectually stimulated (and not obsessively searching for My Next Thing).

A decade later, it’s all here. Years of hard work and resisting the temptation to grow afford us the extraordinary privilege to choose only the most simpatico clients. I’m still that little girl who makes websites for fun, but now I get to do it with a digital dream team: nine wildly talented folks who make what might otherwise be long days on Slack and Zoom feel creative, productive, and hilarious.

Bruce, Amber, and Tamara wearing backpacksSimpatico leadership gets ready for 2024

Moreover, not a day goes by that I’m not gobsmacked by Simpatico leadership: Bruce’s unmatched design prowess and intuition, formidable formal training, commitment to deeply understanding our clients, tireless work ethic, and heart of gold have elevated Simpatico’s design team and work to new heights over the last year, while Amber’s attention to detail, superb design sensibilities, breakneck speed, decades of WordPress expertise, and good humored approach ensure the development team knocks our implementations out of the park every time.

Thank you, all. I feel so lucky.

So without further ado … let’s pop that champagne and take a look at everything we accomplished this year!


The year kicks off with the launch of a labor of love: The Slickdeals Money site. When I first received the inquiry email explaining that the deal gurus over at Slickdeals were launching a personal finance site (in the vein of The Points Guy), I fell off my chair. If you know me, you know my unabashed enthusiasm for credit card optimization and travel hacks. This was going to be epic.

And the icing on the cake? The Slickdeals team couldn’t be more awesome: smart, strategic, good-humored, totally nerdy, and as emoji-fluent as we are.

In January, the site launches, featuring a bevy of exciting tools and features. It receives positive feedback from the client, users, and analytics: GA shows a 53% increase in user engagement, and 70% increase in page clicks.

Slickdeals Desktop and Mobile Screen Designs

In February, the team hustles to launch marketing sites for two up-and-coming startup clients. The first is for Reibus, the leading platform for buying and selling steel and other metals, with end-to-end services including logistics and financing. We use bold copy and product screenshots to help prospective clients understand the platform’s value propositions. The second is Paladin, the go-to platform for connecting the pro bono community and empowering legal teams to do more pro bono, more efficiently.

On the heels of these launches, the dead of winter brings a project that hits close to home for me (literally): TF Cornerstone, my building’s management company, enlists Simpatico’s help to conduct a (very fun) research study to gain insight into the highs and lows of the TFC tenant’s digital experience. The work culminates in a presentation of findings for stakeholders, accompanied by UX and feature recommendations, and ultimately led to a lasting partnership. (More on that later!)

The last engagement of the season is something completely different. Not only does it harness the studio’s full capabilities (visual identity, UX/UI design, web design, and WordPress development), it prompts me (a lifelong Cetaphil devotee) to dive into the complicated world of high-end skincare. We work closely with Silver Mirror (a well-known facial bar with locations in NYC, DC, and Miami) on their entire, end-to-end digital experience.

Tamara, Mingwei, and Angela at Silver MirrorClient research (a/k/a getting facials) at Silver Mirror:
It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

Our engagement with Silver Mirror’s CEO includes designing and developing their marketing site on WordPress, which includes several exciting, innovative features, including quizzes that help users understand the ideal services and products for their unique skin type. We also put our UX superpowers to work designing a full, end-to-end customer booking flow.


As the leaves start to re-emerge, we continue using the magic of Slack, not just internally but also with our clients. While we don’t condone theft, some of our clients’ emojis were too good not to steal … thank you, Slickdeals and Blockdaemon. Don’t worry; we’re making excellent use of them in their new home.

Old Man Yells At AWS Slack EmojiNice Emoji on Slack

In April, we launch a from-the-ground-up visual identity and website redesign for Big Green, a nonprofit helping to promote gardening and healthy eating across the United States.

As the days get longer, we also get to celebrate incredibly happy news: our fearless Head of Design, Bruce, gets married! In the pics below, check out the happy couple … as well as their (unsurprisingly) impeccably designed wedding collateral. Congratulations, Bruce and Christina!

Bruce and Christina Wedding Invitation

In May, our work in the wellness space continues as one of our favorite former clients Jon Gilson introduces us to his client, Revivery. Revivery is a Tampa-based instructor-guided sauna and cold plunge experience, and they need their sleek visual identity extended to both design collateral and a website. The new brand and splash page is live; the rest of the site is coming in 2024.


Brand new, shiny projects are exciting, but agency folks know the value of retaining ongoing clients (for so many reasons). When a stellar client from yesteryear returns with new work (sometimes years later!), it’s the most revealing testimonial in the business. This summer, we welcome back two inaugural Simpatico clients. What a treat to see how their businesses (and our studio processes and team!) have evolved.

Sinan and Tamara in 2017 at the whiteboard

Throwback to 2017: The early Simpatico days

After Sinan and I hung the Studio Simpatico shingle in February 2017, our first big brand engagement was crafting the SAA|EVI visual identity for inimitable real estate gurus Ernst Valery and David Alexander. In June, we launch a beautiful website refresh spotlighting SAA|EVI’s mission and story.

SAA|EVI Desktop and Mobile Screen Designs

Our relationship with Subscribe (formerly SAF Platform) goes back even earlier; we first worked with CEO Rafay Farooqui and his team in 2016, re-skinning their alt investment platform and designing a fresh customer-facing marketing site. Since then, Subscribe has dominated the space, accruing incredible clients and industry recognition. I’m honored when Simpatico is asked to reimagine and design Subscribe’s new visual identity and website, from the ground up. Launching 2024, stay tuned.

As we continue supporting our fantastic long-term clients, Simpatico’s reputation as the go-to design studio for NYC nonprofits is growing, which brings exciting new opportunities. We’re humbled to learn that the Four Friends Foundation recommended us to the incredible gender justice performing arts organization, Girl Be Heard. I love so much about this project (attending the live show and working with Jakki, to name a few), but my favorite is watching Simpatico design superstar Angela Huang lead and slay her first end-to-end visual identity and web design project. The brand is so expressive, and leverages Angela’s incredible illustration talent; attending her design presentations was a bright light of 2023.

Mid-summer, we walk away from our screens and meet up IRL (!!) to wish Elaine a happy graduation. To thank her for her incredible work spring semester, we celebrate over cocktails in pineapples and pink tacos in Times Square, every New Yorker’s favorite neighborhood.

With Memorial Day in our rearview mirror, we launch our first large-scale project for a brand in the healthcare sector. For Centivo, we lead a full redesign and rebuild of their marketing website. Due to the success of the partnership, the team enlists our help to also create a microsite advertising their virtual primary care offering, as well as employer-specific enrollment hubs.

With Centivo live, at the end of June I pay a visit to the Simpatico Mountain team–a/k/a Nate Goodburn. Over Cold Smokes, we celebrate Nate’s commitment to exploratory efforts and innovative solutions that benefit our retainer clients. (“Retainer clients? Why would I become a retainer client?” Great question. Learn why.)

Nate’s contributions this year include everything from optimizing page speeds to demystifying Search Console to working with marketing automation systems to diving headfirst into back-end development. The ultimate team player (a cliche, but it’s Nate), his intellectual curiosity, ability to embrace the unknown, solve complicated problems, and sport an all-around great attitude are such a boon to the team.

But alas, when the Montana beers are finished, it’s back to NYC I go; I have dinner on the cal with our stellar collaborators at Haven Life (they’re based in Minneapolis, but will be in New York on business). While I’m en route, the second leg of my trip is canceled and I’m stranded in Minnesota. I’m bummed … until I learn that the cancellations also affected Heather and Stacy! We move our plans to downtown Minneapolis, and cheers both our good fortune and our incredible collaboration on the new partnership hub.

And while we’re on the topic of the partner hub … shoutout to our front-end guru Zeth, who always brings his A game to every project and build, this one included. Watching his evolution from recent coding boot camp grad to seasoned WordPress developer over the last two years has been incredible. And watching his steadfast commitment to keeping our Slack emoji library well-stocked has been equally gratifying.

(On a much sadder note, a few weeks ago I learned that the Haven Life division of MassMutual, a Simpatico client since 2016, is being shut down at the end of 2023. I developed their first blog on WordPress when I was a company of one, and we’ve supported countless redesigns of the blog, along with many other marketing websites, including Haven Technologies. It truly feels like the end of an era. We wish all of Haven’s employees the absolute best in their journeys ahead.)

Meanwhile, back at the studio, we’ve got big team changes happening. There are aspects of management that fit me like a too-small T-shirt (it works, but it’s awkward). But the thing I love most about being The Boss is finding ways to identify work that fits employees’ strengths like a glove, and tweaking roles and processes accordingly. In August, we adjust two team members’ roles, allowing them to bring more of their unique superpowers to the studio.

The first, Evan, has been a fantastic WordPress developer for five years. However, his heads-down, behind-the-scenes coding work wasn’t leveraging his superb communication skills (writing and speaking) and talent with people. In July, we officially add “technical project manager” to Evan’s business cards.

Similarly, Phebe’d been doing great visual design work for over a year, but I had a gnawing feeling her strengths weren’t being fully realized in her role. The queen of the mood board, Phebe is a brilliant strategist, writer, and thinker. She has superb UX and product instincts, and the rare ability to effortlessly grok modular systems. It was an easy decision to expand her role to include UX design and creative strategy.

Lastly, rockstar developer and Rubik’s cube master Corey (who celebrated his five-year Simpatico-versary in April, and has been leading the charge on the development team’s recently reinvented workflows) begins his last year of college … and accepts a full-time role with Studio Simpatico, starting summer 2024!

Corey celebratingSummer 2024: Corey joins Simpatico full time!

As summer comes to a close, in August I have the privilege of listening to front-end expert Amber (Simpatico’s Head of Dev) represent the studio on the Code Rush podcast. Before I first contacted her nine years ago, I followed her around the internet as she blogged and spoke about all things WordPress. It’s so rewarding now, listening to how she represents Simpatico so eloquently on this podcast, contemplating the state of WordPress in 2023.

Amber on Laptop Talking

Simpatico’s very own Head of Development and resident WordPress guru, Amber Weinberg


Motivated by the omnipresent back-to-school energy and newfound crisp in the air, the Simpatico team conducts many retrospectives and consequently embraces some big changes to tools and processes. I’m seeing the perks of employee retention surfacing: We’re a team that deeply understands itself: our workflows, needs, clients, strengths, and common pitfalls, and we’re bringing that universally informed awareness to our iteration and systems design. It’s so exciting to be a part of.

I publish this piece about how Simpatico embraces modular design to help clients understand how we work and why, and how it benefits them. As part of our studio’s move to Figma, the design and dev teams explore dramatic process improvements. We’re mastering the design-to-development handoff, a place where so many teams fall down. In a similar vein, the PM/UX team makes great strides in standardizing requirements documentation processes, as we bid farewell to Basecamp 2 and move to Linear.

We also form a Simpatico subcommittee tasked with ensuring the happiness of ongoing retainer clients. We research and brainstorm ways to add more value to their businesses and digital stack. Amazing ideas come out of this initiative, including a new way of creating client help tutorials using a fancy tool called Scribe. (Props to Mingwei!)

The beautiful part of agency work is that you always have test subjects for your new tools and processes, and real world data about customer needs and technology trends. Our partnership with HIAS, for example, challenges us to think deeply about optimal editorial workflows, as well as the best solutions for multilingual sites.

We also benefit heavily from partnering closely with our clients’ in-house subject matter experts. Our work with Praetorian (and more specifically, the fabulous Taylor Pierce and Emmaline Eble) is a perfect example: After revising their company’s messaging to better resonate with prospective customers, we work with them to apply it to the new homepage and landing page designs.

Speaking of Praetorian, we thought we’d seen it all, but October 31, 2023 marks the first time we officially see a visual identity we’ve created applied to … a pumpkin.

Praetorian logo on a pumpkinCarving out a new design collateral offering

The Holidays

Every year, the holidays arrive faster than we expect, and 2023 is no exception. While we’re hoping 2024 brings us a full team offsite, 2023 festivities are sadly limited to the NYC team. Pictured below, Evan dominates Simpatico bowling night and emerges the winner.

Simpatico Bowling Night

Before we break, the team celebrates Mingwei’s title change to Senior Project Manager. It’s an immensely well-deserved promotion, reflecting the incredible job she does keeping our studio organized, projects on track, and clients happy. In the words of one of our clients, “Mingwei was fantastic. I wish she could manage all my projects and my whole life.” I wholeheartedly agree.


Mingwei with fireplace backgroundRockstar PM Mingwei Ma, sporting a cozy Google Meet holiday background

Looking Ahead

So, what can we expect from Simpatico in 2024?

  • More great work for great clients
  • Continuing to incorporate research heavily into our work (it’s the chief trait I interview for, as I told Forbes last week)
  • Three large-scale web design overhauls for three amazing nonprofits: the Natural Areas Conservancy, WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), and Urban Pathways
  • A naming and visual identity engagement for a new, stealth project for TF Cornerstone
  • A continued strong partnership with our friends at WP Engine

See you in the new year, everyone!