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Conversations with the Inspiring Samantha Nardelli

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Nardelli.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Shanty Town Design is a 100% remote team of graphic designers and creatives serving as a virtual marketing department for businesses of all sizes. I started Shanty Town in 2013 in Pennsylvania and relocated to Denver, Colorado in 2016. I love the community and helping others succeed. So, our services are all custom focused on each of our clients. Shanty Town is a one-stop shop for anything marketing related. If we don’t work on something in house ourselves, we have a huge network of professionals that we highly recommend to get the job done!

I believe the most important part of growing a business is marketing & creating a solid, recognizable brand. Our team offers logo design, web design, flyers, and other marketing collateral, as well as help with forming your unique brand through promo items and marketing ideas.

Shanty Town is very much my lifeline! All of my creative energy and focus goes into helping people accomplish their goals by way of new and creative ways to market their products, skills, or services. Community is also a massive part of our own personal brand. Through the years, we’ve participated in community arts and vendor events, even threw our own a few times!

Our work has won awards in both PA and CO for effective design from the American Advertising Federation.

Shanty Town started as a team of one, and in the last few years, we’ve grown to seven! Our team is made up of freelancers since we appreciate the flexibility of working at your own pace to create something great. Work-life balance is huge for me since I love to travel and experience new things, so I work super hard to offer the same for my team.

We’re also an all-women design crew 🙂 Since 80% of our client base is women entrepreneurs our style is heavily feminine. I’ve had so many badass women inspire me since I was a child and that vibe very much followed me into my professional adult life. We’ve worked with all kinds of female-owned businesses from coffee shops, cannabis organizations, pet professionals, healers and wellness folks, event coordinators, and creatives (photographers, artists, etc.).

I’m a hustler and ‘that’s not possible’ is not even a part of my vocabulary. While our focus is obviously design, we’ve helped a lot of people start their businesses, connect them with vital companies FOR their business, and even give pointers on how to grow their teams.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all! Haha. As someone who is so career focused and business mindset all the way, the whole idea of removing ‘that’s not possible’ from my vocabulary has definitely bitten me a few times. Every successful business owner has a few failures underneath their belt. But I never regretted a thing. It’s all a learning experience. You’ve gotta try a little bit of everything before you can settle in on what your real path is. Especially for me, since I started Shanty Town the year I graduated from college. I’ve never been in a large corporate setting or even a full-time job that wasn’t something I’ve built.

Everything I’ve ever done has always had art and design underneath it and different ways to support other creatives and women entrepreneurs. But more often than not, big eyes and goals, doesn’t mean big success every single time. Our clients always come first but we’ve always had some sort of side project going on. I’ve done an apparel line, a crazy idea to renovate a trailer and travel the country selling at markets, an Etsy shop (that one did really well! lol), a product line of unicorn themed items, an arts festival (that one did good too!), or what have you. But it always comes back to fully being engulfed in what your actual passion is. I’ve learned more from the projects that were flops versus the projects that skyrocketed us ahead.

I’m a planner and a goal setter for sure, but I’ve learned a lot in the last year specifically about what I’m willing to commit myself to. I had a few years of ‘Yes Man’ mentality and I’ve gotten more strict about the work I involved myself with now. I won’t say that I’m EXACTLY where I’d like to be in my career but it’s only ever gotten better than before. Trusting yourself, the process, and understanding your commitments before diving in is advice I would have loved when I was younger lol.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Shanty Town Design story. Tell us more about it.
The types of services that Shanty Town offers is all design focused. Logo Design, Web Design, Social Graphics, Flyers/Posters, Banners, Business Cards, Marketing assistance, all that jazz. Since we work with a lot of startups and new business owners, we also sprinkle in some business consulting when it makes sense to. We’d rather see our clients do it the right way from the get-go and connect with the right folks to help run their business, so we typically are in their lives for the long haul. We’ve helped folks find the right apparel printers, team members, volunteers for events, help them set up their social media and even write their bios. When asked of course.

I try to tell everyone if there’s something about running a business that you aren’t sure of or finding the right, say, t-shirt, for them to sell on their apparel line, just ask us. If we don’t know we’ll tell you!

I’ve been working in this industry for 10 years so if there is something I’ve learned that I can share I definitely will! I think that’s one of the big things that sets Shanty Town apart. We aren’t the type of company to just work on 1 project, take your money, then never hear from us again. We’re invested in the livelihood of our clients. The business number is my personal cell phone. If there’s something they need help with, they can always get in touch with me. It may take a day or two but I try to make myself readily available for everyone. 75% of our clients are people we’ve worked with since their business’s inception.

We understand delegation and running a business is all about putting your mental and physical power in the things you’re: 1 – good at, 2 – passionate about, 3 – have time to do. Everything else can be handled by another pro. We’re the marketing and design delegation for most of our clients.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Everything has barriers that we are all capable of crashing down in some facet. In women leadership, there is activism. Pushing until we get what we deserve.

In business owners, both male and female, there’s stamina. Running a business or starting anything from scratch is HARD. Not everything is always rainbows and butterflies. You either have the capital to start a thing or you have the gusto to work super hard to get what you need. I’m always trying to empower our clients by saying you GOT this. It’s like training a puppy. You just have to plow through the hard stuff and training yourself to be the best that you can.

In design and marketing, it’s tough for a lot of people. Tech and design are changing CONSTANTLY so you really have to keep up with what’s going on.


  • Taurus Template Website (the cheaper and faster alternative to our normal web design) – $500
  • Residents of Shanty Town (Facebook group for on-going tech support whether you’re a client or not) – $5/month
  • Branding Package (we offer tiers but our highest gets you EVERYTHING you need to start running your business) – $1000

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sweet Green Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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