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From L.A. to Miami to Making a Home in DSM USA

Making a Home in DSM USA

August 23, 2019

A Journey From Coast to Coast

At age 22, I couldn’t wait to pack up a small car and head out of Iowa to start my career. After growing up in Urbandale and attending Iowa State University for Apparel Merchandising Design and Production, I was ready to hit a big city in search of a faster pace and growing career options. So, I told all of my loved ones I had a job (after all, I didn’t need the extra stress of doubters) and took off for Los Angeles; with $300 to my name. It was sink or swim time, and as only the young possess, I had a crazy amount of calm and confidence to keep moving forward.  Would I do it again? Well, that’s a discussion for a later time.

I had a few ISU friends already living in L.A., and my internship the year prior helped me through the couch surfing days and numerous job interviews. Somehow, I landed a dream job at a company called NSF Clothing. I was the first full-time employee under the owner for this emerging brand. It was this role that really sparked my entrepreneurial spirit. While working for NSF Clothing, the line expanded from simply a men’s collection to also featuring a full women’s line and denim program. In my position, I observed and facilitated growth as the team expanded. I began managing the company’s social channels, acting as a liaison between NSF and the public relations firm and branding specialists, as well as working closely with the domestic and overseas production factories. It was so inspiring and rewarding to get to watch this growth and work with such a talented entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, my future husband, and fellow Urbandale native, had relocated from Greater Des Moines (DSM) to Miami. Long story short, I moved to Miami for love and started the next chapter of my career. While in Miami, I launched a small loungewear business called Aporei Loungewear and worked full-time at a startup consumer electronics ecommerce company. I spent my days assisting with website management and creative direction, and my nights sewing and promoting my own business online. Throughout my six years in Miami, I met some inspirational entrepreneurs and business leaders that fueled my passion for growing authentic businesses. But neither Los Angeles nor Miami ever felt like home, or fostered the type of community that my husband and I craved.

What Brought Our Family Home to Des Moines

Every Christmas, wedding and random chance we had to fly back home; we took. Even though we enjoyed our downtown Miami city life, Iowa always held a special place and feeling for us. Those staple DSM spots we loved were always there when we came to town, but we started noticing that the city was changing at a pace that was extremely evident from visit to visit. The culinary scene started to take off, Downtown DSM developed into a destination beyond work and Court Avenue, and we noticed more and more community events popping up. The city was changing and we wanted to be a part of it.

[Learn how you, too, can be a part of telling the DSM USA story and sharing your support enthusiasm and passion for the region.]

nullIn 2017, we expanded our family with the addition of our little boy. Being in a city with little room to play and not many options for child care started to wear on us fast. That’s when we realized having both of our families within a 5-mile radius was a huge reason to start looking at the possibility of going home. Plus, we all know Iowa is one of the best places to raise children. By 2018 we had packed up our condo and made the move back to Iowa to raise our little guy and acquire that sense of community we had been missing.

Supporting the Des Moines Business Community

After moving back to DSM, it was time to get involved, and that’s where Creative DSM came to fruition. My mission is to continue launching and growing small businesses here in Iowa by incorporating digital marketing optimizations into core business initiatives. This includes search engine optimized web design, marketing message generation, social media management, digital ad management and forecasting marketing plans while analyzing past metrics.  

[Find even more small business resources with tools from the Greater Des Moines Partnership.]

Along with serving clients with monthly marketing plans, implementations and analytics; I also love fueling local businesses by providing coaching services and resources. I thoroughly enjoy the entrepreneurial spirit of my clients. Currently Creative DSM is offering a few digital download resources to help jumpstart a marketing plan, free of charge. More resources will be added monthly as a push to help get small businesses up to speed on their digital presence. In addition, Creative DSM hosts a small business directory where we are curating the best of small business resources and small intros to each business. Any business can apply to be considered for the list using this link. I am beyond excited about the growth that this region has experienced in the past 10 years and to be a part of the movement moving forward. Cheers to community prosperity!

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 17 percent below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.

Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods and shopping to parks and local attractions. Or, kick start your career by checking out the DSM USA Career Center. It has over 10,000 jobs listed!

Andi Fagen

After her time at Iowa State University, Andi Fagen started assisting in brand launches in Los Angeles and Miami. She's now the creative strategist and owner of Creative DSM, a digital and social marketing agency. When she's not strategizing SEO, she is a mom, traveler, sushi connoisseur and $3 wine fan.