Written by Naomi Massave Berry, Attorney at Carlton Fields for the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Miami-Dade County, Fall 2012
Amanda Koziar, the founder of Amaniac Design, is an artist with a strong business sense. Amanda comes from a family of commercial artists – her grandfather created maps to support the American World War II campaign as well as traditional commercial print materials. Her father studied lithography and worked in the check printing industry. Amanda graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, where she majored in Visual Communications, where after she began working at Impax Marketing Group as a graphic designer. During her four years at Impax, Amanda developed her design skills, working on large national and international campaigns, but eventually found that even though it was a great introduction to the industry, it did not entirely satisfy her creative aspirations.
Amanda decided to move to South Florida, which she says she has always loved since first visiting her grandparents in Boynton Beach as a young child. The scope of her work gained both depth and breadth as she managed a studio of artists as art director at Propeller Branding, a much coveted Miami agency at the time. The Miami experience was very much focused on the branding aspect of the advertising industry, quickly revealing that Amanda’s creative strength lies in developing the foundation of a company’s identity. As Amanda advanced at Propeller, she gained more client interaction, and found that she enjoyed working side by side with clients on their vision for their business. “There are a lot of sensitivities in building a brand and in advertising,” Amanda said. “We are always thinking about perception.”
As the next step toward her vision of successful marketing and advertising, in 2008 Amanda founded Amaniac Design, which provides branding, advertising and marketing services, including website development, naming and logos, business collateral, print production, media planning, and related services. Amanda emphasizes that close collaboration with clients is one of Amaniac’s core values. Clients schedule sessions to work alongside Amanda and her employees in the modern Biscayne Boulevard studio on creating and formulating a vision for their company. “We are best at helping smaller businesses market themselves to their target audience, so they don’t get drowned out by some of their larger competitors,” Amanda says. “Image is perception – if your website looks like it was designed 10 years ago, people will necessary draw inferences about your company.” Amanda explained that she has also become a business consultant and coach to many of her start-up clients because of her experience in starting Amaniac, and the various synergies between building a brand and a business concurrently.
Although Amaniac’s clients are predominantly found in the services sector (such as doctors, lawyers, banking, or software development), Amaniac’s diverse portfolio includes political campaigns, various companies in the construction industry, technology, health and wellness, retail and wholesale, and product development, just to name a few. Although Amaniac is a local Miami firm, its clientele is drawn from around the world – including countries such as Germany, France, Morocco, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Japan.
Being a talented artist and skilled graphic designer does not have to stand in contrast to business expertise and management experience – Amanda understands that budgets, meeting deadlines and communication streamlining is equally important in providing clients with quality service. “It’s very important to us because it matters to our clients a great deal,” she said. “We offer agency quality work with more of a personal experience,” she summarizes. “A big agency won’t sit down with you at the computer, provide flexible scheduling and a customized process.” Amanda noted that major project conflicts can be avoided by staying on top of all aspects of a client’s project so there are no surprises on either side. “I want working with Amaniac to be a positive experience, so we stay in good communication throughout the process. What we do isn’t always so clear-cut, so transparency is the key to a positive result and long-term client relationships and referrals.”
Since 2008, Amanda has constantly been taking Amaniac to the next level, moving from a one-woman operation in the guest quarters of her house to opening an office with full-time staff and multiple work stations and production space. Opening her office has helped Amaniac build long-term relationships with clients and work with clientele that continue to help Amaniac grow. Next steps include obtaining certification as a woman-owned business, developing more interactive services, and building a few new key client relationships. “We are quite busy, but have more room for growth in 2013,” Amanda contemplates.
Ultimately, Amanda attributes Amaniac’s success to the fact that she is passionate about her business. “It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it’s also the most rewarding experience,” she said. Amaniac’s tagline sums it up – Enthusiastic About Your Brand!
To build her client base at Amaniac, Amanda joined the Women’s Chamber of Commerce because it was the organization where she already had the most community relationships. She volunteers for Educate Tomorrow, where she met then-WCC President Melanie Damian and several Chamber board members, and began networking at WCC events. Through her years of service, Amanda has developed close business and personal relationships within the Chamber, grown her network of professional contacts, and shared a lot of valuable business advice, all of which have helped her and her business to grow and mature.
Outside of work, Amanda’s other creative outlets [as if she needs it] are cooking and gardening. She engages in culinary experiments “far and wide,” and makes wine, jams and chutneys from a collection of backyard fruit trees.