We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonia Swanson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tonia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The catalyst for starting my own business came after a job loss. I knew after that I wanted to take a chance and started a free-lance graphic design business. I wanted to feel like I controlled my destiny and loved the challenge of designing and creating for different companies. Because of the clients I first started working with over the years, my partner, Ampy McIntyre and I have become well known in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) industry for providing exceptional marketing and design services at Dovetail Design.

What should our readers know about your business?
Dovetail Design helps small business elevate beyond the ordinary. I work really hard to help businesses achieve our clients goals. Not only do I help businesses with branding and design, in the AEC industry we also work on Request for Proposals (RFPs). RFPs are used in the formal process of procuring a product or service, for example by a government agency. It is typically used as a screening step to establish a pool of vendors (businesses or individuals to provide a product or service) that are then qualified, and thus eligible to submit responses to a request for proposals (RFP). In this two-step process, the response to the RFP will describe the company or individual’s general qualifications to perform a service or supply a product but generally will not include specific details or price proposals. These RFPs are pivotal to the success of our clients. Without a strong RFP they are unable to provide work for dozens of employees since that is the way our clients get new work. Our win rate for our clients is around 90%.

While owning and running my own business isn’t easy, I’m a risk taker. Though I should clarify and say, I like taking calculated risks. Many times, I’ve questioned if I was making the right decision but each step into that scary unknown has always paid off. I do the research and the preparation, but it always comes down to my intuition. My intuition always leads me to what is right for me, it’s when I don’t listen to that inner knowing that things don’t work out. I think we all do that, ignore our dreams out of fear or uncertainty, we listen to others and stop listening to ourselves. My motto has always been, “do something that makes you uncomfortable every day,” this will keep you growing and striving in business and life.

Our reputation of our successful win rate and our ability to be confidential. Our clients know that we do everything we can to make them look good, whether it’s branding, print ads, RFQs, or presentations. We care that we keep our word and put our heart into giving them the best product we can.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My itinerary for a friend or family staying with me in Phoenix is a week of fun! I love to take friends for a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. It starts early and only takes a few hours and usually gives them an experience they have never had before. I also love to take them hiking, there are so many to choose from but some of my favorite hikes Papago Park or a more challenging one is a hike up North Mountain. The Phoenix Zoo and Butterfly Wonderland attractions are also one of my top places to take visitors while in the Phoenix area. One of my favorite things to do is to spend a day exploring the more spiritual/healing aspects of the Phoenix area. I schedule a reiki session that I do for them and end the day with a session at the Ascension Chamber. I’m a vegan and love introducing friends to restaurants that have vegan options. My favorite places to take them to eat are Yupha’s Thai Kitchen, Green New American and Pita Jungle.

And no trip to the Phoenix area is complete without a day trip to Sedona. I always take visitors to Sedona, we visit the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park which is a beautiful place to hike and meditate. And of course shopping for crystals and gifts in the downtown area of Sedona is required! ChocolaTree Organic Oasis in Sedona offers vegan menu options and has a fun on-site garden that is fun to experience. Indian Gardens in Sedona also has great food and vegan options.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ampy McIntyre, Kyle Swanson, Alex Swanson, Kiera Swanson, Oscar and Dorothy Kroll, Leeah Murray, Gira Shofield, Chad Andrews, Maria Golde, Ashley Jordan, and Dana Davidson.

Website: https://dovetaildesigners.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dovetaildesigners

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dovetail-desginers/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dovetaildesigners

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLbkPnyJYW66n5BeKoANPgA

Image Credits
Professional headshots were done by Lori P Figueroa Photography. All work/design mockups were done by myself.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.