So What Exactly is it About Christina Gwira?

The idea for NOYADESIGNS first starts with our founder, Christina Gwira. As a child, Christina would always find herself drawing and painting. At the age of 7, after a stern talking to by her parents, Christina was put into piano lessons, which shifted her artistic capabilities from the visual arts to music. However, her grade school teachers encouraged her to continue with her artistic pursuits, even allowing her to read her poetry and present her artwork to the class during moments of free time. Fast-forward to a move to another continent, Christina found herself falling back on her music to comfort her during her days of loneliness as the sole Black female within her Hamilton grade school. Once again, teachers allowed her to grow and nurture her craft; oftentimes allowing her to stay indoors to write music and play the piano during recess and lunchtime.


In 2003, her and her family moved to Brampton, Ontario, and the culture shock was vast. This time however, as opposed to using music as a way to combat her social anxiety and loneliness, she turned to the library, and specifically, the computer. Throughout her life, Christina had always wanted to become a lawyer, and as such, focused on classes and courses that would help her get into Osgood Law. However, one class gave her the base to springboard to become the founder that she is today: her grade nine business course. It is till this day that she is still appreciates all that was learned during this class, even though she barely passed the class with a 53% course average. It wasn’t till grade 11 that entrepreneurship became a seed in Christina’s life. Her father had always been an entrepreneur, and so, during the grade 11 “Take Your Kid to Work Day” Christina’s father gave her three (3) books on HTML, CSS and Javascript and asked her to build his company at the time – Eldan Data Systems Inc. – a website. It took her about a semester to do, and once she had completed it, she was stuck as to how to launch the website onto the domain name. Unbeknownst to her, the man who her father was having a meeting with as she was having problems solving this issue one day, was a C-level executive at disgraced telecommunications company MCI Inc. It was on this day, that Christina decided that she wanted to build websites for a living.


Unfortunately, the 2008 housing bubble negatively impacted the family business, preventing her from attending university once she graduated, even though she had received acceptance to York University, University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Instead of taking up a traditional job role, Christina worked alongside her Dad as he worked hard to rebuild the now defunct family business under a new name, Eldan Telecom. In 2009, her father abruptly left the business, leaving Christina dazed and confused as to how to run a full-scale telecommunications company. The business was not making any money; the resellers and partnerships that her father had secured all fell-through and people were overall unwilling to do business with her. However, in an effort to keep the family business afloat, Christina decided to turn to a sure-fire and quick way to generate cash for her business: web design. She got onto the Canadian classifieds website Kijiji and started posting ads for web and graphic design services. As she posted more and more ads, she started working with basic HTML, then moved up to working with the content management systems (CMS) like Joomla and finally settled on using WordPress for all of her web design clients.


One thing kept ringing from the mouths of those that worked with her: her work was beautiful. There was a changing tide with clients that were reaching out to her via Kijiji: they now wanted to work with a business or agency, as opposed to a freelancer. So, Christina decided to create her first portfolio website. However, she needed to come up with a name for her new “business”. She decided upon the name NOYADESIGNS: “noya” means beauty in Hebrew but also in Japanese.


It was in 2015 that she landed on her first multi-service client: a client who wanted “everything” for his business. At the time, Christina was focusing on web and graphic design and was not paying attention to what was happening on social media. This client also wanted to add video to his marketing for his new, innovative product. It was during this time that Christina brought on board Daniel and Sarah-Jane Gwira to assist with these two (2) new service offerings. Unfortunately, this client wasn’t able to bring their product to life, but NOYADESIGNS as a multi-person company was forged.


Up until the summer of 2016, NOYADESIGNS had been exclusively using word of mouth as well as classified websites like Kijiji, Backpages and Craigslist to market their services. In the fall of 2016, Kijiji drastically changed the way that they handled people offering computer services, and this greatly prevented NOYADESIGNS from generating revenue. By summer 2017, NOYADESIGNS found themselves becoming more active on social media, specifically the social network Facebook. It was from this shift that NOYADESIGNS was able to brand out and work with businesses both in Canada as well as in the United States and the Caribbean. In 2019, NOYADESIGNS hit revenues over $100,000 due to a continued push to provide value through social media to our clients, both near and far.