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  • March 01, 2024 5 min read

    From Dance to Digital Design With Sarah Blodgett and Digital Grace Design

    Growing up, Digital Grace Design founder Sarah Blodgett spent her time on stages and the slopes, being active right from the start with dancing, skiing, soccer, lacrosse, and golf. When she was 13, the Bay Area native added ballet to her mix, and something clicked. She focused on ballet with the goal of dancing professionally, which she achieved spectacularly. She first danced with Ballet West, Connecticut Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet before moving on to perform in musical theater shows all over the USA, as well as in Broadway national and international tours of The Music Man and West Side Story.

    When the NYC resident decided to move on from dance, she took a short stop in the corporate world before realizing she wanted to incorporate her creativity, artistry, discipline, and eye for detail in a job. And so, she landed on digital design, building her company, Digital Grace Design, from the ground up to its current successful state, offering bespoke services, DIY options, educational offerings, and specializing in assisting wellness, wedding and lifestyle brands. Below, she shares how she made the leap from stage to digital screen, how dance helped her create her company, and how she stays active now.

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    SBS: How did the idea for Digital Grace Design come about?

    Sarah Blodgett: After retiring from dance, I got a more traditional nine-to-five-style job as the East Coast training manager for a consumer goods company. I like to think that my performing background helped me in training presentations and trade shows, and that touring helped me prepare for my heavy travel schedule, visiting accounts from Maine to Florida. But after a year and a half of constant travel, staying in a different hotel in a different city every night of the week, the travel got a bit old: I felt like I was planning my life around my job.

    While brainstorming my next career move, I thought about what I’d like out of my next job. I realized I was ideally looking for more freedom and flexibility in my schedule and the space to be creative again. Website design came to mind as something that I could likely do from anywhere and would definitely benefit from my creativity and eye for the details. So, I started teaching myself website design from my hotel rooms on the road every night after work. Three months later, I quit my job, giving myself three months to figure out how to build a company (or start applying for jobs). Almost seven years later, and Digital Grace Design is still here!

     

    SBS: What was the transition like from being a dancer into your work now?

    SB: While I spend a significantly larger amount of time sitting these days, there are some overlaps between a professional dance career and running a website design business: Both are very creative and artistic, require an eye for details, discipline, and perfectionistic tendencies, and both benefit from a collaborative and methodical process. And surprisingly, quite a few of my clients have had some kind of experience in dance or theatre in some chapter of their lives. They have shared that they were drawn to our shared experience, knowing the work and dedication that goes into dance training.

     

    SBS: What types of products does Digital Grace Design offer?

    SB: We specialize in website design services for wedding, wellness, and lifestyle brands, offering custom website design and Website in a Week services. We also have a website template shop for those that prefer to DIY their website, and a Simple Showit SEO course for those wanting to learn more about DIY and their SEO.

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    SBS: What is your mission with Digital Grace Design?

    SB: We help wedding, wellness, and lifestyle businesses escape website shame and find confidence in beautiful and strategic websites that help them book more clients and grow their businesses.

     

    SBS: What happy surprises and challenges occurred along the way?

    SB: As with most entrepreneurial endeavors, I think I’ve navigated my fair share of growing pains along the way, figuring out the ebbs and flows of client inquiries, trying out passive income strategies, when/where it makes sense to build a team, imposter syndrome, and boundaries. But in so many ways, I think a professional dance career also prepared me for so much of this, as well: being adaptable and flexible, dealing with rejection and competition, and pivoting when necessary. 

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    SBS: How did you form the team for the brand? What was exciting and/or challenging about that?

    SB: I’ve slowly grown my team with successes and some failures along the way. Being a bit of a perfectionistic, I often worried that people I hired might not provide the same level of care for our clients that I would. But I’ve mostly been proven very wrong! And I also know that as one person, I can only grow so much, and that my ability to scale and grow past my level of productivity relies on my ability to let go of control and build a team.

     

    SBS: What’s your health and wellness routine?

    SB: Over the years since retiring from dance, I’ve dabbled in a lot of different boutique fitness classes and have currently settled in to heading to the gym about four days a week for strength training and a little cardio. I have a hamstring that’s giving me a little trouble at the moment. But once that’s on the mend, you might even find me in a dance class or two. I did, however, have to really seek out wellness and fitness for the first time in my life while figuring out how to work out like a ‘normal person,’ after having movement heavily built into my life for 20-plus years.

     

    The best, zaniest part of being Sarah: I think the best part of being me would be my curiosity. I love meeting new people and learning about new things. I know this has served me in growing my business and in enjoying and exploring this life.

     

    Sarah’s SBS Mantra: Be Kind resonates the most to me. We’re all navigating life one step at a time, and I never doubt the impact that a little kindness can have in turning someone’s day around.

     

    Sarah’s NYC Faves:

    Healthy Restaurant: Sweetgreen; Peacefood Cafe
    Splurge Restaurants: ROKC (Harlem), Leyla (UWS), Bubby’s (Tribeca)
    Nightlife Spot: The Raines Law Room
    Fitness Studio: Planet Fitness
    Fun Activity: Seeing a Broadway show
    Calming Activity: Walking my dog, Boomer
    Books: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Power of Moments by Dan Heath and Chip Heath, and 10X is Easier Than 2X by Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan

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