Website designer is Milford’s Local Businessman of the Year

MILFORD — For Tara Dawn Meeker, there is no greater compliment than the respect of her peers.

That’s why, when she learned she had been chosen Local Businessperson of the Year 2022 by Alignable in Milford, Meeker, owner of North Star Design Studio, accepted the honor with even more pride. . Each year, the winner is selected by local businesses in the city.

“My immediate thought was ‘Wow, what an honor this is,'” Meeker said. “On television, you see awards like the Emmys or the Grammys, which are decided by a committee, but when you have the Actors Guild or the Screen Guild Awards, when your colleagues and your peers think so much of you, it’s a pleasant feeling.

“It makes you pause and appreciate it all the more,” she added. is the largest small business referral network in the United States and Canada. With over seven million members in more than 35,000 local communities, Alignable is the network where small business owners generate leads and leads, generate referrals, land new business, and build trusted relationships.

“My mission is to help other service companies succeed and to collaborate with them because we are all in the trenches together,” she added. “The camaraderie that emanates and manifests in an award or peer review like this is incredible.”

On Alignable, Meeker said she devotes some of her time to a blog that she writes to explain complex web development and analytics concepts.

“I take these big, general terms and put them where it’s not so jargon and put them there, so the average person can understand it,” she said. “I’m doing this so that a business owner, whose business isn’t web development, understands what analytics is, what the business of Google will do for you, and how to navigate those basics that you must have as a business.”

Another way Meeker is helping businesses is by having a free online audit tool on its corporate website that will review the site in real time.

“As the good and bad points come up, you can hover over them and it will explain to you what it means,” she said. “It also emails a PDF report so the business owner can take that report and bring it to their user.”

Through branded website design and content development, North Star Design Studio helps service businesses attract better and more customers.

“We leverage keyword research with competitor analysis to develop a site strategy that resonates with both search engines and prospects. This includes the site in a way that allows users to pre-check “We also offer companies logo development as a feature, usually equated with web development, but they can be separate.”

After being in the corporate world for a long time, Meeker decided that she wanted to start her own business to focus on person-to-person collaboration rather than trying to solve the problem by committee, because ideas can get lost as they progress. and along the chain.

“I worked at a marketing agency for 10 years where I worked my way up to creative director,” she said. “I wanted to niche in and focus on local service businesses and brand communication.”

What ultimately drove Meeker to want to work with small businesses was this ability to help him define his brand.

“I wanted to help small businesses and make sure they were successful,” she said. “It’s nice for a business to grow and get bigger, but at some point your customer is the brand, not the business, and I love helping businesses define what their brand is, but I wanted to work with people and I wanted to see people succeed, and I wanted to see that success elevate the community around me.

Meeker founded North Star Design Studio in 2016, and the idea behind the name also aims to help businesses shine.

“I wanted to start a platform for business owners, that if I’m not the right person, I’m not the right person,” Meeker said. “I have at least 20 years of experience in the industry, so I can point them in the right direction.

“Polar Star is made up of a group of stars called Polaris,” Meeker added. “Two of the stars orbit so close they feed off each other, and that’s why they shine so bright. That’s how I think of North Star, no one hires me like employee and I have no clients. We collaborate and nurture each other so that we can all be successful together.

During the pandemic, Meeker and his team at North Star Design Studio handled requests from various businesses across the board to develop a website or improve an existing one. Some of the designs were complete redesigns of the company’s website, and others helped the company streamline its website.

“Your website can be your best employee because it doesn’t take time off, everyone should take time, but not your website,” she said. “It does exactly what you tell it to do.”

Not only does Meeker enjoy helping businesses define their brand, she’s also a fan of local shopping, even when it comes to buying things on Etsy.

“Every time I’m there I change where I shop in Connecticut because I’m looking for the face mask my kid has to wear that moms sewed up, I’m looking for birthday candles that someone a hand-dipped teapot or the teapot that someone handcrafted out of clay,” she said.

This isn’t the first award Meeker has received from Alignable. She was also awarded the Local Main Street Mentor of 2021, Local Businessperson of 2021, Local Main Street Supporter 2021 and is highly recommended by locals on Alignable.

“It’s a surprise every time because I’m not in Alignable to win prizes. That’s not Alignable’s goal,” she said. “When they send out notices that voting is open, I quickly go there myself and vote for my favorite local businesses. I don’t do it for recognition, so when it happens, it’s exciting.

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