Gutierrez, Alyssa

Websites:  https://www.youtube.com/@alyssagutierrez3545?app=desktop
Origin: Surrey, British Columbia, 🇨🇦

Hi Alyssa, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I live in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada—30 minutes away from Vancouver.

Although I’ve spent most of my life in Canada, I’m also a first-generation immigrant—my family of four (at the time) uprooted ourselves from the Philippines.

My parents instilled in me the cultural values of working hard to make your dreams come true.

But growing up in Canada also made me realize that work is a means to living—my life doesn’t have to revolve around work.

In tandem, these principles shape the philosophy I strive to live by—to invest towards a future where my work affords me the time and financial freedom to be with loved ones.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Currently, I work a 9-5 as the sole user experience (UX) designer for a digital accessibility company.

To lessen the jargon, my job is to ensure our digital product is easy and seamless to navigate.

Outside of my day job, I own a web design company named CONTRAST Collective Co. Our mission is to help creative entrepreneurs stand out and serve their people.

But design, let alone owning a business, was never in my long-term plan.

I planned to study computer science in university, get a job as a software engineer, and tackle big problems like climate change.

I always dreamed of positively impacting the world through my work.

But during my work placement as an IT assistant within a research institution, I realized that I didn’t want to impact the world through code.

After that internship, a local startup reached out to me, seeing if I’d be interested in applying for their UX designer position.

Initially, I thought it was a scam because they didn’t have a website (no reviews!). (Soon, I learned that it was because they were in their early stage.) After asking some questions, I decided to apply.

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

As the UX designer, I had first-hand access to the grass-root users: residents on a transient university campus who yearned for community.

I listened to their stories—how they uprooted from their families, communities, and countries of origin—and designed a web platform to help them connect with other people seeking to create a community of their own.

After nearly three years in a fast-paced startup, I felt that it was time to move on to further grow.

At the time, I wasn’t yet ready to hop into a full-time position.

Instead, I decided to explore something that I’ve pushed down.

I noticed that more and more people with little-to-no knowledge of coding built websites for small businesses—which was awesome! But these websites were often hard to read—there wasn’t enough color contrast to distinguish the text from the background, which is a major accessibility/user experience issue, and poor navigation.

Not knowing much about business, I started offering website design that helped businesses feel more confident about their digital presence while ensuring their customers also enjoyed the experience.

Before I knew it, CONTRAST Collective Co. was born.

It took several rejections and no-replies but when I got my first “yes”, I made sure that my first client got the best dang website she would.

And to this day, she still raves about her website being a perfect reflection of her and her work.

A year and some months since starting CONTRAST Collective Co., it has been difficult to juggle both a business and a full-time job. It’s taxing on all fronts and there are more days when I’m tired than when I’m not (still learning how to find this unicorn called “balance”).

But just like every entrepreneur with a vision, I’m determined to live a life where I’m free to be with my loved ones without having to worry about the financials.

And I’m determined to help creative entrepreneurs do the same—one website at a time.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

If you want to avoid the busy-ness of Vancouver but still want the sea-to-sky experience, Surrey has tons.

I’d take you to lunch at Crescent Beach—adjacent to Birch Bay in Washington—and we’ve got options.

There’s good ol’ fish and chips but there’s also a cozy Italian restaurant called Cotto Al Mare. My family loves to go here to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or just the end of another week.

What’s refreshing about it, other than being by the water, is that it looks like a house. (No pretentious vibes over here.) But you also have good Italian pizza and pasta.

If you’ve got space for gelato, there’s a new place a few steps from the water. We’ll take it to go as we stroll around the beach.

(Also, did I mention that parking is mostly free?!)

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my family, especially my parents, for raising me in the best way they know how; for instilling in me to dream beyond borders.

Also shoutout to my fiancé, John, who has encouraged me to pursue this dream of establishing a business despite the hardships.

Let's connect!
IG: @alyssagutierrrez
Tik Tok: @alyssagutierrrez
Twitter: alyssagutierrrz




Gutierrez, Alyssa