Career Evolution Series: Carissa Vivirito

Career Evolution Series: Carissa Vivirito

When we think of design, many things come to mind — graphic design, architecture, interior design, color swatches, fashion, etc. You get the picture. But do you ever think of how design has the capacity to influence all industries?

In this installment of our “career evolution” blogs, Carissa Vivirito — creator of EVOLVE real estate team — talks about how she uses design to shape her real estate business and create a brand she believes in. We also find it serendipitous that the name of her real estate team and this year’s PHXDW theme are one and the same — evolve.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I’m Carissa Vivirito, creator of EVOLVE. EVOLVE is a real estate team with the brokerage NORTH&CO. We work with clients to buy, sell, and invest in real estate. I created EVOLVE to reflect how I experience real estate, which is from the heart. After all, our true homes are carried within us. We project this outside of us and align with physical spaces that mirror what we hold inside. EVOLVE is bigger than one person or their name and extends beyond the realm of real estate. EVOLVE is a lifestyle brand that invites people called to work with us that are driven to be involved in something bigger. EVOLVE clients and team members evolve as we do. EVOLVE is heart-centric, with love as a core value and motivator, and evident in team members, communications and the logo itself.

The number three is also integral to EVOLVE, both conceptually and as part of the brand design. There is inherent power in three as it’s the minimum number to provide stability while offering unparalleled strength. Essentially, each member is integral to the whole. The Vs in the name EVOLVE echo triangles and are a nod to my last name which contains two Vs. The accompanying merkaba star builds on this power of 3. The merkaba star is a powerful element in sacred geometry, providing protection and a vehicle of divine light that transports consciousness to higher realms. It is my vision that I do this for my clients as well –– protect and guide them in their real estate endeavors and hold space for them to step into their highest self through the process. Lead with love. Do it from the heart or don’t do it at all. For a summary of the EVOLVE brand, feel free to watch this one-minute launch video.

What was your first introduction to design?

I always loved art as a child, and when the time came to apply for college and select a major, I chose graphic and communication design since I figured I wouldn’t be able to make much of a living as a fine artist. I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s in communication design. I also minored in photography. My college internship was in the field of digital advertising and web design, so my career grew from there and I worked in the digital space for 16 years.

How has your career continued to evolve?

While I had a successful career in advertising, my heart was never in the work. I loved the people I worked with and managed, but never felt passionate about digital advertising or the majority of accounts I worked on. Four years ago, I finally mustered up the courage to leave the reliable paycheck and go figure out what it was I wanted to do as a business. I took a year and a half off and traveled. During my travels and self-exploration, I realized I had always had a huge passion for real estate (I had already been investing in it since 2001). My day job in advertising fueled my investments in real estate. Real estate was always a path of freedom for me, generating passive income with long-term rental investments so that my money worked for me and allowed me the freedom to do things,like taking a year and a half off of work to travel and figure out what my next step was. I was already incredibly knowledgeable about real estate, having been a buyer, seller, flipper, contractor, designer, etc., so it was a logical step to get my real estate license.

My first year in real estate brought me more joy and financial success than I had ever had in my prior career. After my second year, I decided it was time to launch my own team and brand. I invested six months into planning my new team, metrics, structure, vision, value propositions, and getting the infrastructure in place to support rapid growth. All I needed was the name, and I knew (as all creatives do) that the name would present itself when it was ready. There is no sense of forcing or “brainstorming” things like this. In my experience with creative endeavors, true creation comes through me, and I am a channel for that message. That’s how EVOLVE came to me. While relaxing in my hot tub –– BOOM! –– the name and logo all popped into my head at once. My new business in real estate is based largely on repeat customers and referrals, and a large portion of my clients have been friends and former colleagues from my prior career in advertising. It fills my heart with pure joy to know that all the years I invested in a career field that did not resonate for me has been at the core of my newfound success. I am so damn grateful.

What role does design play in your life today, either personally or professionally (or both!)?

My training in school and working in the digital advertising field for so long provide me a definite advantage in the real estate industry. Many real estate agents and brokerages operate from an old school paradigm and do not fully utilize digital platforms or invest in a strong brand and core messaging. From the design of my business, the brand name and logo mark, to all messaging, there is a common thread connecting the entire EVOLVE brand. EVOLVE is an extension of who I am, so it is natural for me to craft advertising assets that will resonate with my target market. All my years optimizing websites, interactive campaigns, and crafting measurable strategies for clients allow me to easily implement these skillsets for my own brand. It wasn’t an intentional path that I took, but it got me to exactly where I want to be today.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from everywhere. Largely, it stems from how I relate to the world around me. I am highly observant and notice how people interact with one another, the spaces around them, and the objects they use. I love to travel both internationally and locally. I find that getting out of my typical routine or comfort zone allows me to see things with new eyes. I also get new sparks of creative ideas when I meditate. My creative ideas typically come to me as words or concepts, sometimes visual imagery, and I like to craft digital art with the concepts or sayings and post them to Instagram as a sort of journal. I also enjoy drawing and oftentimes will draw my clients’ dogs with an element from their new home as housewarming gifts.

What do you hope people feel when they hear what you do?

I trust that they feel joyful and inspired. My brand EVOLVE was created to resonate with a very specific type of person –– those who seek meaningful connections in all areas of their lives. I look at my story and creation of EVOLVE as the true evolution of self, from a life lacking in purpose and joy to one full of gratitude, creativity and love. If I can create a life that I truly love in every single way, I promise anyone can. You’ve got to fully trust in and love yourself and the rest will come.

What would you say to someone who’s never been to PHXDW to encourage them to check it out? Or, if you’re a first-timer, what is the biggest draw of PHXDW?

The story of how I heard about PHXDW is pretty magical! I was walking to my truck after breakfast a few weeks ago to find a woman taking a photo of my license plate (E3VOLVE). I asked her why that was meaningful to her. She introduced herself as Kathy Morgan, who is AIGA Arizona’s treasurer and PHXDW’s co-director. She explained PHXDW’s theme this year is “evolve.” Because of my prior career in advertising, we knew a lot of the same people and both agreed our meeting was magic, as there are no accidents in life. The universe presents us with signs when we are on the right path. This meeting was one of them. It is in that spirit that I am excited to attend PHXDW this year. I was meant to learn about it in that parking lot and I know there is more magic in store for me with the people I will connect with as a result of it. I can’t wait to see you all there!

Join Carissa as she mixes and mingles with other local creatives the Evolve Design conference (October 12 and 13) or attend one of PHXDW’s community events, which will take place throughout the following week!