A Natural Fit: Todd Hill Farms & OakTree Designs

Offered in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Digital Nova Scotia’s Digital Assistance Program for Small Business (DAP-SB) connects eligible businesses with digital service providers to help them adapt to the digital economy, attract more customers, and grow sales.

We spoke with small business, Todd Hill Farm and digital service provider, OakTree Designs to share their experience with DAP-SB.

Located in Enfield, NS, Todd Hill Farm is a non-profit farm, home to 30 horses and sits on 70 acres of rolling fields, woods, trails, and pastures. The farm offers riding lessons, horse leasing, grassroots horsemanship intro program for children ages 8 – 12, Equestrian Canada Rider Level certification, and ‘Hands on Horses’ (HOH) non-riding, personal development programs (trademark pending and proprietary to Todd Hill Farm).

Karen Gillighan, Executive Director and John Gillighan, President of Todd Hill Farm have developed the facility from the ground up. They chose the name Todd Hill Farm as a sign of respect for the original landowners. The 70 acres was once part of a much larger parcel of land granted to the Todd family when they immigrated from Scotland in the 1800’s.  Charles Todd and his son cleared the land by hand to grow crops, raise livestock, and provide for their family. In 2005, John and Karen purchased the land, which had been almost fully reclaimed by forest. The only evidence that remained of the once prosperous farm was old barn foundations, rock walls and several artifacts including ox shoes, broken porcelain, and old bottles. At the time of purchase, several investors had approached the estate executors with the intention of building a housing development. Fortunately, when the family learned of the Gillighans’ plan of taking the property back to its roots and starting a horse farm, the family agreed to sell to the Gillighans. John and Karen’s dream of creating a family-oriented horse farm that could provide much needed education and service to the community was born.

 

Christine Kollo, Creative Director, Graphic Designer and Owner of OakTree Designs connected with Karen and John to schedule a phone call to discuss the work they were hoping to have done. “I was immediately impressed by her creative energy, passion for excellence, and openness to learning the details of our operation. It was apparent that she was the best possible person for us to be working with. Through phone calls and emails, we hashed out a plan that would best profile the unique experiences our farm can provide. Christine shared some ingenious ideas on how we can host more of our administrative and customer files under one umbrella – including a CRM system and digital signature capabilities,” said Karen.  “If it were not for the DAP-SB program, not only would we not have been able to afford such a professional refurbishing of our online presence, but we also would never have been introduced to Christine! I am sure we will continue to do business with her beyond this contract.”

Some of the improvements Todd Hill Farm will see as a result from DAP-SB support include a new website, updated content, a robust CRM system, an interface for blogs and social media, digital signature capabilities, and file storage capabilities.

“Having budgetary constraints is a barrier for small businesses who want to improve their online presence. Social media is always changing and can be a fickle medium. In my opinion, hiring a consultant is money well spent. I would encourage more small businesses to invest in having a professionally built and managed online presence. In today’s digital world, it is essential.”

-Karen Gillighan

As mentioned, Todd Hill Farm is working with the team at OakTree Designs for the Digital Assistance for Small Business Program. OakTree Designs is a small but mighty web, graphic and advertising design studio from Eastern Passage, NS. Their work spans all over Canada and they specialize in helping small businesses get online and get noticed. Some of their recent work includes large banners, label stickers, new business logos, website designs and redesigns.

Comprised of some talented family members and some new friends, OakTree Designs, is comprised of Christine, her husband Nik, her dad Gary, her sister Kate and not one, but two Cassie’s! Nik is a RCAF Officer with a computer science background and is working on his master’s degree. Gary is their marketing expert and coming up on 40 years of experience. Kate is a digital marketing expert that always knows what to say and how to say it. Cassie S. is their Program Coordinator that tackles most of their day to day and keeps the team organized. Last, but certainly not least, is their newest team member, Cassie B., their Social Media Strategist. Cassie B. will take care of all things social media for the OakTree brand.

Christine said they have made very good progress with the Todd Hill Farm project and are nearing completion. The project is a website redesign with added functionality including CRM software to help them keep organized. Christine has created a branding concept for the new website and gave their current content a new home.

“I am incredibly excited to launch the site so we can connect it to their new CRM system, so they have the functionality and organization they’ve been looking for. Also, horses. Having the opportunity to look at tons of pictures of horses during this project was definitely a win. Karen and John have been incredible to work with and are dream clients. It is such a pleasure to be able to go on this journey with them and am looking forward to building a lasting relationship with our new friends from Todd Hill Farm.”

-Christine Kollo

Todd Hill Farm is OakTree’s first project with DAP-SB, and they have two more projects in the works. Christine said “We are so incredibly excited to work with small businesses in Nova Scotia and help boost our local community and economy. DAP-SB offers an incredible opportunity to business owners and OakTree Designs is grateful to be a part of it. Being a small business ourselves, we know how tough getting off the ground can be or getting assistance with business services. We are certainly looking forward to taking on more projects as well.”

Being a small business themselves, OakTree Designs set out with the plan to work with only small business in Canada. They believe being able to focus on smaller businesses and having the opportunity to be a part of so many different journeys is an absolute joy.

“No two businesses are the same, so it really adds an exciting element to our work. In Nova Scotia especially, I can go out and physically see some of the work I’ve done out in public and that is an incredibly cool thing,”

-Christine Kollo

At Digital Nova Scotia, we feel very fortunate to help foster the connection between Todd Hill Farm and OakTree Designs and are excited to see what their partnership comes up with!

The Digital Assistance for Small Business Program has reached capacity, however, you can sign up to be notified when our new free online learning portal officially launches here.