Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat

Helping people lead more fulfilling lives

Thriving Life is a designed experience to helps its participants reframe their state of mind for a happier, more fulfilling life. They do so by providing mindful, creative, and simply fun activities to offer a new point of view on one’s life.

The challenge

My friends Markus and Micah have been organizing retreats for a couple of years now and have started Thriving Life to finally branch out on their own. Their biggest challenge was communicating the right message to their target audience and capturing the right essence of what Thriving Life stood for in their branding and their website.

Services provided

  • Brand strategy
  • Visual identity and design
  • User experience design
  • WordPress development
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: preview of the homepage designs

“If you are looking for a no-bullshit person who is passionate about her work, really listens to what you want and actively gives you constructive feedback, then Paula is the right web designer for you.”

Marcus Schindler, Co-founder of Thriving Life

The approach

With Thriving Life being a new company, I felt the best course of action was to focus on the foundation and nail down the company’s mission, vision, and core values. Markus and Micah had a big vision to establish and define. It was my responsibility to combing through and understand what they were thinking, to conceputalize their new company with an accurate message, branding, and essence. By concentrating on the company’s foundation, Markus and Micah could confidently represent the company going forward.

The target audience

We put effort into understanding the target audience. This gave us a good understanding of what Thriving Life was up against when it comes to marketing and selling.

Thriving Life targets an audience mostly based on their mindset. Demographics such as age or location didn’t play as much of a role as did their target audience’s mental state and outlook on life. We outlined their customer avatar to be someone who might:

  • feel stuck in their life,
  • want to create or find a deeper meaning for themselves,
  • feel the need for a greater spiritual connection,
  • is often stressed or under pressure and is looking for help to manage their day-to-day life better,
  • is looking to experience something new and different.

Thriving Life’s ideal customer is someone who, although maybe struggling right now, has the mindset of doing something about it. It’s someone willing to try something new to find the right answers for themselves. That’s there the retreat comes in.

The other thing we know about their target audience is that these people would have to have enough spending money as well as the ability to take time off and be able to attend their $1,500, 9-day retreat in Bali. This meant that their brand and website needed to connect with is someone who is willing to commit and isn’t intimidated about traveling to Bali nor give up their digital devices for over a week to get the most out of the retreat.

“It was important for us to have a visual representation of such a massive, complex, and subtle program. While we have social media, the website will legitimize everything and create credibility. Thank you very much for your efforts. You have definitely given us a good start, something to build on and refine.This website is yours as much as it is ours so thank you.”

Micah Fajardo, Co-founder of Thriving Life
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: desktop and mobile comparison
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: a couple shots of the mobile homepage
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: two more shots of the mobile design for the homepage

The branding

When it came time to start on Thriving Life’s branding, it was an exciting blank slate. Speaking to Mark and Micah about their company’s needs was the natural starting point. Visually, they leaned towards a clean, modern, and natural look; this made a lot of sense considering what the company is all about. Understanding the company’s core values, mission, vision, and attitudes of their target audience helped define the brand’s feel.

A sense of belonging, and being part of a safe and secure place were essential to getting the right vibe and essence for Thriving Life. And, that’s what we did. We concentered on a story that embraced a safe place for a transformation as well as a relaxed atmosphere. The retreats are about detoxing, relaxing, and resetting in a natural setting with new, fun, and enlighting experiences. Above all, we couldn’t let the brand nor the company’s message to come off as obnoxious, cluttered, or overwhelming.

Our conversations led us to a very subtle design with ample whitespace, clean typography, and natural imagery.

Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: typography scheme
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: colour scheme
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: photograph moodboard for the brand

“Paula works fast and she has many ideas on design and marketing. Her tools are helpful in truly putting your brand forward and making sure your target audience receives the right message. ”

Micah Fajardo, Co-founder of Thriving Life

Creating the flow

Markus and Micah didn’t want an extensive website, and frankly, they didn’t need one. A comprehensive homepage, along with a blog, was the perfect amount for their needs.

The experinece had to feel seamless

The homepage is where most of the information would live. Since it was the key page, it had a lot of responsibilities such as explaining what the retreats are, who are they for, what’s going on, when, where, and so on.

I took my time to seriously consider all the possible information that could or should be on this page, mainly because they wouldn’t link out to too many other places. On the one hand, this page needed to cover a lot, on the other it couldn’t be too large, and it needed to get to the point quite quickly and efficiently.

I’ve divided the homepage into the following sections:

  • Introduction of the retreat
  • A lead magnet for email marketing
  • What makes this retreat different?
  • Schedule and program details
  • Testimonials section
  • Details about accommodation
  • Additional testimonials or case studies
  • About, Markus and Micah, the founders

This structure I allowed me to accomplish two things with this homepage: weave out unqualified leads while capturing the attention of qualified leads the further down the page a visitor read.

Naturally, the idea was that each subsequent section asked and answered different points of information. Although this overview of the homepage’s content is quite simplified, it was the first step in getting the right flow of information.

Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: image of the tope of the homepage's design
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: different sections from the homepage's design

Leveraging social proof

Markus and Micah ran many micro-retreats in the past and have received amazingly positive reviews from their past participants. Some reviews were short praises, while others were long and heartfelt expressions of appreciation.

Testimonials were sprinkled throughout the homepage as social proof is extremely powerful and essential no matter where you are on the page. Some have to be high up to entice unconvinced visitors without distracting from other relevant information. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten much press or visibility yet which would have made for a fantastic logopond atop the page. But, we worked with what we had and instead added a couple of testimonials in the top section of the homepage.

On top of this, testimonials got their own section towards the bottom of the page. We also planned to add thorough case studies in the future; I’ve added a separate section for case studies snippets that would link to a comprehensive blog post about the individual’s experience with Thriving Life once they had this content ready published.

Case studies are a fantastic way to show the transformation a company has in the lives of their customers, and that’s precisely the idea behind the case studies for Thriving Life too.

The founders

I genuinely admire Markus and Micah as the founders of this company. Their story is quite compelling and is a big part of the company’s core. They’ve been through tough times themselves, they too tried a verity of different methods, coping mechanisms, experiences and so on. They’ve been through it all just like their target audience and past customers.

Their story makes Thriving Life special, and it’s something that shouldn’t be covered up as it’s just an integral part of the company. They got their feature at the bottom of the page to share their story and talk about their journeys and how they came about to create Thriving Life.

I love working with people from whom their companies are just an extension of themselves. People and companies that have a genuine mission in existing besides making money are rare, and those stories are what give soul to the companies. This should never be hidden; frankly, it should be highlighted.

Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: a few more different sections from the homepage
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: blog design

The blog

Markus, Micah, and I talked a lot about what they can do with their blog. We came to a conclusion it would be an excellent place for them to reinforce further the fact they are there to guide and help. The blog should be a place that talks about advice on living a fulfilling and meaningful life, a place to share stories from their past participants, a place to discuss different techniques, methods or experiences and how they can be helpful.

Ultimately, they need to use the blog as another extension of what Thriving Life stand for and practice what they preach. The blog for Thriving Life is a place to solidify their credentials on being experts at helping people transform themselves and their lives into a better, more meaningful way of living.

“Paula came and saved the day by helping us figure out what we actually wanted and finding ways to make it happen on a short deadline. She listened to our plans and gave us valuable feedback on how to implement everything. Thanks to Paula, we were able to make our ideas more viable beyond just the website.”

Marcus Schindler, Co-founder of Thriving Life
Thriving Life Digital Detox Retreat: over the shoulder laptop shot of the designs work in progress

Full scope of the project


Target audience analysis

Branding strategy

Feedback on tone and voice

Brand guidelines

Content strategy

Website production

Information architecture

User journey mapping


Visual and UI design

User experience design

Responsive design

Website development