Post Image
Hack To Start
Episode 96

Avery Swartz

Web designer. Founder & CEO @CampTechCo. Co-host of @gather_north.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Avery Swartz is the Founder and CEO of Camp Tech, a workshop company for non-technical people. With a background in theater, Avery was drawn to both graphic design and the freelancing lifestyle, and decided to made a change. She launched her own design firm to enable her to follow this passion while still being able to contribute to innovative projects like the Art Canada Institute. Through freelancing, Avery saw a need for in-person workshops on a variety of subjects. Shortly after, Camp Tech was born. Since launching in 2012, it has grown to more than 250 workshops across several major Canadian cities. Avery also shares her experience by teaching the business of interactive design and how to work with clients at Humber College in Toronto and is also the co-host of a new conference called Gather North - which is a retreat for women who make the web. Avery joins us to share her story, how she started her freelancing business and some of the biggest lessons she’s learnt along the way, what some of her favorite projects have been, how Camp Tech has grown so quickly, why she decided to help launch Gather North and how they sold out the event in their first year, and much more!

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about Avery.
  • Learn more about how Avery got into design & startups
  • Learn more about how Avery launched and grew Camp Tech.
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Avery Swartz is the Founder and CEO of Camp Tech, a workshop company for non-technical people.

With a background in theater, Avery was drawn to both graphic design and the freelancing lifestyle, and decided to made a change. She launched her own design firm to enable her to follow this passion while still being able to contribute to innovative projects like the Art Canada Institute.

Through freelancing, Avery saw a need for in-person workshops on a variety of subjects. Shortly after, Camp Tech was born. Since launching in 2012, it has grown to more than 250 workshops across several major Canadian cities.

Avery also shares her experience by teaching the business of interactive design and how to work with clients at Humber College in Toronto and is also the co-host of a new conference called Gather North - which is a retreat for women who make the web.

Avery joins us to share her story, how she started her freelancing business and some of the biggest lessons she’s learnt along the way, what some of her favorite projects have been, how Camp Tech has grown so quickly, why she decided to help launch Gather North and how they sold out the event in their first year, and much more!


What You'll Learn In This Episode

  • How Avery got into design and startups.
  • Some of the biggest lessons learnt from her experience running a freelance design firm.
  • Why she started Camp Tech.
  • How Camp Tech has grown to over 250+ events in several major Canadian cities.
  • And more!

Some Of The Questions We Ask

1:48
Where are you from and what did you study?

7:22
So how did your passion for entrepreneurship develop and how did you first get into Startups?

9:33
You’re a designer by trade and have been running your own company for almost 10 years now. What have been some of the biggest challenges in starting a web design company?

12:13
What have been some of the biggest challenges/advantages of the Canadian tech / SMB industry in the past few years?

14:18*
What has been the most interesting project or company you had the opportunity to work with?

18:27
From freelancing to running your own design studio, how have you been able to manage a healthy and balanced work / life?

21:50
So you’re currently the Founder & CEO at Camp Tech. What is Camp Tech and what motivated you to start it?

25:10
How have you grown Camp Tech? What strategies or distribution channels have worked the best?

27:15
How do you all stay on the same page and manage to deliver a great experience to your students?What’s next for Camp Tech?

29:55
You’re also one of the organizers of Gather North. What is this event and what motivated you to start it?

32:35
Any recommendations on some great content that you’ve come across lately?

34:03
Any last thoughts or personal mottos that you live by that you think others should know about?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Avery Swartz on Twitter
Avery Swartz on the web
Camp Tech on Twitter
Camp Tech on the web
Gather North on Twitter
Gather North on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

Art Canada Institute
Camp Tech Podcast
The Tools And Apps We Use To Keep Camp Tech Running
Reply All
Canadaland Podcast

Brought to you by


We make Hack To Start for you!

Subscribe to our email newsletter to know when we launch new episodes, behind-the-scenes content and more goodies to help you launch, build, and grow your thing.