Women Working It: Leah Williamson takes her Memphis design agency to new heights

“I am very self-motivated and independent,” says Leah Williamson. She couldn't be more right.

Owner and operator of WiLo & Co., a web design, branding, and design firm located in the Raleigh area of Memphis, Leah launched her business in 2010. But it’s the past two years that have been especially good for Leah and her team, with WiLo & Co. experiencing a reported 500 percent growth rate over that period.

Meet the team

Leah is the youngest and only girl of four children, born to two loving parents. She was not only raised in the Raleigh area, but graduated from Raleigh Egypt High School, too. Her son EJ is the gift she received from a former marriage straight out of high school. He is Leah’s primary motivation for becoming an entrepreneur.

Leah Williamson with her son EJ, the prime motivating factor in her entrepreneur's journey.“I have to find something where I can be here with my child,” Leah says now as she looks back. “I didn’t want him growing up in daycares or away from me.”

Leah expresses her deep devotion to being the best mommy she could be to her son, and she talks about how it was her responsibility to provide for him and ensure that he had a stable home in addition to the loving support she received from family and friends. The renaming of her company derived from taking back her maiden name, Williamson, and mixing it with Long – after receiving EJ’s blessing to do so.

The ten employees at WiLo bridge a range of cultures, including a mix of professionals from the United States, Mexico, and Belize. They are all entrepreneurs in their own right, from IT to design and branding.

With all of the knowledge and expertise they provide for WiLo, they pride themselves most on delivering outstanding customer service. Leah says that the company’s client retention rates are high because of the excellent service her team provides coupled with a praiseworthy finished product.

But not only does she have a great team, Leah also credits her boyfriend Eric Forte as being the backbone of her success.

“Eric is the reason I started my company and has been my support from the beginning.”

Leah has been artsy and creative since she was a child. Her earliest influences came from growing up and watching her mother, who would do everything from design wedding cakes to make clothing for a young Leah. It’s Eric who lovingly pushed Leah to use those artistic and creative skills to open the business, lending his IT skills and financial support as she did just that. He’s now the CFO and CIO of WiLo, for which Leah is forever grateful, she says. 

13 years and counting

Leah’s business breakthroughs have been stacking up lately. One of the biggest came by way of landing a web design contract with the City of Memphis, which went on to launch in July 2023. Wilo & Co. has also accepted a notable contract with Ford Motor Company’s BlueOval City development. And she recently opened a WiLo & Co. office in Belize this past June, too.

Prior to its successful July launch, WiLo & Co. was tasked with a complete overhaul of the city’s official website, adding a suite of accessibility features intended to make the site more inclusive. Those features include the ability to toggle text between the English and Spanish languages; a text-to-speech (TTS) tool that enables users to browse an audio version of website content; and a smartphone-friendly design that makes the website easier to navigate, increasing access for those without a home computer.

[Related: Read “City of Memphis launches new-look website with accessibility and inclusivity in mind” on High Ground News.]

Leah Williamson is not just a recipient of the many blessings bestowed on her through her hard work and excellency, but she also gives back to others in her community. Throughout the year, you can catch her sowing into her team, giving out gas and food cards during the holidays, and being a supportive source for her family and friends. This young lady is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist in her own right.

“I am very self-motivated and independent,” says Leah Williamson, owner and operator of WiLo & Co. in Memphis.

Wrapping up the interview with WiLo & Co., I found out that I had the pleasure of being a part of their 13th anniversary in business. Leah and her team celebrated the opening of this amazing place on Oct. 13, 2010, and I could not have been more honored to share it with them. This young and ambitious team seeks to become a one-stop shop for their web design company by providing WordPress support, design and branding logistics, and more.

Leah cautions that although they look forward to continuous growth and development, she will move in wisdom, taking one step at a time in order to deliver the level of quality service that has earned the company its outstanding reputation. I am excited to witness what the future holds for them.

Find WiLo & Co. online at wiloandco.com and on Facebook.
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Read more articles by Tafui Owusu.

Tafui Owusu (formerly Shelia Williams) is a resident of the Bickford-Bearwater area of North Memphis and a graduate of the second High Ground News Community Correspondents program. She is also a board commissioner for MATA.