I never set out to be a designer. My wife Arielle and I lived in Minneapolis and Cambridge, with careers in finance and the music industry. A one-off stint doing album art led to more album art, then a paint scheme for Nascar, branding a law firm and marketing for non-profits. Before we knew it, we had a full-blown design business with an international client base.

Our “work from anywhere” business model led to Martha’s Vineyard. Arriving in Edgartown with our two young boys in tow, we settled among the trees, ready to work remotely with faraway clients while enjoying the Island’s natural wonder. In our down time, we enjoyed talking to everyone: baristas, farmers, shop owners. We met landscapers with law degrees, laureate lobstermen and motivated millennials fighting climate change. Whenever we started to talk shop, our eclectic background wasn’t regarded with skepticism. In fact, it was embraced.

So we set out to carve out our professional niche on an Island replete with wonderful artists, often known for its classic style. As a design firm “with a face,” we created suggestive campaigns for normally stuffy institutions. We warped images of meat or referenced the black panthers in posters for a local food movement. All the while, we promoted our work, lifestyle and passions (food, music and activism) via social media. We found that word — good or bad — travels fast in a small community, and even faster through the smoke signals of Facebook.

Gradually, people noticed. Maybe it was my signature beard and fedora, Arielle’s impressive afro or vibrant braids, or our cute kids (likely the latter). Strangers recognized us at Cronig’s or during breakfast at Art Cliff. “Are you the Hayes’?” they’d ask, curious about logos or websites. And it wasn’t just local inquiries. We quickly realized that people around the world are looking for a little #mvliving of their own.

Soon we built a team of collaborators, eager to take risks with bold ideas. Together we brought humor to challenging subjects for patients at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and helped develop a legacy brand from a lifetime of work for Carly Simon. Working from anywhere now means we can sketch concepts by the fire at Orange Peel Bakery or hold conference calls with UK clients from the beach in Menemsha, and we know that each season will bring something new.

This Island often gives a false sense of isolation. Truth is, business here is possible because, through the web of social media, we’re all more connected these days, and Martha’s Vineyard isn’t just any Island. What we thought was a place to escape turned into a place to expand, a place to embrace uniqueness, and a place where none of us should be afraid to stand up, stand out and be remembered.

Jesse Hayes is creative director of Hayes Design Studios and lives with his family in Edgartown.