Design / Startups

Meet the Delaware tech scene’s power couple

The story of Pauline and John Himics' relationship is also the story of how their company, First Ascent Design, came to be.

While you might be familiar with First Ascent Design as a graphic design firm out of Wilmington, you might not be familiar with the power couple behind it, Pauline Himics (née Rubin) and John Himics, who were married in Smyrna, Del., last summer.
Both originally from New Jersey, they met in high school. They went to different schools but met through mutual friends.”We hit it off right away, mainly because John is really good at making me laugh,” said Pauline. “We became best friends pretty quickly.”
They didn’t start dating until they both went away for college. She left for the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to study communications design and he left for Rowan University in South Jersey to study mechanical engineering, but they both made it work by traveling back and forth to hang out via driving and taking Greyhound Bus.
After college, they both moved to Delaware in 2013. John’s first job was with DuPont in Newark, while Pauline worked as a designer for Remline. They were both in a good place but they still wanted to collaborate. They craved the financial independence of entrepreneurship. It wasn’t until they attended Delaware Tech Meetup upon moving to the First State that they realized they could do this. They could start a business together.
So what was it going to be? Pauline came from an artistic background, while John came from a scientific background. Starting a web design firm just made sense.
That’s when the cross-training began. Pauline started to teach herself HTML, CSS and Javascript but ran into a few hiccups. “[I] quickly realized how frustrating teaching yourself to code can be, [it’s] one of the reasons I wanted to start Girl Develop It Wilmington,” said Pauline.
They started out small, but the projects got bigger. “We started as a web design and development firm only, focusing on small business websites. … We realized that once you build a website for a business, you’re essentially delivering a tool that they could use to get more business or recognition,” said John.
Since starting their business in 2014, the couple has taken on projects with education company Exam Master, Charlie Horn’s investment company 5Lights Group and The Mill. That’s just in under two years.
Maybe it’s true: Couples that develop together, stay together.

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