Mariana Morris, founder and Director of Fruto

Photo of Mariana Morris

Mariana is founder and director of Fruto, a digital experience design studio. Fruto specialises in designing intuitive and engaging websites and mobile apps for startups and digital product teams. Mariana is also co-founder of UX Oxford.

What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, running my own business has always been at the back of my mind. I suppose it was just a matter of finding the right time and taking the first step. After 13 years of industry experience leading design projects and managing teams, I’ve decided to open my own business.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is the ability to spot a business opportunity, have a vision and connect the dots to make it happen.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
Fruto Logo

When I gained enough experience in the industry and thought I could do it myself.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
1) Ability to create and maintain networking relationships
2) Passion

3) Resilience

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?

Creating relationships with a network of people and providing opportunities to talented people.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

I feel I’m regularly inspired by a lot of people around me and by books that I read so it’s hard to pin down.
Design leaders that I regularly follow: Tina Roth Eisenberg and Stefan Sagmeister for their creativity, positive approach and lifestyle.

If you had 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?

I’d like to discuss the relationship between profitability and positive impact on society.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

I soon learned to look at my business as a separate entity from me and that I can’t reinvent the wheel every time but I needed to create templates and put processes in place to make it profitable and deliver the same level of quality every time.

How have you funded your ideas?

I haven’t needed to fund my ideas because my business is self-sufficient.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?


What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?

It’s great to have a lively startup community in Oxfordshire.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?

Attend networking groups such as Oxford Startups; use LinkedIn for your benefit to find people that might have good synergy with you. Network!

Any last words of advice?

Step outside your comfort zone regularly, it will make you stronger.