Matt and Bibiana are the co-founders of Graphiker, a Graphic Design agency that has adopted a subscription style business model. Though the agency was born in Sydney, clients can use it remotely from anywhere in the world, which has so far allowed the company to outgrow the adverse effects of COVID-19.
Two years on, there are now 45 employees under Graphiker’s belt and 200 subscription clients. The company also generates over $100k each month. Both Matt and Bibiana are excited and feel optimistic about the future, so we found out what’s next.
Who are you and what brand did you start?
We are Matt & Bibiana, co-founders of Graphiker.
Graphiker was born in July 2018 and is a Graphic Design agency with a subscription style business model. Our clients choose a monthly plan that suits their required design output. Through our design management platform, they work directly with their own designer to bring their ideas to life.
We are originally a Sydney-based agency; however, we have all worked remotely from the very beginning, so our clients span Australia and New Zealand.
Our target audience is quite broad, and we suit most small and medium-sized enterprises. Our current subscription client list comprises 70% SME in every industry out there, and 30% of other agencies who outsource their clients work to us.
An early milestone worth mentioning was growing to a point when we were able to employ eight designers by the end of our first six months in business. That was a great moment as a business owner.
How did you come up with the idea, brand name and logo for Graphiker?
I was in Marketing and Bibiana in Graphic Design. We decided to join forces and began to outline what the perfect business and business model would look like > Graphic Design – Subscription – Work Remotely – B2B – Affordable Service – Scalable.
These were all boxes in a new business that we wanted to tick.
Graphic Design is already quite a saturated market in general, so we chose the subscription style business model to differentiate ourselves from the rest, and it worked.
Our name Graphiker relates to our industry, and the .com.au was available too. Many business owners will not admit this but choosing a brand or business name these days has less to do with the name you actually want and more to do with available domain names. It took a long time to find it, but in the end, it was a win-win.
Our logo is very simple, just as we wanted it to be. In contrast, our marketing assets are rich in design, color, etc. We saw the best way to balance it out was with a clear and simple logo. The colors of our brand, navy and aqua, reflect the trustability we want our clients to rely on, and the watermelon and red colors are bold and passionate and relate to the work we do.
Describe the process of launching Graphiker?
Once the right business model was decided upon, we went straight into designing and building the brand and website ourselves. From ideation to launch took about three months.
Finding the right design management platform to connect us to our clients took some time. We tested what felt like hundreds until we found one that suited Graphiker and made it very easy for our clients to create new task briefs and efficiently follow the design process.
We threw in $2,000 to cover startup costs, and I don’t think we needed it all in the end.
In week five, after Graphiker went live, we began to doubt ourselves, just slightly, as we didn’t have even one client signup. Then in week six, we had our very first client registration, and from that point on, the flood gates were open.
Since launch, what has worked best to attract and retain customers?
We have tried different digital strategies, such as Facebook ads and email marketing discounts. Interestingly, Linkedin has been the outstanding winner for us for connecting with the public.
Using the insights we've garnered to date and then working on a more consistent marketing strategy is something we're focused on for the future.
When it comes to why clients choose us, ultimately, it is because of a core need. A need for a Graphic Design solution for their business. A solution that has the knowledge and reliability of an agency with an affordable flat monthly rate. Our clients stay because our service integrates perfectly into their businesses. We deliver excellent quality designs, unlimited revisions, and a dedicated designer who knows your brand.
With regards to business growth, how have things changed from a digital, revenue, customer and sales perspective?
We are now two years on and are a strong team of 45 and growing. At the beginning of 2020, we cracked 200 subscription clients. Even with the events of 2020, we are optimistic about the future and continued growth of the business.
How is the business doing today and what does the future look like?
Pre-March 2020, before COVID hit, we saw rapid monthly growth starting from our very first client registration back in August 2018. Fast forward to today, two years on from launch and in the middle of a global pandemic which is affecting many industries and a lot of our clients, we are seeing clients whose companies are closing, leaving and an influx of new clients who seem to be doing well in this environment. The change in client mix has been interesting to observe.
Our projections moving forward are positive, with more companies choosing or being forced to hire remotely, putting Graphiker in the right position to accommodate the changing world we are experiencing.
Graphiker’s business development moving forward is focused on strategic partnerships and the integration of our design service into the platforms of these new partners. Given this, we are not considering an exit strategy at this stage as we still have a lot more growth in us.
What’s been the biggest learning experience since starting your own brand?
- A strong brand identity is important.
- Employ an experienced team. It may cost a little more but the time saved in overseeing will outweigh this.
- Getting started is hard, but don't give up. Grow a tough skin and be persistent – this will lead you to success.
- Build a marketing strategy to gain an audience. Learning about your target market is key.
What are your top 3 tips for success?
1) Avoid complex softwares or platforms. Spend more time researching a simple user-friendly option. They are out there, you just need to find them.
2) Social proofing your website will greatly improve visitor engagement. We have always used socialproof.online and the results have been outstanding.
3) Get great quality content for your website. This includes high-quality images and well written copy. Also, add a human aspect to explain your product or service use.
What are some of your favorite online business tools you use to run Graphiker?
- Socialproof.online has shown amazing results by engaging all of our website traffic. I would highly recommend this social proof software to anybody selling a product or service online.
- Redbooth.com. We are using this as our design management platform and have customized workspaces for all of our clients.
- LinkedIn.com. This has been such a powerful platform to find and connect with our clients.
- Envato.com. This is fantastic support for our designers to find graphic inspiration, templates, and images that help them to develop quick, efficient and beautiful designs.
|Reviews||Facebook Reviews, Google My Business|
|Inventory||Social Proof, Linkedin|
See what tools and platforms other founders are using.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts or other educational resources?
Tiny Habits (book): The Small Changes That Change Everything.
- Domestika.org & Skillshare.com: Great websites for learning anything in the creative field.
- Abstract (Netflix doc): amazing , inspirational documentary about the most creative minds in the world.
Who have been the most influential people for you during this business journey?
- Paula Scher - Pentagram agency
- Mind Sparkle Magazine
Any other advice you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
As a graphic design based agency. Our advice would be to
- Learn and keep up to date with new trends.
- Practice makes perfect: delivering high-quality work quickly will dramatically improve your business.
- Keep it simple “Simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.”
- Great things never come from comfort zones.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now or open to new investors?
No, not at this stage
Where can we go to learn more about your current offers/promotions/programs?