Wearegoat is a collaboration between two Graphic design students who started the company during their time in the university.
I Invited the two co-founders on YHP to talk about how the inspiration for the business came about, how they met each other and why they decided to start a business together.
Below is the full interview.
Hi, How are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
Paul & Alexey: We are doing well thanks though very busy with work setting up the company and finishing off a few projects. The week we have been greeted with lovely weather, which we wish we could have enjoyed more as we have been stuck inside.
Could you quickly give us some background information about yourself?
Paul: Although I am Maltese, I decided to study Web Design in Brighton. After a few years working in web design I decided I needed a change. This led me to explore Graphic Design and further my work experience in the field. Wanting to further my knowledge in Graphic Design I moved to London to sit for my MA in Graphic Branding & Identity. This has proved to be of great value, if I have not taken this decision I would not have met Alexey and started goat together.
Alexey: I was born in Soviet Union, where I got my first degree in Information Technologies. As I have always been interested in Visual Communication I decided to get a second degree in Graphic Design, which meant me moving to London. I met Paul before our courses started and the rest is goat.
So tell me how you got into business? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship as a child?
Paul: I’ve always been interested in design; I guess I just gravitated towards it. I have always wanted to open up my own studio, because I felt that whilst working for other people restricted me and thought it best to venture out on my own to discover what I can do without these limitations. So far things seem to be going well, looking forward to what will come next.
Alexey: On the contrary to Paul, I never wanted to start my own business thinking that it was easier, more convenient and safer to work under someone else, but after a certain point I realized that the only thing I was gaining from working for someone was a wage. I was tired of people telling me that their failure will be my responsibility. I want only my own failures, but hopefully achievements, to be my own responsibility.
Who was your inspiration growing and why?
Paul: Watching my father and brother build their own business by working extremely long hours and being overly stressed with work didn’t seem to deter me from wanting to open up my own business. The satisfaction they received from achieving what they set out to do is something I hope to receive in the coming years.
Alexey: Everyday my father taught himself how to achieve something that he was unable to do the day before. He worked hard on each project, however boring it may have been. He turned them into opportunities to enrich himself with new skills.
So tell me about wearegoat and how the idea came about?
Paul & Alexey: Whilst living and studying together at the same university, we helped each other with university work and soon started working on side projects together. We realised that every idea we came up with separately turned into something much more powerful as soon as we started working on them together. We decided to use this synergy to solve other people’s problems instead of just our own and so we decided to open wearegoat.
What were you doing before you founded Wearegoat?
Paul: Studying at London College of Communication and before that working for a publication company in Malta.
Alexey: Also studying at London College of Communication while continuing to work at an amazing design studio in Moscow called Vazari.
What is Wearegoat and how does it work?
Paul: I see wearegoat as more of a collaboration of two designers who enjoy the same things and want to create great pieces of work together. Whether for a client or for a personal project, we treat everything as the most important thing at the time.
Alexey: It’s like me working on steroids.
What is your business model?
Paul & Alexey: Let’s try to keep it simple; our service is visual communication. It doesn’t matter whether it is video, web, print or digital, it doesn’t matter if it is interactive or static, it doesn’t matter if it is for the Olympics or a goat farm, if a client will come to us with a problem that can be solved by means of visual communication then it is our job to do it and to do it in a way that the client will be glad to have chosen us. We are still waiting for a chance to do work for a goat farm
What makes Wearegoat different from any service out there?
Paul: We are trying to work as close to our clients as possible, no matter what the project is, we try to get involved as much as possible. For the entire duration of the project we feel that we become an extension of their company.
What we noticed from working in other studios is that when a great idea is created everyone is trying to claim ownership of this idea. With wearegoat this has become the opposite, after coming up with a great idea through brainstorming we can never recall whose idea it was. We seem to work off of what the previous person put forward until we have something that works best for us and more importantly works best for the client. It is this synergy that pushes us to create the best things possible for our clients.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
Paul: With Alexey tackling the innovation of the company I feel that I am in charge of the networking and business side of it by constantly ensuring that everything is up to date and in order. We joke that I am the housekeeper of the company.
Alexey: I spend my free time researching and learning, to ensure that we are on top of the latest in the world of design, whether it be new technologies, workflow systems or simply new applications to ease the daily routine in the office.
Would you say the business has changed from the first initial idea?
Paul & Alexey: It’s too early for this question but I can say that the initial idea did not involve so many sleepless nights.
How have you been able to fund the business?
Paul & Alexey: Working and working hard. There is never a moment when you are off the job, especially with design you are constantly researching, thinking and coming up with ideas.
What has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Paul & Alexey: Being able to work on side projects such as our goatcards (personalized birthday messages for friends that range between everything from static images with food to stop-motion with Play Doh or ice). They have become a great way of experimenting with different mediums and to just getting our hands dirty with non-computer based projects. They have become an outlet for our ideas that don’t seem to have any other place to go.
What can we be expecting from your company in 2012?
Paul & Alexey: We just released a personal project called Pass It On which is an extension of our goatcards, the idea behind these is to bring a smile to people’s faces and add a little something special to an ordinary day. We also enjoy the interactions they can create between strangers just by allowing them to hand over a nice message to someone else. We hope 2012 will see more of these projects. We will obviously continue with the usual goatcards so expect to see many more of those.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Paul & Alexey:
1) If you haven’t learnt anything today then it was a waste of a day.
2) If you do something, either do it perfectly or don’t do it at all.
3) Make sure to have an amazing music work playlist; it helps you get through those late nights that are bound to be plentiful.