Services companies, especially smaller ones, tend to get a bad rap in the startup world. There’s no product. The margins are low. There’s no IP. The departure of a key person could tank the company.
On the other hand, many startups begin as a services company, using revenue from those services to fund their product development or provide the runway to find a marketable niche.
On the third hand, many startups begin as services companies, want to stay focused on services, and strive to build their expertise around those services. I know plenty of small marketing, communications, and software development firms that have taken this approach and have done very well. And, I’ve just heard of another that’s starting down this path: moxie3innovations.
[quote]“We sought to leave behind society’s expectations on our careers and push the boundaries on innovation by challenging ourselves to redefine our futures.”[/quote]
The marketing and graphics design team behind moxie3, Sherice Ajifu, Dana Kagawa and Jennifer Tengan, are more excited and motivated than any I’ve seen in a while. Their enthusiasm shines through, even in a simple email, and is an inspiration for even a jaded veteran (if you know of any…).
“We decided to establish moxie3innovations to leave behind the mundane tasks of our everyday lives,” said Ajifu, who positions herself as the “paperwork,” sales, and client management side of the business. “We sought to leave behind society’s expectations on our careers and push the boundaries on innovation by challenging ourselves to redefine our futures. Our company is about finding the courage to live out our dreams!”
Spoken like a true entrepreneur, for sure. What courage to take those societal expectations and throw them out the window! And why shouldn’t they?
Kagawa and Tengan, graphic artists who met during college, connected with Ajifu in the workplace. Kagawa has been doing most of the design work, and Tengan focuses on marketing moxie3, but they each take responsibility to market the company and generate business. And, after a slow start, they seem to be doing a great job.
“Our first customer was CityCamp Honolulu,” said Ajifu. “We entered their contest on Ad Tournament and won, which really forced us to get our company going. Until that point, we were slowly working on getting started, but that forced us to get things together as CityCamp helped to get our name out in public.”
Since then, they’ve done work for Kamehameha Girls’ Soccer, Patton Sports Performance, Hawaii Vikings, and others.
“We are looking to work with any individual or company in need of visual communication services,” explained Ajifu. “We hope that we can work closely with small businesses just starting and assist in all their visual communication needs. Additionally, our background is sports and we look to work closely with sports teams to design custom jerseys or shirts, as well as design or redesign logos.”
Focusing on the Customer
I asked Ajifu what makes them different or uniquely qualified from the dozens of other design firms out there. Without missing a beat, she knew exactly what to say.
“We are customer centric,” said Ajifu. “We want to ensure that our customers are getting their visual communications message relayed in a manner that they wish to portray. We do not charge change fees. Additionally, we are on the cutting edge of the newest technologies. We work tirelessly to bring in new ideas and concepts to our design work and look for the newest trends in the market.”
Newest trends? Oh, you mean like mobile and apps?
“In a few weeks we will be releasing one of the newest machines on the market in which we will be the exclusive carrier in Honolulu for one year,” said Ahifu. “The machine is able to create cloud-like images in the air.”
Wow! Now that’s new technology! And kudos to moxie3 for getting the exclusive on it!
Pushing Through Early Challenges
Although they are just starting, they’re already aware of the challenges of creating a sustainable company.
“The hardest part of being in the early stage is really defining our niche,” explained Ajifu. “We have the ability to offer an array of services and we are excited to work with our clients. Focusing on what will keep our company afloat while we are in the early stage is difficult.”
It’s great that they’re cognizant of the challenges, but based on their enthusiasism, and, of course, moxie, I think that this team will be around for quite a while.
Here’s the 808 on moxie3innovations:
|808STARTUP||“We strive to provide our clients with the tools necessary to complete all their visual communication services with one company by offering a broad base of services, from identity and branding to print collateral to package design to exhibit design to environmental design to apparel design.”|
|STARTERS||Sherice Ajifu, Dana Kagawa and Jennifer Tengan|
|COMPETITION||Various and numerous local design, print and visual communication services|