Hello once again wonderful artists, Darren here, it's time for another blog update!
How's things on your end? Keeping busy I hope? Feel free to let me know in the comments - I love to read what projects other creatives are getting into - perhaps we can even shed some light on them in future posts. There's nothing I love seeing more than artists striving to make it, and I'd like to support those who are giving it their all <3
Over here on my end, things are very very busy, but I'll try to keep this particular post relatively short (yeah that's not going to happen...), centering on the establishment of our new company and our new little team behind it.
If you're here wanting to read about our juicy progress on the evolution of the Nomad, then please go to the specific blog post where there's a lot of prototyping / designer-y stuff.
In this particular post however, I wanted to get into the often invisible business side of creativity from my view point - I think it deserves a bit of a spotlight and carries on from my last blog post in Feb.
NOMAD BECOMES ETCHR
TL/DR Version: We didn't want future trademarking issues, so we decided to change our name to something else.
Quickly, before our new team, I wanted to touch on our brand transition.
In between all the big things happening, I think one of the most significant administrative tasks we've had to deal with recently was the overhaul of the Nomad entity.
If you've known us from the Nomad days, I guess coming to our site and seeing new Etchr branding could be a bit jarring and I wanted to let you know the reasoning behind the change.
Y'know, I'm a big Sons of Anarchy fan - in fact, my son Jax is actually named after the main character Jax Teller - and during the period in which I was developing the Nomad 1 prototype, I think we were also watching the 5th or 6th season of the show.
I was struggling to come up with a name for the art satchel, but when the 'Nomad' charter of the Sons of Anarchy biker gang was mentioned - it just felt right and I started using it. People liked the name, it encapsulated the 'wandering' aspect of art-making as well as the free spirit of the artist, so it kinda just stuck.
Unfortunately, I adopted the name without much business / legal thought - in all honesty I never really expected our little satchel for artists to come this far, so the idea that I could run into branding hurdles wasn't exactly the biggest priority in my mind. I reasoned that if things went well, we could navigate the formalities when we got there - and that day has come.
In the strive to establish a long lasting legacy and on the advice of legal counsel, we've bitten the bullet and decided to revamp our name, along with a large chunk of the branding as we define the path forward for our brand.
Connected to this change, we also recently shifted the operations from my own sole proprietorship, into a newly minted company structure that my new founders and I have set up. Henceforth, the brand formerly known as Nomad, will now transition to the company, Etchr Lab.
Understandably, as with any brand name change, this will probably piss some people off...heck, even I have a bit of an emotional time with this as that name has so much history and meaning for me, but what must be done must be done and you shouldn't stare at a frog for too long if you must kiss it.
That being said, frankly...I love the shiny little new company we have hatched.
While it's a little sad to say goodbye to our old brand, it's also an undeniably exciting time - to me, it feels like my quirky little business experiment has pulled on the big boy pants, and is about to level up, all the potential in the world, a primed canvas from which we will paint our future :)
INVESTMENT & TEAM
TL/DR Version: I got investment. There are now multiple people working together to grow Etchr into something special. I've stopped doing client work to focus exclusively on building Etchr. 'We' now refers to more than just me and my mangy cat. *toot toot party time*
If you hit rewind to our February post, we ended with me putting feelers out into the wild with the intent to both solicit business growth advice as well as eventually land some investment capital.
Thankfully I had just enough sense to realize that without some help I wouldn't be able to gather the resources required to consistently and quickly develop high quality products for artists.
I won't go over every minute detail in this blog post but in sharing both my vision for Etchr and the ethos behind the brand with Simon and his colleague Yan (my now-business partners) I had the support I needed.
Simon is largely the finance guy who loves scrutinizing numbers and ROI, but also isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty with marketing and anything else that supports my own efforts. Despite his impressive pedigree working in mergers and acquisitions for large multinational firms like Lazard, Simon is a down to Earth guy who I've gotten to know, like and respect in a fairly short amount of time.
Yan, my other business partner resides in my old stomping ground of Perth and was drawn into the development of the company through Simon. His methodical and analytical nature led him to working for a number of years for The Boston Consulting Group before he decided to strike out in business with Simon. He helps to guide the overarching plans for the development of our company and brings a mature business perspective from years of helping some of the largest companies in the world.
Largely because of this investment and skill infusion into our brand, I have wound down my freelancing art services after 12 years as a professional artist, and I now focus all my efforts on developing our new company exclusively.
We also have some fantastic legal and accounting advice on board who have structured a brand new company, built from the foundations of Nomad.
In terms of the beast of product development, I've worked pretty hard to improve the prototyping process and a huge part of that has been getting on board our proto engineer extraordinaire, Andy Storms, a very skilled and experienced soft-goods industrial designer from Seattle who runs Technical Softgoods.
Andy's skill has allowed me to aggressively pursue a much more complex product in significantly less time and I think people are really going to be pretty stoked about our collaborations together.
On a personal level, I find it really exciting because when I say "we" now, it means more than just my cat and I.
If you've gotten all the way down here, I must say thank you. I feel like I post a lot of this for my own benefit, to get it out of my head and get on with other things, so I really do appreciate when people read this stuff.
Here's to you <3
If you'd like to look at what we've been up to regarding new work, check out the successor to the Nomad Art Satchel and where it is going :)