Founder & Art Director at Bonne Marque
Stockholm - Sweden
The start of my adventure is reminiscent of so many tech companies throughout time; working on a website in my garage as a favor for a friend. Helping her out is what led me to fire up Photoshop and Flash for the very first time. It was such an enlightening experience. Seeing the design take shape, it moved something within me.
I completed my first paid design job at the tender age of 15. Three years later I started EngzellDesign, which in fact was just myself freelancing as much as possible. As my client base grew there became a need to occasionally hire ad hoc talent, with these steady growth spurts I started to delve into branding and design. Eventually we were handling these types of projects for the likes of bestselling Swedish authors, 5 star boutique hotels and global environmental projects, such as "GoBlueToo".
The new decade carried a change in direction, we rebranded - turning EngzellDesign into Bonne Marque (meaning good brand in French). The rebrand was the real breakout point for the company, taking it from a one man Scandinavian-centric firm, to a full-service branding agency handling clients from around the world. The road of growing the brand was riddled with struggles, especially as the sole founder and a self-educated, college drop out. There was no one to bounce ideas off, no one to discuss the best ways to solve problems that would pop up, being forced to outsource work to people halfway around the world withnot actually meeting them and no one to share the risk.
Then there was the learning curve of dealing with clients, facing those who want everything they can squeeze out of you without paying and those are extremely trustworthy, so you naively overlook signing a contract. Even when the profit margin was low or nonexistent, still we risked it and would purchase that beautiful mock-up with our eye on impressing the client with the presentation. Looking back at it all though, if it weren't for working with outsourced talent I wouldn't know how to differentiate between good talent and someone talking a good game or if I hadn't dealt with those exact clients I wouldn't have a rock solid contract and a system in place to properly manage projects.
Bonne Marque now has 4 employees from 3 different countries, all located in our Sweden office. As always we still have daily struggles. Currently we are facing a growing workload, trying to manage incoming projects without compromising quality. Our challenge is to find the best talent the world has to offer, so together we can reach new heights. The ultimate goal is in sight and I am focusing on building an agency where team members can thrive on producing their best works for the most recognizable brands in the world.
Like so many others in our industry, I'm very fortunate to get to work with my hobby. Although, I regularly work 16h, 7days a week... I wouldn't trade it for anything.