We help companies and entrepreneurs to roadmap and de-risk new product launches. Most of the products we launch are physical consumer products.
Tell us about yourself?
In three days, it will be 30 years since I founded Graphos. We started out as a design studio and then evolved into a web and ad agency before focusing on product. My background was journalism, and I write more now than I ever have — mostly creating messaging and positioning for clients.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
A year or two… hahaha. I would tell myself that we’d come out of COVID-19 just fine, just like we have everything else. In March of 2020, we closed our office in downtown Edmonton after 27 years, and I wasn’t sure we had a business. But our core team members have had kids and now work with the flexibility they really wanted. Our creative director, Derek Anton, has been with the company for more than half our time in business — and is now expecting his third child. And our director of strategy, Lori Pittard, has moved her family to New Zealand. She had a job there and gave notice, and I asked her to stay with us instead. She did. Lori has been with the company for almost a decade.
What problem does your business solve?
We help de-risk product launches, which is very important. Product makers have enormous blind spots, and the failure rate is super high, even compared to startups in general. Our roadmapping process helps them objectively plan and mitigate risks while developing their perfect positioning to quickly achieve product-market fit.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We’re trying to make product development more need-driven and to help clients build products people will be compelled to own.
What is your magic sauce?
We’ve got a lot of interlinked processes that have been perfected over 30 years. And because I’m an empath, I use the client’s money as if it were my own.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Over the next five years, we plan to be more international. Right now, about 80 per cent of new clients are in the US, 10 per cent in Canada and 10 per cent in the rest of the world. Several clients have been with us for 20 years or more, which grounds us, and we feed on the excitement of startups.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Years ago, we found ourselves competing with thousands of generalist agencies. We knew we had some amazing superpowers, but we were racing to the bottom to get work. Having focused on product launches, something we’ve done successfully hundreds of times, has had clients seeking us from all over the world. We are never competing with the agency down the block or even in the next province because our expertise sets us apart. That was the biggest game-changer of my career.
How can people get involved?
Our ideal client is a mid-sized product maker or a well-financed startup. Visit www.graphosproduct.com to learn more about us.