The most creative ideas often come when you least expect them. That’s why Studio Proper, a company that designs Apple accessories, created Sandbox Friday – a weekly team brainstorm session where outrageous, out-of-the-box ideas are encouraged. One sandbox idea in particular, a unique light fixture design, became the core inspiration behind one of Studio Proper’s newest products, the Apple Watch Dock, which incorporates many of the same design elements. We had a chance to interview Alon Tamir, CEO and founder of Studio Proper and asked about his story, how he started his business and the future of Studio Proper.
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?
It all started with the release of the iPad. As a long-time Apple fan, I was excited to invest in a new line of products that further simplified my digital needs. However, I quickly came to the realization that the first-generation iPad wasn’t the lightest of products, making it tiring to hold, especially in bed when using it as an entertainment device. I didn’t have a background in design – my experience was in digital marketing and supporting my family’s party supply business. Being an entrepreneur at heart, however, I sought out a solution for Apple enthusiasts like myself. In 2010, I founded my company Studio Proper, a product design studio, and created the Wallee, referred to as the “Real Apple TV” by TechCrunch and the first of many Apple product solutions that elevate and simplify the consumer experience.
How did you come up with your business name?
A key realization was that the vast majority of accessories being manufactured when we launched were of poor quality and low design intent. I was commited to putting sophisticate design at the core of our products and the brand name had to represent that. Studio Proper is as much a reminder for our team as it is a public representation of our dedication to truly great design across form, function, materials and longevity.
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?
Studio Proper creates beautiful, minimalistic technology solutions for both consumers and businesses. The accessory
arm of our company designs Apple accessories that elevate the functionality of your Apple devices with simplistic, premium cases, desk stands, docks and mounts for the iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.
Studio Proper’s business solutions mimic the minimalistic design offered in our accessories line while allowing businesses that are invested in Apple products in retail, hospitality and enterprise industries to simplify transactions and customer interactions through upgraded mobile payment solutions hardware. Products include stands, straps and mounts, with iPad mPOS Adapter, Universal Connect Adapter, iPhone mPOS Adapter and our second generation of iPad Stand, Swivel Stand and Wall Mount coming soon.
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
From our offerings to our internal culture, we have uniqueness flowing through our veins. On the product side, we focus exclusively on designing for Apple products. While we aren’t opposed to other brands or devices, this intense focus has helped us mirror the minimalism of Apple in our own products. We pride ourselves in taking the design-focused, high-quality route over other, more convenient design routes. This is much different from the approach that many hardware companies take. It’s more common to design and manufacture cheaply, whereas we are the opposite.
On the culture side, we are always striving for uniqueness. Every Friday, we host a sandbox session. This is a time for our designers to come together and throw out any idea. No idea is silly or out of the question. This has even led to the design inspiration of some of our most successful devices such as our new Apple Watch Dock.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
We have big ambitions to take our success to date and drive even greater growth across our product range and industry partners. We are always striving to find new, sustainable materials to include in products that provide utility and joy to both personal and business Apple users. Further, the next 3-5 years will be highly focused on scale and reach, with our brand entering new exciting markets and partnering with additional top tier channel partners
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
In terms of how to run your business, whether money is tight or plentiful, bootstrap ALWAYS. Aside from that, define a vision, train yourself to listen and trust your gut and don’t ask for feedback until your vision has been executed. Once you’ve delivered a product, listen and chase feedback obsessively.
Additional things I try to keep in mind are:
- Don’t worry about trying to “manage” stress. There’s no such thing. Nor is work/life balance truly achievable. One needs to accept these things will forever be intermingled and be okay with that.
- Productivity is driven by a sense of urgency. Channel urgency, a sometimes-negative feeling, into a positive experience.
- Networking is outdated. One-on-one opportunities are much more fruitful. Instead of seeking out mass connections, find people who add definable value and to whom you can add value.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” — Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter
Perfection should always be the goal and is certainly what our team aligns around, particularly when refining the details, design and excecution of a hardware product, because once it is shipped it cannot be changed (unlike a digital product).
What have been some of your achievements that you are most proud of? Why?
The biggest achievement has to be doubling revenue over the past two consecutive years while implementing internal innovation in brand and product strategies. Expanding into the US and driving expansion through exciting, top-tier customer opportunities who are all pushing the boundaries of retail and payments has to be one of my team’s biggest achievements, as well.
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
Sure, we’d love readers to come say hi over at any of our social accounts! Instagram – @studioproper, twitter – @studio_proper, facebook – StudioProperOfficial