Ok, folks… 2022 is gone and by the end of it we made our internal review.
Bodega has just officially turned 1 year old, so you can imagine how challenging 2022 was. As challenging as it was, we have proven to ourselves that some beliefs that we had were real and also were big strengths. Let’s talk about the learnings from a crazy 2022: a few interesting things that we have learned along our recent journey about design, business, and relationships.
1. AS SMALL AS POSSIBLE, AS BIG AS NEEDED
After these 12 months, we acknowledged that one of our biggest strengths is the fact that we are REALLY small. Bodega core is just the two of us: Artur – Based in São Paulo – and me, Eduardo – Amsterdam.
This format allows us to work with small clients and independent entrepreneurs. These guys couldn’t be served by big agencies with big fixed costs and therefore big creative fees and quite frankly, wouldn’t be having the same type of “care” and tailored service in the majority of cases anyways.
The same guys, however, are big design believers, practitioners, and enthusiasts. They believe in good design and have seen in us a valued partner to make them grow their business.
Another great ability of ours is the network and relational abilities we’ve developed that made us good connectors. We now know how to use wisely the freelance “server” that the internet and more recently Covid made us all aware of. We have been working with other creatives, top-notch artists, art directors, illustrators, designers, copywriters, photographers, and so on.
That made us ready to hop on projects for Big Agencies and Huge clients such as Beck’s Brazil (Anheuser-Busch InBev) and Heinz (in the Netherlands).
2. INVESTING TIME IN BUILDING A STUNNING PORTFOLIO IS PAINFUL, BUT IT IS SURE WORTH IT.
It takes a lot of time to build a great portfolio or case/studies to be posted online. But this is what made Bodega alive and kicking. The visibility that we have on Behance helped us to be found in the first place, but having an impactful website and a series of case studies allowed us to be more clear about what we do best. It is painful to put time and effort into portfolios when you need to also be selling projects, but then again, you’ll only sell them at the right pricing when you already made crispy clear what you are good at. So we have put in the effort.
3. SIT DOWN, BE HUMBLE
Our seniority is normally a strong point. As senior creatives, we know how to achieve great results sure, but most importantly, we know what we can’t do by ourselves. That’s why we count on our talented Bodega Friends & Family team. We have the right professionals to be plugged when in need.
A good example of that is a branding project we made for a Dubai entrepreneur, a brand that goes by the name of Yellow Bird. After the briefing, we knew instantly that we wouldn’t achieve the expected result we wanted only by ourselves, so an illustrator with the intended style/trace (Raphael de Lucca) was plugged in and he teamed up with us. We had other cases, where interior designers and photographers were called upon to help us through challenging projects resulting in stronger delivery and rollouts.
The lesson is: if you have a small studio operation, you should have great professionals around you. It is impossible to do everything at a high level by yourself. Being humble is being truthful to yourself and your client as well. Never forget about that.
4. PUSH AS HARD AS POSSIBLE CREATIVELY, BUT DON’T FORGET TO ORGANIZE YOUR BUSINESS
We are passionate about what we do. Sometimes, almost painfully. We explain… sometimes we go even further than we should, rethinking routes, templates, curves, and color palettes. To exhaustion. We are now understanding as a studio, our endpoints within our methodologies, making more clear when things are done. This is important. Why?
Our full dedication to the projects and way less dedication to selling strategies made us have some setbacks. Yes. Our 2022 had a lot of ups and downs. The studio was founded right when we’d been highlighted in Behance Galleries, then BOOM, 6 projects, 3 months working like crazy, and because of that, creatives we are, we weren’t thinking about selling.
These projects were finished, all beautiful and well done, but as soon as we forgot about Instagram, ads, SEO, LinkedIn, network building, and all this stuff that is truly essential for the studio’s health, rough months were right on the horizon. Back to the “Commercial lab” for 1 month doing what we needed to have done before, sell ourselves. Boom. New projects came
knocking on our door.
That’s probably one of the toughest learnings, but also one of the most important ones to us: we are a company that can only exist if it sells projects, and we need to do it one way or another.
5. THE INTERNET IS A FREAKING GREAT PLACE TO DO BUSINESS AFTER ALL
Our dream was to work for the globe. Deliver great narratives to foodies in all sorts of places. And we’re achieving it. Thanks to the internet, we are a studio working with business partners of at least 5 different continents (and counting, Africa we’re coming).
Throughout this year we worked with clients from 11 countries (until now) and it is amazing to be open to understanding different cultures and make our work be molded by it.
It is as challenging as awarding to manage to have 4 meetings with clients from 4 different countries in one day – different projects, different timezones, different ways to speak, but the same goal: great projects within the hospitality and food & beverage global market.
It happened, it was exhausting but it was dope!
5. WE TRUST OUR GUTS
Before Bodega was born, we, as individuals, teamed up with great studios and agencies and we’ve learned a lot from them.
Time went by and our theories about how to do certain things have been proven right, so we teamed up and founded our studio. We have our way to do stuff and we built our methodologies to different types of projects – from MVP projects for the Cloud Kitchen Market to 360o branding projects with naming, strategy, and visuals for restaurants. We are not that into the “find your purpose” speech. We believe in working hard and putting strength and love into what we do to be as great as we can, and we’ve been doing it.
This past year has been intense for sure, but extremely rich and full of good surprises. We found great clients and made a few friends along the journey, from Mexico to Australia, passing by the USA, India and obviously Brazil and the Netherlands.
We’re sure that 2023 will be even more challenging and intense. The road is long, but we are definitely in it. We are ready for a year of packaging, product research, beer labels, matcha bar concepts, pizza branding and some cloud kitchen shenanigans.
Wanna get to know us? Write us an email and let’s have an online coffee!
Enjoyed the points we’ve shared here? Wanna grab a bite or maybe discuss your challenge with us?
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