Small Business Success Story 10 years in: From the Basement to the (Design) Asylum
June 01, 2012
Ballistic Arts is one of Vancouver’s premiere full service creative agencies, but it wasn’t always this way. CEO ted LAU and COO Tak Kawana started Ballistic Arts “in the room above my parents’ garage with a camera, computer, and student loan payments”, says LAU. Coming onto their 10th year in business, Ballistic Arts actually grew during the ‘08 downturn and is still growing to meet the marketing needs of Vancouver businesses.
Their secret to 10 years of success? Be a little crazy, literally. “When you go ‘Ballistic’, you go a little cuckoo, so we thought to theme our brand around an insane asylum”, COO Tak Kawana explains.
To celebrate their decade of triumphs, Ballistic Arts is holding their 10-year party for all their patients, industry friends, and a few other “crazy” people for good measure on Thursday June 28th at Vancouver’s new LED Lounge. “Admittance” will begin at 4pm.
Ballistic Arts’ own website has staff garbed in straight jackets, and states that they “aim to remedy all [their] patients’ marketing ailments with the proper doses of graphic design, blend of website development, spoonful of video production, and a twist of photography services for good measure”. Their physical office feels like an actual asylum. “Keeping a strong brand helps us stand out from others. And sometimes as small business owners, you feel like pulling your hair out, so we thought working from an asylum was appropriate”, jokes LAU.
Another key to their success is instilling their core values in the business. Hung up on their walls are 5 core values, which the company religiously abides by. Apparently the one with the swear word was the CEO’s idea. “The core values are our compass to working with patients (that’s what we call our clients), engaging staff and suppliers. It keeps everyone aligned and reduces turnover substantially”, notes Kawana.
Since the inception of Ballistic Arts a decade ago the number of “patients” has not stopped growing, and neither has their goal for the future.