Four years ago when we hit the launch button on Semplice, I could not have imagined I would be writing this article today. And maybe it is this very attitude that has served us well over the years. We always had dreams, but we managed our expectations carefully.
Today, we’re still an independent, profitable and completely remote company. Our team is still spread across multiple countries and even continents. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m proud that we’ve managed to stay in business and grow our team without taking on a single dollar of outside investment. We’re completely funded by our customers, those who use and love Semplice. I see this as a sign that hopefully, we’re doing something right.
Building with Pride
Pride is powerful. The pride we speak of is a healthy sense of self-respect. It’s the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when looking at your work and achievements. Only a considerable amount of discipline and effort can evoke that feeling. From the beginning, pride has been at the core of everything we do at Semplice.
I still remember the first conversation I had with my partner about setting our goals and expectations for our product. First and foremost we wanted to build something that made us proud, and we wanted to extend this feeling to our users. We wanted people to be proud of what they built with Semplice. We weren't creating our product to make it easier, but to challenge and inspire. We found there is no pride in selecting a template everybody else is using. So Semplice couldn’t be about templates, but should instead provide set of tools and a blank slate.
In essence that meant building a product by designers, for designers. Too many companies that build products for designers aren’t run by designers, and whatever the reason may be, we wanted to challenge that. My partner and I are both long-time designers, and 90% of our team are designers as well — even those who work in customer support. Design appreciation is at the core of everything we do. We respect the individuality of every designer.
Scale at all cost, or not?
While financial stability is important to sustain a business long term, for us the most important goal was attracting the right kind of people to use Semplice. It wasn’t so much that we wanted every designer to use it, but the designers we admire. Looking at our Best Of Showcase today, where we feature only two portfolios each week, I’m incredibly proud to say we’ve been on the right track. When in doubt about the mission of Semplice, visiting our own Showcase reminds me we’re going in the right direction.
Scaling and growing is always part of the conversation for a company. But it can easily distract you from your vision. While we've had setbacks, we’ve mostly stayed clear of these distractions and remained focused on building something that makes us proud.
It's been four years already but we feel like we’ve just started, and I’m sure many business owners can relate. We’re here to stay, as long as we can and as long as you want us to stay.
While we continue to expand our tools, we’ve also recently launched Semplice X. Consider it an internal design service that helps other mid-size agencies and studios create their portfolio. As you can see, we’re pretty much all about portfolios. Now we're able to better help other design founders run their own design business with Semplice.
Thank you to EVERYONE who has supported us so far. As an independent business, it means everything to us. We’re excited to share all the new things we’ve been working on and we hope to work with you for many years to come.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!