This company was included in our Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index coverage.
Creative firms don’t typically embrace literal names. But in the case of Oakland, Calif.’s Enlisted Design, an agency that specializes in planning and birthing new products, the name says it all.
The agency handles industrial design, packaging, brand identity and other functions for a wide range of housewares, electronics and food, pet and lifestyle products. So why “enlisted”? On each new gig, the company embeds its designers into client-side teams and asks that clients enlist specialists on the agency side of the creative process, as well.
Naturally, this crossover creates a glut of data and internal research -- information used to tie every effort back to client demands. At the same time, co-founder Beau Oyler admits that the focus on collaboration and cross-pollination results in a scenario in which creatives are expected to put in long hours.
In many cases, the company’s 15 employees relish the opportunity to make hay in a competitive industry. In others, employees can feel vexed, stressed and out of balance. With this in mind, Oyler says his biggest challenge is people. “Finding the right talent to do what we do is really difficult,” he notes. “We spend a lot of time on recruiting and interviews.”
The issue bleeds into the company’s expectations for the future. While Oyler wants to become a “leading brand,” he believes hiring more than 25 employees could hinder Enlisted’s ability to serve customers with what has become a signature kind of intimacy.