Recently our creative director and founder Aaron Quinn sat down with Rich Conte to discuss how eHouse Studio is helping companies; big and small, local and national with their branding and user experience design needs.
[Transcription from interview]
Our guest on this episode of Silicon Harbor Radio brought to you by The Tech Life Podcast is Aaron Quinn. Aaron is the founder and creative director for eHouse Studio here in Charleston.
Aaron, can you start by telling listeners about eHouse Studio, what services you provide and who your customers are?
Aaron: Absolutely. We’re an experience design company, we’re located here in Charleston, so we’re lucky enough for that, although it’s raining out today. As far as really our services go, we focus on design and content strategy for clients. We do a lot of user experience reviews and research on existing sites and products as well as user experience design, user interface design, user interface frontend development and then, kind of, loop it all in together with analytics and measurement.
Our clients are typically – we do a lot of work right now in retail so we do a lot of work in ecomm as well as, like, in-store digital experiences and then also working with those clients in ways that we can engage their customers in other ways with digital to help educate them on products. Those companies range from things like BI-LO, Stage Stores, Ahold which is another grocer and then other companies that are making products and really providing services as well in areas where lifestyle is a big focus of the product. So things like real estate, in particular luxury real estate and then consumer products where the bands we work for have, kind of, a real dedication providing really superior products but also pairing that with really great user experiences.
And what led you to start the venture?
It’s been about 14 years now. I was one of the original founders, my wife and father are both founders as well but I was kind of one of the original founders. We started in 2002. So like many others during that time, I found myself unemployed during, kind of, the first 2000 dot-com turn down and crash where everything was kind of going crazy in the beginning and then people kind of realized they’ve lost their minds.
And I was actually getting ready to propose to my now-wife and partner and I needed to go ask her father for his blessing. So I started working with some friends from Mexico City and we decided to kind of pool our services together. And we started getting some web projects, and we had started a little software company doing some work for 3M. And so basically we just decided, let’s just make this official, let’s make it a company, let’s give me a job so I can tell my father-in-law I was employed. And it just kind of went from there. I mean, it was pretty organic; our name came from one of my original partners having a huge metal E from the place that he had just been laid off. So it was sitting in his house. So we added the word studio at the end and lo and behold we had a domain and an LLC.
And can you share some of the interesting projects and work you’re doing at eHouse with listeners?
As far as projects go, we’re redesigning some ecommerce sites for one of the largest fine jewelers in the United States with a global footprint so it’s a national brand. That work entails a lot of user experience, up front research and information architecture, user experience design, interface design and then a lot of frontend development.
We also, recently, did a really cool project where we developed an omni-channel strategy for an urban grocery store where we were coming up with some conceptual work around our website and native app and Apple Watch and how those could all kind of play into an in-store touch display and transaction technology within the grocery store. And then we’re also in, kind of, the early research and strategy phase for a national department store, a retailer, helping them with some omni-channel and online ecommerce work.
And then local clients over the last – I would say – 12 months we’ve had some great results and some really good awards. National, kind of global awards for some local companies for Twelve South work which is an Apple accessories company here in Charleston, The GEL Group which is one of the largest private labs and they’re here, as well, in Charleston and then regional things like [The Cliffs] which is a luxury real-estate in South Carolina and North Carolina area among others.
And as an experience practitioner and even thought leader in the field of user experience, what are some of the aspects of the discipline that you’re most passionate or excited about?
The whole area and whole user experience/customer experience thing is shifting, it’s changing, there’s a lot going on. I think we’re still kind of trying to define what it is as an industry. I think what we’re really passionate about, I would say, is working with companies and brands where we’re really trying to understand how we can use their brand essence, their company strategies and really use user experience design and strategy kind of as a vehicle for just making their customers happy. If we can do that we can make healthier businesses and healthier brands.
I think what we’re really passionate about, I would say, is working with companies and brands where we’re really trying to understand how we can use their brand essence, their company strategies and really use user experience design and strategy kind of as a vehicle for just making their customers happy.
But I think that’s what we’re really excited about, I think that’s what we’re passionate about is feeling like we have the power and the know-how and the knowledge to do that and make an impact whether it’s for something small or for something really big. I think we’re really excited. We work for our clients but we say we work for their customers, that’s what we’re excited about and I think that’s what gets us out of bed in the morning.
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