“People you look forward to working with.” That’s what the client at Tazo said about Sandstrom Partners. This is more significant than most design practices realize, because there is a lot of talent out there right now. The differences between this design firm and that one are not drastic. Granted, there are a few that are head and shoulders above the rest. And when you’re looking at them, and comparing their work or their process or their backgrounds or their awards won or their anthologies published, they all more or less blend together. What you look for at that point is the firm’s relevant experience, and their personality. Will they be fun or easy to work with? Do they look like they will bring something fresh and new to the equation? Will they be difficult and recalcitrant? Will they use words like recalcitrant? Will there be pouting? Worse, will there be shouting? Worse still, will there be rampant ass-kissing to the detriment of the work? Will this firm be “people I look forward to working with”?
We have tried to make Sandstrom Partners a place where people are innately passionate about great design, wildly ambitious about every project, and yet, somehow, genuinely nice people. So, “success” to us is not just cleaning up at an awards show, but more when our teams jockey to make sure their team gets as much or more credit than they do. Success is when clients show up unannounced at the studio just because they need some inspiration. Success is when we get to travel with our clients to one of their trade awards shows and see them shine for being brave and intelligent and respectful of the consumer. Success is when we actually become friends with our vendors. Success is when one of our more challenging clients tells us that she still looks forward to meeting with us. That’s success in Sandstrom Partners terms.