Chirag Gander & Sahil Vaidya, Co-Founders – The Minimalist
Graduating from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) India, Chirag & Sahil explored many areas of interest of which design and technology were the huge chunk which kept them excited and gave them an adrenaline rush. The founders of The Minimalist, the duo often refer themselves as storytellers.
The Minimalist is a design and digital consultancy known for its unique cultural insights that are implemented through thought provoking designs.
“We have always been fervent about creating designs that provoke thought as well as action. Our passion lies in revolutionizing the way people perceive design. Vocalizing words that change perceptions, telling stories that leave a ceaseless impact and creating visuals that are self-explanatory have always been a part of our to-do list.” they say.
Started as a Facebook page, The Minimalist has grown immensely and Chirag and Sahil have become the Ted talk of the town and have more than 100+K followers on social media. They have also won the prestigious The Kyoorius Design Award in the year 2014.
Team ABT reached out to the team to know more from their entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us about the journey of The Minimalist and its evolution
Started as a Facebook page to showcase the unique notions juggling inside the minds of two IITians, The Minimalist highlighted social issues in the most witty and minimal ways possible. The designs began to generate an impact and swayed away some real minds, leading them to get viral. The company started its operation on the May 18, 2015 in full swing. And since then, there has been no looking back. The team has matured from 2 to 40 full time employees creating great work together and taking it to the next level. We’ve had the honour to deliver over 150 clients including multiple fortune 500 companies like Coca cola, Bloomberg, Berkshire Hathaway, etc
How & where did you meet your Co-founders?
Like all our designs, work and thoughts, the story is minimal. We use to travel together in an auto rickshaw for our internships. And just in between some discussion we thought of starting The Minimalist Facebook page! But this wasn’t destiny playing its card, we were batch mates from IIT Bombay, and also shared the same hostel. Before we nurtured this child – The Minimalist together, we were acquaintances who were just familiar with each other’s existence and intentions of making it big in life.
Tell us about some of the challenges that you faced & how did you overcome them?
Stepped fresh out of college, we had no corporate background to back us up in starting up with an agency. On the perkier side, we got to learn about the corporate domain on our own with all the flexibility to explore it. Throughout our building stage, we had an unalike outlook towards everything prevailing in this arena. In order to overcome these challenges and more, we hired some experienced people from the industry and received mentorship from people who have spent multiple decades in the corporate world.
Another obstacle was getting good resources. The market that we were aiming at was a niche one, rather than the one approachable by and to the masses. Due to the offbeat approach practiced by The Minimalist, it always took us a while to persuade people that our way of operation could aid their brands to outshine others in their industries.
Also, people do not cognize the importance of design in this country and even those who do, do not understand the impact that a good product or branding can make to the brand. Since past two years, we’ve been waiting for the sweet spot to pick up and command the functioning of the industry.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to doing business?
We have always believed in and emphasized on the importance of humans as our main resources. For us, our employees come first. We understand and appreciate the fact that our employees are humans first and resources later. In order to keep growing, we make sure that we hire talents who are better than us, maintaining the challenge to outcome ratio in the company. We try to innovate continuously to complement the requirements of our customers.
Since day 1, we’ve been running our operations as a lean agile machine. We’ve been expanding on our profits itself and all the great work that comes from the team uses the resources squirreled from the revenues, in the most efficient ways possible. The organization has also tried to cater to new companies and start-ups coming with small budgets, with the service ‘Minimalist Express’. Here, we help them enhance their social media profiles with a combination of their strengths and our creativity.
We’ve always adopted an open to partnerships approach where we have done channel partnership with big corporate, to achieve our vision of creating thought provoking designs.
What are the unique areas that you are addressing?
One of the distinctive features of our venture is diversity. We consist of a miscellany of people from various spaces such as aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology, journalism, media science, fine arts and advertising. It is atypical to have 6 people from IIT in a design agency which allows us to have people who are experts and understand technology and design.
Our young and vibrant team has an average age of around 25 years and have managed to be the only design agency in India to have over one lakh Facebook followers. Also, we are one of the sparse organizations to have been profitable since day one.
What would you like to achieve in the next coming years?
In the forthcoming years, we are looking forward to put India on the world map, known for its quality design and ingenious ideation. We’ll be expanding in the areas of Digital Solutions, Process Design, Data Visualization and Customer Experience Advisory underlining web products, app suite, enterprise software, space design, Interactive advertising to name a few. We’re hunching over becoming the McKinsey of the design space.