Pixelbuddha Creatives: Tom Ross
Every time we come to you with another article or interview, it's so much of our passion and excitement. Motivation, inspiration, energy, confidence — that's only a small part of emotions we try to bring you along, knowing how much it means for a creative to be full of creative energy.
But today is special, as we're here with a rousing interview with the head of a design project, which definitely stands out in the industry with its greatest design deals. They bring thousand-dollar-worth products for less than 1% with unbeatable licensing to make your life & workflow sweeter and smoother. With such creatives as Liza Glanz, Sam Parrett, Julia Dreams and lots of other outstanding, talented creatives they do their best to fill every designer's toolbox with assets of supreme quality.
Yeah, you've got it right: it's Tom Ross, super charismatic founder of Design Cuts. Are you ready?
Tom Ross, CEO and founder of Design Cuts
Design Cuts is one of the most successful (and definitely our favorite) design deals services in the industry. How have you achieved your top and what values do you and your team find vital to keep it as well as to differ from your competitors?
Thank you, I appreciate that! Really, it comes down to living by simple values but putting in the hard work to support them at scale. Those values for us are quality and caring. We offer the best quality in the industry, and we care a LOT about our customers and partners. Now, those are simple ideas, but they’re hard to execute on. When you’re turning down significant cash because you’re not willing to lower your bar of quality – that’s tough. When you’re putting in 100X the amount of work than your competitors because you care about the details, that’s hard. When you’re working at 3 am to make a customer happy, that’s hard. So it’s having the right values, and then the drive to back it up.
Tough and hard indeed! Got it. But surely that’s not all about working in Design Cuts, right? We're curious to know what DC project actually looks like inside: from the office to the day-to-day routine like. It seems like it's a special feeling of being on your team.
In a word – awesome! We have a really close-knit team, and when hiring new team members, I only ever hire lovely people who will be a good company fit – talent on its own isn’t enough. This means that often it feels more like a family than just a team. We have a lot of fun in the office, and all genuinely care about one another. You’re right, it feels pretty special, and I’m really proud of our culture and the team we’ve created.
Creative process in DC headquarters
Looking back at your first steps how you would characterize the industry of design deals and how it looks and performs now?
The design deals industry has only gotten busier. It’s the natural state of business that people follow success. However, I still believe that quality and being the best will always stand out. I have no interest in us being second best at what we do, so we work hard to continually innovate in order to preserve our spot as an industry leader.
What is Design Cuts for young creatives standing at the start of their career? There're hundreds, thousands of daring designers dreaming of joining your project as contributors and DC marketplace authors — what guidelines should they stick to for that?
We work with a lot of designers – young and old. Regardless of age, I get the biggest smile when I hear that we’ve just helped pay off a designer’s mortgage, or put their kids through college, or even just helped them to feel proud of themselves for earning some extra income. A lot of designers aren’t really passionate about marketing and distribution, they’re passionate about creating. By handling the distribution for them, they can keep focused doing what they love, and see their business flourish. It’s pretty amazing! In terms of people wanting to work with us, it comes down to two things: talent, and being nice.
Tom Ross, "The most essential values for us are quality and caring."
There's a great difference between a designer and a great designer. Being an experienced creative yourself, where do you see the edge and how can the one move from ordinary chores to being fully design-involved and producing good stuff?
It sounds cliché, but practice. We all sucked at a certain point, and we only get better through consistent practice. However, beyond that, I do think pay attention to work that you recognize as better than your own. Try to really analyze why it’s better, and learn from the design principles at work. Oh, and details, pay attention to the details! Often the best work lies somewhere between nailing the fundamentals and having fun with the details.
We know (and we actually passionately follow) The Honest Designers Show — an extremely insightful and frank (not to mention all the fun it delivers) podcast that brings the whole philosophy of design in a simple form. How have you come to this project and how do you run all these records?
Thanks so much for the feedback, that means a lot coming from you guys. We actually started the podcast as a mastermind, wherein Lisa, Dustin, Ian and myself would jump on a weekly call simply to help one another out with our design work and our creative businesses. Soon enough, we realized the candid conversations might be useful for others, so we put it out into the world. 500,000 downloads later, and we’ve been blown away by the support for the show, and we’re all really enjoying recording it each week.
The Honest Designers Show has got its 500,000 downloads — so you must not miss it
It's sometimes so important to get a piece of support from someone, who's already got the top and had a long way to it beforehand. It really is. Every time we get to Tom, we're honestly amazed by his empa thy and by the way he cares about everyone, making today's design industry so cozy and warm. And we do ask you: join it, get stronger, ask questions if you don't know what to start with — as it's so natural! Share your success and don't feel ashamed of your fails — it's your way, and everything that happens to you is your priceless experience.
And, finally, there is always the one to talk to. Just keep it in mind.