Photos by Josephmark
January 01, 2019
Josephmark is a digital venture studio that designs, builds and launches beautiful products people love to use.
From a small studio in Brisbane, Josephmark (JM) has taken its business global with offices in Brisbane, Los Angeles, Stockholm and Sydney - so chances are, they have a job opening somewhere you'd like to live.
We talked to Alex Naghavi (Executive Creative Director) and Megan Griffiths (People and Culture Director) to give you a glimpse behind the scenes. You will totally admire Josephmark after reading this interview. If you haven't done so before.
Alex NaghaviExecutive Creative Director
Megan GriffithsPeople and Culture Director
Who are you? What is your job at Josephmark?
MG: Hello! I’m Megan. I’m the People and Culture Director at Josephmark. I do my best to make sure everyone is happy and doing what they’re best at everyday. I look after our teams spread across Australia, Los Angeles and Stockholm, as well as helping to find new people to join the crew.
AN: And I’m Alex – Executive Creative Director at Josephmark. I’m currently heading up the LA studio, but oversee the design team globally as a whole. As my title suggests, a big part of my role is leading the creative direction on projects, however, I believe the most important part of my job is fostering a culture where our team can feel empowered, inspired and supported to develop, learn and grow.
What inspired you to join Josephmark?
MG: I had been working as a Producer in London and decided to head home to Brisbane. I assumed that I’d have to forget my dreams of working in a creative business, but amazingly I knew the right people who knew the right people and BAM, got a job as Producer at Breeder (Josephmark’s sister company). The role eventually morphed into being Stage Mom for both Breeder and Josephmark, and I’ve recently celebrated my 7th JM birthday.
AN: Like many people at JM, I’ve been with the company for years – nine in fact! And because of that, I think this question becomes less about why we joined, and more about why we stay. Working on awesome projects and having the opportunity to do our own internal ventures is one thing, but it’s really the incredible people and culture that makes JM such a great place. In fact, it kind of makes the work-life balance a bit of a blur, and that’s a nice thing. The amount of people who just check in with the team when they’re off on holidays or maternity leave is pretty damn adorable.
What do you tell your family and friends about Josephmark and what you do?
MG: My spiel usually goes something like, “we’re a digital design studio” and if they look confused, I follow it up with a volley of “we make apps but also design websites that do stuff but also do title design etc etc…” – until they change the topic or slowly edge away from me.
AN: What Megan said. Though, if I’m talking to clients, I’ll usually explain our studio/ventures model, which allows us to service clients but also gives us the opportunity to work on internal ventures, either by ourselves or with the right partner. No matter the project, the main thing we’re doing is either bringing an idea to life, growing or changing an existing product, or creating something entirely new.
Could you show us an outstanding project you worked on in the past few month?
AN: We recently launched Chip – a Slack app to help workplaces donate to charity. Crazily, we did it for Hack Day across every JM studio around the globe and within 24 hours. Pressure truly does create diamonds. Something else we recently worked on was the branding for Future Women – a brand-new initiative committed to supporting and advancing women. And of course, we recently rebranded and relaunched our own site, which is always fun. #loljks
How and when does the day in the office start? And when and how does it end? 😉
MG: We have flexible working hours, so folks can start whenever they want, but people in our Australian studios typically turn up around 9ish. If I’m in early I try to get onto the tunes before anyone else has a chance and put on some dorky ‘90s tracks. Our LA team starts later so they’ve got more overlap with us whilst poor Stockholm gets an early start to sync up with our Australian teams. The day then wraps up around 6ish, though often parents (like me) will have to dash a bit earlier to fetch children. Lots of us jump back onto Slack later in the evening from home, sometimes to work and sometimes to chat about whatever show we’re watching on Netflix.
What opportunities are there for employees to learn new things?
MG: We have a Learning and Development Fund, where each employee has a set amount they can use to attend courses, events or even work remotely. Our team have used this to travel to Apple conferences in San Francisco, Confab in Minneapolis, The Conference in Malmö and cool local stuff like Sydney’s Semi Permanent or Melbourne’s Pause Fest. But I think the biggest learnings happen on the job, with exposure to ventures and working across so many different projects. Here, the team is encouraged to take on new roles and find their niche – you could find yourself shifting from design to business modelling, or motion design to product design. Whatever you want to pursue, we want to help you achieve it on the job, as there's no better way to learn than simply getting stuck in. Oh, also! We’ve got a personal fund that can be used for pretty much anything, from yoga to horse riding to Korean lessons.
How does the recruitment process at Josephmark look like?
MG: We’re constantly on the lookout for talent, so we try to meet with people even when we don’t have roles available. We prefer to find folks ourselves rather than going through recruiters. We follow a pretty standard process, except that our interviews are often conducted by a few people around the globe, so typically it’ll be a Google Hangout with someone from our Brisbane studio, plus one of the team in Sweden or Los Angeles. We’re evolving this process to keep up with how we work, figuring out how best to work with our remote and local teams.
What are the biggest mistakes you see people make when applying for a job at Josephmark?
AN: Not having a personality or being too cocky. When I see an email that’s essentially two lines saying something like “check out my stuff” – I can almost guarantee that we won’t be hiring that person. We want to see your personality, we want to know what makes you tick.
What personal characteristics do you look for in an exceptional candidate?
MG: The right candidates typically blend work and the rest of their lives. They do this for fun, it’s not just what they do 9-5. Also, we really like super nice and genuine people. No jerks allowed!
AN: It all starts with a good attitude because I believe skills can be learned, but attitude often remains the same. And it obviously helps that design candidates have a great looking website/portfolio, which demonstrates their understanding of design as well as critical thinking. But the portfolios that often catch my eye are going against the grain and doing work that is unique and creative. I see a lot of portfolios that just feel the same – and to me, that doesn’t show creative potential, it just shows that you can copy other people.
Why are you better at your job than your competitors?
AN: Our ventures work allows us to understand the full journey of a startup as we’re designing from the seed of an idea, right through to business modeling, product strategy, full tech stack development, marketing and growth – all the parts are considered to make a well informed (and hopefully successful) whole.
What would you like to tell us about Josephmark that is not written down in your job descriptions?
MG: We kinda like each other A LOT.
AN: In a way, we’re the best of both worlds – product team and design studio. Which ever one you want to be more apart of, you can be.
Alex and Megan - thank you for your time and dedication!