Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
Design led by business strategy and intuitive usability are part of the equation for Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin. Reshma is CEO of B/C Designers, a firm that helps startups and established brands solve business problems beautifully.
What is your point of view on design and business?
We believe in bridging the gap between a business consultant and an agency. Design should be a fundamental part of a business model. But our services go well beyond what people traditionally see as design. We are problem solvers. Whether that is launching a new product, dealing with brand misconceptions, sales problems and more.
Who are some of your clients?
We work with two kinds of companies: serious startups that are ready to take their business to the next level or large companies that are looking to solve business problems, understand the landscape of commerce and digital today. Some of our clients include Greetabl, ExtraHelp, one of St. Louis’s fastest growing companies, and even a sustainable fishing company in Massachusetts.
What can established businesses learn from startups?
About making decisions quickly, and not getting hung up on needing unnecessary validation. It’s really important to make thoughtful but agile decisions.
What can startups learn from established businesses?
Startups can learn about the value of process and checks and balances. Some large businesses are quite effective at having more formal processes in place that lead to efficiency and less mistakes!
Tell me about a favorite project. Why?
Greetabl is one that EQ readers will be familiar with and it was a joy. We worked collaboratively to transform a clever product into a digital business. The best clients have respect for you and you for them, and [they] value your insight and expertise; so collaboration was enjoyable with the Greetabl team. Through the process we really understood and honed in on our target demo. The business model, design, product and digital platform all work together seamlessly to create a beautiful and effective brand experience.
Your team is based in different cities. How do you make working remotely work for you?
Many team members at B/C work remotely, so we have to be good at it. We believe in having the best talent and an A team. That sometimes means the right person is not in your same city. We are organized and function with good process and communication. No different than a big company with offices around the nation. However, we see each other often and we also do a company retreat every year. This year, we’ll probably rent a beach house and spend a few days working on the company, our goals, team building and more.
How has your family influenced who you are?
I came from a family where the women in our family achieved great things and were very much feminists long before it was mainstream. My grandmother was a famous actress in Bollywood and my mother was a single mother and was extremely entrepreneurial and a wonderful artist. I grew up in an atmosphere that allowed me to express my creativity, achieve academically without crazy pressure and dream big.
Tell us about the picture you sent for use with this story—what’s interesting to you about it?
This photo captures how much I love my team and what we do and create together. We love how close-knit we are as a team and that we enjoy being around each other—which makes doing good work that much easier!
Imagine you spend a long flight with an amazing person—who are they and what do you talk about?
My great grandfather was a Doctor of seven languages from Cornell, a brilliant man. He was also an entrepreneur and owned a bank before Indian independence. I would love to hear about his entrepreneurial journey, what India was like in the early 1900s and more about our family history.
Favorite guilty pleasure?
I love mindless TV! There’s this show called Younger, about this 40 year old woman who lies about her age to get a job in New York. That, and strawberry ice cream.
What productivity tools can you not live without?
Wunderlist, a super simple task manager. That, Google Apps and Slack. They allow me to stay completely connected wherever I am.
Who’s a person in your past that helped you become who you are? What did they do?
My mom. She’s an amazing woman. She was a single mom but never ever made us feel like we lacked anything. We shared a room while I was growing up and are best friends. She is turning 70 this year and could not be more current. She sees almost every movie that comes out, enjoys Pinterest and repinning my pins and always has words of wisdom.
How can people follow you (Twitter, blog, events, etc.)?
Stay tuned. We are launching a new blog with lots of exciting information, tips and more. Right now the best place to see what we are up to is on Instagram: @bcdesigners!