Recently, I got a chance to sit down with Sean Charles, co-founder of Kavyar, and learn what exactly this company is all about!
How would you describe Kavyar to an outsider looking in?
SC: I think the best way to describe it is simply as a product for now, thats what I think that people would get. The product is actually a service, a website, that allows creative people to create profiles, post work, get feedback, share, be inspired and find people to connect with. That’s only part of the story.. in a nutshell, when I started this I had other motives, yeah I want to create this website where people could connect, but really I had a lot of frustrations with the industry and how it is. There’s all this stuff going on by these money hungry business individuals that prey on creative individuals. I see Kavyar as a shining beacon of light, to cut out the middle man and to be run by creative people.
Where and when did it all begin?
SC: Location wise, Rochester- thats where I was designer, thats where i lived for a little while. So out in Rochester, I had some other developer friends that were also creative individuals. It actually started as a joke, to be honest with you. Somehow I went home and started thinking about it and it became really serious to me. I left my fashion label to do this and sketched out the ideas for it, and about two years of building it kind of grew out of there. You can say we’re located in Rochester, but its a global site.
Who does Kavyar work with?
SC: We felt like there’s some really big issues in the industry right now. One of the things is creative individuals are not truly connected and when certain creative people are connected it’s too vertical. What we felt that creative people cross pollinate all the time- a photographer may be somebody that paints or sculpts or something like that. So, what Kavyar seeks to do is actually unite the entire creative industry. The list is long but we deal with models, photographers, fine artists- we deal with anyone that can produce beautiful images. Our goal is to add video and audio based tools so we can create really nice accounts for bands and musicians.
How does someone become a part of Kavyar?
SC: Really what you need is just some work. A headshot, and four images illustrating your work. If you sign up with Facebook, and have your images on your computer or on your phone, you can sign up in probably three minutes. Thats something we’re trying to streamline.
What is your role with Kavyar?
SC: Although we have a system of management, I kind of act as the CEO- even though that’s how it probably will shake out eventually. I am in charge of the vision, the quality of the product, and direction of the company. I’m also the loudest and most talkative! And I am an interfaced designer, so all of us are managing partners but are also technicians. We’re not paying someone to build our website, we are the designers. We believe that too often there are these business people that have these ideas and high a bunch of people. We work like slaves because its our product so we continually iterate a 100 times on something just to get it right.
How do you “unite” creative people on your site?
SC: Crediting is so big in the industry and someone like me, who’s been in the industry, I know a lot of the issues. A model goes to a photographer to gets shots taken so the models asking for shots and they run them through Instagram. But there’s a big problem with quality control and releasing your work. So what we do is let’s say everyone has an account-the model, photographer, designer- the designer can upload and then they can go on and credit the model and the work will automatically appear in the model’s portfolio. We’re trying to create a way of connecting through crediting as well as not having to worry about managing your files or losing them.
(Current example of image crediting)
So that really has to do with your slogan “creative professionals unite”-
SC: Yeah well we used to be “Portfolio Network for Creative Professionals.” It was completely my mistake because I was always complaining about advertising. But too often people get highly conservative in their message; so in their branding they go ‘okay, this is what we do, let me tell you our features, so you can learn about our product.’ We fell to that mistake basically, under my supervision, and it was my idea to start out explaining our product, but really… no one cares. If you’re actually trying to create a brand which is my end goal with Kavyar, to have it be a brand, the last thing you do is talk about your product. That’s a rule that I believe and that’s a recent change we did about a month ago. Since we did that our conversions went through the roof.
There’s really nothing else out there like this, is there?
SC: No, there isn’t and the reason is that you don’t have crazy creative crusaders in charge of a product. You have people like Adobe, in charge of Behance. If they’re making money they don’t feel a need to improve it. We will succeed in remaking the industry or someone with the same agenda will.
What are your entrepreneurial goals for 2014?
SC: This year, since we’re considering ourselves in beta, we’re hoping to move out of beta by early this year, if not by early in the summer. We’re going to do a launch party to coincide with that. And then we’re going to secure investment, from the right type of investor- I’m almost thinking like a super angel that has a similar agenda. Then start the real launch, start the real growth. I think we’ve identified that we’ve seen enough evidence to see we’re a successful site and so our recipe, is successful. People are using it successfully and coming back so the only thing we need right now is to get the word out on a global scale.
After learning about this innovative new social platform for the creative industry, it really does seem like a beacon of hope for the future! Finally, a place run by creative professionals for creative professionals.
Visit them at kavyar.com
You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @OfficialKavyar