Dan Matutina still thinks quitting his job at an ad agency is probably “one of the craziest and stupidest” decision he has ever made. But the Filipino graphic designer does not regret making the leap.
Plus63 Design Co., the branding and design studio he co-founded with some of his friends, is now a leading voice in the local creative scene, counting among its clients many homegrown brands.
One client is a Filipino media conglomerate; another, the athletic team of the country’s premier state university. Add to that a world-renowned Filipino furniture designer, among many others.
They didn’t come overnight. It took a lot of self-promotion—and a bit of luck, Matutina adds. “There’s a bunch of really, really good work out there, and not all of the good work gets featured,” he tells GetCraft Co-Founder and Group CEO Patrick Searle in an interview for The Crafters.
He recalls that after he quit his job, he decided to cut down on personal spending. “For around six months, I think, we didn’t get any pay because we were just trying to look for clients,” Matutina says.
But he and his co-founders—all of them “designers and not business people”—learned a lot from the experience. For one, they were forced to realize that the studio was “a business and not a side project.”
Besides encouraging aspiring creative entrepreneurs to muster the courage to make mistakes and learn from them, Matutina also advises them to be open to new ideas.
Designers are curious about a lot of things, he said, and immerse themselves to various experiences. “It helps if you go to a good fine arts school… but I don’t think it’s a requirement,” Matutina adds.
He gives creative entrepreneurs more advice in this interview.