Money or Honey?

Or how to grow an agency from 2 to 20 employees in 2 years while staying perfectly sane.

Turischev Sasha
Jun 22, 2017 · 7 min read

What is Zajno?

My name is Sasha and I’m 24. I’m Design Director and Founder of Zajno with 5+ years of experience in digital design. I am really into designing interfaces for innovative products aimed to revolutionize “the game”. I set the bar high and always try to raise it even higher as I go. I believe many of us considered starting their own business, agency, studio — you name it. I prefer to call it a team of soulmates that are united by a common goal. I used to work at many companies where I felt as a tool in hands of mediocre people. It just didn’t work for me. I shifted between doing freelance and working for in-house teams. And one day I decided to start my own team because I felt like the companies out there making complex business solutions did not always deliver great value, and I really wanted to create meaningful and thought-out digital products. And a chance of getting out of the local market and going global also warmed my heart.

From left to right: My first partner that wanted to become a designer, our first illustrator and me

So many questions to answer — what, where, how, and most importantly — why.

You might wonder what the name “Zajno” stands for. I have been dreaming about verbal communication with no limits and supported any idea of creating a universal language. Roots of the word Zajno come from Esperanto. Basically, the word Zajno has no sense till you add letters D and E at the beginning of it. And that’s how you get deZajno (simply, design).

Most part of the Zajno Crew.

Quality or Quantity?

Quality was the thing that guided us as the Northern star guides the men of the sea. You’ve got to create something meaningful, because otherwise there’s no point in doing it, right? We were following this golden rule as we were progressing, where I was responsible for the art direction, pushing those pixels non-stop, and my friend was honing his skills in managing projects we were getting.

Quality was the thing that guided us as the Northern star guides the men of the sea.

Every design decision we made had to be based on solid ground, it had to make sense for the users and for business within the context. Logic and clear structure is king. And I believe that there is nothing impossible for quality-oriented companies and individuals. Our understanding of this rule strengthened as the number of clients addressing us was growing.

Our front-end developer looks so cute, doesn’t he?

What happened?

After 18 months of roaming we became a team of 20. There was no time for us to mess around anymore. We started transforming our flat company structure into something more efficient and easier to manage. We now had departments — design, art and development. When you stay small, there is always a personal touch as to how you interact with people within the company. The more you grow, the less boutique you become. But it was hard to realize at that time due to heavy project load and lots of things to cope with. Being as large as we were, it was extremely hard to sustain the quality of projects whilst supplying the entire team with interesting and meaningful work.

Zajno Crew Showreel from 2016. It’s like a summary of the year.

Failures aren’t deadly

They make you stronger if you can see the reasons behind those failures and learn from them. So we did, and I’d love to share some of the things we’ve learned along our journey.

Working with Konux, Germany. We always come to our clients when it’s needed.

Zajno Crew

Zajno is an international digital solutions boutique. We help startups and established businesses alike to achieve their goals and score big. We believe in giving you the freedom to have ideas. It’s our job to turn those ideas into reality.

Turischev Sasha

Written by

Founder & Art Director at @ZajnoCrew. Wanna collaborate? hello@zajno.com

Zajno Crew

Zajno is an international digital solutions boutique. We help startups and established businesses alike to achieve their goals and score big. We believe in giving you the freedom to have ideas. It’s our job to turn those ideas into reality.