First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Craig Johnson: We’re feeling very blessed that we’re doing well. Thankfully, everyone has been healthy. Since my wife home schools our children already, that hasn’t been too difficult of a transition for us. We’re very thankful for what we have.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Matchstic.
Craig Johnson: I’ve always been on the business side of a creative industry. I was always playing in garage bands in High School and College, and I ended up getting a degree in Music Business Management. After college, I got a job working at an Artist Management company, but after a while, although I enjoyed being on the business side of a creative industry, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in the music industry anymore. I began working with creative professionals and helping to manage their businesses and careers, and that ultimately led to starting Matchstic with my (still) business partner, Blake Howard.
How does Matchstic innovate?
Craig Johnson: Since we’re constantly working on projects, we’re very often leveraging the projects we have to try new things and test new products. We also have a group within our company that is tasked with keeping on top of the latest trends.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Craig Johnson: Since we mostly do project-based work, the types of projects we’re working on, and the industries we’re working with have definitely shifted. Consequently, it has forced us to find new ways to collaborate not only with our team but also with our clients since we lack face-to-face interaction.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Craig Johnson: We did have to reduce our staff by a few, and those are always very tough decisions to make, especially knowing that it’s affecting other people’s lives. We worked hard to set those people up for success and did all we could to help them find their next thing. I’m reminded in a time like this that the more flexibility you have in your business model, the easier it is to weather these types of storms.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Matchstic in the future?
Craig Johnson: Being honest about it with family and friends is probably the most important thing. Understanding what I can and can’t control in situations and making sure to exercise consistently. Our vision of being ‘The Brand Identity House of the South’ hasn’t changed, and we’re careful not to let this pandemic change how we view who we are and where we’re going, but there will still be the detail of how we do that, that will look slightly different. We also believe that this will pass, and we don’t want to let Coronavirus become everything.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Craig Johnson: We’re in an industry with a lot of different competitors, and we’re always going to have competition. There are constantly new people showing up, and we have to continue to stay humble, hungry, and willing to learn and get better at what we do. We have to focus more on our clients than we do our competition, and we believe that if we can constantly serve them well, then we don’t have to worry that much about competition.
Your final thoughts?
Craig Johnson: There are always going to be unique challenges in front of us. When they come, we have a choice to either fall victim to them or to accept them for what they are and move forward in spite of them.
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