Jay Eckert of Parachute tells us about web design and development and how they strive to break free of the expected.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jay Eckert: So far, so good, thank you for asking. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy as well.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Parachute.
Jay Eckert: I’m a graphic designer with 20 years of experience in Canada’s largest market, Toronto. I spent a few early years getting my feet wet with various agencies and learning the ropes before venturing out on my own to create Parachute. Parachute began in 2003 as a small design consultancy and grew rapidly over the years as we were recognized for our hand-craft approach to design. Merging our creative side with the technical expertise we’ve grown into one of the most regarding web design agencies in Canada.
How does Parachute innovate?
Jay Eckert: We’re exposed to different technologies, ideas, and concepts all the time in our work as we work with many different industries and partner with our clients’ SEO and digital marketing agencies as well. All of this experience helps our team learn, grow and push the envelope of what is expected from each and every client along the way.
As our experience spans so many different industries, niches, and personalities, we strive to break free of the expected and use strategies and tactics from other industries to disrupt and command attention.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jay Eckert: We went virtual in 2009, so we were largely unaffected by the pandemic. Initially, our client’s all locked everything down and froze their projects for the first few months of the pandemic, but we were able to stay afloat, keep everyone on salary and support our clients as they figured out how to keep their businesses moving, which strategies to alter and how to move forward in this new landscape. I believe we’ve come out the other side stronger than ever.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Jay Eckert: No, none at all. We were very fortunate. Initially cautious within the first few months of lockdowns, but we made it through the worst of the storm relatively unscathed.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jay Eckert: We found that our customers really got the sense that we were there to help and support them as their businesses were hit harder than ours. We didn’t bill many of our clients for several months until they got back on their feet so that they could keep their staff on payroll and keep their businesses afloat.
Having been virtual for 11 years prior to the pandemic, we were already well established with collaboration tools like InVision, Slack and Zoom. However, if anything has changed, I suspect it’s been that our clients are now more accustomed to Zoom and Slack versus requesting traditional in-person meetings and phone calls.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jay Eckert: No, we did not require any grants.
Your final thoughts?
Jay Eckert: I believe the hard times through the pandemic strengthened our bond with our clients and deepened the trust they place in our agency to support their digital marketing. I believe more people will continue to work virtually now they’re accustomed to its very nature, and clients are more willing to rely on technology to collaborate and work together.