First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Raff Marques: I’m well, but my parents got COVID-19. My mother’s case wasn’t that serious, but my father had to spend a few days at the hospital in observation. Both of them are now safe at home and COVID-free.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MOWE.
Raff Marques: I met my business partner at the University, but we started our careers following different paths inside the Design Industry – He went to work with Motion Design, and I followed the path of UX/UI. Eventually, life found its way, we got in touch again years after graduation, and the idea of creating MOWE just happened naturally because we had a similar vision of the studio we would like to work on and the kind of work we would like to do.
How does MOWE innovate?
Raff Marques: We first innovated five years ago when we started working as a remote studio, way before it was cool – or just necessary. It was born out of necessity and curiosity. We lived far away from each other, but we were also curious about the possibilities of working with clients outside Brazil – where we are originally from. One year later, we opened MOWE in the USA – which was our second innovation – and nowadays, neither Felippe nor I live in Brazil anymore. Still, it doesn’t affect in any way the work we create for our clients or the relationship we have with our team, which is also entirely remote.
The current way we innovate is that our expertise mixes marketing, design, and animation in one box. Our clients come to us for our work’s quality and stay because of our attention, care, and vision on every project we take on.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Raff Marques: It didn’t affect us at all. This year has been our best year since we started the studio five years ago. The fact that we were doing this for five years already meant that when everybody had to restructure their businesses, we were already flying high and fast. Also, since many live-action shootings were cancelled due to lockdowns around the world, many agencies came to us looking for animated solutions instead.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Raff Marques: The difficult choice was deciding if we could keep everyone on our team or not when COVID-19 stopped the world. We didn’t know the commercial impact that it could have on us, but we had eight incredible professionals working with us, and we didn’t want to let anyone go. We had to change some of our plans, but everyone stayed with us, and the team even expanded recently.
The important lesson we learned is that even though we’re a business, we’re also a team full of people that care for each other. When we were honest with them about the future and our vision to tackle the “challenge of the following months,” everyone was happy that even though we all had to compromise a little, we’d all have MOWE as a safe place to rest our dreams while the world was changing.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and MOWE in the future?
Raff Marques: Stress and anxiety were a massive struggle during this year for me, for sure. The way I dealt with that was by discovering the power of meditation. It can help you clear your mind and vision, not only about yourself but also about the world around you. I have many plans for myself and the company, so I’m quite excited about next year and all the challenges it’ll bring. Overall, we’re currently studying how to delegate a few roles inside the studio to enable me to be entirely focused on leading the studio’s creative direction as a whole, and not only the projects we have created for clients.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Raff Marques: It’s really hard to list competitors because each studio has their own style and vision. Still, we have many friends also doing great work at studios like Gunner, Niceshit, Wednesday Studio, Moth, Giant Ant, Ordinary Folks, Yellow Lab, and many others.
Our plan to stay ahead in the game is “simple.” Be true to ourselves, care for our client’s goals, and experiment A LOT, challenging ourselves in each new opportunity we have.
Your final thoughts?
Raff Marques: We hope that everyone here can understand that we’re in this together. Even though we’ve been busy, we’ve also taken our time to refer to other studios and professionals whenever we saw a fit. Giving back to your community is essential in moments like these. Be it the creative community, your neighborhood, or just the people that live in the same building as you. We’re all in this together, and we want to get out of this together as well, as safe as possible.