We had the good fortune of connecting with Dexter Washington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dexter, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
There was multiple pain points running through my head in my thought process of starting my own business. One of those things was making sure that I created an environment not only for myself but for others that was easier to work in and it was an honest and transparent space.
Coming off of bad management in my last jobs, one of them I worked at an ad agency and the environment was so bad that the co-workers would hold “venting sessions” throughout the week to talk about the unreasonable and unwarranted attitude coming from the CEO and management. Also at the time, I won a case against another CEO and they would always refuse to pay me the hours that. clocked in.
So with that being said, I truly believed that I could be a much better leader from learning from those situations and creating good systems that allow creative people to do their best work with little to no management on my side. We’ve done just that, teach creatives a methodical process and pay them well and it makes life a lot easier for everyone. I’m happy to hear things like “this is the most human feeling experience I’ve had at any agency I’ve worked at” it feels good, especially since agencies are notoriously known for a high volume / high stress environment lead by bad management. Being a black founder, I think it’s important to show that we can have success in this space and build a tech team in which we can co-exist with one another.
Another thought that ran through my head was – I just wanted to build something bigger than me. A brand that could be remembered, a brand that inspires, a brand that creates change, and ultimately one that also fulfills the purpose of my own life in the bigger picture. I’ve always wanted to build a creative company and fell short, this time I didn’t. I believe the second I was unselfish and let go of my own doubts I built momentum a lot quicker and from there it hasn’t stopped. Day by day I put my time in to get better at everything I have my hands on, I always ensure that the result is quality and well thought out. I believe quality is timeless and success to me looks like getting others to their bigger picture.
Lastly, I love being in situations where my inputs matched my outputs, in business I can create my own opportunities in business. Creative work when I was growing up wasn’t as respected as it is now (it’s debatable) but now the value is understood and being able to articulate that and serve others through creative work is my life’s work at this stage of my life. Compared to my previous jobs, where it may not have been seen as important or respected.
There was a lot of drivers in my head while building my own business from the beginning, they all circle around worth, value, and people. These same values are baked into the brand today through educational blogs and being the embodiment creating the change I wanted to see.
What should our readers know about your business?
Crafted Studios is a collaborative design studio with our focus on websites and brands. Through our strategic process we create websites that are beautiful and effective. You shouldn’t have to compromise on creativity because you need a lead generation machine (for example).
One of the ethos of the brand is rooted in this “people-first” idea. The meaning of that is from our team, to our clients, to anyone else we think about how we can create a positive environment for everyone to work in. We’re all about paying / treating creatives fairly with respect. For our clients working with us is different experience compared to larger corporate agencies. Clients become valued partners, we share laughs and get great results while doing so for some of the largest global tech enterprises and we love to empower smaller teams also.
The Crafted story is one that’a full of growing pains. It took a lot to get here, a lot of late nights getting better at my craft, a lot of pacing back and forth debating my next moves when things didn’t go right, learning how to become the person I needed to be — but there was light at the end of the tunnel and I didn’t quit. I think everything up until this point has just showed me what I didn’t want out of my creative career and as an individual.
The future is bright and with an abundance of opportunities if I can stay focused on what matters.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m more of a homebody myself, especially with all of the traffic in LA but I would take someone to Moss Cove and the surrounding beach cities. If I do go out, it has to be outdoors somewhere, and there’s some good places to eat. I honestly don’t eat out much due to food allergies, but I know of a few good taco spots in LA we can go to that have never steered me wrong.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my father first and foremost, a couple years before he past he told me “you’ve got to give yourself a chance” in context, I was going from job to job and was just feeling wary about myself and my future. I’ve always had a lot of pressure on me since I was kid to be equally as intelligent as him and have the corporate career he had for a period of time. With that being said, him telling me that was the seed that later sprouted into a confident individual that I know he would be proud of. Aside from that, he showed me how to push through the worst of times – so things that may seem difficult to others is a cakewalk to me. I keep a perspective in my life that always considers where I came from and that wouldn’t be apparent without my father.