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Studio Almond: The desirable e-commerce design studio

Studio Almond is currently one of the most desirable e-commerce design studios in New Zealand, as they focus on helping e-commerce brands grow. Having worked with the likes of Emma Lewisham, Two Islands and many more, we sit down with Founders, Alex and Monica Murton to talk about how Studio Almond came about, what makes a successful e-commerce site and where to next.

Alex and Monica have been working in the industry of websites and mobile apps for nearly eight years now. But their experience doesn’t stop there as they have been across the world in places such as London and Berlin designing and building digital experiences for over seven years. Alex and Monica, who first met in the UK, thought it was right to set up their own studio in New Zealand.

With Alex’s experience in the developing and Monica’s experience in design, they both recognised that there was a clear gap in the industry in New Zealand when it came to a user experience and design with e-commerce.that balances the experience with admin, marketing and business goals in mind.

“It became apparent that a lot of our work was based on our overseas experience and was a little ahead of the curve here, so that’s when within six months we decided we would pursue our own thing,” says Monica.

“Obviously there are loads of other digital studios and agencies, but I think we had taken on a fresh approach from overseas and we had seen that it was not being implemented here very well at the time,” she adds.

Alex says that it was a nice surprise after coming to New Zealand to see they were ahead of the general digital landscape and took this as an opportunity.

Read more: Web specialists, Studio Almond complete Emma Lewisham’s new site

Immediately from the launch of Studio Almond, Alex and Monica were working on projects both internationally and locally in New Zealand. But with Covid-19, they both began working more on local projects.

“It’s been an interesting kind of pivot but we’re working with lots of brand that are leading within their industry and their space, so it’s been amazing to help New Zealand businesses grow,” says Monica.

“For us it’s not about designing and building a site and in two years to think of something new, for us it’s about approaching the whole project holistically and understanding what’s worked before, where do we want to move in the future and what does that look like instead of designing something pretty,” says Alex.

Many of their clients have come via word of mouth, they say, having worked with brands such as Emma Lewisham, Aleph Beauty, Two Islands and many more.

Alex and Monica say the brands they choose to work with are companies they are already fans of.

“We always try to work with brands that are ambitious, that are innovative, pushing themselves within their industry and aiming to be a market leader, industry leader no matter what space they are in,” says Monica.

Studio Almond have chosen to work with clients who want to “future-proof” their e-commerce side of business, which has led the pair to work closely with brands who are in their ‘growth’ stage.

“Most of the clients are coming to us are already established brands, they’ve already proven their business model and now it’s growing from 2 million to 10 million or 10 million to 20 million. It’s serious growth that we’re looking at, usually international as well if they are a New Zealand brand,” adds Alex.

Studio Almond is focused on creating a timeless e-commerce experience for clients and their consumers as well as future-proofing which has become their signature style.

“The difference comes down to the types of brands we work with, they are specifically looking to grow, they are not just looking for something pretty to represent their business and that will do for a while,” says Alex.

In order to get the best design for the brand, Alex and Monica take a “very hands-on approach” with their client to understand what the company and the consumer need.

From the beginning, Alex and Monica are very involved to get the “big picture” in how the business operates. They take an integrated approach, but it may vary depending on which stage of growth each company is at.

“The key thing about being around us is that we’re designing and building something that is completely custom,” says Monica.

Now with the borders open, the pair hope that Studio Almond will get back into the international scene and pick up larger scale opportunities from across the ocean in markets such as the UK, the US and Australia. 

“I think the projects we work on are quite largescale already for New Zealand but being able to do that for other markets and stuff would be really great,” says Monica.

“One of our goals is to be one of the top three leading e-commerce studios in Australasia.”

Despite plans to work on larger and international projects, Alex and Monica wish to remain as a boutique studio, allowing them to “pick and choose what we’re interested in and what we’re super passionate about so that we can produce our best work for them”.

Both Alex and Monica have explained that even with their success they still have dream clients they wish to work with, staple household brands in New Zealand such as Fix and Fogg, Acme, Ecostore, Bremworth and more.

“We really appreciate products that are doing something different from the next,” adds Monica.

As of right now, Studio Almond has large projects underway, with brands such as Blunt Umbrellas and Ruby soon to come out.

But in meantime, Alex and Monica are running Studio Almond to “create something unexpected that really resonates with people”.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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