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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: Cake & Arrow

Small Business Snapshot: Cake & Arrow Credit: Cake & Arrow

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Alex Schmelkin, founder and CEO of Cake & Arrow, shares the story behind his business.

Cake & Arrow, a digital customer experience agency, helps companies do better business when they depend on the web to actually do their business. We uncover what their customers really want, and then build digital experiences that deliver it. Most of our clients are ecommerce, insurance or luxury brands.

Our success depends on attention to detail, which we love. Because of that, we are focused on maintaining a people-first culture. Workday yoga, dog-friendly offices, and, in addition to a generous paid vacation policy, we close the office for a week, in July and December, each year. Any time we can celebrate together, like on Halloween, we do. Everyone picks a coworker's name out of a hat and buys them a costume. Not only do we dress up all day, we do a mini-parade into Madison Square Park. It makes work fun and it's helped us win "Best Place to Work in NYC" three times in the past two years.

We've come a long way from being a 2-person start-up. My partner and I knew that bringing together our opposing backgrounds (design and technology) could offer businesses a truly unique service; human-centered digital experiences that leave users feeling valued. We've lasted 14 years and grown to 50 employees, so I think we were right.

Our growing isn't done either. Now we're competing against huge agencies, even global corporate consultancies so we have to be much more prominent in sharing our research, insights and thought leadership. If potential clients don't understand how complex user experience design is, they won't value how we’ve mastered it. Everyone at Cake & Arrow is an expert, but can we demonstrate that to the world? Luckily, it's a challenge our people are up to.

Edited for length and clarity by Jennifer Post.