I was the co-founder of CatPrint.com, a web-based printing where anyone can get short run, professional quality prints delivered quickly and inexpensively to their door. When I started, CatPrint consisted of just me, working in the other cofounder's basement. From this humble beginning, I was able to grow the company to employ seven people full-time, bringing in over $75,000 per month in sales, at a respectable profit margin.
We built several custom software tools at CatPrint that enabled us to have extremely fast turnaround times, with the average print job being completed, from receipt of the job to putting the tape on the shipping box, in about seven minutes.
I was involved in every step of designing this software, with an eye for efficiency. I also took a central role in designing a major website update we performed after a few years in business.
An early wireframe I created for our website redesign
I also was the graphic designer and creative director for CatPrint, and performed all graphic design duties for the length of my time with the company. This included both print and web graphic design.
A web design mockup I created in Photoshop
An advertising postcard showing vector art I created in Illustrator
When building the software tools and our revamped website, I hired outside software contractors. I was the key liaison between our company and theirs, and fulfilled a project manager role, making sure that the projects stayed on target, and that they conformed to our intentions and designs at every step.
I did not actually develop much code myself, but I did have to become well versed in Ruby on Rails in order to keep track of what was happening with the development of our software.
I was the primary designer of our print production process. I decided on the machines we purchased, where they would be placed within our office, and how they would be used. I decided which paper stocks we would use, where they would be stored, and how our print queue operated to best minimize paper changes (a time-consuming process). The result of these systems was that CatPrint has an extremely fast internal turnaround time that has been praised by Xerox (one of our major industrial suppliers), and has been used by Xerox as an example to their other customers.
One system I helped design was using barcodes printed on job sheets that follow a print job through the process, which helped reduce errors, reduce machine setup time (through integrating barcode scanners and custom software), reduce shipping time (barcodes eliminate need to manually type in customer addresses), and improve efficiency.
In addition to my responsibilities described above, I was also the chief architect of the company, in charge of business development, accounting (for the first two years, until we hired an accountant), all of our marketing efforts (including presence at tradeshows and heavy use of Google Adwords), graphic design for our web and print marketing, and in the early days, the actual print production. Because CatPrint was a startup, I also did a host of other things, like taking out the garbage, doing the dishes in the company kitchen, and finding cheap but fun places to have company happy hours.
A booth backdrop I created for the National Stationary Show
I left CatPrint to pursue other opportunities, including education to focus on the passion for interaction design that I discovered while starting the company. I am still on extremely amicable terms with the company.