We will try to stay away from the “must-haves” in the field like Adobe, Microsoft Word, Google, Facebook, and companies of that nature: brands we simply cannot do business without. This article dives deeper into why we choose the brands we do and how our visions line up.

apple logo1. Apple: Beauty in Simplicity

We couldn’t throw this one in the generic “must have” category because it does have quite a bit of controversy. We love Apple because their whole business model is designed on simplicity and ease of use. Although companies like Windows and Android may be coming out with the technology faster, are more customizable and open source, and have features that iPhones and MacBooks don’t… Apple’s machines simply work better. They last longer and are easier to use. And, almost as importantly, they are simply beautiful and elegant works of art. And when it all comes down to what they (and we) do as a company, isn’t that what the people want?

elegant themes logo2. Elegant Themes: Proof Your Product Will Last and “Done is Better than Perfect”

We could say we love Elegant Themes because they create gorgeous and incredibly adaptable and easy to use themes, builders, and plugins; but I think the reason we love this company so much is a different reason entirely. The issue with themes in general is when a developer creates one, it’s very easy for him or her to walk away and not provide support. They made their money with the one-time-sale and so on to the next theme they go.

Elegant Themes saw this problem and developed a solution. Instead of a flat price, they charge a yearly fee to use all of their themes and plugins. This not only gets their name and product out there, but since their model is based on a monthly/yearly fee, we know that their themes will always be up to date. Their products rarely have issues because they have a team and a community backing what they do.

Subscription based services do so much more than retain customers and clients; they prove you’re committed to the services you offer.

And finally, and maybe most importantly, a yearly subscription gives you the freedom to get your product into the world and then fix and update when it needs. Although your product has to be sharp to sell, done is better than perfect.

slack logo3. Slack: Communication Organizer

Slack not only helps businesses stop the endless streams of emails, but does a service in organizing organizations no other communication service has yet to dive into. With Slack, you can organize how you speak to a team or even yourself by putting conversations in “channels” or files. This way if you want to search through a conversation about a specific topic or client, you don’t have to dig through emails or texts…you just look at the channel marked as such.

unsplash logo4. Unsplash: Freebie Marketing and the Value of Transparency

As we mentioned in a previous article, Unsplash offers royalty-free photos you can use for absolutely anything. But why on earth would a photographer allow their work to be used this way? They see the value in marketing.

Unsplash has a strong and loyal following and to give a photo to be featured on their site, you’re not throwing money down the drain. Think of it this way… you can spend $1,000 selling a photo to a client to be used for a specific purpose, or you can use that $1,000 to buy marketing space that may or may not work.

If you give away your product and it takes off and is used, you just successfully marketed yourself to thousands for essentially the price it cost you to shoot and edit the photo. Your brand is stronger, your marketing is more diverse, and your product is being used! If the photo didn’t take off, well you’re in the same spot you were before. No risk. Need we say more?

ugmonk logo5. Ugmonk: Would I Wear This?

We don’t just love Ugmonk’s designs and clothing because it looks slick and has a nice ring to it. We love the mission they started with and still have today: “Create high-quality, well-designed goods that we wanted ourselves”. If we all went through that checklist when we created something or provided a service, this world would be a much better place.