Founders Diaries: Satore Studio's Tupac Martir on bringing brands and ideas to life
13 min read
30 May 2018
Satore Studio is a multi-disciplinary creative studio that has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, from Prada to Johnnie Walker, using a mix of fashion, design, music and technology. Founder and creative director Tupac Martir shares how he built the Anglo-Mexican company and what lies ahead.
In a sentence
We bring brands and ideas to life through captivating experiences that result in images everyone can relate to, such as the huge digital projection campaign (HIK+) we created in partnership with Johnnie Walker in Mexico City and our work crafting a sculpture with integrated light for Jaguar Land Rover for its presence at Hay Festival 2017.
We work behind the scenes, together with experts ranging from artists to architects, to bring to life some of the biggest events in the worlds of fashion, culture and brand experience. Whilst we may not have our name in the spotlight all the time, we create big visual ideas and use our expertise in storytelling, lighting and technology to captivate audiences.
Our skills lie in building an instant relationship with an audience so that they feel connected to what they see. This motivates us to do things that are not conventional, as we want the audience to be emotionally engaged.
Describe your business model
Research and development lies at the very heart of what we do. We spend 40% of the studio’s time exploring new technologies and techniques as soon as they are available to understand how they can bring future projects to life.
Take virtual reality for example; we’ve created eight projects using this technology – from creating worlds to explore to painting whole art works virtually. Much of this experimentation will never be seen outside of the studio but it’s our investment in our future. The more we play, the more we learn.
This also means we can create work that pushes the boundaries, that truly resonates with clients and their audiences. What’s the point in using the latest tech if you don’t understand it, or if it doesn’t fit your creative idea?
We’re hired to be experts in our field. By experimenting in our own time, we can offer our clients a type of creativity that comes with a deep understanding of the tech that’s available. This way we take all the risk away from them.
With this unique way of working, we are approached by new clients through word of mouth, which demonstrates our high quality of work.
Biggest marker of success
Here at Satore, success centres on our ability to build engagement; it’s about the lasting impact that our work can have and the range of emotions it can trigger.
If we can grab an audience’s attention for just a minute and make them feel something – be it sadness, happiness or nostalgia – then we know we’ve done a good job.
All our clients have come to us based on our track record for powerful emotive work, knowing they can trust us to deliver something that adds value to their initial objectives.
We’ve always been a global business thanks to the nature of our work. We currently have clients across Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, USA, South America and Europe.
We’re looking to open an office in Paris, a true cultural hub, by the end of 2018 to complement the creative team here in London. That will be followed by an office Stateside by 2020. Our global vision is also helped by the fact that the team in our founding office here in London, is itself global.
How did you fund your business
Satore Studio has always been self–funded. We started the business in 2011, and from that point it has always been self funded.
We have been very fortunate to be able to do the things we love for a living, working with create people across a range of different sectors.
Ensuring we have the right people and culture is critical to the businesses continued success.
Your biggest technology boost
It’s a pretty obvious one, but the smartphone. It’s no longer a simple device to make calls but a brilliant messaging device. We spend a huge amount of time on Whatsapp, iMessage, email, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and the like – as a means of communicating quickly and efficiently in real time and to keep the studio running when we’re working with global teams on projects overseas.
Thanks to advancements in mobile tech, phones have almost become a mobile super computer where they are no longer simple devices to make calls but also brilliant messaging devices. We spend a huge amount of time on Whatsapp, iMessage, email, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and the like – as a means of communicating quickly and efficiently in real time and to keep the studio running when we’re working with global teams on multiple projects overseas at anyone time – we are able to manage remotely in real time, looking at if it fits our vision and fix things on the fly ensuring we don’t cause delays under extremely pressurized situations.
In five years
The global entertainment industry might not be as significant as sectors like automotive, gas or oil, but it’s gaining ground and influence and every day sees more change, be it cultural or technological.
I believe it will keep growing, developing more content in the form of global hit shows and films that can be enjoyed worldwide.
As a collective of artists, five years from now we hope to be part of this growth, collaborating with leading creatives across multiple disciplines including fashion, music, spectacle and culture.
Your highest point
Every day we remain in business is a high point, as it or allows us to continue doing the things we love.
Being an independent studio takes guts, time and incredible motivation. We not only have to attract new business, but also ensure we create an environment that keeps our creatives coming back every day. They want to be a part of something bigger as we build on our success.
The fact that we’re a tight-knit team, still close friends who enjoy each other’s time outside of the studio, is definitely something to celebrate – especially given the high levels of stress we have to handle on a daily basis.
Your lowest point
While we’ve had plenty of things go wrong – which entrepreneur hasn’t? – we prefer to move on fast and learn from our mistakes. I can’t think of a setback that didn’t bring a huge learning for us.
I don’t think I’ve seen a single mistake as a mistake. Obviously, setbacks come with the territory, but even if something went wrong it actually helped us to become a better company and a better group of people.
What would tell your younger self
Please study business! Your true passion might be art, but even just a few classes of business studies will make it that much easier to follow your passion in the future.
Your policy wish list
I would love to see tax breaks for entrepreneurs like us. I’d also love to see more grants available for the arts. Tax breaks allow businesses like ours to thrive, while grants for the arts allow the entire sector to keep growing and inspiring new generations.
Cities such as Montreal and Quebec offer such incentives already, and there is much we can learn from them.
Your biggest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs
Never be afraid of failure. You will fail, and it’s okay. It’s never a bad thing. Embrace your failures, reflect and move forward.
I spend most of my time exploring new technology and creative techniques. Researching is never a bad thing, but it does consume a lot of my free time! And chocolate, way too much of it. You always have to treat yourself.
What would make you a better leader?
Not to get as angry with myself as I do. Sometimes things don’t go exactly how you want them, but as long as the client is happy, our job is done. It’s something you learn over time.
The one app you use the most
It would have to be WhatsApp. It’s perfect for communicating with the team globally while we’re shooting in different locations.
A day in your life
I wake up at 5:30 each morning and start my day with 30 minutes of meditation no matter where I am in the world. If I’m in London, I’ll walk from my house to the studio listening to music, not replying to any messages or calls. I usually get to the studio for 7:30am and from then on things can differ drastically. No two days are ever the same!
At the end of the work day, I’ll try to meet with friends, then go home to eat dinner with my flatmates. It’s always the best way to wind down after a long day.
On your reading list right now
I rarely read books for entrepreneurs. The last business book I read was You Are a Message: Meditations for the Creative Entrepreneur by Guillaume Wolf – a brilliant, helpful book. I tend to spend most of my reading time focused on understanding VR, AR, MR and how technology is driving the art and entertainment industry.
On your watch list right now
Freak by John Leguizamo. I’ve seen the show live ten times, first when it opened in 1998. I never truly realised how important it was in my life until years later. The fact that one person was telling a personal story through so many voices and characters spoke to me.
I saw for the first time a Latino man taking centre stage. And that was when I thought someone like myself could enter the space and make a creative difference.