Davies Allen, P.C. Interviews Beau Oyler of Enlisted Design
Meet Beau Oyler, CEO, and founder of Enlisted Design. Working as a lead designer for one of the top three design companies, Beau quickly became aware of a change that needed to happen. “There was this old way of meeting with clients,” Beau explained, “Clients would come in with a product, designers would then disappear for three months, and come back with the design. I would be in a room with all of these smart people; and if you are super smart, and know what your customers want, why in the world are we not enlisting our clients into the design and enlisting them into the business.” At Enlisted Design, you aren’t only going to love the design, you’re also going to love the process.
“My grandpa taught Industrial Design as a professor and we would make things together. He would take me to his school and introduced me to his students. He taught me to envision something in my mind, sketch it out, and go make it. I realized I could be something big in this industry, and to do this I needed to have my own studio.” Beau worked a 60 hour work week, and 40 hours on a side hustle to break off. “I never took investments or capital – I own 100% of Enlisted Design.”
Enlisted Design creates next-level experiences by taking new businesses, or even stale businesses, and re-branding them; creating new brands that will reach a certain type of consumer. Beau explained the big picture of his personal ambition is creating an emotional connection between products, brands, and people.
Beau has huge plans for growth and they don’t involve numbers or locations. They revolve around people. “My only plan is to grow people – to grow my employees and client partners. If we grow people right than the business growth will happen right.” Employees at Enlisted Design all have some commonalities. When asking Beau what core values he looks for in employees he said the following: “Their design work has to be so good, they have to be better than me. I want to look at their work and say, oh my gosh, you’re incredible. But I don’t hire anyone with a sense of entitlement.” Enlisted Design employees have a vision and believe in what they are doing – they believe they are the best.
Enlisted Design has been recently named a finalist by Fast Company’s 2019 Innovation by Design Awards as a “Design Company of the Year.” One of the industry’s most sought-after awards, Enlisted joins the ranks of Nike, Adobe, Google, Ikea, Microsoft, and other previous recipients. To nominate and narrow down a list of finalists, Fast Company editors spend a year researching and reviewing nominees – judging innovation on functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, depth of user insight, cultural and business impact.
One of Beau’s favorite questions to answer during an interview is what his favorite project is. “I can’t say much of what we’re doing. We are designing the future of everything. But my favorite projects are my two kids – Luke and Zoe. They are the most adventurous and fun kids and I’m stoked to be their dad. Zoe is a badass – we go to Moab each year, and she loves cliff diving off 15 ft. cliffs, and she’s only seven.” Although Beau’s kids aren’t worried about getting hurt, he said, “they are really good at what they do, and are just so fun.”
When it comes to effectively managing his time at Enlisted Design, Beau said, “Davies Allen has been huge for us. I’m brilliant at being a visionary – I’m absolutely horrible at anything that has to do with numbers. I just want to focus on design, that’s all I care about.”
Enlisted Design originated in Oakland, California, but just recently opened another studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. Beau said the most intense part of growing a business is choosing the right path to grow. They chose to relocate here in Utah because of the growth opportunities. “When you couple the growth and the entrepreneur spirit here, nowhere matches it.”
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Beau recommends mapping out ideas: “Write it out, draw it out, begin to map out what it is, why it matters, and whose life is going to be improved because of it. It’s great to have a healthy business and make a lot of money, but ultimately it’s not just about the churn and making money – it’s a deeper meaning behind what you’re doing. Do it. Be all in. Don’t go halfway. Learn to live on very little. Observe what fate brings you.”
A huge thank you to Beau Oyler and his team at Enlisted Design. To contact them, visit https://www.enlisteddesign.com and @enlisteddesign on Instagram. Beau can even be seen on an episode of Shark Tank (S4 E13) pitching vertical gardens with Urbio.