Previous Episode | Episode Index | Next Episode
This is a transcript of one episode of the Samsung Developers Podcast, hosted by and produced by Tony Morelan. All episodes of the podcast can be found at Buzzsprout. A listing of all podcast transcripts can be found here.
Senior Developer Evangelist, Samsung Developers
Instagram - twitter - LinkedIn
Head Designer, Vienna Studios
In this episode of POW, I interview Tomas Joscak from Vienna Studios. Tomas is an amazing watch face designer, winning the 2019 Best of Galaxy Store Award for Best Indie Watch Face Designer. Some of his designs? He's priced them in the hundreds dollars... and people are buying them. And, the software he uses to create the graphics? It's typically not used for designing watch faces. You’ll want to listen in and learn not only how he designs high-end watch faces, but also his tips on marketing.
Listen to this episode on Buzzsprout.
NOTE: Transcripts are provided by an automated service and reviewed by the Samsung Developers web team. Inaccuracies from the transcription process do occur, so please refer to the audio if you are in doubt about the transcript.
NOTE: Transcripts are provided by an automated service and reviewed by the Samsung Developers web team. Inaccuracies from the transcription process do occur, so please refer to the audio if you are in doubt about the transcript.
Tony Morelan 00:02
Hey, I'm Tony Morelan. And this is Pow! Podcasts of Wisdom from the Samsung Developer Program, where we talk about the latest tech trends and give insight to all the opportunities available for developers looking to create for Samsung. On today's show I interview Tomas Joscak from Vienna Studios. Tomas is an amazing watch face designer, even won the 2019 Best of Galaxy Store Award for Best Indie watch face Designer. Some of his designs, he's priced them in the hundreds of dollars, and people are buying them and the software he uses to create the graphics it's typically not used for designing watch faces. You're going to be surprised. Enjoy. So Thomas, tell me who is Thomas Joscak.
Tomas Joscak 00:48
Welcome, I just check. Interesting question. Oh, well, I will describe myself as somebody who has to learn as an example and Cool class storage goals. I said one goal A few years ago, I wanted to run a marathon. So I prepare myself one year long. And afterwards, I barely use the sport shoes. So then I have other goals again.
Tony Morelan 01:18
So it sounds like maybe a short attention span that you're into something for a brief moment. And then after that you move on to the next challenge.
Tomas Joscak 01:27
Tony Morelan 01:29
So tell me, how did you get your start in design,
Tomas Joscak 01:32
design was always kind of a hobby of myself. And even if I do have two PhDs in natural sciences, I always have to be somewhere in a field where nobody had been before. So it is a research where I'm working on something new, or I'm producing something new in the field of design. I love it.
Tony Morelan 02:00
So you're so your education is not design base You said you have two PhDs in natural sciences.
Tomas Joscak 02:05
Yes, yes, I never studied design
Tony Morelan 02:08
wow it's pretty amazing because I mean truthfully you are one of the top sellers on the Galaxy store when it comes to watch faces and you know your quality is amazing so to hear that that is really coming out of as a hobby is pretty impressive. Tell me how did you first hear about the Samsung Galaxy watch
Tomas Joscak 02:26
the exact moment I cannot remember right now. However, I cannot forget the first day after my first launch phase having published on galaxy store. And after I looked at the statistic and there have been more than 4000 downloads for this first model myself I was surprised shocked and I definitely knew that this might be something you How did you first hear about selling
Tony Morelan 02:53
watch faces, you know in using our software galaxy watch designer at the time which is now a galaxy watch studio.
Tomas Joscak 03:00
Okay, I was starting designing workspaces in a phasor. Creator Studio before. So I had some basics already learned before. And so switching to galaxy stir was actually nothing new from the big difference was only the market, which seems to be extremely huge from my point of view.
Tony Morelan 03:26
So the market for the galaxy watch faces is much bigger than the market. When you're producing them through facer?
Tomas Joscak 03:32
Yes, at least, this was my impression one year before.
Tony Morelan 03:36
Okay, so how long have you been designing watch faces
Tomas Joscak 03:39
right now it is three years. I know it before I got my first model, which for my brand as a present to my 14-year celebration party. And since then, my I'm just playing with watch faces
Tony Morelan 03:53
or so is this what you do full time or do you have like a Is this a side gig for you? This is, you know, what's your main focus? for income
Tomas Joscak 04:02
at the moment is my full-time job and he has is creating nice income actually the best I ever had before even if I compare it with my company in Vienna a few years ago
Tony Morelan 04:15
in what was that company,
Tomas Joscak 04:17
this was a pure research company at a field of renewable materials so completely different staff. We had up to seven employees. But however, from the revenue point of view now it's even bigger.
Tony Morelan 04:31
Wow. So you are based in Austria. But tell me where are you originally from?
Tomas Joscak 04:36
So I was born in Czechoslovakia, in Slovakia in part where am actually right now as we are speaking, this podcast together, I was doing my parents and afterwards I got few opportunities in Austria and Germany. And so I stayed in Austria.
Tony Morelan 04:53
And is it just yourself or do you have employees
Tomas Joscak 04:57
at the moment? My brother is strongly supporting me Creating also some brands, Domino's Martinez, a luxury brand from our portfolio is coming from him. So we are two full time now working at this project. And sometimes we are cooperating with
Tony Morelan 05:16
freelancers in this globally he'll reach out to freelancers from around the world to have you help with some of the design aspects.
Tomas Joscak 05:23
Yes, we use platform where different designers are implemented or can make some projects Corporation.
Tony Morelan 05:32
Do you work out of your house? Or do you actually have a place of business
Tomas Joscak 05:36
I started as maybe also other designers in my kitchen. So my first project so first watch faces have been created in a kitchen. Afterwards, I go to one room in my flat, and at the moment, we do have an office with my brother. And as a next step, we would like to establish a full time or full-size photo studio
Tony Morelan 06:02
Okay, okay. So I noticed that you have actually four different brands when you go to your website Vienna studios.com there's actually four different brands on their Vienna studios masterpieces we are watching as well as Dominus Matthias, can you explain the different brands?
Tomas Joscak 06:21
We have many different brands. And actually the basic order first one has been Vienna studios, which started everything else. Domino's Martinez is luxury brand for my brother, as I mentioned before, is really creating original design. I'm more focusing on the functionality. And if you're asking about many brands, we are dividing different products into brands, according to price segment, basically.
Tony Morelan 06:52
Yeah. And let's talk a little bit about that because, you know, one thing that's unique with your brand is that you've got some very high-priced watch faces. I mean, it's my understanding you have watch faces. You know, you've been in the above $100 $200. Tell me about those high-level price watch faces and why is it that you decided to offer them so expensive?
Tomas Joscak 07:16
Well, we started, I started to sell my watch faces at 199 $1 99. Yes, dollar 99 for a piece. However, this space is so competitive. And it's really hard to be a good designer in this place. That after I could feel skills and I was able to prepare high complicated watch faces, I decided to offer them for higher prices. And actually, at the moment, you're correctly we are offering different special watch faces up to 400 was dollar per piece.
Tony Morelan 07:55
Wow, that's amazing. So another amazing aspect to you is that you actually won Best of galaxy store award in 2019. Can you tell me what the award was that you won and what that means to you?
Tomas Joscak 08:08
I can remember well, this call will shout and Charlotte called me. And mentioned in a wonder Indian designer 2019 only after nine months really to be full in the business, so I was completely shocked and even more impressed by the fact that we are to four bestsellers worldwide, so I would never expect it. Such a sexist after a few months.
Tony Morelan 08:39
That's amazing. That's amazing. And that's when I actually first met you is when you came out to the award show that I was hosting, to give you the award for Best indie designer, so congratulations again. So I want to talk a little bit about marketing and some of your tips and approaches for marketing. Tell me about your use of coupons.
Tomas Joscak 08:59
coupons. is a big project for us. It's excellent instrument. However we use coupons very solely. And actually, as a customer or a fan of Vienna Studios or Dominus Martinez, you can win a free coupon once a mount. So this is the way how some people could get our expensive watch faces even for free.
Tony Morelan 09:28
Okay, that's great. That's great. I also noticed that you when you go to your website, you actually are doing promotions where you're giving away actual watches. So tell me a little bit how you're utilizing that as a promotional giveaway.
Tomas Joscak 09:42
Yes, after a few months, as you mentioned before, we are pretty successful in the business and we try to give something back to nice community which is growing and we do have more than 3000 subscribers at our website. And everybody who is subscribing there has a chance now to be not only free coupons, possibly, but also a smartwatch galaxy watch active two at the moment. We are running this giveaway until end of this year, and we will think about something new for the next year.
Tony Morelan 10:19
Excellent. That's a great way to build your subscription community. It's interesting, I can tell that you've got a lot of marketing experience. So tell me a bit about how did you gain that marketing experience? Is this something that you're just learning, you know, on the fly right now? Or do you have a background a little bit with them with when it comes to marketing?
Tomas Joscak 10:36
I think a good opportunity to learn this stuff was to have my own company. So I am partly not only a designer, but also a kind of businessman. So we are always forming activities and evaluating it and checking what is working for us, where we do see some revenue streams who are Not and this elevation happened maybe on a daily or weekly basis. So there's a lot of adjustment and trial and error actions we are using.
Tony Morelan 11:13
That's great. It's great to be so active when you're, you know, figuring out your marketing approach, or using any social channels like Instagram to promote your watch faces.
Tomas Joscak 11:23
We are in Instagram right now we do have a couple of thousands of followers. However, we are not sure if this will be our future instruments, at the moment as a best a marketing instrument for us is to collect email addresses through subscription of our website, which was also in a recommendation from around from Samsung, who don't know us this feature could bring something even after maybe three months of my activity at galaxy store. Thank you. Okay. Thank you. Here's
Tony Morelan 12:02
Ron's got a lot of great advice Ron's the one who he runs our forums so yeah, much appreciation to Ron What about galaxy store badges? Are you using any badges on your on your platform to help promote your watch faces?
Tomas Joscak 12:17
Yes, we are using standard general veggies for our different stores. And those are placed actually in description of our watch faces as well as the Instagram on or on our website.
Tony Morelan 12:33
Excellent and I know that badges are a great way for you to go back and see the analytics you know the data on what's driving your sales so always happy to hear when designers are using the using badges. What about banner promotions, have you had a chance to be featured on any of the banner promotions on the Galaxy store?
Tomas Joscak 12:50
Yes, we are featured in the banner promotion is always a great and profitable issue for us or the banner can drive the revenue really high. So the laughter banner promotion and we are happy that we are in.
Tony Morelan 13:11
Sure. And for any new designers out there that are listening in band promotions they run for is it two weeks? Is that what it is on the on the Galaxy store?
Tomas Joscak 13:19
Yes, yes, two-week periods.
Tony Morelan 13:21
And this is where you provide a graphic of a banner. It's basically an advertisement that appears that helps drive users to your to your store. And I know speaking from my experience of banner promotions are huge. So great way to get your name out there and drive up your sales. So one thing unique about your business is your quality of your photographs and your videos. Tell me a little bit about that. Do you have some experience? Are you hiring an outside photographer to come in and do that or is this something that you're actually doing yourself?
Tomas Joscak 13:55
And my short fuck us character. I was happy to be a photographer as well for a few months before so I have pretty nice lenses and some good technique from that time so I just use the good quality stuff I have already and maybe the pictures are now good or we are we are happy able to quality however, I started just to be in the front of a window and making my first video with a smartphone only so all of this you can actually see it our YouTube channels where we delete the old videos where the quality is so poor. However, to have a visit video presentation seems to be really important at every watch face. So 99% of all our watch faces do have a promo video.
Tony Morelan 14:48
Okay, and it's you can always spot a Vienna Studios. Watch face video because of the white gloves. That's something unique I always see these white gloves. You know, holding the watch very elegantly. Are you? Are those your hands inside the gloves? Or do you have a professional model that you're bringing in to wear the white gloves.
Tomas Joscak 15:10
These are my hands. The big advantage of making these videos was that before as I work from home, I prepared a small mini photo studio close to my computer. So after which phase was ready, I just turn my position into this photo studio beside me and making a video really in a short time in the best possible quality. And then I sell off the first two videos that at this magnificent because the watches are so small, have different displacements or some few nice places of my fingers have been there in a really big screen. So I started to use goals and find now so I don't need to care about my nails quality anymore?
Tony Morelan 16:01
Got it. So you don't have to hire a professional hand model that you don't have to worry about getting a little dirt under your fingernails because you just put on the nice fancy gloves. Love that.
Tomas Joscak 16:12
That's the point. I think customers like it too.
Tony Morelan 16:15
Sure, sure. So how many watch faces Have you published to date?
Tomas Joscak 16:21
published maybe together it will be more than 700 Wow, think about this number the three years? Yes. I think the 700 are solely on galaxy store. So like count also my former watch faces it would be somewhere around 1000 and more watch faces.
Tony Morelan 16:40
I do understand though, that they're not all available that you actually utilize what you're calling a pop-up brand, which is where it's just for a limited time. This watch faces available which kind of helps drive up you know the uniqueness behind the watch face which increases the value. So tell me a little bit about your approach on offering a limited release, watch face
Tomas Joscak 17:00
Okay, we are playing with different business models and this was one of those. We created a brand out there limited, which is a lot more available and to store it. delimitation was only 30 days. During this time we sold a nice amount of this ultra-limited brand. So we'll prepare something for the future as well.
Tony Morelan 17:26
Excellent No, that's it's a great a great approach again, showing off your marketing experience to help drive your sales. So tell me where do you get your ideas from your watch faces.
Tomas Joscak 17:39
It's hard to say I'm just walking through the streets or driving and has the hardest time when I got some ideas under the shower.
Tony Morelan 17:51
So in the shower,
Tomas Joscak 17:53
in my shower.
Tony Morelan 17:54
Yeah, typically people are singing in the shower but you're actually designing watch faces in the shower.
Tomas Joscak 18:00
Well I'm singing to, and then I find myself as I'm running to the corridors our white paper and putting ideas on it. And then I can dry myself and doing other stuff.
Tony Morelan 18:14
That's good. It's great. Yeah, you're already on the paper. So is your approach into first sketch? Or do you start designing your watch face straight on the computer?
Tomas Joscak 18:23
Yes, I'm sketching a lot. I have much more ideas. Let's say it's time to make a real product out of it.
Tony Morelan 18:32
Okay. Tell me a little bit about the tools that you're using. So what software using like Adobe Photoshop Adobe Illustrator? What are you using to create and design your watch faces?
Tomas Joscak 18:42
Well 95% of all my vote faces are created in PowerPoint.
Tony Morelan 18:51
PowerPoint. Yes, the Microsoft program for doing slideshows. You're using that to create Your watch faces?
Tomas Joscak 19:01
Yes, yes, definitely a lot of designers surprised whenever when I mentioned this, however I am is a really powerful instrument of PowerPoint.
Tony Morelan 19:12
That's crazy. I mean, I've used a lot of PowerPoint, you know, in my years. In fact, I often tell new designers, if they're looking to start a career in freelance graphic design, they really need to learn PowerPoint, because people typically don't like using PowerPoint, you know, when it comes to putting presentations together. And if you can become, you know, a master of PowerPoint, well, there's a lot of work out there because people just hate using PowerPoint. So to hear that you're using PowerPoint to create the graphics on these luxury watch faces is just mind blowing. I mean that that is absolutely amazing that you have figured out a way to use PowerPoint at that level. So that's excellent. So tell me to date. I think I read somewhere that You have over 1 million downloads, is that correct?
Tomas Joscak 20:04
Oh, well done 1 million, I think.
Tony Morelan 20:10
No, actually at the moment we have more than 5 million downloads. 5 million. Wow. That is just amazing. So congrats on that. Tell me a little bit about leveraging free watch faces. I know that a lot of designers they'll offer some of their watch faces for free. But then the others are paid Give me your idea on utilizing free watch faces to help raise your brand level.
Tomas Joscak 20:44
Free workspaces are great. However we are using it very rarely. Maybe there's one or two per brand. And in our stores where we are offering luxury, luxury watch faces which we did $100 Plus, we don't use any of those free watch faces. So my recommendation would be it's a nice to have some, but not a lot.
Tony Morelan 21:11
Got it? Yeah. And I agree with that because you want to really drive your sales. So, you know, utilizing free watch faces to help raise brand awareness is excellent. But don't over saturate the market with free watch faces. So yeah, totally agree with you with that. Having been a designer now for watch faces for three years and millions of downloads. I'm sure you've come across a few challenges. So share a little bit about some of the challenges maybe that you've had to face.
Tomas Joscak 21:39
Well, at the moment, I cannot remember any issue according to brands selling points or design, however, are big challenges right now, according to the Coronavirus. I spoke to other designers and currently we are the most hated at this crisis at the moment. So our sales go to really down in everyone met this year and what we saw was that actually the elect luxury segment a lot of watch faces was actually stopped selling in this time Really?
Tony Morelan 22:17
Yeah and that's not surprising considering all the you know, our world is going through right now that can understand where people are wanting to you know, watch where they're spending their money. So hopefully that will change in a soon enough time. So tell me Are there any features you would like to see added to the galaxy store or to galaxy watch studio?
Tomas Joscak 22:38
Well, I'm personally very adaptive person. So I, I am working, whatever is on the table, I try to squeeze the most possible out of it. And I asked myself, what can I change to be successful at the market or with the two which is provided to us So basically, I could have some issues but I'm focusing on the on the market right now and on the on the revenues we are able to produce.
Tony Morelan 23:12
Okay. Okay. So tell me what is in the future for Vienna studios. Do you have any, you know, any updates? What's your plan for the future?
Tomas Joscak 23:23
We will definitely launch some new limited additions to the code successful pilot project we ran before. And we have a plan to make a really, really very realistic digital watch face version of a real mechanical watch. I cannot tell you any more to this project we are right now speaking to possible licensing partner, but these will be I think, very original offer at the galaxy store.
Tony Morelan 23:57
Awesome. Super excited to see that when It actually becomes available. So can you talk a little bit about multi language support and how you're utilizing that feature on the Galaxy store to help market your watch faces globally.
Tomas Joscak 24:11
In the galaxy store, we are starting always with only English version of our watch faces. However, if this one particular watch face is popular in other countries, so afterwards, we are translating all the descriptions and promo pictures into the language where the sales are growing.
Tony Morelan 24:31
Okay, so just to just to help new designers understand, when you first publish a watch face, you publish it in English, that's the preferred language. But seller office allows you to create alternative pages that you can put in the native language for different countries. So that if a user from that country is viewing your seller office page, they'll see it in their native language. It's great to see that you're united in the future, and it's a nice approach when you're just looking at you know, if you've got increased sales in those different regions that it's worthwhile to then translate it. So who's doing the translation?
Tomas Joscak 25:10
Basically, we are using automatic translations, okay. And for example, German language is familiar with me. So I look at the languages where we are in and rest is automatic at the moment.
Tony Morelan 25:24
Okay, nice. So I also understand that you're doing something that you're calling an outlet store. So tell me a little bit about your outlet store and how you're utilizing watch face. watch faces on that.
Tomas Joscak 25:36
Outlet Store is a really another success story of Vienna Studios. As we started promoting and selling, high priced looks at a watch faces. There was a lot of people who would like to have one but I don't want to pay as much are cannot afford for these high prices. So Afterwards we have a certain amount of dyslexia watch faces, we decided to put the oldest one into a new creative outlet store with a huge discount. So at the moment the people are able to buy Alexa watch faces even for much lower prices in the outlet store.
Tony Morelan 26:23
That's a great approach. It's the first that I've actually heard of someone using that approach to sell some of their older watch faces. So very interesting. I love that. So I'm guessing you're familiar with some of the other top watch face designers out there on the Galaxy star. Can you tell me you know, give me some names who are the designers that you that you are impressed with that you follow with the names that kind of jump out for you?
Tomas Joscak 26:48
Okay, there is a lot of great designers out there. I can I could mention a few X9 Studios, infinity watch faces. However, the best one for myself. And now level four for himself is Matteo Dini. A few of his watch faces, and he could claim be like designing every pixel. So I'm really impressed by work of Matteo.
Tony Morelan 27:18
Yeah, he is. He's an amazing designer based out of Italy. You know, one of our top watch face designers. I think a lot of people are impressed with what Matteo Dini has done. Some of the other names that you had mentioned x nine. I actually am doing a live chat with john from x nine studio tomorrow. So we're going to be doing a live chat and I'll be talking to him about theme designing and watch faces signing. He's also another past winter with the galaxy store awards. Let's say you had mentioned infinity watch faces that's Chris Shomo. He's an excellent designer. He's actually the one who I first discovered when I learned about galaxy watch designer at the time, which is now galaxy watch studio. So, you know when I first learned about Chris and what he was doing with galaxy watch, and let's see, you mentioned your rarity. Oh Urarity. Yeah, he's got just Amazing Designs and if you have a chance to look at his videos, the work that he does with his videos is just outstanding is definitely someone that can inspire a lot of people.
Tomas Joscak 28:25
Tony Morelan 28:27
yet another guy? Yeah. So Bergen is great. He's an excellent designer. Again, one of the designers that has been there for a while, who does some very nice realistic watch faces. So definitely some designers to go in and look for when you're looking to get inspired for creating watch faces. So I have one more question for you. When you're not designing watch faces. What do you like to do for fun?
Tomas Joscak 28:50
Oh, fine. And except designing watch faces, which is really relaxed for myself. If I am looking for fans My buddy, I love to visiting sauna.
Tony Morelan 29:02
Oh, Asana. Yeah. Oh, nice. That's a good time to relax. Good time to relax. Now, I also heard that you are the father of twin four-year olds. Is that correct? Yes, correct. Good. I'm sure you're looking for a lot of time to relax. I can only anticipate that that would be a little crazy at times.
Tomas Joscak 29:23
Now, and they have been my twins have been at the beginning of my business, actually, because I couldn't work only during day slept. So we started to get actually.
Tony Morelan 29:33
Oh, nice. Nice. Nice. Wonderful. Okay, Tomas. I absolutely appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me and record this podcast, tons of fun. Lots of great inspiration. So keep up the great work. And I'm looking forward to seeing what Vienna Studios puts out in the near future. So thanks.
Tomas Joscak 29:48
Thank you. Thanks.
Looking to start creating for Samsung? download the latest tools to code your next app, or get software for designing apps without coding at all. Sell your apps to the world. Samsung Galaxy Store. Check out developer.samsung.com today and start your journey with Samsung. The Pow! Podcast is brought to you by the Samsung Developer Program and produced by Tony Morelan.