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|Tuesday, April 12, 2011|
BY ILIE MITARU
Portland-based Night and Day Studios has in the past two years transitioned from building media installations for museums into a mobile app company. Founder Nat Sims (at left) managed to steer the company through an economic recession by shifting industry, radically restructuring, and following a fortuitous idea after reading a children’s book to his daughter.
“It taught me a lesson about keeping expenses really low,” Sims says. The staff had to relocate when their Firehouse offices caught fire last year. The company first rented the Fire House offices when they had secured a $1 million museum contract with the city of Tucson, Ariz. The city had ambitious plans, but as federal and state dollars dried up, the project sputtered. In January 2008, the museum put the project on hold for one month, leaving Simms with a salaried staff of 15 with nothing to work on.
“At that point, with all my staff and stuff, I was spending like $80,000 a month,” Sims says, “but I kept everybody on.” One night into that quiet month Sims was reading the Peekaboo Barn children’s book to his then 1-year-old daughter. He had an idea: build a Peekaboo Barn app.
Sims presented the idea to the team and they jumped in immediately. The app was finished in five weeks, but sales for the first month didn’t break $1,000. Then the Arizona project fell apart completely, leaving Sims with 15 employees, an app with promise but little revenue, and no other major museum projects on the horizon. He fired all but three employees and set about turning Night and Day Studios into a mobile app company.
And then Peekaboo Barn sales began ticking up in the iTunes store. Erin Rackelman, who was doing business development for Night and Day, had circumvented the usual app review sites and instead focused on reaching out to “mommy bloggers” to promote the product. It worked. Peekaboo Barn climbed to the top 25 in education apps, and remains there to this day.
Since Peekaboo Barn, all their apps have been featured either on the iTunes home page or top 25 in their respective categories. Night and Day will based its apps on a handful of prominent children’s books from authors Richard Scarry and Eric Carl, from which they have purchased rights. It also has done some large commercial apps, for Nick Junior and the Penguin Kids Club.
Ilie Mitaru is a contributing writer for Oregon Business.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
BY OB STAFF
Learn how to green your workplace and lower your environmental footprint at the office. Oregon Business presents a two-hour "Greening Your Workplace" seminar on May 28th, 2014 at the Nines Hotel in Portland.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
The founder of Pacific Foods talks about why his company has flown under the radar in Oregon, how saving a family-run chicken hatchery has helped his bottom line and why he thinks organic food is anything but elitist.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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As retailers consolidate and newspapers fold, the business of modeling shifts to ad agencies, apparel companies and new media.
Friday, March 14, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Five books that will make you a better leader.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
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