Karate Project is an architectural firm from Gdańsk, which has used the time of the pandemic to develop and change the profile of its activity. In two years, they managed to build fame on the internet and gather more than 22,000 people on social media around the brand.
- They noticed a new trend in the market and decided to start the Karate Project.
- They noticed that house prices are so high that some people prefer to build small houses. They resemble summer cottages.
- This trend has increased during the pandemic.
- Under the banner of the Karate Project, they decided to design summer cottages and other projects aimed at individual clients and smaller investors.
karate project founded by two architects from Gdansk, Karolina Taraszkiewicz and Agnieszka Malinowska. They have been working together for many years designing for FORT Taraszkiewicz major investments such as multi-family housing and higher education facilities. Two and a half years ago, Karolina and Agnieszka noticed a new trend in the market and decided to start the Karate Project because they saw an opportunity to reach customers from all over the country.
A new trend in housing
Karolina and Agnieszka noticed that house prices are so high that some people prefer to build small houses. They look like summer cottages, but you can live there all year round. Especially that the pace of life in the city has become so unbearably fast that the safe haven in the forest or by the lake, where you can escape the crowds and enjoy the simple life, has regained its value.
Summer cottages are no longer associated with a commune and a boarded-up slum, and began to please the eye with a modern, shapely shape, well adapted to the green environment.
During the pandemic, this trend only intensified, the need for safe shelter and restrictions on foreign travel increased the demand for such construction, both for housing and rental. Karolina and Agnieszka decided to design summer houses and other projects under the name Karate Project, aimed at individual customers and smaller investors.
What difficulties did you have in reaching new customers?
In order to attract individual customers from all over Poland, the architects of the Karate Project knew that they had to reach a lot of people in a short time. Only then will it translate into a stream of orders. The priority was therefore credibility and recognition on the web. The website is not enough, it is difficult to position it efficiently enough for people interested in the house project to find it in the search engine. Karo and Aga decided to create social media content to build their position as experts in small cubes.
You need more renders in less time
But they knew they couldn’t do it without a lot of good quality visualization and animation. Flat drawings, projections, sections and elevations are not content that will defend itself online.
Until now, building visualizations outside were made to order, the interiors were visualized themselves in a popular CPU-based rendering program. They didn’t use the animation at all. However, the dozens of frames it took to keep up with accounts on Instagram and YouTube forced the creation of internal renderings and animations. Outsourcing them would be financially unprofitable and preparing them in the current mode would be too time consuming.
Learn quickly, because the investment must pay off quickly
They needed a tool that would be quick to learn, flexible, and able to do a lot more renderings in less time. Aesthetics was also important – they wanted complete realism and high-quality visualization. They started to consider the Lumion program, but their computers did not meet the hardware requirements and the price of the program was a major obstacle.
One satisfied customer attracts another
Individual projects are incomparably lower budgets than large investments. And just like working with large developers, the cost of external visualizations is an acceptable percentage of the project price, with small assignments this expense becomes disproportionate. At the same time, Karolina and Agnieszka didn’t want to give up renderings because they knew that customers are much more “spoiled” when they get them, and one satisfied customer attracts another. They also needed them to run social media fan pages, and they found no satisfactory alternative. They decided to buy new computers and invest in a permanent license for Lumion Pro.
The first render was sold after a week
After a week, the Karate Project created a visualization with its own efforts, which would have to be outsourced without the program. In addition, while it was not a visualization at the level of their current renders, the customer bought it and was pleased.
Customers don’t read flat drawings, but they love the images of their home
Individual customers, unlike large developers, cannot read flat drawings. Now we create visualizations in the concept phase. It is easy to take as many photos as is necessary for the client to understand the vision of the project. The work is smooth, there are less corrections and less stress – both for the client (because he presents his house better and knows what he needs) and for us, because we know that the project is going in the right direction – says Agnieszka Malinowska , co-founder of the Karate Project.
In addition, the Karate Project practices online meetings with clients from outside the Tri-City with a virtual tour of the house. The customer can go upstairs, open the balcony, look around the grounds or even enter the pool. Such project experience builds a better relationship with the customer and therefore leads to further recommendations, adds Karolina Taraszkiewicz.
And after two years not only 22,000 fans, but also …
The activity on social media has translated surprisingly quickly into building a community of fans. Now the Karate Project is followed by more than 22,000 people on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. They have built a high position in the second largest search engine in the world – YouTube. If anyone out there is looking for summer cottage projects (and the number of people looking for them counts in the thousands), chances are they will find their projects, as the Karate Project channel ranks high on the first pages of searches appears . This recognition translates into real questions, the main source of which has now become IG.
Own cottage design shop
The Karate Project started out selling individual cottage designs and now has a shop with ready-made designs. In addition to the business results, the architects also appreciate the springboard for collaboration with smaller investors. Big projects, while fascinating in the concept phase, often take a long time and become tedious and boring to work on. Working with individual clients and smaller investors gives you more variety and allows you to work with more clients from all over Poland.
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