At least that rationale is working well for Wardy, a Kansas City-area firm whose tech is connecting the film and fashion industries and finding traction around the country.
Wardy president Chris Palmer said that his Lee’s Summit-based company’s mobile- and web-based app is designed to save time for costume designers, a target market in which he estimates there are less than 5,000 total decision makers.
Typically, designers rely on large binders, scattered emails and spreadsheets to manage their costumes, budgets, receipts and other information. Wardy pulls that info together, as well as generates analytics reports, analyzes a production’s script and augments communication among team members to improve efficiency.
Despite a relatively modest market, Palmer said Wardy is growing quickly thanks to its identification of a problem that apparently few realized existed.
“When I first started getting into this, one of the things I thought was ‘I can’t be the first one to come up with this, right? There has to be something about the industry I don’t understand.’ But that wasn’t necessarily the case,” Palmer said. “Because of the changes that are going on with HBO, Netflix and Amazon creating original content, it’s kind of like the Wild West. We see a significant opportunity to get in on the ground floor and get our software into that space early.”
Founded in 2012, Wardy already has scored clients in Hollywood, New York and at other production studios around the nation. A former IT architect at IBM, Palmer said one of Wardy’s earliest adopters was Kansas City native Jenny Eagan, a costumer designer for such productions as True Detective, No Country for Old Men and Catch Me If You Can.
Landing such high-profile players in the costume design world is further propelling Wardy’s appetite to dominate the market.
“One of the things that has me so motivated right now is that we’re talking to some big names in the costume design industry,” he said. “They’re saying we have a product that is worth taking a look at and introducing into their processes and daily jobs. To us, that’s very motivating.”
Growing adoption rates is compelling Palmer to nearly double his current staff of 13 people. In the next six months, Wardy plans to add an addition 12 IT staff members to boost their team. The company is currently looking to add a round of capital to accommodate its projected growth, he said.
“It’s been really exciting,” Palmer said of his company’s growth. “As a company, we have our ups and downs but we’ve had a lot of success lately so we’re hoping to ride that into the future.”