We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Kimmich, AIA, NCARB and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, can you tell us the story of how you started your business?
At the end of a 6 year partnership at a different firm – it became clear to me and my wife (also a trained as an architect – lead Project Manager and a designer at the same firm as I) that it was time to move on. But on to where? After being at a partnership level I could not see myself simply going to work for someone else. I felt I could make a difference and provide a greater value if I were not held down – ‘working my way up’ in a larger company. So at the end of 2016 we began our planning for our new company – then Kimmich Architecture + Design, LLC. I started the company up at the turn of 2017 working from our home office. It was at that time, the same week in fact, in which we also had our first baby – timing is everything! During those first several weeks I was doing everything I could to set up the framework for the company and find clients – some continued the conversation from our previous firm. We had a few small jobs at first – But it wasn’t until we had our first big job that really set us off. A contact of ours came to a former partner, who was in the process of talking about coming on with me in the new venture. After some conversations that Client decided to take the leap with us and trust us as a new company with their 15 story apartment development, and my former partner became my new partner! It was a short deadline and a complex project to say the least. Once we were released on the project we were working a lot of long hours as well as searching for and finding an office, office furniture ( and all the items you take for grated in an office), computers and employees- it was crazy! Looking back I don’t know how we did it – but we did! Not only did we complete the work, we made a very happy client who has brought us into other jobs and the press we received from that project helped us spread the name of our new company. It truly was a God-send opportunity that has opened up new and future potential work as a result.
What should our readers know about your business?
One of the greatest things I have learned is the strength of your Network – who you surround yourself with and how you can help those in your network. There are so many levels to this – but once you realize that we are all providing a service to someone else who has a bigger picture they are involved in it opens your eyes to not only the importance of your role for someone else’s success but also the realization that your finite job is not all that is at stake when you take on a commission. One of our Mottos: “ARCHITECTURE at its core is a service to people…. Transforming a space + Impacting how it’s experienced.” We are a service industry and we have the responsibility and privilege to work with clients to help them discover the creative potential of their property. Whether this is an existing property to be re-imagined, or a new build, we are most proud to see the transformation of an existing site or building into something that the Owner truly loves – and to see how that helps them to achieve their goals. When we set up our business we were determined to set up a company that focusses on Customer Service – being responsive, providing quality design and a team-minded approach across all team members and throughout the course of the project. This is what sets us apart from so many others in the industry ~ It may see counter-intuitive but you will be most successful when you search for ways to help others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is so much to do in Tampa and the Bay Area! For a good time in the city I have really enjoyed grabbing some food and drink at the developed Sparkman Warf where you can choose from several food options in shipping container restaurants and then relax on the event lawn listening to live music. The outdoors side of me would travel a bit north and rent a boat on the Homosassa River for some fishing, snorkeling (scalloping if in season) and overall relaxing in a beautiful setting!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife has been the biggest source of encouragement and support through the ups and downs of starting a business. Without someone in your corner at home, who understands the pressures, the time, the give and take, everything would be so much more difficult. But having her there, along side with her insight and advice and general support has definitely contributed to the success of the company so far.