Trent Sanders – Co-founder of 36creative

[quote style=”boxed”]No regrets. I just keep looking forward towards the next move. Okay, I wouldn’t wear moccasins and a sailor hat in high school. Presentation matters.[/quote]

Trent Sanders grew up in Southern New Hampshire and studied photography and English at University of New Hampshire and Prescott College in Arizona. Although that cuts out most of his developmental experiences, we get right to the point. At this time he owns 36creative, an omnipresent (or so they hope to be soon) creative agency in the Greater Boston area. He and his business partner, Steve, have built an award-winning firm from the ground up hiring a team of talented creatives, interactive engineers and marketing gurus. Right now they are working to grow the reputation they have built for themselves and developing 3 other projects. These projects have not been revealed publically yet but sound exciting, promising and if nothing else, fun.

What are you working on right now?

We are working on helping about 75 active clients establish themselves in the interactive marketplace and trying our best to keep up with our own marketing. More specifically to ourselves, we are working on a new video series that will highlight our humor, breadth of knowledge and the fact that Steve and I probably shouldn’t be let out of our houses.

Where did the idea for 36creative come from?

36creative was the brainchild of 2 young entrepreneurs who were sick of just sitting on an uncomfortable couch at parties while watching drunk people slam beers down their throats. Steve and I started a conversation about making a move to something better and haven’t looked back since. Specifically,  our idea began with realizing a need for small businesses to be able to get their hands on affordable, cutting edge design and branding services. That dream has since been stifled by simple economics. Good design doesn’t come cheap or quick; at least not both at the same time.

What does your typical day look like?

Rocking chair on the porch (or now that it has snowed a foot, the chair is inside), fruit smoothie, a cup of coffee and a walk with the dogs. Then I slide into the office, read tech/design blogs and started rifling through emails.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Bringing ideas to life…what a job that is. The excitement of brainstorming, the visions of grandeur and success, then the kick from the client and a realization that we are still on planet Earth. We bring ideas to life with tools like multiple whiteboards, feverish searches on the iPad, lists, research, fine-tuning, critiquing, presentations and more critiquing. When the final product comes out, we have a finely-tuned and polished product that screams 36 but still fits a client’s mission and budget.

Three trends that excite you?

I am really excited about the refinement of cloud technology, the advancement of the tablet with the new Kindle Fire and the understanding that business owners are becoming privy to the value of interactive media/social media.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Looking back I have never really hated any job. Perhaps the least rewarding job was trying to sell a quick-fix to windshield cracks at a carwash. I’ve never been a salesperson so it was just me timidly going up to people and having them yell at me. Wait…yes, I hated that job. It left me with a resounding sense of anxiety when it comes to selling something someone doesn’t want or need. For Steve and I here at 36, we want our clients to come to us understanding the value of what our products are and what we can do for the bottom line.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

No regrets. I just keep looking forward towards the next move. Okay, I wouldn’t wear moccasins and a sailor hat in high school. Presentation matters.

What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?

No question I would say to keep the passion for progress in the forefront of every decision. I feel like business is filled with times when you can cheers and fist pump or you can just keep moving. We are young. Fist pumps are overrated unless you are in a Thunderbird with T-tops listening to Queen.

Tell us a secret…

We are considering our first satellite location in the Midwest.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers? would be a site where you sign up, fill in all your discount card numbers for businesses such as Shop and Save and the site would send you one card that would work at all businesses that you have a coupon card for. Goodbye keychain full of old mangled CVS cards. Hello to simple savings. I don’t have the time for this one so when you steal this idea, just send a check. Or  if you find this out there already, send it my way.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Well I always suggest The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran because it is full of insight into most moral complications, has insight into our most personal decisions and helps pave a road to an epiphany.

For our industry and for any small business trying to understand why and what branding is, Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler is a comprehensive textbook-style read that helps understand the fundamentals of branding.

And one more, Logo Lounge 7 because we were published in it 3 times.

If you weren’t working on building your business, what would you be doing?

I would be working on my downhill mountain bike skills. I can’t stop and want to suggest this sport for anyone who loves the outdoors and needs a little adrenaline rush.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  • @FastCompany
  • @Behance
  • @NewYorker

They all give good continuous information about the world around us. And because they paid me to say that. I’m kidding, there are so many good Twitter publishers and those are just the ones I remember because I read their updates daily.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Oh man/woman, I laugh out loud too often to know what the best answer is. How about the other day when I got to the toll plaza, remembered once again that I need to buy a FastLane pass and then paid the collector 97 pennies. He let me through and I promised him I would get him next time.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

I went to an AdClub breakfast to see Jason Barlett, Director of Global Advertising at Xerox. The man was on top of it, a good speaker and laid out a brief description of Xerox’s struggles and accomplishments. I suppose I just want to have coffee with him and pick his brain but an interview here would be cool, too.

How did you know your business partner, Steve, and you would be able to weather starting several businesses together?

I didn’t. And I was told more than once to be careful choosing a business partner because sometimes it can go more sour than a marriage. However, the more I work with him and we learn better and more progressive ways to understand and respect each others ideas and decisions, the more I realize how valuable a good business partner is and how much it feeds progress. I would still warn young entrepreneurs to be wary of a partnership but would also encourage a partnership if there is trust, compromise and communication. Shit, it is like a marriage.

What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

Hot, sand, waves, Brazilian women, Wi-Fi and Dos Equis.



Trent Sanders on LinkedIn: