Voyager Denver sat down with our owners, Tyler + Barb Lindvall to learn more about Harmonic Media. Here is the full story below:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler + Barb Lindvall.
Tyler and Barb. Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
If you asked us 20 years ago what we’d be doing in 2020, neither of us would have even thought to say we’d be owner/operators of a business, let alone a custom graphics and large format printing business. But here we are – 14 years and counting!
It all started in 2007 when Tyler found himself out of a job for the first time since he was 14 years old. The print shop he was working at let him go; the economy was in the gutter, so no one else was hiring, and putting it mildly – things were not good.
We still don’t know what gave us the courage to start a business. We had no idea what we were doing, the odds were against us, and it would definitely be an uphill battle. But – we knew we had a good idea, we knew Tyler and Barb had two very unique talents and we had amazing relationships with other people in the industry, and welp, things couldn’t get any worse! So we went for it and officially launched Harmonic Media.
It’s so easy to get lost in the day-to-day and forget to celebrate our successes. Fourteen years! Half of the small businesses close up shop after five, so how are we still here? We think it’s because of our commitment to vintage core values. We’re both from small towns in the midwest; honest business practices are just in our bones. From our visual brand to communications, we’ve always prided ourselves in quality – whether that’s our products, customer service, or connection to each other.
Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Ha! No, it has definitely NOT been a smooth road. First of all – we’re a married couple with two daughters running a small business, so there’s that. But aside from that, we were just kids ourselves when we started Harmonic – we’ve had a lot of growing pains.
It’s easy to forget that Barb wasn’t super involved with Harmonic in the early days because she’s such a huge part of it now. In fact, that was one of our first challenges. When we started Harmonic, Barb had just gotten her MBA and was slaving away in corporate financial positions. From a creativity and production standpoint, Harmonic was top-notch, but from the left side of the brain, things weren’t so great. So one day, we were just like – what the eff are we doing? Why is Barb spending 12 hours a day making money for someone she’ll never even meet when she could be making money for us? So she quit her job, joined the team, and that’s when Harmonic really started to take off.
But yeah, throughout the years we’ve had a lot of struggle. A major turning point for us is when we realized that a “good” friend we hired for sales took a LOT of our accounts when he quit. It shattered us both professionally and personally. But, it was also a big wake-up call. Back then, we let people get away with a lot of stuff, we did not hold our employees accountable because we were more concerned with being their friends, but at the end of the day, it was our fault for letting it happen. We realized we needed to hold our employees as accountable to Harmonic as we held ourselves, to trust our gut, grow up, and do some real work.
Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
We started out as a large format print company – so basically printing out huge designs. But we’ve grown and diversified throughout the years, and we do a lot more than just large format print. Our stronghold now is custom graphics and fabrication, which lets us meet almost any customer request.
To this day, one of our favorite projects is still the giant Broncos uniform we fabricated for the statue from the Denver Art Museum’s King Tut exhibit. We’ve also created custom fabrication and designs for cruise ships, restaurants, colleges, tradeshow displays, DIA, museums, the list goes on and on.
Right now, we’d say the thing we’re most proud of is the team we built, and our company culture. We’ve worked really hard to create an environment where people are excited to come to work every day. We know, it sounds cheesy, but we’ve been striving to build the best team humanly possible for YEARS, and we feel like we finally got the recipe just right. Everyone gets along, they care about quality and having our clients back; our talent pool is stronger than it’s ever been. It’s simply Harmonic!
What were you like growing up? Personality-wise, interest-wise, etc.
Tyler: I have always been interested in art and design. From a young age, I started drawing, painting and was very interested in graffiti culture. Growing up in rural Minnesota, I was outside all the time, snowmobiling, skateboarding, swimming in lakes, etc. When I turned 18, I moved to Colorado to exercise my creativity in the big city.
Barb: I am the oldest of six kids, so I have naturally exhibited leadership since day one. I was also a very determined type -A child, if there was a goal, I was determined to achieve that goal. As for interests, I loved the outdoors, get me outside and I would shine! I have also always loved books. And today, my interests have not changed much, love being outdoors and all the activities Colorado has to offer, and have my nose in a book most nights!