By ProGrade Digital | March 11, 2024

If you’re looking for a way to both protect and personalize your gear, Alphagvrd is a name you should know. Founded by Jett He, Alphagvrd offers a range of premium skins designed specifically for cameras, lenses, and other photography gear. The high-quality skins are as stylish as they are practical, providing an exciting balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. Today, we are fortunate enough to sit down with Jett and talk to him about the story of Alphagvrd, its company culture, and the trends shaping the industry.

“I firmly believe that the photography industry is undergoing a transformation driven by the influence of social media, whether it’s in the creative style of shooting, editing, or the gear that we use.”

What inspired you to start Alphagvrd, and how did your personal experiences or background influence the founding of the company?

Alphagvrd was born out of a genuine need for both protection and expression within the photography space. As a photographer myself, I had the idea to wrap the bottom of my lens hood and camera with vinyl to prevent scratches. This obsession with gear protection eventually led to the beginning of our company. That’s why our slogan today is, “We searched the world for a practical solution to protect our gear. When we couldn’t find it, we created it.”

Can you share some of the most significant challenges you faced while building Alphagvrd, and how you overcame them?

We faced several challenges right from the start, but one of the most notable obstacles was convincing photographers of the value of our products. Explaining why applying what is essentially a protective sticker to their cameras could provide benefits and justifying the cost wasn’t a simple task. However, as customers began to experience the quality, the perfect fit, and ease of application, the investment in our skins became quite obvious.

Another issue we created for the team was the large selection of designs we offer for each product, which created a complicated inventory system where each item would have 20-50 variants at any single time.  We tackled this challenge by improving communication and collaboration within our team and streamlining our processes to ensure the availability of all designs at all times.

How do you balance functionality with aesthetics in your designs?

Designing our skins is a meticulous process, with some models demanding up to 100 hours to refine. During development, we prioritize achieving the most precise fit, while also making them easy to apply. Aesthetics plays a big part in driving sales — the consumer cares that it looks good — however, our primary focus is ensuring a seamless fit.

From your perspective, what are the most significant trends currently shaping the camera gear industry, and how is Alphagvrd adapting to these trends?

I firmly believe that the photography industry is undergoing a transformation driven by the influence of social media, whether it’s in the creative style of shooting, editing, or the gear that we use. I like to believe our products are at the forefront of this trend, providing photographers with the means to customize their gear, fully express themselves, and inject some vibrant colors into their creative process. Just 5 years ago every single camera and lens looked the same, now we have the option to customize them to our preference.

In an era where sustainability is increasingly important, how does Alphagvrd approach environmental responsibility in its manufacturing and business practices?

We are committed to improving our environmental footprint by continually enhancing our packaging and minimizing material usage. All of our shipping materials are 100% recyclable, and we have transitioned our instructions to an online format accessible through a QR code on the package, reducing the need for additional printed manuals. As we find more efficiencies in the manufacturing process, we will implement new ways to become even more environmentally friendly.

How has your journey with Alphagvrd impacted you personally?

Starting Alphagvrd has provided me with a variety of unique experiences and opportunities, and they all feel like scenes from a movie. I had to mature very quickly as the business grew and it set me on the path of constantly learning new processes. Through all our partnership deals and networking, I’m now much more social and even more driven to make an impact in the creative space. Let’s not forget the most envy-worthy benefit is getting to play with all the latest cameras and lenses!

Could you share some insights into the company culture and how it contributes to your success?

We’ve cultivated a unique culture over the years through trial and error like most companies. My own experiences as an employee have instilled in me a strong sense of empathy, which we value within our team. We created an environment where our team members are empowered to thrive in what they do, regardless if it’s personal or work-related.

We understand that our team members are not just employees; they are individuals with lives outside of work. As a result, we support flexible schedules and provide resources for personal well-being. This commitment to our team’s well-being is an integral part of our culture, and we believe it plays a significant role in our overall success.

Finally, for our readers who are aspiring entrepreneurs, what key lessons have you learned from founding and growing Alphagvrd that you would like to pass on?

Scaling up your business can be the real challenge, and it often hinges on finding individuals who share your vision and can help you realize it. While financial gains are important, it’s equally vital to prioritize delivering exceptional products or services and building a loyal customer base.

Remember, growth in business isn’t always linear and there will be peaks and valleys along the way. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is the importance of consistency and staying committed to your goals and vision, especially during challenging times. Push out the negative thoughts of failure and execute.

As we wrap up our chat with Jett He, founder of Alphagvrd, we’re left inspired by his entrepreneurial journey, the passion for his products, and the thoughtfulness behind each design. His insights into the ever-changing landscape of camera gear, combined with his commitment to quality and environmental responsibility, paint a promising picture of Alphagvrd’s future. Just as each Alphagvrd skin enhances and personalizes a camera, Jett’s perspective adds a unique dimension to the photography industry narrative. And for all aspiring entrepreneurs, his parting advice rings true—staying committed to your vision, especially during challenging times, is the key to a successful venture.