Five Questions With: Rick Schad

SEVAN Design & Marketing founder and CEO Rick Schad recently announced a global, two-year licensing deal with PBS Kids. His company has been in operation for less than a year. SEVAN offers its customers a full-serve, design-to-production firm that can remain nimble due to its small size.

PBN: The PBS and SEVAN partnership is a story of a large corporation linked with a small, Rhode Island startup. How did the connection with PBS come about? 

SCHAD: Actually, PBS reached out to me due to my extensive design background and my history of working with some companies they had worked with in the past. Though the initial project that they contacted me about actually didn’t pan out, after getting to know each other a little bit, we felt there was a good dynamic between us, and we started talking about doing a licensing deal to produce toys for them.

I am not one to let an open door close, so I stayed persistent without being a pain, and I made sure to keep them up to date on things we were doing as a company and how we wanted to one day work with them – and it paid off!

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PBN: In some ways, with prototyping, patent assistance, packaging and sourcing help, SEVAN seems like a one-stop shop for those with an idea in mind. Is this accurate? Any areas you plan to strengthen or add as far as service offerings?

SCHAD: That is very accurate. We can literally take an idea sketched on a napkin and take the idea through the entire process and into the consumers’ hands, and because we are a small firm, we are able to do it fairly quickly, affordably and efficiently.

We will always look to add more advanced proto-typing equipment and design software to stay in the forefront of our industry. We will also continue to forge partnerships with other like-minded companies that will help us grow.

PBN: What is happening right now in the design and prototyping space in terms of technology advancement, and what lies ahead?

SCHAD: The speed of products from idea to retail is everything, and with that comes more advanced 3-D printing equipment. 3-D printing is going to continue to advance faster and faster, so you will start to see more and more products produced in this fashion. 3-D metal printing will get more affordable as well; we are fortunate to already be printing metal parts. The machines are very expensive, but that will soon change.

PBN: In terms of partners you use for manufacturing and sourcing, how did those relationships come about?

SCHAD: I developed manufacturing and sourcing partners over the years, working for other major companies and by traveling domestically and overseas, meeting them face to face. The one thing we pride ourselves in is our relationships with the factories and knowing they can deliver on time and on budget. We don’t deal with middlemen – I know a lot of companies claim that – but we run a very transparent business and include our customers on all communications with the factories or sourcing agents and we share those cost-savings with our customers.

PBN: Is there a certain industry SEVAN prefers to serve?

SCHAD: Well that’s like picking a favorite child! We just love design, and watching an idea develop from concept to a finished product; it really doesn’t matter what industry it is in. To us, it’s all fun and exciting. We pride ourselves in being diverse.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributor.