Hi Josh, thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Josh Stewart and I’ve been working in advertising & media for the past 15 years, including a 6 year stint in the UK working at some of London’s top creative agencies. About 18 months ago I left the world of commercial television to pursue children’s writing. Sneaky Sam is my first book.
How did the idea for your app come about?
I am father to 3 gorgeous kids, one of whom is a spirited little boy called Sam. Sam came into my life about 4 years ago when I started dating my partner (Sam is from her previous relationship). I was new to fatherhood and was fascinated by his cheeky and typically boyish behaviour. One day I started writing down my observations and Sneaky Sam was born!
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
Not long after I had written Sneaky Sam I was fortunate to meet the charming & talented illustrator Binny Talib. Binny liked the story and agreed to do some test illustrations which I immediately fell in love with…after that Sam came to life quite quickly. Once we committed to making Sam into a kid’s app, the whole process took about 6 months.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
We hired the developer ‘360 Entertainment’ in Sydney. We met with a few different developers to get an idea of cost and what’s involved but settled with 360 because they were down to earth and straight talking. We were new to the game and wanted to partner with someone we could trust. 360 did a brilliant job and were a pleasure to work with.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
As most developers know the production process is relatively easy compared to the marketing! Brand recognition and gaining international exposure is our biggest challenge. We are still working hard on reaching out via social media, bloggers, parenting sites and reviewers but it’s a long road
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
Yes there’s been incredible support from friends & family, especially from my lovely wife who encouraged me to make Sneaky Sam into an app long before I finally got the ball rolling. She works in the online space and knew that Sam would do well there…she was right!
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
We always knew that Sam as a character has longevity…much like any good children’s character you can pretty much take them anywhere. So yes, a sequel is well & truly on the cards especially given the great reviews and huge popularity of the app.
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
The response so far has been amazing, from both customers and review sites. Sneaky Sam has been nominated for a Cybils Award 2012, was shortlisted in the Qantm Design Awards 2012 & has just been given Best iOS Kids App by AppMyWorld. We also received Editor’s Choice from BestAppsForKids.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
App development can be rewarding but you’ve got to be prepared for the competition. The best tip I can give is to make your app as unique & original as possible…there’s so many kid’s apps out there now, you need to stand out from the crowd and make sure your offering is in some way different. Sneaky Sam is a cute and engaging story but Binny’s use of organic ink & wood grain in her illustrations also brought a unique textural experience to the digital platform. We’ve found this has helped set us apart.
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!