Dagobert Renouf: Logos for the Masses
Dagobert Renouf started with video game characters, but a lack of creativity left him with a love for web design instead. He's come full circle, partnering with his wife to make logos for all.
Dagobert Renouf has always been a builder at heart. He’s taken advantage too, making products for people the world over. All that time though, he was fighting himself. Once he finally admitted it, he started the journey all builders go through. Today, he runs Logology, a brand consulting startup just getting off the ground, with his wife.
Shocker: a Teen Boy Wants to Build Video Games
At 13, Dagobert was just a regular guy doing regular things, and he had a hobby: video games.
He wasn’t a typical consumer though. Dagobert started working to build his own 3D models by following along with tutorials and creating his own designs. He and a group of friends were going to build a game from scratch.
Unfortunately, Dagobert was no design savant. He didn’t have the creative streak needed to make the characters for their game, and quickly changed from helping with the game itself to building a website for the game.
He loved it! The code was easy to understand. He could design it and make edits as they went.
“The website was terrible because it was my first one, but it was just such a good feeling.
One thing led to another, and suddenly Dagobert had built not only a website for their failed video game but had created another five others, too.
A Little Copyright Infringement Never Hurt Anyone
In the early 2000’s in France, French Idol was taking off. It pitted talented singers against one another, giving the audience the ability to participate in the show as the season went on.
Just as Dagobert was getting his web-building feet under him, the show had a ringer. Everyone knew he was going to win, right from the start.
Dagobert saw an opportunity.
The only way to watch the burgeoning star was to catch the show live. With the internet and his HTML chops, Dagobert built a website around watching just this one guy. It was simple, but well made for the time. A visitor could go to the site and download a video recording of him performing.
Dagobert loaded the page with ads. He left no space between those ads and the download link, so he made a lot of money off of inadvertent clicks when people weren’t careful enough. On the season finale alone, Dagobert walked away with $150. In total, he made around $1,500 off of those videos. At 15, that was incredible for something that he was just doing for fun in his free time!
The good times couldn’t last, however. Before Dagobert could capitalize on his work by showing other artists on the show, the network found out what he was doing. They were beginning to realize the value of sharing videos online too. One cease-and-desist letter later, Dagobert shut his site down for good.
Dagobert found work as a web designer for the rest of his high school career. He started college, but quickly dropped out and continued building sites.
He worked as a freelancer for eleven years, building sites for entrepreneurs and other companies, then working on contract and then full-time for a United States based company on mobile apps.
Dagobert was making over $100,000 a year and had been for a while, but at 29, he realized he wanted something else.
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Time for Something Meaningful
Dagobert knew that leaving his highly-paying job was risky. It was going to be hard. He and his wife would have a lot of struggles as they built their venture.
But he also knew that he had to try. As scary as it was, Dagobert couldn’t escape the desire to build something of his own. He had been trying to push down that desire since he was 16, and it had caught up to him.
“I don’t want to be known as just this guy who did a good job. I would hate that.
Dagobert’s first attempt was to set up an easy-to-use app builder. That idea quickly burned out, as the creation was complex and Dagobert’s quick research showed him very little demand for the product.
What to Do... What to Do?
Luck plays a key part in many stories, and Dagobert’s is no different. He was talking to a friend who had built a logo generator, who claimed he was making a ton of money on it!
Dagobert’s new wife was a brand consultant and logo designer. They had talked about starting their own business three years earlier but never gone anywhere with it. Here was their chance!
They honeymooned in the US, traveling from Nashville to Memphis for the music scene available in the state of Tennessee.
While they traveled, they set out to determine whether there was opportunity in logo design. There were plenty of competitors in the space, and Dagobert knew they could create a better product and experience.
His wife would consult and create logos and brand design choices for around $3,000 at minimum. She had a lot of entrepreneurs approach her looking for design work who were unable to afford those prices.
When they looked online, there were never great options available. Dagobert knew there was opportunity in this underserved market!
Dagobert started building Logology in September 2018. They launched in April 2020, right at the height of the pandemic.
From the start, there were sales. As so many business owners know though, some sales are not enough.
They took to Indie Hackers and to Reddit, trying to find their customers where they were already hanging out.
For a year, Logology sold 2-5 logos a month. They needed 60.
The only thing that kept them going was the drive to build something great and feedback from customers who bought their product telling them how incredible their work truly was.
Around May 2021, Dagobert found a marketing channel that worked: Twitter. In only a couple months, he spiked from around 200 followers to over 3,500. That number has grown to 4,593 at the time of writing, mere weeks later.
On average, it takes a Logology customer a couple months from first visit to final purchase. Dagobert saw that exact trend with a spike in August. They went from averaging roughly $400 in sales each month to over $3,000.
That number has come down again in September, but Dagobert knows the potential is there.
He and his wife are going to keep building until they prove the effort is worth it.
Build an audience first! Understanding the people you’re selling to and being able to get feedback from them is more important than any product design skills.
Ask hard questions. How many sales do you need? How many visitors do you need to make those sales? Where will the visitors come from?
You can connect with Dagobert on Twitter as @dagorenouf.
Anxiety and fear couldn’t stop Dagobert. He has lost friendships and strained relationships with family along the way, and jumping from a high-paying career to scratching the barrel has been hard. It’s been scary. He’ll freely admit it.
Dagobert will also admit that it’s what he wants and needs to do. He could go work for a crypto-based startup. He’s interested in the technology and thinks it’s going to continue growing. The jobs are remote and pay very well! He also knows himself. He would never escape the itch. Logology is his ride, and if that doesn’t work out he’s going to build something else.
It’s what builders do.