Hotel Institute Montreux alumnus Denis Cheryomuskin shares his entrepreneurial journey on how he co-founded his design & branding studio ‘Rocket Candy’.
What influenced you to study Hotel Management? / Why did you choose to study at HIM?
I wasn’t quite sure about my next steps after school. So, I decided to look for an educational environment that could connect me with peers from all around the world. I started researching hospitality and hotel management programs and HIM grabbed my attention. And to be completely honest, one of the deciding factors was the absence of Math classes. I’m not really great at it, but who knew I would study things like accounting... *laughs*
What inspired you to set up your own company?
There's always a limit to yourself when you work for someone else. It's true for any business. But working for others helped me figure out what I really wanted to do myself. The timing was right both for me and my business partner, so we started our own branding studio. He's crazy for design and I am passionate about creative marketing. That was it.
The inspiration for this, ironically, came from boredom. We both figured that working for big companies in a tech-booming era is quite depressing. These folks are slow around the corners and there's no place for proper talent management. On the other hand, companies like us, small and agile, can build on-demand teams and iterate products at a much faster rate.
You see more, you hear more. You start to handle things with precision and you're no longer afraid of sudden change. Your skills are sharper than ever, and your talents are at their peak. And that's what big companies pay us for.
Besides, running your own company is kind of fun. It's challenging too since you have to do most of the stuff yourself. That includes breaking your own limits, learning every day, and most importantly – facing your insecurities about the future. But if you can handle it and push through – the benefits are huge. The opportunities that arise as a result, would never appear otherwise. You see more, you hear more. You start to handle things with precision and you're no longer afraid of sudden change. Your skills are sharper than ever, and your talents are at their peak. And that's what big companies pay us for.
What skills make a person well suited for working in Marketing/Branding/Advertising?
Branding and advertising can essentially be translated as the art and science of influencing human perception. Emotional intelligence (EQ) plays a huge role in this. Human decision-making processes are governed by emotions, so the ability to empathize and inspire action is a must.
Since such qualities are considered to be on the gentle side of things – they are not directly linked to the conventional idea of success. As a result, EQ is largely dismissed by modern-day education systems. And that's a huge miss. Truth be told, if you understand your own emotions on a deeper level – you're already way ahead of the competition. That is why lots of talented creatives are introverts.
If you understand your own emotions on a deeper level – you're already way ahead of the competition.
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
The ability to express myself and exercise out-of-the-box thinking daily is probably one of the biggest benefits. It is intellectually stimulating and challenging at the same time.
What would you say are the biggest challenges of working in Marketing/Branding/Advertising?
Every time you go in on a project, it's like being a beginner again. So, the biggest challenge is to always keep an open-minded approach to problem-solving. You can't be biased about anything. The quality of the end result heavily relies on your ability to dig deep into the problem itself. Finding connections and meaning hidden from plain sight. Acing this craft is not an overnight job, but once you do it right, your work starts to speak for itself.
What would you say are the biggest challenges of running your own company?
There's a great number of companies with outstanding ideas that could potentially shake entire industries. Be in Finance, Medicine, Music – you name it. Nevertheless, most of them fail due to lack of focus and poor management. The 1% of the companies that actually make it to the top are the ones who get it right. That is the biggest challenge – to be part of that 1%. And to make it right, you ought to have a strong master plan. It will serve as a blueprint for your future growth and expansion. And if you know where you want to be, you'll eventually get there, one way or another. So, consider this as a priority when setting up your own company.
What is your advice to those who are interested in setting up their own company?
Figure out what you're good at. The simple things. These are your talents. Build a strong skillset based on those. Follow your intuition, passion, and curiosity. Don't think about money first. It always comes when you're really good at something.
Learn from others as much as you can. Keep an open mind, but always double-check the facts. Then look at the economy and figure out a niche that's unique to you. How can you make a difference and have a positive impact on the world? Figure out a strategy to do that, then build your own company. And most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the process! The things you learn, the people you meet along the way – it's all priceless. That's what makes it so much fun.
Don't forget to enjoy the process! The things you learn, the people you meet along the way – it's all priceless.
What do you hope to achieve in your career next?
Our studio serves as a playground for a bigger idea. There are quite a lot of problems these days, but HR and Education are probably the most alarming ones up to date. One could argue that climate change is on top of that list, but being completely honest, if the 6th mass extinction event is bound to happen, our Earth will survive this. We're the ones who probably won't. Consequently, it's our top priority to educate ourselves better, so we can actually have a positive impact on the world as a whole.
Modern education and job placement systems fail to cultivate individual human talents and creativity, and that drives people to depression and wasteful living. The social systems that were designed to give us a sense of confidence in the coming days – no longer serve their purpose. We can't be confident about the future if we're unconfident of ourselves. And we may not directly feel this due to our habitual conditioning, but that is exactly what's happening today.
With that in mind, we spend most of our time creating the world’s first human navigator. We call it Sonar and it’s designed to innovate the way we build our future. As a result of such work, people will be able to instantly recognize their inborn talents and grow from there. Balancing their life, soul and career choices along the way, and navigating through their life’s opportunities and challenges. In a way, we want everyone to develop a more sensible and meaningful approach to life in general. Modern technology holds the potential to achieve such ambitious goals on a mass scale with relative ease. But it has to be designed in a similarly meaningful fashion.
Our major goal for the next decade is to naturally evolve Sonar towards quantum biophysics. Incorporating technologies that can propel conscious living and evolution for billions of people worldwide. That's our master plan.
Denis graduated from Hotel Institute Montreux in 2011 with a BBA in Hospitality Management. He is currently co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at design and branding studio ‘Rocket Candy.’