Phil C. said in a review on Yelp: “High quality audio + gorgeous design objects under one roof? Holy crap, hide my wallet !”
That, in a nutshell, is the draw of Dijital Fix, a store that curates a constantly-shifting selection of fashion, design and electronics–online or in their flagship store in San Francisco. (Want to take a peek inside? Check out their Google Street View tour.)
David Auerbach started Dijital Fix in 2006 when he was 21. Startup funding came from his mom, and his first staff member was his sister’s boyfriend. Auerbach recently shared how far the business has traveled–literally–since those first friends and family days!
Tell us about the early days of Dijital Fix! How did you get your start?
My initial funding came from my mom, and I signed a lease in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY–it was cheaper then! A few years later, I opened a second location on the lower East Side.
In 2011, I set my sights on San Francisco. We tried a pop-up store to test the waters, and it did really well. We opened our store in the Mission in December 2012.
What was your initial inspiration?
I always wanted to start my own business–I never really enjoyed working for other people! I’d worked in film production and computer repairs, but it was during my time in an electronics store that I started to see that something was missing.
It was 2006–before the iPhone–and I had a vision of the sort of thoughtfully designed electronics that were more common in Japan at the time. I knew what was available; I read a lot about design and electronics online. But there was nowhere to find those products here.
So, I started a business for people like me, who were tired of the major chain stores and their lack of attention to quality, design and style.
What makes Gusto a good fit for you?
Payroll is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks in running a business. Not to mention stressful! We have 12-13 staff members, and our accountant/bookkeeper looked after our payroll. Any time I wanted to change anything, I’d have to send an email. Then I’d have to follow up to make sure they got the message. I was constantly asking about our paid time off balances.
I’m a DIY sort of person, and with Gusto I can easily check our payroll information on my own time; that cuts back on a lot of overhead.
We found Gusto through [scheduling software] Deputy, and I was pretty stoked when I saw it. It presents information in layman terms when I’m doing day-to-day stuff, or when I want to print off a report. Our last accountant would only deal with me, but with Gusto I can give other people admin permission so I don’t have to log in when I’m on vacation or do everything myself.
Dijital Fix started pre-iPhone; design seems to get a lot more respect these days. Has that changed how you source your products? How have the products you choose changed over the years?
The attention that Apple and the iPhone brought mainstream is a great thing because design is now usually a first consideration for anyone when buying anything. Selecting well-designed items happens to be the best part of what we do. It’s a win-win for everyone.
The crowdfunding era brought design to a democratic audience and this has been the biggest change to the way we source products, more so than the iPhone. We can now be a part of the audience that makes these things available, and we often carry “kickstarted” products that we like as soon as they’re on the market. We love crowdfunded items because we know upfront how well-received they will be!
What’s up next for Dijital Fix?
For now, I think we’re going to stick to California, but we’re looking to expand. We’re testing a pop-up store in LA right now; it’s inside a record store called Mount Analog in Highland Park. We’ll likely open a store in Berkeley within the next year, too.