We’re Celebrating 5 years!

Date: June 2020
Filed Under: Studio


Where We Started

Over the last five transformative years, STEL has grown from humble beginnings into a Santa Barbara hub for innovative design. What started as an idea between creatives in an IHOP booth quickly took life in June of 2015. We opened our first design studio connected to a manufacturing shop with just enough space to bring our first projects to life.

Our initial team of 5 creatives started designing and prototyping products for some of our first partners, who we still are partnered and consistently working with today. Our portfolio started to expand, and as we started to take on more and more clients with an exciting and diverse array of products that needed developing, we began to grow our team to meet those needs. 


Our Growing Team

What began as a dream of two passionate engineers has grown into a team of 20+ creatives since 2015. Our team of highly skilled industrial designers, engineers, graphic designers, copy writers, and project managers have had the opportunity to collaborate with local and global clients, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies, to successfully deliver over 300 products to market. 

With every addition to the STEL family, our collaborative design process becomes more precise, creative, and innovative, ultimately allowing us to develop top of the line products for our clients. And the best part? Our team will only continue to get better as we work together on more difficult projects, refine our skill sets, and solve whatever problem is put in front of us. 


Scaling Up and Moving Out

As our team and set of skills expanded, we quickly outgrew our last office both in size and in ability to execute cutting edge products. Today, we’re proud to have moved to a beautiful new office space to accommodate everything we’ve grown. 

Iterative product design is more efficient and creative than ever with our 3D printing lab, engineering workshop, ample prototyping space, and plotter printing capabilities, as well as a showcase to display some of our favorite prototypes to date. For accommodating our supply chain as well as our in house startup, a full portion of the office is dedicated to mail fulfillment to increase efficiency. To support our company growth, creative collaboration, and team well being, we’ve expanded into a private conference room, several meeting spaces, a breakroom, and an open office layout in the center of it all. To see what our office was in 2015, to where it is now, and looking to what it can be in the future, our growth as a firm has manifested physically in the space we work in as we continue to build an environment where design can thrive.


Our Extended Family

Our success as a growing business did not happen overnight, nor did we do it alone. With only 44% of businesses successfully passing the 5 year mark, we owe a huge thank you to our partners for helping us in our growth and success as a design firm since 2015. The teams we’ve been fortunate to partner with, both down the street in Santa Barbara, or across the world, have been an integral part to not only our growth as a firm but our growth as designers and innovators. 

Our firm is upheld by pillars of design and grounded in collaboration with others, recognizing the invaluable asset of teamwork. Because we strive to partner with businesses that share our same values of bringing mission-driven designs to market by merging form with function, nearly 90% of our client base return to work with STEL on additional projects. Not only do our partnerships frequently extend beyond a single project, our clients continue to recommend our services to their professional networks and friends as well. The partnerships we have developed are more than just business relationships, they have become a crucial building block in the foundation of our firm.

We Couldn’t Have Done it Without You

Thank you for our first five years, and here’s to our next five and beyond. We truly could not be the firm we are today without your support, and can’t wait to see what the future of design at STEL holds.