Meet twin sisters Colina and Hrisime Demirdjian, 2020 Forbes 30Under30 consumer tech alumni and the creators of The Moji Edit app which is the largest personal avatar emoji platform in the App Store with over 10M users. Their new ScreenKit app, built with the iOS 14 release in mind, lets users customize their home screen and app icons. They had over 450,000 new users in the first month of launch, with around 17K new users downloading the app daily which makes ScreenKit the #2 downloaded Graphic & Design App, globally.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
At the time we decided to explore tech as a career path, we were both studying law. We recall coming out of a long lecture and a group of us all chatting about what we all wanted to do after graduating and the different opportunities we wanted to seek including travel. Hearing what our peers had set to do, we felt extremely fuzzy about whether we could foresee ourselves pursuing law as a profession. Being creative and forward-thinking individuals, we knew our 20s would be the greatest years of our life and taking the safe route would give us a good life but would not feed our entrepreneurial DNA. One of our greatest traits we had acquired over the years was our ability to engage and acquire audiences across several social media accounts to over 1 million followers with our own curated content.
We rarely spoke about our passion to our parents or friends because we did not feel that any of our peers would understand what we were doing. One of our social accounts was based on emojis and from that account we started testing what the future of emojis would look like. As a part of the online generation, we saw that the app space held great opportunities to fuse together our passions for tech, creativity and social growth. At the time, the app space was at its peak with Apple planning to launch their brand new iMessage store. The idea of creating an app (despite having no tech background) sounded like something exciting and challenging enough to motivate us into action. That was really the first time we started looking into the tech lens as creators as opposed to consumers.
Currently, we are working on an AI driven avatar creation software to extend our initiatives with Moji Edit. We believe that the future of virtual human communication is about emotional and real connectedness between the physical and digital.
When we are not working on Moji Edit, we are building and developing new consumer apps that we believe will improve consumer’s lives. One of our recent projects is ScreenKit. The ScreenKit app allows you to better customize, organize and personalize your iPhone with useful widgets including clock, calendar, health, Bible, weather and much more. ScreenKit is now the #1 downloaded application in Graphics and Design in 20+ countries with over 15,000 new users per day.
Q: What motivated you to get started with the Moji Edit app and ScreenKit app?
We are continually innovating in the tech space to keep up with the pace of our users’ desires and to make new things possible on your iPhone.
Q: How have you attracted users and grown your app?
Over the years, we have attracted users by simply creating great products and building a community around each product before launch. Having a strong background in growing, fostering and delivering content to a community of fans across TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook has equipped us with special insights about what users desire and growing trends.
Q: What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
Our business model aligns with our company values. Rooted on embracing individuality, authenticity and change, we have built and launched two successful products on the App Store with millions of users by embedding those principles in our products. This has allowed us to stand out in the crowded app space. Delivering continuous value to our users has helped us scale our revenue. Listening to our power users and incorporating their feedback in our product roadmap has significantly helped us take the direction that our users will appreciate and in turn has grown our overall revenue. Because of this approach, we have learned that it is crucial to build the product for your users and listen to your community in order to foster and propel growth. Launching on social media has indeed helped us create brand loyalty which has been vital to successfully scaling our revenue.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
Our future goals are to continue doing what we do best - building and delivering meaningful products for the App Store! We couldn’t imagine ourselves doing anything else. It brings us so much joy seeing people all around the world using our products and sharing how we have allowed them to embrace their individuality, creativity and inspired them through our entrepreneurial story.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome?
The greatest challenge that we as women face is others’ perception of us, especially our male counterparts. This has created barriers of entry into the tech space for females, who can often feel discouraged to pursue tech. We need to share female success stories in the tech space with the general public to encourage more women to pursue this path. Regardless of gender anyone can make a career in tech. It’s all about your mindset and less about the skillset. Coming from a law background and successfully carving out a career for ourselves in tech, we know this firsthand and believe our story has the potential to inspire other females who identify with us not to be intimidated by the tech world. We wholeheartedly believe that you can be successful in this industry even if you have no technical background.
Q: Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
We’ve learned to always listen, appreciate, develop and ask our team members to share their contributions to the work we are all a part of. This allows us to create an open relationship with our team and to lead with appreciation of our team’s unique skill sets. Recognize that we don’t have all the answers all the time and can benefit from listening and learning from our team members. At the root of it all is human connection so the goal should always be to make every member feel appreciated for their contributions and able to use their voice, which will in turn foster great team spirit in the long run.
Q: What’s your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Our greatest advice for other female leaders is to never underestimate their own capabilities and never give up the pursuit of a dream because of the other’s experiences. Everyone goes through a unique journey. We know personally that if we had listened to the noise of others, we would not be where we are today, leading a company with millions of users and being at the forefront of bringing personalized and immersive experiences on mobile.