Innovator Spotlight: Tristan Gardner with Triad Studios

16 Jul 2018 - Tejas Dalvi

To kick off our Innovator Spotlight series, we talked to Tristan Gardner, co-founder of Triad Studios.

Fast Facts:

Who they are:

Triad Studios was founded in January of 2018 by Tristan Gardner, Daniel Pan, Baaqir Yusuf, Justin Fouts, and Michael Thomas. The newest member of the team is Sawyer Covington, the Director of Client Management.

Triad Studios
The Triad Team (from left) Justin Fouts, Daniel Pan, Baaqir Yusuf, Michael Thomas, Tristan Gardner, and Sawyer Covington
What they do:

The company focuses on cinematic storytelling to promote businesses and organizations in a way best suited for online platforms.

How to check them out:

They’re active on their website, Instagram, and Facebook pages. You can also see a sample of their work here.



Daylight: How did you come up with the idea to start a media agency?

Tristan: The first thing we did was look at our skillsets. We’re a group of five guys who are really interested in business, video creation, and entrepreneurship. Then we saw that there was a massive need in the market for video creation, since there aren’t many people in the Triangle doing that.

Daylight: How has the company changed since its first iteration?

Tristan: When we first started, we tried to do it all. That included everything from businesses and music videos to weddings. We also branded ourselves as a media consulting agency. Since then, we’ve realized that we need a specific focus to maximize efficiency, so we’ve shifted to only doing photos and videos.

Daylight: How many clients have you had? Are there any that we’d be familiar with?

Tristan: We’ve had 25 clients since January [interviewed in July], including two projects at UNC, Red Bull, and a school system in Sanford. We’re also expecting a lot more in the coming months.

Daylight: What has been the most rewarding part of starting a business?

Tristan: There are really two things that stick out. The first is being able to work closely with this group of guys. Everyone on the team brings something different to the table, and it’s really rewarding to work with such a flexible and hard working group of people. The second is knowing that the work we’re doing is having a measurable impact on businesses in our community. Earlier this year, we did a project with a salon in Sanford. Before they hired us to revamp their social media presence, they only had 5 likes on their Facebook page. We created a video for them that got 20,000 views and 1,000 shares in 2 weeks. They’re now moving out of their original studio and into a bigger space because of the huge increase in their brand awareness. Doing impactful work is easily the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur.

Daylight: Have you faced any major hurdles?

Tristan: Hurdles are great, and we face them every day. When we first started, we were working out of my apartment, and now we have an office. Recently, a lot of our hurdles have had to do with scaling, and making sure we keep operating efficiently as we grow.

Daylight: How has being in the Chapel Hill community helped you?

Tristan: Being in Chapel Hill has helped us a ton. There’s a huge client base in the area, and having so many students nearby has helped us test out ideas. What’s more is the supportive entrepreneurial community and the network of generous professionals and professors here.

Daylight: Finally, how do you see Triad growing in the future?

Tristan: I’m really excited about the future of Triad. Right now, since we have a pretty small team, we’re being selective and only choosing the projects that will add the most value for our clients. Pretty soon though, we’ll be ramping up production by hiring interns in exchange for credit at the business and journalism schools. Our team is really committed to having a positive, long term impact on the local community, so I’m excited to help the business grow.


Thanks again to Tristan for talking to us about his company. If you want to learn more about Triad Studios, check out their website here. If you’re interested in being featured in our Innovator Spotlight series, read more here.

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