Vimi is a world-class service that combines beautiful physical tags with a fun, intuitive app that allows users to show gratitude in a completely new way designing video messages.
Zaheer Merali, its founder, wanted to help people create meaningful connections. We teamed up to pursue his mission, creating a digital product aiming to upgrade the traditional experience of gifting.
Crafting from sweet memories
When he was a child growing up in Kenya, before moving to Canada as a 19-year-old, Zaheer Merali’s parents ran a stationery store. He was brought up in that magical place, which tasted like the fresh beginning of the school year, surrounded by gifts and greeting cards, leaving its mark on the entrepreneur’s new Venture: Vimi.
When we started working together, he shared the excitement he felt in coming back to this world and reimagining the experience of receiving and sending greeting cards using the latest in creative design, software, and technology.
Rethinking how we show gratitude
The Covid-19 pandemic was at the origin of Vimi. In 2021, Google revealed that there were 100% more searches for special birthday wishes. We know digital products need to adapt to the times, and, in this case, this meant taking habits that already existed, improving them and redesigning them for our not-so-new-normal.
We've been using the same technology for greeting cards for 150 years. During the pandemic, we all wanted to continue giving and strengthening the bonds between us through the experience, but we were more distanced. At the same time, we experienced a great outpouring of generosity and kindness.”
Zaheer Merali, Founder of Vimi.
Zaheer saw an opportunity to help people create meaningful connections around giving and receiving gifts, something we all love. As with many digital products we have crafted at Z1, we collaborated with the founder to imagine a digital product that would do exactly that, allowing users to create custom video messages linked to beautiful paper tags, something that turns a physical gift into a unique and unforgettable experience.
Greeting cards were no longer enough
Vimi is a business that considers what we used to do, what we love to do, and how we can improve it through the power of video, the star tool of the last years—and not only when it comes to remote working. It combines videos with images, texts, links, and stickers to build better connections and to create memorable memories, no matter the special occasion: from birthdays to client appreciation or welcoming remote employees.
It was a success that someone like me, full of dreams and ideas but with little technological knowledge, came up with a studio of these characteristics, with this degree of creativity and commitment. I say it without blinking: there is no one like them in the market.”
Zaheer Merali, Founder of Vimi.
Buy one of their beautiful tags at the Vimi store or order your own custom design to showcase your brand.
Scan the QR code with the Vimi app.
Create your custom video message using the many features Vimi offers - record live, upload from your phone, add links, and more!
Attach the tag to your gift or deliver it on its own, and let the magic happen!
A jovial proposal for the app
From our first interview with Zaheer, it was clear that Vimi focused on bringing people together, something we are committed to. Even though using video for almost anything became commonplace, there was nothing similar on the market, so we started imagining different possibilities, giving wings to our creativity.
We took care of every step in detail and suggested incorporating a friendly assistant. We created Hapi, a panda that accompanies the user throughout the process, achieving a greater connection with the app. Keeping up with the multi-sensory experience in the app, Zaheer even involved creative audio professionals to compose music for the product!
Vimi’s technological recipe
To develop an app as complex and dreamy as Vimi, we used very modern, open-source, and solid technologies, which allow us to work dynamically, thanks to the community behind them. This combination of resources results in a world-class level digital product with a cutting-edge digital experience.
Obstacles we overcame
While developing the app, we discovered a React Native bug on Android, which we reported to the React team. Upon revealing it, we decided to try the beta versions to see if it had been fixed, which meant spending a little more time than expected. Luckily, the React community are very proactive, and they ended up fixing it over time.
Any app that facilitates the uploading of videos needs a backend to store them. We faced problems such as iOS and Android having different video codecs, that is, different formats, so they would have been incompatible.
Vimi has been a challenge at a technical level. Our backend and design teams were highly synchronized to integrate a photo and video editor compatible with all formats, and as a result, we managed to make a totally user-friendly product.”
Juan Pablo González, Z1’s Lead Mobile Developer.
We had to implement a video system in the backend that transforms it and breaks it into stories. To get around the loading time issue, our backend team created a system to compress videos without sacrificing resolution.
We crafted a dedicated website using Webflow for Vimi, which is available for both operating systems: iOS and Android, with a fantastic reception.
Our playbook allowed us to understand right away what Zaheer had in mind, refine it, be imaginative and bring all our ideas to life. But we have to admit: it's easier to be creative and effective when the CEOs deposit their confidence in our team, and working with Vimi’s founder was an ease.
Z1 has a unique process that contemplates the necessary iterations so that everything flows perfectly. The secret is the combination of talent, experience, and empathy, coupled with their culture and leadership. Z1 is not just any studio; they have something different and special, which is what really helped us bring Vimi to life.”
Zaheer Merali, Vimi’s Founder.
What comforts us the most is to know that people will say “I love you” to their partners, show their gratitude to their parents, celebrate a friend's birthday or say hello to a new workmate, in such a special way thanks to the combination of our design and engineering skills and Zaheer’s inspiration.