‘Start Yesterday’: 7 female founders share their tips for success in the creative industry
April 9, 2023
Creative Boom marked International Women’s Day by featuring seven female founders from creative agencies in the US and UK. These founders shared their experiences and tips for building an agency from scratch.
While each founder’s story is unique, all seven women share a common thread: they had a passion for creativity that they couldn’t ignore and wanted control over their creative and professional lives. Their journeys as founders were driven by a desire to make a difference, leaving behind not only a creative legacy but also living fulfilling lives as leaders and individuals.
Their valuable advice is not limited to those aspiring to be founders, but also for any creative seeking a more meaningful career. A really nice reminder for anyone who has a creative itch, or is already running their own agency.
Katie Klencheski founded the NYC-based creative agency SMAKK in 2011 to give herself more creative freedom.
2. Start yesterday
Cat How has been founding and running her own businesses since her student days – from selling hand-made jewellery at Brick Lane markets to a design and illustration shop to co-working spaces catering to creatives.
Still, starting now doesn’t mean doing everything at once. Reflecting on her own experience building a business so far, How shared that she’d like to encourage her past self to take more time in some aspects of her founder journey to build up slowly.
3. Don’t lose sight of your goals
Pum Lefebure grew up in Thailand and identified as an artist early on. She followed a university scholarship to the USA, then stuck around for a full-time job in Washington, DC, but her creative, entrepreneurial spirit never faded. It was that passion for creativity and self-expression that drove her to turn her dreams into reality, starting Design Army at her kitchen table and growing it to a top-tier creative firm.
Her biggest advice to creatives like her who want to strike out as founders is to balance a future-facing curiosity with a clear, solid vision.
For young women on their own founder journey, Lefebure has further advice:
4. Don’t take anything too seriously
Sara Taiyo, the co-founder of Brighton-based agency Driftime Media told Creative Boom:
5. Keep asking questions
Sara Jones had been working in the design industry for over 15 years when she decided to make a change in 2011, and co-found Free The Birds.
6. Follow your passion
Morrama founder Jo Barnard first entertained the idea of starting her own agency as a student, “most likely fueled by a mix of ego, naivety, and self-belief that I would be good at it,” After facing imposter syndrome, Jo’s advice to other female founders is:
7. Trust yourself
Amy Globus, a co-founder of the Brooklyn-based agency Team, started as a visual artist and has always considered her willingness to experiment a strength when it comes to her art and her business.
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