Milestones: 35 Years & Counting
When the idea first hit me to try my hand at starting a business, it was 1985. Ronald Reagan was president, a gallon of gas was $1.09, the Bears won the Super Bowl, CDs were new, the first version of Windows was released and the Titanic was found. And oh yeah, the first Macintosh computer was introduced the year before and the word on the street was that it’s going to have a profound impact on the industry we work in. What an understatement and what a time it was.
The Time Was Right
I had been working as an art director at a local ad agency for two years when a unique set of circumstances came together for me in my personal life and young career. At the time, I thought to myself, “I love San Antonio, I love the work I’m doing and I think I’m good at it.” Another reason I had for starting the business at that time was being young enough to be able to try it on my own and fail and then have time to get back on my feet and go back to work for other agencies again if it didn’t work. Looking back at that early experience, I think it was the fear of failure that really pushed me to succeed. I learned to work hard and smart. I hustled using everything I had: my talent, knowledge of the industry, my ability to network and establish good business relationships with clients, vendors and others. Getting plugged into the business community in San Antonio and Austin was also very important. When I saw a good business opportunity, I pursued it aggressively. I wouldn’t always take “no, we’re not interested” as an answer. A persistent, well-tempered professional approach always got me where I wanted to be with good business relationships. Once I had the business, my objective was to keep the client happy so they had no reason to go anywhere else for their creative and production. After 35 years, I think it’s safe to say it hasn’t failed.
The Power of the Right People and the Right Relationships
In the beginning, I wore all of the hats in the company. But as the company grew, I was able to let my employees wear some of those hats, and I quickly realized just how important hiring the right people was to the success and growth of the company. I also learned how important establishing strategic long-term relationships with other industry professionals was to the foundation of my brand. Everyday it was important for me to be on top of my game creatively, along with quality production and excellent customer service at a fair price. I’ve had the privilege of working with talented, creative and just plain smart people on both sides of the desk. I’ve worked alongside excellent employees, well connected business associates and clients who were happy to recommend me to other business contacts whenever they had the opportunity to.
To Succeed in This Industry, You Have to Love the Work
The one aspect of working in this industry that has always kept me intrigued is the creative process. Whether it’s a campaign concept, a brand logo design or the design of any form of advertising or communication, working with a talented team and exploring the creative possibilities and ultimately providing a successful solution has always been my first love. Aside from the creative work, running a company is something I developed a love for as the business began to take off. The old saying goes, ”If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
But it’s not all peaches and cream. Coming from those who have spent any time in this industry, one can safely say, “You have your glory days and you have your gory days.” This business can be tough at times. I guess it’s kind of a love/hate thing, but for me there is a lot more love for the business than hate.
Hindsight is 2020
As I stand here in January of 2020, I find this an opportune time to look back over the past 35 years and recognize all that has been accomplished. It’s a time to appreciate the company that’s been built and realize all of the livelihoods it supports for employees and their families. It’s a time to reflect back on the incredible amount of work that’s been generated over the years. It’s a time to be grateful for the relationships that have helped shape us into the viable business we are in San Antonio. This is also a good time to recognize and boast about the team we have now, which I think is the strongest we’ve ever had.