When I ventured away from my job at Starwood Hotels to co-found a new marketing agency, I was terrified. I’m a creative person by nature and one of my fears was the work – what if the work wasn’t as sexy as the work I was doing for W Hotels and St. Regis.? Would I be happy if it wasn’t? These questions, amongst others, were replaying in the back of my head.
Fast-forward a few weeks and my work-life balance has never been more in sync. Not to mention, the clients that we’ve had the privilege of working with FUEL my creativity. They are amazing, talented, and so incredibly good at what they do for a living that when our talents collide, it’s pure magic. We didn’t start this agency for money. Or for ourselves. We started it out of a love for marketing. A joy we get when we are able to help a business navigate the digital landscape, to support a business need or reach customers in ways they didn’t think possible.
I chose our agency name SEE IT SIDEWAYS for the simple reason that sometimes all your business needs is for someone to see things differently. Sideways, if you will. As I sit here today, I have been reflecting on how liberating it is to get out of the corporate rat race and to enter my own kind of race. A race where I get to have breakfast with my kids every morning, without rushing them out the door to book it to work. A race where I love my clients. A race where every day I want to be a better marketer than the last.
What could be better?
These next few photos might not make a whole lot of sense to you, but they are photos I took from the past few days on the job. Photos of leisurely mornings home with the kids. Photos visiting clients. Photos of a mid-day coffee (alone!). Photos from brainstorming meetings with my partners and new clients. Photos that mean a lot to me because they represent an entirely new world for me. A world filled with possibility.
Traveling for work isn’t always glamorous. You have to deal with long airport security lines, horrible cab rides and really long days (and nights) in meetings, conferences and pitching your business case. Not to mention the emotional stuff us mothers deal with when we have to leave our little kids behind. Missing my kids and family is the #1 reason I don’t love traveling each month. But here’s the upside: Meeting new people, traveling to new places, exploring amazing hotels, and working for a company that fuels my creative drive.
Let’s not forget the fact that you get to sleep through the night without a child climbing into your bed or a baby screaming. Someone else makes your bed and your daily schedule revolves around adult stuff (also see: Not having to watch Jake & the Neverland Pirates when all you want to do is veg out and relax). So while I sometimes get super exhausted (like last week when I was in Mexico City and San Diego), I truly love what I do and being a full-time working mom is part of my DNA.
Last week we stayed at The St. Regis Mexico City and it truly was a breathtaking hotel. When I show you these pictures you won’t believe we were working, but we were. I swear. This is the smartest group of brand marketers that I know. People that were born for this stuff. The room was filled with over 200 creative talents, strategic thinkers, analytic minds and truly marketing geeks like me.
This is a peek into our conference room where most of our meetings were held. Notice the color in the room? The room kept changing colors, perhaps this is some ploy to keep your mind alert when you’re in a room for 8 hours a day, but whatever the reason, it was super cool. And check out that chandelier? My eyes were immediately drawn to it. The St. Regis ballroom has my vote for the coolest meeting space I’ve been in. Here’s a little peek into this work trip, I’ll post more photos soon!
That’s Megan. She’s our regional Starwood Field Marketing Coordinator and she’s fabulous. She is one of the most passionate marketers I have met. She’s creative. She’s driven. She’s intelligent and she is someone who any company would be lucky to have on their team. And … she’s leaving Starwood. She’s moving to California for a great opportunity to work for Amazon.
I’m ridiculously proud of the work she has done at Starwood and selfishly so sad to see her leave our team. I have so many memories with this one and I know she will do great things, but it’s going to be a bitter-sweet day today (her last day).
Yesterday, the team and I took her to lunch to celebrate her new beginning with Amazon. We decided to try SumoMaya, a new Scottsdale restaurant. It was charming inside, spacious and designed really well. Right before we ordered Kristina turned to me and said, “Let’s just hope the food is as good as the place looks.” She was right – so many restaurants just look the part. But this one made the grade – food was excellent and service was fantastic.
This is what you get when you order a side of corn. Perfectly popped popcorn on top. The thought of Asian and Mexican on one menu is one I wasn’t sure about, but I have to tell you … the food, the service, the décor (you see all that pink, right?) was right up our ally. Two thumbs up for SumoMaya.
Best of luck in your new role, Megan. From the minute you walked into our office to interview, Melissa and I knew you were a star. You have something so special about you. And with your exceptional marketing work, you truly blew us away with every project you led. I can’t wait to see where this new opportunity takes you. The office won’t be the same without you.
Are you a marketing brand junkie? Or just someone who gets inspired by the places they travel. If you’re anyone of those, let me introduce you to the Starwood Brand Design team who reinvented Le Méridien’s identity this year.
From the brand’s color new palette, to the marketing copy, artistic photos and their fresh perspective on the ordinary (not to mention the actual design elements inside the property) – just watch this video and you’ll be inspired to travel to a Le Méridien hotel to see this stuff in action.
Don’t tell anyone (or do!) but my favorite part of the redesign has been their new perspective on the traditionally chic Parisian pastry, the éclair! Every Le Méridien has a signature éclair based on local influences and flavors. The éclairs alone will make you want to stop into the hotels!
And then there are the hotels themselves. From my recent visit to our Santa Monica hotel to others that are on my bucket list – Bali, Bora Bora, New York, Atlanta, Paris – just to name a few. I think this is a Starwood brand you’ll want to keep your eyes on. Happy #TravelTuesday!
I was recently introduced to Kendra Scott, whom I instantly felt connected to. Her story, her jewelry, her business! If I could have just a snipit of her success, I would feel like a star.
I saw this article on Style Me Pretty Living and had to repost. I think you’ll enjoy it as well. Tip #2 is probably my favorite tip: Find the white space in the market. This might not always be as hard as you may think. Full story and details here.
On a totally separate but still related note, how gorgeous is this Kendra Scott necklace? She makes such amazing designs. Thanks to my dear friend, Jan Barcamonte at J. Lauren PR for introducing me to Kendra Scott products. I now feel like the company’s biggest advocate.
Photography: Kelly Rucker | Photography: Suzi Q | Image: Style Me Pretty
I love this video! We watched this at our Marketing Conference and I just had to watch it again. Get a good look, I’m sure you’ll love it too.
The things we do for our kids. I’m at a Marketing Conference when I see Disney characters in the hallway. Without hesitation I bolt to meet Minnie Mouse. For Kelsey, clearly. And then I spy Captain Hook and do the same. I immediately send these photos to Ryan to show Kelsey tonight. I can’t wait to hear how she reacts!! And yes, I’m aware of how silly I look.
I love, love, love a good marketing campaign – anyone knows creating a stimulating visual is key to a successful campaign. Which is why I love the 2012 Olympic Games posters proposed and designed by Alan Clarke. Simple. Abstract. Straightforward. And a slight humor found within this modern design. The posters spark my interest while still reflecting the energy of the Olympic games.
I love them. Don’t you?