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Want to hear a story? Five punk kids fresh out of the top ad grad school in the country decide to start an agency. But not an agency per se, more of a creative think tank. With no startup experience. No clients. No prospects. Just scrap and gall. And then they move into their brand offices on the morning of 9/11. The day before, we didn't even know what we didn't know.
As some of the biggest agencies in the country were suddenly going out of business, we found ourselves firmly entrenched in a landscape devoid of viable Plan B's. With no proven track record, we had no choice but to quickly figure out how to grow a startup and support our families when there was very little business to be found.
It was an uphill battle every inch of the way. But somehow we managed to create the kind of work that great brands took notice of. We started growing every quarter. We were winning more and more business. We became one of the most awarded agencies at the industry shows. Portfolios that we couldn't afford to hire were pouring in from the best agencies around the country. The Press lumped us into the same articles with the Crispins, Mothers and Martin Agencies of the world. AdAge named us one of the 10 best creative boutiques in the US during our second year in existence.
So five years after 9/11, when we collectively decided to embark on the next adventure, we did it knowing that Arnika would always be a part of who we were and who we would become. The experience of trying to grow a business gave me the utmost respect for the different kind of pressure clients feel sitting on the other side of the table.
If you ever want to feel an adrenaline rush like no other, I highly recommend starting your own business.