We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Conkright and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After working at leading global advertising agencies, I started my own brand agency 5 years ago to create a more modern solution. A lot of the best talent were going freelance and at the same time, clients were wanting more project-based work with specialized agencies. We fill this white space of being able to do project-based work in a nimble way with a very high level output. The Brand Terminal harnesses the best global freelance talent and is on a mission to launch the best and brightest brands of the future. We are an agency without borders (or big overhead!). We have hubs in Los Angeles and Melbourne with other hubs launching soon in key entrepreneurial cities around the world.
On a personal level, I am inspired by creating disruptive and beautiful brands as well as helping founders follow their passion and succeed at doing so. For me, I was always an intrapreneur in larger agencies, helping to launch offices for my global agency network in Paris and New York amongst other unique roles. Looking back on my journey, it was a natural progression for me to end up as an entrepreneur!
What should our readers know about your business?
The Brand Terminal is a strategic brand building agency. We create successful, modern purpose-driven brands that shape culture. Our specialty is strategy, branding, creative ideas and content to launch brands. Whether it be a Fortune 500 company looking to launch an additional brand, a medium-sized company looking to take their brand to the next level or even a heavily funded start-up looking to launch with impact, our approach is branding without the bullshit!
It certainly was not easy to create a successful company, and I am still learning and growing every day. I have had to embrace progress over perfection, which did not come naturally at first. There is just not one answer to how to do it other than this – you have to have GRIT! As Angela Duckworth defines it, grit is the combination of passion + perseverance towards a goal.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is a massive, nuanced city with all sorts of beautiful and gritty and creative neighborhoods. Because it is too big to cover my suggestions for all the neighborhoods, I will focus on Malibu because I live in Pacific Palisades and go to Malibu most weekends. For starters, I am from Kansas City so even the word Malibu sounds dreamy to my ear and visually cool to my eye. I love getting in my jeep and driving up the PCH with the mountains on my right and the Pacific Ocean on my left. It is mixed with celebs and beach bums all in the same spot. Head to the Malibu pier to visit Malibu Farm and The Ranch at the Pier. Across the street is The Surfrider Hotel and Aviator Nation, which is amazing for Cali-style apparel to give as gifts. Go to the iconic Point Dume beach for volleyball, hiking or dolphin-watching. Then jump back in the car for an adventure into the canyon to The Old Place Saloon with the Cornell Winery next door. You will literally feel like you left LA and landed in the middle of Montana. On the way back down, hit up Soho House in Malibu for an evening drink overlooking the water, whilst mingling with the global creative community. Voila! A day in the bu.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have worked at many agencies in the United States and Europe over the years and have formed the most incredible friendships. We had the “work hard, play hard” mentality so the lines between personal and work were very blurred, which led to a lot of these deep relationships. Those same friends who I used to be in the trenches with are now elite talent at the top of the executive chain! I am lucky enough to have some of them as advisors to my company and many of them as great sounding boards. We all support each other. One in particular is my US advisor out of New York, Angela Kosniewski who is heading up 180 and has been part of the TBWA network on and off her entire career. I also want to give a huge shoutout to my incredible head designer and dear friend, Tracy Honig, who helped me build the visual side of The Brand Terminal brand over the course of many years and works with me here in this wild and wonderful city of Los Angeles.