DATABIRD JOURNAL interview with Orit, Founder/CEO/Partner
Q: WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND, AND WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
For some reason I always knew what I wanted to do.
Design has always been my thing, even at a very young age.
All I ever wanted straight out of college was to be an art director.
Fast forward many, many years later and now I have one of the leading luxury creative agencies in NYC. We work in various luxury verticals from hospitality, real estate, fashion, jewelry, spirits, wines and luxury home brands.
Q: WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET STARTED WITH THE O GROUP?
I started out as designer, worked my way up to a group creative director and left a very lucrative job to start my agency 34 years ago. I have never looked back and even now after all these years; the excitement and passion are still there.
The positions I had prior taught me how to run departments and my “bosses” let me be very entrepreneurial. So, it felt like a “go for it” moment when I was ready to go out on my own.
Q: HOW HAVE YOU ATTRACTED CLIENTS AND GROWN YOUR FIRM?
We own our niche, Luxury Creative Agency.
Because we are so good, referrals and return business is a given. Our relationships with most of our clients have been long term and when they move on, they usually bring us with them. Our SEO is great as well (love that Google). So, when a prospect searches for a NYC luxury branding and creative agency we come up on top.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
Reimagine the future of luxury branding.
Continue to work with smart, amazing clients and projects.
Keep on doing what I’m doing for as long as it’s still fun!
They’ll need to drag me kicking and. screaming out of my office.
I LOVE WHAT I DO!
Q: WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AND OBSTACLES YOU’VE OVERCOME?
That’s a great question and not a quick one to answer considering I’ve been in business for 30+ years. The challenges and obstacles have changed with each decade.
1986 was very much a male dominated time for agencies, which of course was when I decided to open Orit Design. There were no women that I knew who had their own business until I joined NAWBO and formed friendships that to this day I still cherish. It was great way to learn from other women business owners as well as give back. And because of that time (I eventually became president of the NYC Chapter) I have always supported women, either right out of school, start-ups and other women owned businesses.
Throughout the 1990’s the agency changed names and offerings. From O Design, to O Design Group and then finally to The O Group, which was key to our continued growth, since design was not the main focus anymore.
We were now a tried-and-true luxury brand marketing agency; it was all about brand strategy first with creative as a compliment to positioning the brand(s) we work with.
Then suddenly it was 2017, I had designers, art directors, creative directors, strategy directors, junior and senior account directors, VP’s and a CCO and COO. Business was good, really good and everyone was making money and loving the work they were doing, but me!
My overhead was tremendous, and I was frustrated and frankly had lost my passion for my own agency. So, I decided it was time to make a major move.
I wanted my agency model to change in a BIG way.
I reached out to a dear friend and colleague Daymon Bruck. He had been my very first creative director over 25 years ago and had experienced a few agency gigs before starting his own agency in Seattle which was thriving as well.
I told him what was going on and that I wanted to reimagine The O Group and roll up my sleeves and get down to what I really loved again.
And that’s all it took. Fast forward to 2021. We are partners. We are killing it and not only with the clients and projects we’re working on, but the agency has never been more profitable. It’s all about the partners/principles (us) working directly with the client(s). No bait and switch. No junior staff members coming in and taking over an account. No more taking every piece of new business because of our huge overhead.
We take what we want, what excites us, and clients actually wait for us to have the band width because our work is so stellar. We actually say no, if a project is not right for us.
I’m the CEO, client advocate, new business “partner” and I still have creative input which I was missing before. Daymon is the CCO, heading up brand strategy, brand positioning and all our amazing luxury brand creative.
We have a shared vision for success, constant communication and we’re having fun along the way. These are the top reasons our partnership (and every successful client relationship) has performed at the highest levels and make every day a joy to work together.
I’m really happy again. Sleep like a baby and never worry about making ends meet.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR FEMALE FOUNDERS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Build your “partner” team. Get a good lawyer, have a trusted bank manager (hard to find these days) and an accountant that understands your business, these key advisors should be an integral part of your business growth. Because you can’t do it all alone, most importantly you’re the expert as far as what you do, as they are in their fields!
I also took the leap of faith to work from a dedicated office space when I started out as opposed to my apartment. So, at that point I wasn’t a freelancer, but had a “real” business with an office and goals to grow.
Believe in yourself!
In fact, in those days the rule of thumb was if you make it to five years you’ve made it. Which was hysterical because it wasn’t until year six that I realized I had been so busy that I totally missed year five.
The fact that this year we’ll celebrate 35 years is amazing to me.
That quote “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day on your life” is so very true.
ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DATABIRD JOURNAL