2018’s 20 Under 40: Kristen Brown, Hoot Design Co.
Owner, Hoot Design Company
Years lived in Columbia:
Tell us about your job:
I am the owner of an all-female ad agency of about 7 employees. We specialize in branding, web design and content marketing. It is really exciting working with business owners to create brands that really breathe life into their businesses, especially if they are just starting out. I love the process of learning about what they do, who their dream client is, and figuring out how to reach those people. I love watching people’s businesses grow and thrive, hopefully, in part, because of what we have created. I love working with an all female team of creatives. I love coming to work everyday and solving problems while using visual communication. I love representing our team in the community and selling our work because I truly believe in what we do and how we do it.
Who is a mentor in your life and how have they impacted you?
My first boss was, and still is, a mentor in my life. When you are starting out in the working world, everything is so foreign and challenging, and I’ll never forget his patience. He taught me so much, not just the applicable skills I needed to be good at my job, but also how to be a good, kind and caring boss. He taught me to put your people first and stand up for them — to lead by example. To care personally and challenge directly.
What are some misconceptions about your job?
That we are sleazy. That marketing is just smoke and mirrors and that branding doesn’t matter.
What is the single best thing about your job?
The people I work with and a close second is seeing your work in the real world.
What was the last professional goal you accomplished?
Hiring more employees and landing clients outside of Columbia.
What’s your favorite community project?
THE BOLD ACADEMY! I’m so proud to be a part of this kick ass team of women — exposing younger women to higher education and rich experiences in our community.
What is the single biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Don’t be humble. Be proud. Be confident, and shout it from the rooftops — your words become your reality.
If you had unlimited funds, what is the one specific thing you would do to improve Columbia?
Oh wow, I love this question.
1. Kick ass airport
2. Better public transportation
3. Better retail shopping, all in downtown Columbia
4. Plaza-like environment around that retail shopping
What is one business goal you have for 2018 and how do you plan to achieve it?
Hire another writer, I plan to achieve that by leveling up our client list and expanding outside of Columbia.
What trait do you most want in a coworker or employee?
If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Be more organized, I would achieve this with a photographic memory that would itemize all tasks into an unforgettable list that could be tapped into at any point — but wouldn’t haunt me when I want to do things like sleep.